🔴 George Norcross, ex-Camden mayor among defendants

🔴 Racketeering, retaliation among charges

🔴 Norcross recorded making threats, prosecutors say

TRENTON — Like a boss, Democratic power broker George Norcross sat defiantly in the front row on Monday as the state Attorney General’s Office outlined a blockbuster corruption case.

UPDATE: Are they scared to speak? What Democrats have said about the charges

Attorney General Matthew Platkin and his team said the charges were rooted in a years-long investigation involving a criminal enterprise run by the 68-year-old Norcross and at least five associates.

One of his brothers, 61-year-old Philip Norcross, of Philadelphia, and former Camden Mayor Dana Redd, now living in Sicklerville, are defendants facing counts that include first-degree racketeering, retaliation, concealing, intimidation and threatening.

The indictment says that the "Norcross enterprise" illegally sought and secured property rights along the Camden waterfront to collect hundreds of millions of dollars in state-backed tax credits.

NJOAG staff asking George Norcross to move (NJOAG via Youtube)
NJOAG staff asking George Norcross to move (NJOAG via Youtube)
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Media coordinators for the OAG tried unsuccessfully to get George Norcross and his attorney, Michael Critchley, to move from the front row of chairs at Monday's news conference.

Critchley then took issue with the team's advance instruction that questions would only be fielded from members of the press.

"Turns out that powerful people don’t like being held accountable," Platkin said at one point from the podium while outlining the case, directly in front of George Norcross.

Exhibit from Norcross indictment by the N.J. Attorney General's Office
Exhibit from Norcross indictment by the N.J. Attorney General's Office
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Norcross 'enterprise' defendants

George Norcross, for decades one of the most powerful unelected people in New Jersey government and politics, is presently a resident of Palm Beach, Florida, according to Platkin's team.

He is executive chairman of the insurance firm Conner, Strong & Buckelew and chairman of the board of trustees for Cooper Health.

A 111-page indictment describes Norcross and associates angling for certain property in Camden — freezing out at least one developer until they dropped their rights to land that would then reap a sizable fortune of millions of dollars in tax credits.

Among evidence in the case is recordings of Norcross allegedly threatening others as he worked to get the land rights he desired.

Exhibit from Norcross indictment by the N.J. Attorney General's Office
Exhibit from Norcross indictment by the N.J. Attorney General's Office
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Philip Norcross, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is an attorney and the managing shareholder and CEO of New Jersey law firm, Parker McCay.

The younger sibling Norcross also serves on the board of Cooper Health and is the registered agent for the groups that own buildings in Camden that are the subject of the criminal allegations.

Redd is the CEO of Camden Community Partnership, which was formerly Cooper’s Ferry Partnership. The 56-year-old previously served on the Camden City Council before becoming an elected state senator and the mayor of Camden from 2010 to 2018.

Redd is accused of using her held offices to benefit herself and the Norcross Enterprise.

Another defendant is 66-year-old William Tambussi, of Brigantine.

Tambussi is the long-time personal attorney to George Norcross, as partner at law firm Brown and Connery.

Since 1989, Tambussi has also served as counsel to the Camden County Democratic Committee, which George Norcross chaired from 1989 to 1995 and continued to influence to this day.

Tambussi has additionally worked as outside counsel for the City of Camden, the Camden Redevelopment Agency, Cooper Health and Conner Strong.

He also serves as a member of the Rutgers University Board of Governors, from which the Rutgers faculty union was calling for him to resign from on Monday afternoon.

Exhibit from Norcross indictment by the N.J. Attorney General's Office
Exhibit from Norcross indictment by the N.J. Attorney General's Office
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Another alleged Norcross associate is Sidney Brown, 67, also of Philadelphia, the CEO of trucking and logistics company, NFI.

He also serves as a member of the board at Cooper Health and is a partner in the groups that own several of the Camden buildings at the center of the case.

Exhibit from Norcross indictment by the N.J. Attorney General's Office
Exhibit from Norcross indictment by the N.J. Attorney General's Office
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The sixth and final defendant is John O’Donnell, 61, of Newtown, Pennsylvania, an executive with The Michaels Organization. He has separately served as the residential development company's chief operating officer, president and CEO.

O’Donnell is another partner in groups that own several Camden buildings at the center of the allegations. He has also served stints on the Board of Cooper’s Ferry Partnership, since 2018.

George Norcross stares down Attorney General Matthew Platkin during a news conference announcing RICO charges against him. (NJOAG via YouTube)
George Norcross stares down Attorney General Matthew Platkin during a news conference announcing RICO charges against him. (NJOAG via YouTube)
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'We will hold you accountable'

Beyond racketeering, the defendants were also charged with counts of financial facilitation, misconduct by a corporate official, official misconduct and conspiring to commit theft by extortion, criminal coercion, financial facilitation, misconduct by a corporate official and official misconduct.

Just days earlier, criminal charges were filed against two other Norcross associates who also serve as South Jersey Transportation Commissioners.

Both men, from Sewell, were accused Friday of blocking payments to an engineering firm whose executive refused to go along with a political request from Norcross, Politico reported.

“No matter how connected or powerful you are, if there is evidence suggesting that you have used your position and taxpayer dollars for political retribution or gain, we will hold you accountable,” Platkin said in a written release on the earlier case.

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