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Port Authority attorney pleads guilty

Christopher Hartwyk, 53, of Essex, N.J., former deputy general counsel at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, has pleaded guilty in New York County Criminal Court to second-degree offering a false instrument for filing.

Hartwyk, according to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., admitted submitting a fraudulent letter falsely indicating the Port Authority would receive a reduced rate on legal services when no such discount was offered by the law firm.

“Lawyers must always be honest in their dealings,” Vance said. “In this instance, the defendant was not honest with his employer and he has now personally paid the price.”

Hartwyk, in March 2009, submitted a letter to the Port Authority’s Office of the General Counsel that was purportedly signed by a partner at the law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. The letter stated that all fees billed to the Port Authority for legal work would be subject to a 15 percent discount.