George Norcross indicted, charged with racketeering

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South Jersey’s influential power broker, George Norcross, his brother Philip Norcross, former Camden Mayor Dana Redd and three others from the Democratic machinery have been charged with racketeering and using political clout to buy waterfront properties in Camden.

New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin alleged that Norcross and his co-defendants used “power and influence over government officials to craft legislation tailored to serve the interests of the Norcross enterprise.” The charges stemmed from a scheme, Platkin said, that dates back at least 12 years.

Norcross, former National Democratic Committee member and former head of the Camden County Democratic Party, sat on the front row dressed in a navy suit and red tie and listened as Platkin announced the charges during a Monday afternoon press conference.

“With the cooperation of former mayor of Camden, Dana Redd, they co-opted the Camden city government to aid the Norcross enterprise in obtaining property and property rights along the Camden waterfront through coercion, extortion and other criminal acts,” Platkin added.

The 111-page indictment, unsealed Monday, accuses Norcross of leading a criminal enterprise, shoring up millions in tax credits and buying up waterfront properties. Norcross allegedly intervened when a nonprofit sought to buy the former Camden Aerospace Center, also known as the L3 complex, near the Camden waterfront.

Officials allege that before Norcross became aware of that transaction, the Camden mayor’s office directed the organization’s leaders to meet regularly with Philip Norcross, Norcross’ brother, and then update the “Norcross enterprise” of its progress in the deal “or else face repercussions.”

Instead of choosing its own developer and reaping the expected millions from the transaction, and then sharing the future profits of its ownership, the nonprofit went with the developer Norcross selected and received about $125,000.

“The developer chosen by the Norcross enterprise, on the other hand, was able to obtain the L3 complex at a discounted price only available to the nonprofit,” Platkin said, adding that Cooper Health, where George Norcross is the executive chairman of the board of trustees, gained ownership interest in the L3 complex and subsequently moved in. The indictment alleges that Cooper Health collected more than $27 million in state tax credits from 2016 to 2022 through legislation that Norcross influenced.

Norcross is also accused of forcing a private developer to relinquish property rights to build the tallest building on the Camden waterfront, the Triad1828 Centre, and 11 Cooper, an apartment building.

“When the developer would not initially relinquish his rights on terms preferred by the Norcross enterprise, George Norcross threatened the developer that he wouldn’t substance and in part, ‘eff you up, like you’ve never been effed up before,” Platkin said, ”and he told the victim developer that he would make sure that the developer would never do business in Camden again.”

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