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Former chair of Port Authority David Samson sentenced in federal court Monday

Posted at 8:30 AM, Mar 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-07 06:27:21-05
David Samson, former chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, pleaded guilty July 14, 2016. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

David Samson, former chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, pleaded guilty July 14, 2016. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

NEWARK, N.J. — The former chairman of the agency that controls New York and New Jersey-area airports and roadways evaded prison time when he was sentenced Monday to probation in a bribery scheme involving United Airlines.

David Samson, a mentor to Republican Gov. Chris Christie, pleaded guilty in 2016 to pressuring the airline to provide direct air service to make it easier to get to his vacation home. The airline was in negotiations with the Port Authority at the time.

He was sentenced to four years’ probation on Monday; he faced up to two years in prison under the terms of his plea agreement.

United Airlines began offering flights to Columbia, South Carolina – a city about 50 miles from Samson’s vacation home – in September 2012 and ended the flights April 2014.

The money-losing flight was ended three days after Samson resigned. United’s CEO resigned after an investigation into that service.

Despite United’s role, no executives or employees were charged. The airline agreed to pay a $2.25 million fine.

“As we move forward, continuing to earn and keep the trust of our employees, customers, shareholders, and the communities we serve around the world remains critical to our success,” Oscar Munoz, president and chief executive officer of United, said in a statement. “We will continue to act with the utmost integrity in everything we do, ensuring that we are always conducting business ethically and with the best interests of all of our stakeholders in mind.”

PIX11’s Ashley Soley-Cerro and the Associated Press contributed to this report.