Press Release Article


Date: Aug 31, 2016
Press Release Number: 153-2016

Michael Farbiarz, a former federal prosecutor and current Senior Fellow at New York University School of Law, is joining the Port Authority as General Counsel, effective September 6. Farbiarz was selected after a competitive nationwide search.

As General Counsel, Mr. Farbiarz will oversee the agency’s Law Department, with approximately 127 employees handling litigation, contract, employment, finance, leases, public securities, regulatory compliance and other legal matters. He succeeds Judge Richard J. Holwell, who has served as Interim General Counsel since November 2015.

Farbiarz brings to his new role a record of distinguished public service and deep legal experience directing and managing large, complex prosecutions, and will provide the Port Authority with expert leadership and guidance during a transformative time in the agency’s history.

"We are extremely pleased a person of Michael’s high caliber, record of legal accomplishment and distinguished public service career is joining the Port Authority as an integral part of the leadership team," said Port Authority Board Chairman John Degnan.

"We welcome Michael’s leadership and counsel as he assumes this key position at a transformative time at the Port Authority," said Executive Director Pat Foye. "We also want to express our deep gratitude to Judge Holwell for his thoughtful leadership and service to this agency over the past 10 months."

Farbiarz served more than 10 years in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, before becoming a Senior Fellow at NYU School of Law. While a federal prosecutor, he led the country’s pre-eminent team of national security prosecutors as Co-Chief of the Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit in the Southern District. In that role, he directed teams of federal prosecutors, agents and intelligence analysts in the investigation and prosecution of terrorism and espionage cases, as well as cases involving global arms trafficking, international money laundering and transnational public corruption.

In addition, Farbiarz personally conducted major prosecutions. He served as lead prosecutor against a ring of 11 deep-cover Russian agents operating covertly for years in the United States; against the only Al Qaeda terrorist removed from Guantánamo Bay to be tried in federal court; and in the first major piracy case in nearly 200 years, against the leader of a gang of Somali pirates who violently seized an American container ship in the Indian Ocean, holding the captain hostage.

For these and other accomplishments, Farbiarz has received numerous awards from civic organizations and government agencies, including the Department of Justice's single-highest annual award and its second-highest annual award.

While at NYU School of Law, Farbiarz taught advanced courses on subjects related to criminal law, national security law and international law, and published articles in the Columbia Law Review and the Michigan Law Review.

His legal career began with clerkships for Chief Judge Michael B. Mukasey of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and with Judge José A. Cabranes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Farbiarz then joined the New York law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell, where he participated in federal and state trials and represented clients in complex civil litigation and government investigations, including matters related to insurance coverage, accounting disputes, products liability, securities fraud, employment discrimination, and mergers and acquisitions.

He received his Juris Doctor degree from Yale Law School and Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard College, and was the Fiske Scholar at Cambridge University’s Trinity College. Born and raised in New York, he currently lives with his family in New Jersey.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Founded in 1921, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey builds, operates, and maintains many of the most important transportation and trade infrastructure assets in the country. The agency’s network of aviation, ground, rail, and seaport facilities is among the busiest in the country, supports more than 550,000 regional jobs, and generates more than $23 billion in annual wages and $80 billion in annual economic activity. The Port Authority also owns and manages the 16-acre World Trade Center site, where construction crews are building the iconic One World Trade Center, which is now the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere. The Port Authority receives no tax revenue from either the State of New York or New Jersey or from the City of New York. The agency raises the necessary funds for the improvement, construction or acquisition of its facilities primarily on its own credit. For more information, please visit

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