Parsing the blood feud as Norcross sinks teeth into Murphy | Moran

Updated May 9, 2019

George Norcross was furious when he called to say he was ready to drop all restraint and go public with his scathing personal views on Gov. Phil Murphy after two years of holding back. This time it was personal.

But I didn’t expect it to be this personal?

Here are some of the choice words he used to describe Murphy’s behavior, during a 90-minute interview on Wednesday: Stupid, Dishonest, Reckless. Incompetent.

“I’ve never seen an individual who is despised as much within his own party,” said Norcross, the overlord of politics in South Jersey. “He thinks he’s the King of England. And Mrs. thinks she’s the Queen of England!”

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DARK-MONEY DISCLOSURE BILL FACING CONDITIONAL VETO BY MURPHY?

COLLEEN O'DEA | MAY 10, 2019

NJ Spotlight

 

Campaign-finance reform advocates launched an 11th-hour effort Thursday to try to persuade Gov. Phil Murphy not to conditionally veto a bill that would require politically active nonprofits to reveal their funders and give New Jersey among the broadest disclosure requirements in the nation.

Murphy has said he backs requiring disclosure by so-called dark money organizations. But sources within the administration say that the governor plans to conditionally veto the legislation (S-1500). Monday is his deadline for taking action on the bill.

Jeffrey Brindle, executive director of the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission, has been asking lawmakers for years to require issue-advocacy organizations that engage in electioneering to report who gave them money. He hopes a CV does not derail that effort.

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Powerful Democrat blasts Gov. Murphy and his wife. ‘He thinks he’s the King of England and Mrs. thinks she’s the Queen of England.’

Updated May 8, 2019

George Norcross III, the South Jersey Democratic power broker long at odds with the governor, has declared all-out war on Phil Murphy, calling him a “liar” and “politically incompetent.”

After enduring a steady drumbeat of criticism over how his company and other entities tied to him allegedly benefitted from lucrative tax incentives meant to help revive the city of Camden, Norcross went on the attack. He lambasted a special governor’s task force deployed to investigate the New Jersey Economic Development Authority in connection with those tax incentives, as well as the governor.

At issue are millions of dollars in state funding that was earmarked for one of the state’s poorest cities, and questions over whether Norcross and his companies profited, or at least tipped the scales to funnel that funding behind the scenes by threatening to move jobs out of state that were never in danger of being shifted.

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MURPHY OFFERS LAWMAKERS BOTH CARROT AND STICK TO APPROVE MILLIONAIRE’S TAX

JOHN REITMEYER | MAY 8, 2019

NJ Spotlight

Gov. Phil Murphy addresses a town hall in Ewing Monday night.

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Gov. Phil Murphy is upping the political ante in his bid to establish a true millionaire’s tax, floating a new plan that would earmark the added revenue for property-tax relief and thereby forcing his opponents to face criticism that they are choosing to protect high-income earners over the middle class.

Announced during a town-hall event earlier this week, the Democrat said he could add another $250 million in spending on direct property-tax relief programs to his fiscal year 2020 budget plan, but only if lawmakers pass the millionaire’s tax.

The extra money for property-tax relief is being generated, in part, by an improved state revenue outlook as Murphy said the recent April tax-collection season has proven to be a good one, suggesting the state’s economic base is expanding.

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Did Trump try to ban online gambling because that’s what his big campaign donor wanted? Murphy’s AG just sued to find out.

Updated May 7, 2019

WASHINGTON — New Jersey’s attorney general has gone to court to find out why President Donald Trump’s Justice Department changed its mindand now is threatening the state’s $350 million online gambling industry.

Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal filed suit in U.S. District Court in New Jersey Tuesday.

He acted after Justice failed to turn over documents that could show whether the action was in response to lobbying efforts by Sheldon Adelson, a major Trump supporter. Grewal filed a Freedom of Information Act request in February but said he never received any materials.

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Cops won’t name officer who fatally shot suspect in car chase, prompting grand jury probe. Now they’re being sued for answers.

Updated May 3, 2019

After a Newark police officer repeatedly shot at a fleeing vehicle in a January high-speed chase, killing the driver and critically injuring a passenger, the acting Essex County prosecutor said he had “serious questions about the officer’s conduct.”

More than three months later, the officer’s name is still a secret.

Despite a state Supreme Court ruling that certain records related to police shootings should be public – as well as an attorney general directive ordering prompt release of reports and videos of deadly shootings –prosecutors in Essex County have refused to identify the officer, citing an ongoing investigation.

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Police director’s alleged racist and sexist slurs are detailed in a report. City lawyers and county prosecutor don’t want you to see it.

Posted May 2, 2019

By S.P. Sullivan | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com and Rebecca Everett | For NJ.com

The city of Elizabeth and the Union County Prosecutor’s Office are fighting the release of an internal report that substantiated claims the city’s ousted police director used racist and sexist slurs against his staff.

In court filings, lawyers for the city and the county prosecutor are seeking to quash a subpoena from an attorney representing an Elizabeth cop in a long-running whistleblower suit.

The report at the center of the fight, prepared by the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, found Police Director James Cosgrove had used the c-word and n-word to refer to black and female employees over the course of several years.

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We can go around Trump to fund the Gateway Tunnel, legislators say after tour

Posted May 2, 2019

U.S. House Transportation Committee members who toured the aging Hudson River rail tunnels Thursday say they have a way around the Trump Administration’s opposition to building the Gateway Project’s new train tunnels and a replacement rail bridge in Kearny.

“If we do a bill, Gateway can be funded and we don’t have to wait for the next administration,” U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Oregon, committee chairman, said Thursday night at Penn Station New York.

Funding can be earmarked in the coming budget year’s appropriations bill and in the renewal of the federal transportation funding act that expires next year, he said.

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HOW COMPANIES AND ALLIES OF ONE POWERFUL DEMOCRAT GOT $1.1B IN TAX BREAKS

NANCY SOLOMON, WNYC, AND JEFF PILLETS | MAY 2, 2019

NJ Spotlight

George Norcross

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This article was produced by ProPublica in partnership with WNYC, which is a member of the ProPublica Local Reporting Network. It was co-published with The Star-Ledger.

CAMDEN, N.J. — On a blustery day here in early March, a waterfront amphitheater in one of America’s poorest cities became the unlikely venue for a rare public performance by New Jersey’s top political boss.

George E. Norcross III, a silver-haired insurance broker who is widely regarded as the most powerful unelected official in New Jersey, showed up at the BB&T Pavilion in Camden to tout the “rebirth” of his long-suffering hometown and praise the state tax break program that made it possible.

“It looks to me like the state got a pretty good deal,” said Norcross, standing before projected photos of children cavorting in what appears to be an idyllic Camden, only blocks away from streets lined with dilapidated buildings.

In an interview a few weeks later, Norcross called himself “one of the loudest cheerleaders” for the embattled tax break program. “I’m certainly very proud to be part of it,” he said.

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NO EASY ANSWERS ABOUT WHY IT COSTS SO MUCH TO ATTEND NJ’S PUBLIC COLLEGES

CARLY SITRIN | MAY 2, 2019

NJ Spotlight

Secretary of Higher Education Zakiya Smith Ellis and executive director of the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority David Socolow

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In order to combat the notoriously high cost of attending college in New Jersey, the Murphy administration is injecting millions in budget funding and making community college virtually tuition-free. But university leaders say that’s not enough.

Colleges are facing rising costs for faculty salaries and benefits, a serious uptick in the need for mental health services, and pressure to enroll and support minority and financially insecure students. And that, they say, demands much more than the state is proposing.

“The amount of new money … is not sufficient to really make a change,” said Susan Cole, president of Montclair State University, addressing the Assembly Budget and Appropriations Committee on Wednesday.

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