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Gov. Chris Christie. Photo by Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe

Murphy names Christie business partner to State Investment Council

James Hanson II is running a private investment firm with Christie aimed at opportunity zones, WSJ says

By David Wildstein, May 10 2019 4:51 pm

When did we become such a forgiving people?

Former Gov. Chris Christie’s new business partner, James Hanson II, was reappointed to a seat on the State Investment Council by Gov. Phil Murphy.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that Christie and Hanson have teamed up to form the Hampshire Christie Qualified Opportunity Fund LLC.  The fund is seeking to raise about $150 million to invest in opportunity zones that will allow them to take advantage of federal tax breaks in low-income areas.

The State Investment Council manages a $78 billion public employee pension fund – one of the largest in the nation.

Hanson and his father, Jon F. Hanson, a major Christie fundraiser, have formed the fund to focus on New Jersey and other northeastern states, according to the WSJ.  Christie and Hanson, whose Morristown officers are across the street for each other, already have a deal on four apartment complexes in Hackensack, the WSJ says.

In 2013, Hanson was the developer of the old Verizon site in Madison that became the corporate headquarters for Realogy Corporation, which owns Century 21, Coldwell Banker and other real estate companies.

Realogy received a $10.7 million tax incentive from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to retain 953 jobs in New Jersey.  Christie attended the groundbreaking.

The Murphy administration told the New Jersey Globe today that the selection of opportunity zone sites was done based on a data formula after Christie left office and that the former governor did not know which sites were under consideration.

Hanson had originally been named to the council by Christie.  Murphy reappointed him in March.   He is on the Senate Judiciary Committee agenda for Monday and his nomination appears to be moving at a record speed.

Two other Murphy picks for the council, private investment firm manager Deepak Raj and institutional investment advisor Ted Aronson, are also on Monday’s agenda.

The Senate had already confirmed two of Murphy’s appointees; three more – Leonard Carr of global investment manager PDT Partners, New America Alliance CEO Danielle Beyer, and real estate developer Wasie Boraie — are still awaiting Senate confirmation.

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