New Jersey’s Comptroller is taking on South Jersey powerbroker George Norcross.
Comptroller Matthew Boxer’s audit of the Delaware River Port Authority says Norcross’ insurance firm received $455,000 in “referral fees” for sending DRPA work to another firm.
Norcross maintains that the payment had nothing to do with the DRPA. He told Boxer’s investigators that it was payment for other marketing and referral work with the second firm.
Boxer says interviews and paperwork indicate otherwise.
“We took a look at the payment statements that accompany these payments, that reference the DRPA specifically, and even broke the payments down in terms of what specific insurance policies they emanated from,” said Boxer.
Boxer says the payments to the insurance firms are just one example of lax oversight at the DRPA, which runs toll bridges connecting Pennsylvania and South Jersey as well as the PATCO high speed line. Just last year raised tolls on DRPA bridges went up to $5 per car.
“I wouldn’t want anyone to read our report and conclude that the tolls to get over the bridge would still be two dollars if they hadn’t spent $700,000 on a community giving program for example,” said Boxer. “But at a minimum there could have been delays in those increases.”
Boxer gives the DRPA high marks for already adopting many reforms to address these issues. Others are in the works.
This disclosure, WHYY has received funds from the DRPA.