NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Newly released records show four commissioners at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey were allowed to bypass regular security lines and received other perks when they flew out of airports run by the agency.
The Port Authority released the records Thursday. Newspapers requested the documents after the revelation that the FBI has requested records from United Airlines and Columbia Metropolitan Airport in South Carolina. A direct flight between Newark and Columbia began while David Samson, who had a home in South Carolina, was chairman of the Port Authority and ended days after he resigned last year.
The Port Authority has been receiving deep scrutiny since revelations early last year that approach lanes to its George Washington Bridge were shut down as part of political payback.
Port Authority Chairman John Degnan says the special airport treatment for board members has "basically come to a halt."
Commissioner David Steiner and his wife most often received the perks, though other commissioners also got them. In all, Steiner, Anthony Sartor, Virginia Bauer and Samson and their family members received the special treatment a total of 24 times from 2010 through last year at Newark Liberty and John F. Kennedy airports.
The unpaid board is appointed by the governors of New York and New Jersey, but all four commissioners on record using what's called "special passenger assistance" are from New Jersey.
In some cases, they were met by employees at their cars and taken to faster employee-only security lines.
They also boarded planes early and were shuttled to an airport lounge.
The special treatment is normally reserved for governors and a small number of other high-profile travelers who are accompanied by security details.
Degnan said the reports represent all the documents related to escorts for commissioners since 2010. But he said it's possible that other similar requests were made without the forms being filled out.