Indictments against George Norcross in New Jersey: 5 things to know

Indictments against George Norcross in New Jersey: 5 things to know

New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin (D) unpacked a 13-count indictment against South Jersey political heavyweight George Norcross III for using his power and influence to craft legislation that would undermine the Norcross development project in Camden. good one would come.

According to Platkin, Norcross’s company received $29 million in tax breaks from the state.

“This alleged conduct by the Norcross Company has caused great harm to individuals, businesses, non-profit organizations, the people of the State of New Jersey and especially to the City of Camden,” Platkin said.

Norcross sat in the front row of a news conference where Platkin unveiled the charges. He later held his press conference outside and called Platkin “a coward.”

“I want Matt Platkin to come down here and try this case himself, because he is a coward, because he forced the people in this building to do his bidding,” he said.

The arraignment will take place on July 9 at a Mercer County courthouse.

Who is George Norcross III?

Norcross is a Democrat from South Jersey who has never held elected office. He chaired the Camden Democratic Party from 1989 to 1995 and served on the Democratic National Committee until 2021, when he moved from New Jersey to Florida.

George Norcross built the Democratic machine in South Jersey, which has exerted influence over statewide elected officials and state policy for decades.

Norcross was a close friend of former U.S. Senate President Steven Sweeney, who lost his seat in 2021 to a little-known Trump-supporting truck driver. Norcross worked closely with former Governor Chris Christie (R) on several key legislative issues, including pension reform.

Norcross and Gov. Phil Murphy (D) bitterly disagreed on political issues during Murphy’s first term. Camden Democrats, including Norcross, once told him that Murphy was not welcome in their city. At one point, Norcross threatened to field a primary candidate against Murphy in 2019.

Murphy and Norcross came to a standstill during Murphy’s second term, which began in 2022, and Norcross endorsed Murphy’s wife, Tammy Murphy, in her bid to win the Democratic nomination for Senate against Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.).

In 2016, federal investigators tapped Norcross’ phone regarding the Camden waterfront tax credits, but no charges were filed. Murphy opened his own investigation into the law that Norcross and his co-conspirators received tax breaks.

In the mid-2000s, the state investigated Norcross for pressuring an official to punish political opponents by withholding jobs and contracts. The investigation was taken over by then-U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, who accused the state of mishandling the investigation.

Who are Norcross’s co-conspirators?

The state also charged Philip Norcross, George Norcross’ younger brother. Philip Norcross is the managing partner and CEO of Parker McCay and a registered agent for the Norcross company.

In a statement to The Hill, Philip Norcross’ attorney wrote that he is “completely innocent of these outrageous, politically motivated allegations.”

George Norcross’ personal attorney, William Tambussi, was also charged. He also served as a consultant to the Camden County Democratic Committee.

The state has also charged former Camden Mayor Dana L. Redd, who is currently CEO of Camden Community Partnership. She previously served on the Camden City Council and the New Jersey Senate and served as mayor of Camden from 2010 to 2018.

An attorney for Redd told ABC that she “has done nothing wrong… She has fully cooperated with the grand jury investigation for more than a year and is not aware of any evidence of wrongdoing by her or others.”

The state has also charged Sidney Brown, the CEO of a trucking and logistics company, and John O’Donnell owns several Camden buildings.

What is the state accusing them of?

According to the indictment, the co-conspirators tried to influence state lawmakers to rewrite a New Jersey economic growth law in 2013.

Norcross stated that the law “is for our friends,” and the state claims that “he wanted to be able to use the legislation to build an office building for free.”

An example of a co-conspirator edit was allowing the cost of repairs to a pier, wharf, or bulkhead to be included in the calculation for a tax credit based on the changes made by co-conspirators. The Norcross Enterprise then built a pier in Camden.

“We rewrote a tax credit law in New Jersey that essentially says if you come to Camden, we’ll give you a 100 percent tax credit on all capital and associated costs. As long as you get some jobs,” Philip Norcross said, according to the complaint.

After working to change state law, George and Philip Norcross, as well as Tambussi, attempted to drive another developer out of Camden by working with city staff. They succeeded and the developer sold his land on Camden’s waterfront.

All told, the state claims the Norcross company received $29 million in state tax credits.

What are other New Jersey politicians saying?

Norcross’ brother, Rep. Donald Norcross (D), wrote in a statement to The Hill that “he loves his brother.”

“This is a great day for democracy,” Kate Delany, president of the Progressive Democrats of South Jersey, told The Hill.

Sue Altman, a Democrat running against Rep. Tom Kean Jr. (RN.J.) in the state’s 7th District, posted on social platform

“It’s a new day for politics in New Jersey,” she added.

Kim, the Democratic candidate for Senate, and his campaign declined to comment on the charges.

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