Top cop at scandal-plagued Port Authority retires after exposure he ordered police escort for radio host Rush Limbaugh

Key Points
  • Michael Fedorko, the police superintendent for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, resigned effective immediately on Monday.
  • Fedorko's departure came three weeks after radio host Rush Limbaugh bragged that the superintendent personally gave him a police escort, with lights and sirens, from Newark, NJ's airport into New York City.
  • The Port Authority has been plagued by the Bridgegate scandal, as well as a viral video showing Caren Turner, an agency commissioner, verbally abusing two local cops in New Jersey.
Port Authority Police Department Superintendent Michael Fedorko (l), and Rush Limbaugh, radio talk show host.
AP | Getty Images

The top law enforcement official in the scandal-wracked Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced his retirement Monday, three weeks after radio host Rush Limbaugh bragged that the official personally gave him a police escort from an area airport.

The retirement by Police Superintendent Michael Fedorko, effective immediately, is just the latest black eye for the Port Authority, which operates three major regional airports, the George Washington Bridge, the World Trade Center site in New York and other transportation facilities.

Last month, a Port Authority commissioner, Caren Turner, resigned after a police video showed the long-time lobbyist and Hillary Clinton fundraiser cursing out two Tenafly, New Jersey, cops after a traffic stop of car in which her daughter had been a passenger. The video of that encounter went viral.

Turner's departure came after the PA's inspector general opened an inquiry into her abusive and haughty conduct, which included flashing an agency badge and claiming she oversaw the PA's police force.

Fedorko's own exit after nine years as superintendent also came after the PA launched an internal probe, this time over Limbaugh's on-air boast on April 13 that he had received a lights-and-sirens escort from agency police the prior night.

The conservative radio talk show host Limbaugh on April 12 had been at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey and was headed into New York City for the annual Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation dinner.

Fedorko served in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War, and was wounded in combat.

"So they sent the superintendent of the Port Authority to Newark to meet me for lights and sirens into Manhattan to make sure I got there in time. And we did," Limbaugh said, according to a transcript of his show April 13.

The Port Authority did not respond to CNBC's query about whether Fedorko's retirement was triggered by the preferred treatment for Limbaugh.

Fedorko had served decades with the New Jersey State Police, where he once was acting superintendent. He also served as head of the security unit for two New Jersey governors.

Limbaugh was arrested in 2006 on a criminal charge of fraud to conceal information to obtain prescription drugs after a three-year probe by prosecutors. He cut a deal with prosecutors that called for the charges to be dismissed after 18 months if he remained in treatment for drug addiction.

A month after reaching that deal, authorities found a bottle of Viagra in his bag after he arrived at a Florida airport from the Dominican Republic. The prescription for those pills were not in his name.

The Port Authority has been buffeted by scandal since September 2013, when an ally of then-Gov. Chris Christie and a top Port Authority official named David Wildstein orchestrated the closure of several lanes onto the George Washington Bridge, causing massive gridlock.

Traffic moves over the Hudson River and across the George Washington Bridge between New York City (R), and in Fort Lee, New Jersey.
Getty Images

Wildstein, who was sentenced to no jail time last year for crimes associated with the closure, testified against Christie staffer Bridget Kelly and PA executive Bill Baroni, who were both convicted of participating in the scheme. Kelly was sentenced to 18 months in prison, while Baroni got two years, but both are appealing their convictions.

Christie was never charged in the so-called Bridgegate scheme, which was allegedly pulled off to punish the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey, which sits at one end of the bridge, for not endorsing the 2013 re-election of the Republican governor.

Despite Christie's denials that he played no role in the scheme, Bridgegate crippled his goal of winning election as president in 2016. He ended his tenure as one of the most unpopular governors in American history.

David Samson, the Port Authority's chairman at the time Bridgegate occurred, pleaded guilty in 2016 to pressuring United Airlines to operate a regular weekly flight out of the Newark Airport to South Carolina, where Samson had a home.

Samson, a former attorney general of New Jersey, was sentenced to one year of home confinement in 2017.

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