The task force investigating tax incentives granted by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority needs to do a better job vetting whistleblowers, several elected officials and community leaders said today.
The call comes days after Kellie-Ann Murray testified that her former employer, World Business Lenders, had improprieties on their tax credits application. The task force declined a request by the company to rebut Murray’s statement.
“Hudson County residents immeasurably benefitted when World Business Lenders moved its headquarters from New York to Jersey City three years ago,” said Hudson County Clerk E. Junior Maldonado. “Three-quarters of WBL’s employees are New Jersey residents and many of them have been able to take advantage of WBL’s extensive training program to advance their careers.
Maldonado, a former Jersey City councilman, said that he backs efforts to enhance controls over potential abuse, the task force needs to ensure “that companies that play by the rules and create jobs are not unfairly tarnished in the process.”
“Communities of color have traditionally had difficulty accessing capital. World Business Lenders identified this need and partnered with us to ensure that those who wanted to create or grow their businesses here in New Jersey could be afforded the opportunity to do it,” said Carlos Medina, president and CEO of the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey. “In the short time that they have called New Jersey home, they have already helped so many members of our community achieve their dreams.”
Medina called WBL “the definition of a good corporate citizen that plays by the rules.”
“ Allowing a company like this to be maligned without any basis in fact creates a chilling effect for others who want to relocate here to help grow New Jersey’s economy,” Medina said.
Similar statements of support came from Luis De La Hoz, chairman of the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey, and Bishop Joshua Rodriguez of the Cityline Church in Jersey City.