A one-time deputy chairman of the Long Island Power Authority has emerged as a key player in reversing efforts by members of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's administration to snarl traffic on the George Washington Bridge in September.
Published reports say Patrick Foye, executive director of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, in September directed staff to lift closures on two of the three lanes connecting Fort Lee, N.J., to the bridge that had been ordered shut by Christie associates, purportedly to study traffic patterns.
Email documents released Wednesday suggest a top Christie aide arranged the traffic jams from Sept. 9 to 12 to punish Fort Lee's Democratic mayor, Mark Sokolich, for not endorsing Christie for re-election last year. Christie Thursday apologized for the traffic jam, fired Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly and said he had "no knowledge or involvement" in a possible dirty trick that is now under federal investigation.
Foye, a longtime resident of Port Washington, was appointed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to lead the Port Authority in October 2011. He previously served as Cuomo's deputy secretary for economic development. Before that, Foye was deputy county executive under Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and served on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board. He was also downstate chief of the state Empire State Development Corp. under former Gov. Eliot Spitzer.
New York and New Jersey share administration of the bridge.
In a Sept. 13 email to top Port Authority officials, Foye blasted the lane closures as "abusive," and noted their potentially dire consequences for patients being rushed to hospitals, according to The Wall Street Journal. Foye reportedly vowed to uncover how Port Authority procedures were "wrongfully subverted and the public interest damaged" by the lane closures, the Journal said.
Foye didn't return a call seeking comment Thursday. A Port Authority spokesman didn't return a call.
Foye's appointment to the Port Authority followed a series of high-level public appointments after a successful career as a partner at a Manhattan law firm. He previously was president and chief executive of United Way of Long Island, and led law firm Skadden Arps' mergers and acquisitions practice, as well as overseeing its operations in Brussels, Budapest and Moscow. Foye earned his law degree from Fordham Law School.