NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Already embroiled in a criminal probe over lane closures at the George Washington Bridge, Gov. Chris Christie’s administration is facing an investigation over a second bridge.
The Manhattan district attorney’s office and the Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating whether $1.8 billion in funding to repair the Pulaski Skyway and related projects was misrepresented in bond documents by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, a person familiar with the investigation but not authorized to discuss it publicly told The Associated Press. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity.
And a government official with direct knowledge said the Manhattan district attorney’s office is investigating.
Besides federal laws and regulations, New York state has its own securities law, called the Martin Act. It allows for criminal charges for making false statements when selling bonds and some other financial instruments; the charges can be felonies. The law also allows authorities to bring civil suits.
In an emailed statement, the Port Authority said the agreement for the bridge project “was analyzed and negotiated by lawyers on all sides” and the bond disclosures were reviewed by a law firm that has served as underwriters’ counsel for the Port Authority for 25 years.
A spokeswoman for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. declined to comment Tuesday. Spokespeople for Christie and the SEC also declined to comment. The New York Times first reported the investigation.
The decaying, 82-year-old Skyway connecting Newark and Jersey City carries more than 70,000 vehicles in and out of Jersey City, Hoboken and Manhattan daily. The inbound lanes of the bridge were closed in April for two years for the $1 billion project.
The 3.5-mile steel truss bridge is an iconic New Jersey symbol, featured in Orson Welles’ 1938 broadcast “War of the Worlds,” and in the opening credits of “The Sopranos.”