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Brigantine attorney among six indicted in Norcross Enterprise

  • Crime-Courts


A state political powerbroker had a front-row seat Monday to the public announcement of racketeering charges against him and five alleged co-conspirators.

George Norcross, 68, of Palm Beach, Fla., and his attorney attended the Attorney General's Office press conference on the outcome of a years-long investigation alleging the Norcross Enterprise used its power and influence over government officials to craft legislation tailored to serve their interests.

Norcross, his brother Philip Norcross and former Camden Mayor Dana Redd, are among those charged with first-degree racketeering and other second-degree crimes in the 111-page indictment unsealed Monday.

“On full display in this indictment is how a group of unelected, private businessmen used their power and influence to get government to aid their criminal enterprise and further its interests," Attorney General Matthew Platkin said. "The alleged conduct of the Norcross Enterprise has caused great harm to individuals, businesses, non-profits, the people of the state of New Jersey, and especially the city of Camden and its residents. That stops today. 

"We must never accept politics and government – that is funded with tax dollars – to be weaponized against the people it serves," he added. "Today we reaffirm that no one in our state is above the law – period.”

READ THE FULL INDICTMENT 

Among those indicted is Brigantine resident William Tambussi. 

The 66-year-old is Norcross' longtime attorney along with serving as serving as the Camden County Democratic Committee's attorney.

But Tambussi has another interesting local connection.

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Tambussi was one of two attorneys who represented former Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner against allegations by three female employees who claimed Tyner created a culture of sexism and fear when he took over as the county's top investigator.

At the time, word was that Norcross was instrumental in having his attorney assist Tyner's defense.

The case ended up settling for $1.5 million.

Also currently charged with Norcross are Sidney Brown, 67, of Philadelphia, CEO of the NFI trucking company, and John O'Donnell, 61, an executive at the residential development company Michaels Organization.

The indictment indicates there are unindicted — and unnamed — co-conspirators as well.

The Camden Waterfront was "the great hope" for the city's revitalization, Platkin said.

But instead, the Norcross group "manipulated government programs and processes designed to attract development and investment to instead suit their own financial desires."

Rather than contributing to Camden's success, the group took the waterfront for themselves "through a series of criminal acts," Platkin said.

"This is for our friends," he alleged Norcross said.

The alleged misdeeds date to as early as 2012.

Aided by then-Mayor Redd, "they co-opted the Camden City government to aid the Norcross Enterprise in obtaining property and property rights along the Camden Waterfront."

“Today’s indictment marks the culmination of a years-long, collaborative investigation, and I am grateful to the team handling this case for their dedication to seeking justice,” said Drew Skinner, executive director of the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability, who will oversee the prosecution. 

“Every day, we at the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability work with our law enforcement partners across the state to root out corruption and criminal activities that create distrust in government institutions and harm the communities we in law enforcement are sworn to serve and protect,” he added.

Norcross and his attorney, Michael Critchley, sat in the front row for the entire press conference.

Before Platkin and company took to the podium, a staffer explained to Norcross and Critchley that those seats were reserved.

Critchley was heard asking if there was anyone more fitting to sit there than the person facing the charges. The pair did not move.

But they also were not allowed to ask questions, with a staffer explaining that is was "a press conference" meant only for members of the press to ask questions, as is tradition.

Norcross' name was also mentioned recently by Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small when he held a press conferences in response to a raid at his home.

The mayor claimed Norcross told alleged there was a plan by Sen. Vincent Polistina to discredit Small.

The allegation was that Prosecutor William Reynolds — who later charged Small and his wife in alleged assaults on their teen daughter — was acting on Polistina’s behalf.


author

Lynda Cohen

BreakingAC founder who previously worked in newspapers for more than two decades. She is an NJPA award-winner and was a Stories of Atlantic City fellow.

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