NJ Whistleblower Case Shows Christie Pressure for Tax Breaks

WNYC | March 22, 2019 | Budget
The suit provides a window into a program that Gov. Murphy has called ‘an $11 billion black hole’

Credit: Governor's Office/Tim Larsen
Former Gov. Chris Christie
The former head of New Jersey’s controversial tax-break program says Gov. Chris Christie’s administration pressured officials to overlook rules and regulations in the rush to approve billions of dollars in new subsidies.

John J. Rosenfeld, former director of incentives at the state Economic Development Authority, says the pressure to churn out tax credits came mostly from the governor’s Business Action Center, a statewide office led by then-Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who later ran to succeed Christie.

“I will tell you that early on I think the members of the Business Action Center wanted to take me out back and, you know, physically harm me,” Rosenfeld said in a sworn deposition in a little-noticed whistle-blower lawsuit filed by an EDA staffer.

The suit provides a window into a program that Gov. Murphy has criticized as “an $11 billion black hole” created by backroom political deals. State auditors say the program is so deficient that it is impossible to verify if companies that got subsidies met the overarching goal to create new jobs.

This story was reported with support from the McGraw Fellowship for Business Journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, City University of New York.

Read the full story on WNYC News, a content partner of NJ Spotlight.