A team of top lawyers representing George Norcross’ insurance company and the health care system he chairs is demanding a chance to submit a public presentation to the Task Force investigating tax incentives approved by the Economic Development Agency and say that chairman Ron Chen ‘lacks statutory authority” over the agency.
“The arbitrary restrictions you imposed on our clients’ rights to represent to false accusations against them denies each of then the opportunity to exercise their First Amendment rights as well as their right to publicly confront accusers within the same public forum,” write lawyers representing Connor, Strong & Buckalew, Cooper University Health Care, and Parker McCay, a South Jersey law firm.
The lawyers – Christopher Porrino, Michael Critchley, Sr., Herbert Stern, William Tambussi, Michael Chertoff and Kevin Marino — claim that the “process has been tainted from the outset.”
“Professor Chen cryptically but nonetheless specifically referred to ‘entities of concern’ It is plain that he has targeted our clients but has refused to disclose anything further about this dubious designation,” the lawyers wrote.
The attorneys contest that Gov. Phil Murphy’s March letter delegating investigatory power is invalid, saying his power does not extend to independent authorities like the EDA.
“The Task Force’s application of public monies to fund its investigation demands that the accused be afforded an opportunity to respond fully to allegations made against them,” the attorneys wrote.
Critchley has challenged the eligibility of the task force’s counsel, James Walden, to practice law in New Jersey. Walden has issued document subpoenas.
“Statements such as these, coupled with the manner of the questioning of witnesses at the May 2, 2019 hearing, suggests you are operating under explicit instructions to develop ‘adverse facts’ against particular individuals and entities, including our clients,” the attorney letter said. “This one-sided investigation smacks of political retribution and undermines the credibility of your exercise. We reserve all rights to seek full remedies to the extent any of these false and defamatory accusations were directed at our clients”
The task force should not limit participation based on their anticipated speech, the lawyers said.Attorney Letter to Walden