The Port Authority fast-tracked the hiring of a law firm with strong ties to Governor Christie and gave it millions of dollars in legal work after the Christie administration pressed officials to hire the firm in 2010, according to internal agency documents and two sources familiar with the firm’s selection.
The firm, Dughi, Hewit & Domaleski, where Christie began his legal career and was a partner before becoming New Jersey’s top federal prosecutor in 2001, has earned at least $6.3 million from the Port Authority since 2010, records show. That is a significant sum for a law firm that has only about two dozen attorneys and had never done work for the Port Authority until Christie became governor.
Two former agency officials with knowledge of the hiring said Christie administration officials in Trenton instructed the Port Authority to find work for the Cranford-based firm in 2010, the same year Christie came into office. The opportunity arose later the same year when the Port Authority was sued over a controversial land deal in Bayonne and looked for outside legal representation.