State Task Force Investigates Millions of Dollars in Questionable Tax Breaks by Interim Ocean County GOP Chairman’s Insurance Firm

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TOMS RIVER-A task force has been investigating tax incentives given to companies owned by powerful New Jersey Democrat boss George Norcross.  The State of New Jersey claims Norcross and his companies benefited illegally from hundreds of millions of dollars in tax incentives to relocate jobs to Camden.

“George Norcross, the powerful South Jersey Democratic power broker, is executive chairman of one of the companies, Conner Strong & Buckelew, and chairman of the nonprofit, Cooper Health System. The other two companies, NFI Industries and The Michaels Organization, have partnered with Conner Strong, an insurance brokerage, to build a new headquarters they will share in Camden with the help of $245 million in tax incentives,” an article in Politico said.

George Buckelew, the current acting chairman of the Ocean County GOP is also the chairman of Conner Strong & Buckelew.

Buckelew’s firm, according to the state claimed hundreds of jobs were at risk of being moved to Pennsylvania unless they were awarded tax credits to keep the jobs in New Jersey.

The New Jersey EDA questions the firm’s intent.

“A lengthy investigation by WNYC and ProPublica published Wednesday found that of the $1.6 billion of incentives awarded to Camden, George Norcross and his associates were tied to about $1.1 billion of them,” Politico reported.

Norcross said the accusations are nothing more than a political attack against him by Governor Phil Murphy.

“We are deeply appalled by Governor Phil Murphy, his administration and the blatantly political leaning task force established by him, for the relentless, unfounded and disingenuous attacks on the businesses making generational investments,” Norcross said in an email.

The tax credit program in New Jersey was drafted by Norcross’ brother Philip Norcross, according to the state.

In response to the Murphy administration’s investigation into the firm owned by Norcross and Buckelew, Norcross threatened the Governor with a Democratic primary challenge in 2021, calling the Governor a politically incompetent liar.

“I don’t think George Norcross is gonna have to offer any kind of advocacy for an opposition to the governor because from conversations that I’ve had from political leaders and legislative leaders, and other county governmental leaders, this governor has very little political support,” Norcross said, speaking in the third person in an report. “I’ve never seen a governor of either party who is so despised by individuals in their own party.”

Of the $1.6 billion in tax breaks awarded to businesses who made investments into Camden, the state claims $1.1 billion went to firms owned by Norcross, including Connor, Strong & Buckelew.


You can read the full story here.