A supervisor at Kennedy Airport was arrested for taking bribes and breaking security rules to let Qatar and other countries park their planes overnight during the U.N. General Assembly over the last five years.
Marlene Mizzi, 54, was indicted on charges of receiving a reward for official misconduct. Also charged was Joseph Jourieh, 58, a travel coordinator who works on behalf of the Permanent Mission of the State of Qatar to the United Nations. He is accused of giving Mizzi meals, limo rides and a watch.
They each face up to four years in prison if convicted on the top counts.
Mizzi was suspended in June from her job as assistant duty supervisor at the airport. Prosecutors said she had worked for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the public agency that runs the airport, for 35 years. The alleged scheme started in 2014.
“Today’s indictment will serve notice to all Port Authority employees that the agency will not tolerate violations of the public trust or any other corrupt acts,” Port Authority Inspector General Michael Nestor said.
New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood said Mizzi didn’t have proper approval to make exceptions to a rule prohibiting foreign state aircraft from parking overnight.
During the annual General Assembly gathering in September, airport rules require that foreign state aircraft depart within two hours of arrival. But Mizzi allowed numerous Qatari planes to stay overnight, sometimes for days on end.
In addition to Jourieh’s gifts, prosecutors said Mizzi received bottles of wine and other gifts for giving special treatment to other countries. Sometimes representatives of those countries would personally deliver the gifts to her on airport property.
Prosecutors did not identify the other countries involved.