New York sues New Jersey over withdrawal from waterfront mob watchdog agency


The Empire State and the Garden State are at each other’s throats over the fate of the bi-state Waterfront Commission.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and Attorney General Letitia James filed suit in US Supreme Court Monday seeking to keep New Jersey from pulling out of the mob watchdog agency.

“For decades, the Waterfront Commission has been a critical partnership to keep our ports and our communities safe,” James said in a statement. “This commission has long proved to be a necessary force to root out corruption and organized crime, and we will use every tool at our disposal to ensure its powers remain intact and our communities benefit from its important work.”

She called the Garden State’s efforts to leave the commission “unlawful.”

The Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor was created in 1953 to address charges of racketeering and unfair hiring practices at the Port of New York and New Jersey. It regulates hiring and licensing on the waterfront.

Letitia James
NY Attorney General Letitia James said in a joint statement that the Waterfront Commission is necessary to combat corruption and organized crime.
Anthony Behar
New York Governor Kathy Hochul
New York Governor Kathy Hochul said in a joint statement that people with connections to organized crime are still getting cushy jobs at the Port of New York and New Jersey.
Pacific Press

The law-enforcement body has also been central to prosecutions against organized crime in and around the docks, including last year’s conviction of a Gambino capo on fraud and racketeering charges.

New Jersey lawmakers voted to withdraw from the Commission in 2018, claiming it was over-regulating the port. Then-Gov. []Chris Christie signed off on the decision, leading to legal battles that wound up with a circuit court ruling in New Jersey’s favor.

New Jersey has argued that the agency, run jointly by appointees from both states, has outlived its usefulness, and that the New Jersey State Police can take over enforcement at New Jersey ports.

But in their joint statement Monday, Hochul and James said the port still smells rotten, and “the work of the Commission is far from over.

Phil Murphy
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy says he looks forward to “vigorously” defending the withdrawal in court.
Seth Wenig

“Those who are connected to organized crime or other corrupt enterprises are often rewarded with high paying, low-show, or no-work special compensation packages,” the New York leaders said in a statement.

“Weakening or ultimately terminating the Commission’s ability to conduct criminal investigations and background checks and regulate the hiring, registration, and licensing of waterfront employees will likely increase opportunities for individuals associated with organized crime enterprises to obtain employment at the port or otherwise exert control over port operations.”

Monday’s filing asks the Supreme Court to “preliminarily and permanently” rule that New Jersey can’t walk away from the commission without the agreement of both states.

New York New Jersey Port
New Jersey voted to pull out of the Waterfront Commission in 2018 saying it was over-regulating the port and not representing New Jersey’s interests.
Seth Wenig

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s office told The Post Monday that the Garden State “welcomes the opportunity to vigorously defend its law withdrawing the state from the Waterfront Commission.”

Deputy Press Secretary Michael Zhadanovsky said the commission “has long outlived its usefulness and does not fairly represent New Jersey’s interests.”

“We are hopeful that the U.S. Supreme Court will reject this last-ditch and last-minute effort to prevent the New Jersey State Police from assuming enforcement authority at the Port on March 28,” he said.



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