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Former New Jersey Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development Thomas D. Carver. (Photo: O'Brien Funeral Home).

Tom Carver, ex-Labor Commisioner, dies at 86

Former reporter worked at Port Authority, led N.J. Casino Association

By David Wildstein, January 14 2023 2:36 pm

Thomas D. Carver, a onetime reporter for The (Bergen) Record who became New Jersey Commissioner of Labor under Gov. Richard J. Codey, died on January 10.  He was 86.

Carver joined The Record in 1960, covering local news in Bergen County.  He left the newspaper in 1962 to take a job as a community program assistant at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and attended law school at New York University at night.

He spent nearly 23 years at the Port Authority and was assistant general manager of Newark Liberty International Airport when he left the agency.

Carver became the president of the Casino Association of New Jersey in 1984.  The group, which served as the lobbying arm of the legalized gambling industry, was comprised of all ten operating casinos in Atlantic City.

He left the association in 1994 to form The Carver Group, a business consulting firm, and later was a partner at The Castle Group, the lobbying arm of a North Jersey law firm.   He also served as president of the New Jersey Aviation Association.

Codey and Carver were longtime friends and was nominated for Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development less than two weeks after Codey became governor.  He succeeded Kevin McCabe, now the Middlesex County Democratic Chairman.

Carver left the cabinet after less than a year when Codey named him executive director of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) in 2005 to replace Curtis Bashaw.

When a Casino Control Commission Chair Linda Kassekert balked at the appointment of Carver, Codey removed her from the CRDA board and replaced her with another commissioner, Michael Fedorko.

In early 2011, Carver resigned his CRDA post after Republican Gov. Chris Christie made it clear that he wanted Democratic holdovers on the authority’s board to resign.

A Bergen County native, Carver is survived by his wife of 60 years, Sheila, his two children and five grandchildren.

Visitation will be held on January 16 from 3-7 PM at the O’Brien Funeral Home in Wall.  A funeral mass is scheduled for 10:30 AM on January 16 at St. Catherine’s Church in Spring Lake.

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