Port Authority Commissioners Got Perks at Airports

NEWARK (AP) -

Four Port Authority commissioners were allowed to bypass regular security lines and received other perks when they flew out of airports run by the agency, a perk even most elected officials do not receive, according to records newly released on Thursday.

Newspapers requested the documents after the revelation that the FBI has requested records from United Airlines and Columbia Metropolitan Airport in South Carolina. Direct flights 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 of politically motivated traffic jams at the George Washington Bridge.

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, a total of 24 times since 2010 at Newark and Kennedy airports.

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 treatment is normally reserved for governors and a small number of other high-profile travelers who are accompanied by security details.