The Murphy administration’s task force scrutinizing New Jersey’s economic incentives is slated to have its third public hearing Tuesday morning.
The July 9 meeting – set for 10 a.m. at the Trenton War Memorial building – will include public comments, limited to five minutes.
A long-held criticism by subjects of the task force was that they were given no opportunity to present their case and respond to claims made against them. The last hearing was held two months ago, during which allegations were unearthed as to how politically connected parties “rigged” the program to unfairly benefit themselves.
In May, and in a report released last month, the task force presented allegations and evidence that businesses with close ties to South Jersey powerbroker George Norcross provided false claims about where they would move out of state, if they did not receive tax credits for a move to Camden.
In total upwards of $500 million of tax breaks could be clawed back and return to the state, according to the report.
Four of those businesses were Cooper University Health Care where Norcross is an executive, NFI, The Michaels Organization and insurance firm Conner Strong and Buckelew where George is a partner, according to the task force.
Kevin Sheehan, a lawyer at Parker McCay where George’s brother Philip is a partner, advised the four companies.
Sheehan, according to the report, wrote a myriad of provisions for the 2013 legislation establishing the now-expired Grow New Jersey tax breaks, as well as many different bonuses, which ended up directly benefiting several Parker McCay clients or businesses tied to George Norcross.
Those four companies are suing the Murphy administration and the task force to stop it from operating, though a judge ruled against the effort last month.
Cooper, in a letter issued Monday, disputed the allegations and said the task force was making “fundamental misstatements of the law” and casting “unwarranted aspersions.”
“The task force has implied falsely that Cooper acted improperly, based on a faulty interpretation of New Jersey law and without evidence to support those accusations,” reads the letter from Sean Patrick Murphy, general counsel at Cooper, which won a $40 million tax break for its decision to stay in Camden.