CAMDEN – Progressive activists led by Working Families Executive Director Sue Altman and local leader Amir Khan this morning called for the resignation from the Cooper Hospital Board of Trustee George Norcross III.
Standing in front of the Sheridan Pavilion at 3 Cooper Plaza, Khan cited a ProPublica story about the so-called L3 deal and ongoing investigations by the FBI and AG’s Office into a corporate tax incentive program, which benefited Cooper and business interests close to Norcross.
“George and Phil Norcross used their political might to muscle out a nonprofit community development corporation from land on the waterfront,” said Altman, referring to the investigative piece. (A letter from the allied progressive groups calling for Norcross’ ouster can be found below).
Norcross serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Cooper Health System, Cooper University Hospital, and MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper.
Khan noted the citing of the press conference, and pointed out that the ProPublica article raised questions about the deaths of Joyce and John Sheridan, the chief executive officer of Cooper Hospital.
“What was most startling to me [about the story]? Probably the name right behind us,” said Khan, indicating the “Sheridan Pavilion.” “That article – we haven’t talked much about that – but it makes a person think.”
Cooper University Healthcare issued a lengthy rejoinder to the press conference, reprinted in its entirety
“We thank Susan Altman and the handful of her political allies who visited our campus today. We are always very excited about the opportunity to expose outsiders to the amazing renaissance underway in our city. We hope Ms. Altman and her allies will spend some time today in Camden to understand why we are so proud of the resurgence of this great city that we have called home for more than 130 years.
“As progressives, we assumed Ms. Altman and her allies had come to Camden today to thank Cooper and its Board Chairman George Norcross for the being the statewide leader in establishing the new minimum living wage. In January, Cooper led the charge by moving its minimum wage to $15 per hour plus benefits. As one of the largest employers in the state, Cooper is proud to have made this move, which prompted many other companies to follow. Cooper is also very proud of the fact that nearly 10% of its workforce lives in Camden and that it works with other not for profit organizations and the County to train city residents for employment in the medical profession.
“Since today’s political press event sought to call attention to a few of our volunteer board members, Cooper would like to take the opportunity to thank all of our board members for their years of
dedicated service. In particular, our board chairman, George Norcross, who has served on our board with distinction since 1990. Mr. Norcross was born in Camden, started his business in Camden, and recently relocated his firm’s national headquarters to Camden. In addition to donating hundreds of
hours per year of his time, Mr. Norcross has donated millions of dollars to The Cooper Foundation and raised tens of millions of dollars more. Mr. Norcross’s leadership and unwavering commitment to
Camden has sparked the City’s revitalization and improvements to public safety and schools that moved
President Obama to recently call Camden a ‘symbol of promise for our nation.’
“Mr. Norcross also spearheaded the establishment of the Camden City Community Grant Program
supported by The Norcross Foundation, The Michaels Organization, NFI, and The Cooper Foundation.
The $1 million grant program will support Camden based, non-profit community organizations over the
next five years that are committed to making Camden a healthier place to live, work, learn and play.
Additionally, under Mr. Norcross’s leadership on the Board, Cooper has been transformed into the
leading academic health system in the region resulting in Cooper being in the strongest clinical and
financial position in its history.
“Cooper is proud to serve all of Southern New Jersey 24 hours a day, seven days per week as the region’s
only Level 1 trauma center. Cooper’s service to the community further includes our Emergency Medical
Services Program which has been held up as a national model for efficiency and service since it began in
“Former New Jersey governors representing both parties for the past five decades have praised Mr.
Norcross’ leadership in the revitalization of Camden. Furthermore, Mr. Norcross has been nominated for
numerous awards to honor his contributions to the community, including the 2018 Business Leader of
the Year by the LeBow College of Business at Drexel University for his successes as a business and
community leader. In 2015, United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey awarded
Norcross and his family the Haas Regional Champion Medal for their commitment to the United Way’s
mission and embodying the entrepreneurial spirit of the legendary philanthropist, John Haas. In 2013,
Norcross was honored by the New Jersey March of Dimes at the organization’s Born to Shine Gala and
has been honored by Chabad Lubavitch, awarded the Annual Champion of Children Award by the
Camden Children’s Garden and the Tree of Life Award from the Jewish National Fund for his
philanthropic and community leadership.”
Today’s press conference occurred on the same week that members of the Working Families Alliance and South Jersey Progressive Democrats went to the public portion of the state Economic Development Authority (EDA) meeting to grill the board about the details of the deep-dive WNYC ProPublica story.
The EDA furnished state tax incentives that benefited the business interests of the Norcross Brothers in Camden.
“The [piece] gave us a lot more questions than answers,” said Altman, who wanted to know about a public bidding process for Camden property acquired as a consequence of EDA tax credits.
If not, why not, she asked.Cooper Letter FINAL Oct 10