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Gov. Phil Murphy. Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe

Murphy may seek EDA board members’ resignations

By Nikita Biryukov, January 09 2019 2:33 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy would not rule out seeking the resignations of Economic Development Authority board members appointed by previous governors after an audit by the state comptroller found the authority improperly awarded millions of dollars in incentives.

“We just got this ourselves. As I mentioned, all options are on the table,” Murphy said when asked Wednesday if he would seek resignations from the authorities appointed leaders.

It’s not clear exactly how much mismanagement at the authority will end up costing the state. The comptroller’s audit found $179 million in improperly awarded incentives, $6.6 million in overpaid incentives and $5.2 million worth of incentives that will be overpaid unless corrected.

The five incentive programs examined in the audit are responsible for almost $11 billion dollars in funds. The vast majority of those funds have not yet been disbursed, and it’s unclear what portion of the $11 billion was improperly meted out.

The audit examined 42 of the 401 certified projects cleared by the EDA and six other projects the authority provided as examples of the programs.

It’s not clear what Murphy intends to do quite yet, and the governor repeatedly said during the press conference Wednesday that his office had so far had little time to review the results of the audit. He said there would be consequences, though he said it was too early to elaborate on the nature of those consequences.

“I would leave all options on the table. It’s too early to tell, but you should assume if you took taxpayers’ money and you did not hold up your end of the bargain, that will have consequences, period,” Murphy said. “I don’t know what they are yet, but there will.”

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