Wednesday, August 3, 2016

N.J. power broker in court on United Airlines shakedown

New Jersey political power broker Jamie Fox appeared before a federal judge today on a charge that he conspired to coerce United Airlines to reinstate a money-losing flight to benefit the chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Tim Darragh reports for NJ.com:

The brief appearance before U.S. District Judge Jose Linares in Newark marked the first time Fox, 61, of Lambertville, publicly faced the conspiracy charge, which prosecutors filed July 14.
Fox did not speak during the hearing and his attorney, Michael Critchley, also declined to comment.
Critchley waived the formal reading of the complaint against Fox as well as a preliminary hearing. Fox's bail was set at $100,000 unsecured bond. He also agreed to surrender his passport and any firearms, and to submit to mental health testing if necessary.
Fox, a former Port Authority official and state transportation commissioner who later became a lobbyist for the airline, is charged with conspiracy to commit bribery for allegedly using his influence to help arrange the direct flight from Newark, which shaved hours off former Port Authority Chairman David Samson's commute to his South Carolina home.
Who is Jamie Fox?
Fox is charged with conspiracy to commit bribery for allegedly using his influence to help arrange a special United Airlines flight for Port Authority Chairman David Samson.

Samson held up approval of a Newark Liberty hangar project that United wanted to build until the airline reinstated the flight to and from Columbia, S.C. and Newark Liberty International Airport. He pleaded guilty to a bribery charge also on July 14.
If convicted, Fox faces up to five years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.
Fox has previously denied using his influence to secure the "chairman's flight," which was canceled shortly after Samson stepped down from the Port Authority in March 2014.
Fox has been an adviser and staffer to the state's top Democratic officials and has twice served as transportation commissioner.
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