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The Port Authority redacted records of meetings that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s former top deputy at the agency had with United Airlines’ chief executive officer and a lobbyist for the carrier, WNYC reported.
The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey expunged a record of a September 2011 dinner meeting between former Chairman David Samson, Deputy Executive Director William Baroni, United CEO Jeff Smisek and former United lobbyist Jamie Fox, from Baroni’s calendar, which was requested by the New York Times in a 2013 freedom-of-information request. At the dinner, Samson suggested United schedule a route from Newark to South Carolina, where Samson’s wife had a home, according to an April story by Bloomberg News. Fox is now New Jersey’s transportation commissioner.
A January 2013 meeting with Smisek and two meetings with Fox in the spring of 2013 were also redacted from Baroni’s calendar, WNYC said.
WNYC learned of the meetings after the Port Authority released records this year that the public radio station requested related to communications between former Port Authority officials and United or its representatives.
Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman declined to comment. Nicole Sizemore, a spokeswoman for Christie, referred a request for comment to the Port Authority.
U.S. prosecutors are investigating whether United scheduled the money-losing route to South Carolina in an effort to secure millions of dollars in investments from the authority. Earlier this month, United ousted Smisek and two of his lieutenants, citing the probe.
This article was written by Martin Z. Braun from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.