Pat Foye, the executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, called a lawsuit that is being filed by two pensioners ‘offensive’ in a statement released earlier today.
Tom Westfield and Michael Shuhala, both former Port Authority police officers who currently work as lawyers, are filing a lawsuit against the Port Authority after the agency revoked lifetime toll and parking passes, according to a Star-Ledger article that ran Wednesday.
Westfield, who is seeking class action status for more than 400 other retirees, said the agency promised him that the perks were a lifetime benefit when he started working in 1971. He filed his suit in Morris County, NJ.
Shuhala, who retired in 2003 and now works as a lawyer and municipal court judge in Cliffside Park, filed his suit in Bergen County. He claims there was a violation of the due process of law when the privileges were revoked.
Foye released the following statement in response to the lawsuits:
“This case, which involves Port Authority pensioners suing to enjoy a toll-free retirement, is offensive to me. I have asked the New York State Tax and Finance Department and the New Jersey Division of Taxation to determine whether the 400 plaintiffs owe taxes, interest and penalties for this tangible benefit that was never a lifetime promise. A daily toll-free Port Authority pensioner would have enjoyed a $2,000 tax-free benefit, while the commuter in the next lane would have paid his or her tolls with $2,000 after-tax dollars. I leave the question of taxes, interest and penalties owed up to the revenue folks in Albany and Trenton. I assume that lawyers for the retiree plaintiffs informed them of their tax risks.”
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