Democratic Power Broker Hit With Racketeering Charges

Democratic Power Broker Hit With Racketeering Charges

( – New Jersey politics have garnered a lot of attention recently. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) is on trial for bribery and corruption charges. Now, the state attorney general has indicted a Democratic power broker on charges of racketeering.

On Monday, June 17, New Jersey Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announced an indictment against George Norcross III on charges that he unlawfully obtained property and property rights, influenced government officials, and collected millions of dollars in government-issued tax breaks. Prosecutors are accusing Norcross of running a “criminal enterprise” where he and his co-conspirators “took the Camden waterfront all for themselves.” To obtain the property, Platkin says Norcross bullied rival developers and made no bones about “threatening” them into backing out of property deals.

Norcross has a prominent history in New Jersey politics. He used to be a member of the Democratic National Committee but never won an elected office. Nevertheless, he maintained strong political ties and allegedly became the most powerful unelected official in the state. He made generous donations to political campaigns and had the power to direct a bloc of Southern New Jersey voters.

Throughout the years, Norcross also has butted heads with several politicians, including Governor Phil Murphy (D), particularly over the tax break program backed by former Governor Chris Christie (R).

Norcross attended the indictment announcement and later characterized it as a personal vendetta against him. He called Platkin a “politician masquerading as an attorney general.” Norcross’ attorney maintained his client was innocent and unafraid of facing the charges levied against him.

State authorities indicted several others alongside Norcross, including his brother Phillip Norcross, Dana Redd, William Tambussi, John O’Donnell, and Sidney Brown. All the defendants are facing multiple charges, including misconduct, coercion, financial facilitation, extortion, and racketeering. The last charge listed carries a 10- to 20-year sentence should the courts find suspects guilty.

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