|Former NJ Attorney General and Port Authority chairman David Samson - NJBIZ photo|
"For personal, professional and health reasons, I have made the decision to retire," Samson, 75, said in a statement issued by his spokeswoman, Karen Kessler. "After my five decades of practicing law, it was time for new leaders to transition the firm for the future."
The politically connected firm, Wolff & Samson, has a broad range of practices including lobbying and real estate law, and has represented public agencies. Not only is Samson leaving the firm, his name is, too. The 43-year-old firm, based in West Orange and New York City, is changing its name to Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi PC, according to its website.
The leadership reflected in the firm's new name includes Jeffrey Chiesa, a former chief counsel to Gov. Chris Christie whom the governor later named attorney general. Christie had also named Samson as Port Authority chairman. At times, the Wolff & Samson's clients did business with the Port Authority while Samson headed the agency. For example, Wolff & Samson represented NJ Transit at a time when a $900,000-a-year lease with the Port Authority for park and ride space in North Bergen was reduced to $1-a-year, while Samson was the Port Authority chairman. In February,
Samson's replacement as Port Authority chairman, John Degnan, said the agency was cooperating in an investigation by the office of U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman in Newark, into whether United Airlines tried to curry favor with Samson by launching service between Newark Liberty International Airport and Columbia Metropolitan Airport, near Samson's South Carolina home.
That service was discontinued only days after Samson resigned as chairman. Fishman's office declined to comment Tuesday afternoon. Samson's resignation from the Port Authority amid the broadening Bridgegate scandal in March 2014 coincided with a downturn in his firm's lobbying business. State Election Law Enforcement Commission records show Wolff & Samson and its affiliated lobbying shop were paid $753,198 to lobby public officials in 2014, down from $1,067,029 in 2013 and $1,108,774 in 2012.
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