The Empire State and the Garden State are at each other’s throats over the fate of the bi-state Waterfront Commission.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul and Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday to stop New Jersey from opting out of the crowd-watching agency.
“For decades, the Waterfront Commission has been a vital partnership in keeping our ports and communities safe,” James said in a statement. “This commission has long proven to be a necessary force in rooting out corruption and organized crime, and we will use every tool at our disposal to ensure that its powers remain intact and that our communities benefit from its important work.”
She called the Garden State’s efforts to quit the commission “illegal.”
The New York Harbor Waterfront Commission was created in 1953 to respond to accusations of racketeering and unfair employment practices at the Port of New York and New Jersey. It regulates hiring and licensing on the waterfront.
The law enforcement agency has also played a central role in prosecutions of organized crime in and around the docks, including the conviction last year of a Gambino capo for fraud and racketeering.
New Jersey lawmakers voted to withdraw the commission in 2018, saying it was over-regulating the port. Then-Governor. Chris Christie signed off on the ruling, which led to legal battles that ended in a circuit court ruling in favor of New Jersey.
New Jersey 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 law enforcement at New Jersey ports. Jersey.
But in their joint statement on Monday, Hochul and James said the port still smells rotten and “the Commission’s work is far from done.
“Those with ties to organized crime or other corrupt businesses are often rewarded with high special pay, low visibility or no work,” New York leaders said in a statement.
“Weakening or ultimately ending the Commission’s ability to conduct criminal investigations and background checks and to regulate the hiring, registration and licensing of waterfront employees will likely increase opportunities for people associated with organized crime enterprises to gain employment at the port or otherwise exercise control over the port. operations. »
Monday’s filing asks the Supreme Court to rule “preliminarily and permanently” that New Jersey cannot opt out of the commission without the agreement of both states.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s office told The Post on Monday that the Garden State “welcomes the opportunity to vigorously defend its law removing the state from the Waterfront Commission.”
Deputy Press Secretary Michael Zhadanovsky said the commission “has long since lost its usefulness and does not fairly represent New Jersey’s interests.”
“We hope the United States Supreme Court will reject this last-ditch, last-ditch effort to prevent the New Jersey State Police from assuming enforcement authority at the port on March 28,” a- he declared.