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Chief Counsel to the Governor Matt Platkin

Cammarano: Platkin recusal limited in scope

By Nikita Biryukov, January 10 2019 1:54 pm

Pete Cammarano, Gov. Phil Murphy’s outgoing chief of staff, may have shed some light on why chief counsel Matt Platkin remained deeply involved in the handling of sexual assault allegations made against former Schools Development Authority Chief of Staff Al Alvarez by another administration official, Katie Brennan.

Platkin recused himself from the matter in March, shortly after Brennan told him Alvarez sexually assaulted her in April 2017, when they were both part of Murphy’s gubernatorial campaign.

That fact had raised numerous questions about why he continued to be involved in the administration’s handling of the matter.

Every witness the Special Committee on Oversight has named Platkin as having some sort of involvement in the handling of the allegations against Alvarez.

Cammarano on Thursday said Platkin’s recusal dealt specifically with an Equal Employment Opportunity complaint and not the entire Brennan issue.

It’s not clear what complaint Cammarano is referring to.

Platkin coordinated with former SDA chief Charles McKenna and Murphy campaign counsel Jonathan Berkon on the Alvarez issue, instructing the former to tell Alvarez to depart from government service in June.

On Tuesday, Berkon testified that he coordinated with Platkin to inform Brennan of the fact that Alvarez was told to leave the administration.

That departure wouldn’t come until October, months after Alvarez was told to start looking for work outside of government service.

Platkin has yet to appear before the select committee.

Cammarano’s appearance before the committee on Thursday was his second. He previously appeared before the panel in December, but his testimony was cut short after the committee reached its closing time for the day midway through his testimony.

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