New Jersey attorney general accuses Democratic broker of racketeering

TRENTON, NJ — New Jersey Democratic power man George E. Norcross III was charged Monday with racketeering and other crimes in connection with waterfront redevelopment and the use of state tax credits. the government.

At a news conference in Trenton, New Jersey Attorney General Matt Platkin accused Norcross, a former Democratic National Committee staffer and former Camden County Democratic Party leader, of running a criminal enterprise. Five alleged accomplices were also charged.

Michael Critchley, Norcross’ attorney, called the indictment a political vendetta.

“What they did was they relied on certain political adversaries,” Critchley said, and that “resulted in these tortured and unjust prosecutions.”

The accusations stem in part from 2012-2013, when Norcross sought to redevelop the Camden, New Jersey, waterfront overlooking Philadelphia. Camden had one of the highest crime rates in the country at that time. The 111-page indictment unsealed Monday alleges that he threatened a developer who would not relinquish his rights to the waterfront property and that Norcross used his political influence to orchestrate tax incentives to benefit the organizations that ‘he was in control.

Members of the alleged conspiracy also enlisted the help of a government development agency to help them gain leverage in private negotiations, said Platkin, who is also a Democrat.

Prosecutors said the 13-count indictment described how the group exercised its political influence and acquired property and property rights through coercion, extortion and other criminal acts. All six defendants are charged with first-degree racketeering, financial crimes, corporate misconduct and conspiracy.

Norcross and his associates “used their political influence to tailor New Jersey’s economic development legislation to their preferences,” the indictment states.

“The alleged conduct of Norcross Enterprise has caused significant harm to individuals, businesses, non-profit organizations, the people of the State of New Jersey, and in particular to the City of Camden and its residents. It stops today. We must never allow politics and government – ​​funded by taxpayer dollars – to be used as weapons against the people they serve. Today we reaffirm that no one in our state is above the law, period,” Platkin said in a statement.

The defendants are scheduled to be arraigned July 9 in Mercer County, New Jersey.

In remarks outside the court complex that includes Platkin’s office, Norcross demanded a trial in two weeks and called Platkin a coward. He said he asked himself, “Where’s the beef?”

The defendants are Norcross, 68, of Palm Beach, Florida; his brother Philip A. Norcross, 61, of Philadelphia, a New Jersey attorney; George Norcross’s longtime attorney, William M. Tambusi, 61, of Brigantine, New Jersey; Dana L. Redd, executive director of the Camden Community Partnership and former mayor of Camden, 56, of Sicklerville, New Jersey; Sidney R. Brown, 67, of Philadelphia, chief executive of trucking and logistics company NFI; and John J. O’Donnell, development company manager, 61, of Newtown, Pennsylvania.

A lawyer representing Philip Norcross called him a remarkable lawyer with an “unblemished reputation”. “The idea of ​​him being charged with crimes is just outrageous,” attorney Kevin Marino told The Associated Press.

Marino declined to respond to the specific allegations contained in the indictment.

Philip Norcross, the lawyer, and U.S. Representative Donald Norcross, are all George’s brothers. A message left for the congressman was not immediately returned.

Henry Klingeman, Redd’s attorney, said he was surprised by the charges.

“She didn’t do anything wrong,” Klingeman said. “What she has done is serve the Camden community in public and nonprofit roles for more than three decades. She has fully cooperated with the grand jury investigation for more than a year and is unaware of any evidence of wrongdoing by her or anyone else. She looks forward to fighting these false allegations in the courtroom in front of a judge and jury, so that she can regain her reputation which has now been tarnished by the unfair and unjustified action of the Attorney General.

Messages seeking comment were left with an attorney for Tambusi.

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