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Port Authority: Former Agency Official Tried To Breach Security At JFK Airport

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- A former high-ranking official with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is accused of trying to flout airport security on three occasions, according to the agency.

The allegations from the Port Authority came Tuesday after Paterson Police Director Jerry Speziale, who is suing the agency in an unrelated case, claimed he was pulled off a flight at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Friday.

The Port Authority said the incident at JFK involved an oversized bag that crews were worried had not been properly screened.

Speziale said he passed through security with the bag and was filing a complaint against an employee when his flight was surrounded by police cars.

A hearing is set for Friday.

Last year, Speziale sued the Port Authority, claiming he was hired to uncover corruption and wasteful spending in the agency — and then when he did, his superiors retaliated against him.

Speziale claims after he reported problems to his bosses, he was denied security credentials for Port Authority facilities, rendering him unable to respond to an emergency unless he was escorted; had his work vehicle taken away; was denied medical leave benefits for his terminally ill wife and prevented from traveling with her to Texas for treatment; had his Facebook account hacked and was subjected to "daily harassment, intimidation and demeaning conduct."

The suit alleges violation of state whistleblower protections, creation of a hostile work environment and other claims. It seeks unspecified compensatory damages including back pay and future pay.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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