More EDA audit fallout: Murphy names analytical task force

Gov. Phil Murphy announced a new task force to analyze the recent state comptroller’s audit that identified inefficiencies at the Economic Development Authority.

The five-member task force, which can be expanded at any time at the direction of the governor, will further explore where $11 billion in tax incentives went.

“The audit released earlier this month unfortunately validated my longstanding concerns that New Jersey’s tax incentive programs gave out billions of dollars in tax breaks but failed to deliver the promised economic benefits,” Murphy said.

“I am pleased that, under new leadership, the EDA is putting policies in place to ensure compliance with the terms of tax incentive awards, but taxpayers deserve a full explanation of how and why the massive shortcomings in performance existed.”

The task force will be chaired by Ronald Chen, former New Jersey public advocate and dean of Rutgers University School of Law-Newark.

The task force members include:

  • Ronald Chen served as dean and co-dean of the law school (and the predecessor School of Law-Newark) from 2013 to 2018. Chen was associated with the firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore until 1987, when he returned to the law school as a member of the faculty. From 2006 to 2010, Chen was on leave of absence from the law school while serving as the first public advocate of New Jersey in 13 years when the Department of the Public Advocate was restored in 2006.
  • Jim Walden worked for the U.S. Department of Justice for almost nine years, handling a wide array of complex investigations and trials, including many cases brought under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. In his almost 20-year career in private practice, Jim has handled a wide array of cases involving acts of governmental abuse, waste, and fraud. He has represented government agencies and elected officials in cases brought to expose and remediate governmental illegality.
  • Milton L. Williams was appointed in 2013 as co-chair of the Moreland Commission to investigate public corruption in New York, a position he served with distinction. Previously, after serving as both an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York and an assistant district attorney in Manhattan, he served as deputy general counsel and chief compliance officer at Time Inc. At Walden Macht & Haran, his practice focuses on corporate internal investigations and compliance/employment law advice.
  • Georgia K. Winston, a veteran litigator, has handled numerous complex “good government” cases and internal investigations. Her expertise includes complex tax cases. Before joining Walden Macht & Haran, she was a partner at an internationally renowned law firm.
  • Pablo Quiñones is the founder of Quiñones Law, a boutique law firm. He is the former executive director and a current senior fellow of the Program on Corporate Compliance and Enforcement at New York University School of Law. He has additionally served as an adjunct law professor on cyberlaw at Cornell Law School and represented companies and individuals in private practice. He previously served as the chief of strategy, policy and training and as a deputy chief of the Fraud Section at the U.S. Department of Justice and formerly served for eight years as an assistant U.S. attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.