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Senator Vin Gopal (D-11) of Monmouth County said the state troopers’ removal from a select committee hearing room of Working Families Executive Director Sue Altman in Trenton earlier this week properly warrants an investigation.
“It was disappointing how it was handled,” Gopal told InsiderNJ. “It was disappointing to see that somebody was removed in the manner she was removed. I’m glad the attorney general is investigating it. Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said he was going to investigate the matter and I think that’s a good thing.
“There are questions about how she was removed,” Gopal added. “It’s obviously troubling to any elected official, no matter what their issues. I’m very happy the AG is investigating the issue.”
The state troopers on Monday removed the Working Families Alliance State Director from a hearing in which South Jersey Power Broker George Norcross was scheduled to testify.
“I want that entire back line of people removed,” Select Committee Chairman Bob Smith (D-17) told state police.
The troopers proceeded to escort people in that area from the meeting room. When police attempted to get Altman – who was not against the back wall – to leave, she refused to go and moments later, they physically removed her.
A critic of the South Jersey boss, Altman was present to listen to Norcross’ testimony to the state committee on the subject of tax incentives, a program currently under investigation by the F.B.I. and the state attorney general’s office. Businesses connected to Norcross received over a billion dollars in incentives as a consequence of the New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act of 2013.
“Today’s hearing is a spectacle, pure theatre,” Altman told InsiderNJ columnist Jay Lassiter this morning. “Team Norcross has bent over backwards to curate the ideal Trenton experience for him; from recruiting cheerleaders to attend via the Camden County Democratic Committee, to assembling a committee made of his direct financial beneficiaries, mostly beholden to his childhood friend, Senate President Sweeney.”
A frontline, Camden-based activist who called for a criminal investigation into the Norcross brothers’ over the EDA scandal, Altman has also routinely squabbled on twitter with Norcross’ chief retainer, Steve Ayscue. In September, Altman condemned Ayscue’s tweet to her of the falling man on the 18th anniversary of 911 as menacing and threatening, and wanted NJTV to discontinue using him as a pundit.
Unlike Gopal, Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) blamed Altman for the arrest.
“I’m disappointed the way it happened. But she’d planned to be arrested, she even said that,” Sweeney told reporters at the New Jersey State League of Municipalities convention, according to Politico. “She got the attention she wanted.”