Powerbroker loses bid to reinstate lawsuit against governor

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A state appellate court on Monday rejected an influential political powerbroker's request to reinstate his lawsuit over Gov. Phil Murphy’s business tax credit task force.

Murphy, a Democrat, set up the task force in January 2019 to investigate alleged abuses at the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. The suit was soon brought by George Norcross, a southern Jersey Democratic fundraiser and business executive, and several business entities tied to him.

The plaintiffs had argued that the panel was illegal, wasn’t leading a “bona fide” investigation and unfairly targeted Norcross and the other firms. But a state Superior Court judge dismissed the lawsuit last summer.

In its ruling, the two-judge appellate panel noted that case records showed Murphy had “legitimate concerns" about a state entity’s administration of tax-incentive programs.

The governor’s office and a spokesman for Norcross did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.