In his appearance this morning before Assignment Judge Mary Jacobson, veteran attorney Mike Critchley went off on the task force formed by Governor Phil Murphy to examine NJEDA tax incentive programs.
Critchley denounced a force that did not have trial-like rights but nonetheless employed a trial-like setting.
“Everyone is under investigation,” he said referring to the designs of the task force, which submitted a criminal referral implicating the law firm of the brother of his client, South Jersey Power Broker George Norcross III.
“That’s not what the legislature intended,” Critchley said. “It intended to explain, enlarge, and to clarify. They took that away from us. They say all Norcross wants to do is stop an investigation. That’s absurd. What we don’t have a lack of in New Jersey is investigative agencies.”
Attorney Herbert Stern narrowed the discussion to the judge’s consideration of New Jersey Statute 52:15-7, which states that the governor “is authorized at any time, either in person or by one or more persons appointed by him for the purpose, to examine and investigate the management by any State officer of the affairs of any department, board, bureau or commission of the State and to examine and investigate the management and affairs of any department, board, bureau or commission of the State.”
A few moments later, Governor Phil Murphy’s attorney Ted Wells told Jacobson that 52:15-7 clearly did not authorize the task force to send out subpoenas.
But Governor Murphy wrote a letter to Ronald Chen and designated him with the power to operate under 52:15-7, Wells noted.