JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Executive Director Pat Foye had little to say Wednesday about a legal probe of the funding deal for the reconstruction of the Pulaski Skyway.
As WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reported, in the deal to use $1.8 billion in Port Authority funds to fix the crumbling Pulaski Skyway, the span, which connects Newark and Jersey City and funnels traffic directly into and out of the Holland Tunnel, was labeled an approach to the Lincoln Tunnel.
CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported Tuesday that for complicated legal reasons that date back to the 1930s, the Port Authority is not supposed to spend money to improve access to the Holland Tunnel.
But the Port Authority can pay for improved access to the Lincoln Tunnel four miles north of the Holland. So after much arm-twisting from the administration of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie – outlined in documents obtained by the news media – the Port Authority simply declared the Pulaski Skyway was actually a Lincoln Tunnel access road and paid for the rehab.
“That is both a geographic and a legal question,” Foye told Putney in addressing the controversy Wednesday. “And I’m going to be circumspect, given the fact there’s an investigation going. As I understand it, there was a robust debate among the lawyers, including Port Authority council.”
The deal is now being scrutinized by the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. for possible violations of the New York State Martin Act. The act prohibits the deceit in the sale of stocks and bonds.
Bond disclosures were reviewed, but investigators are trying to determine whether the disclosures were false. If prosecutors decide they were indeed false, criminal charges could result – depending on whether describing the Pulaski as a Lincoln Tunnel approach passes legal muster.
All involved said the Pulaski Skyway deal was legal and proper, Aiello reported Tuesday. What the Port Authority calls an access road to the Lincoln Tunnel will reopen in two years – for drivers heading to the Holland Tunnel.
The New York Times reported the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission has also launched a probe of the Pulaski Skyway funding deal.
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