The statement below is by Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli Jr., Mayor Frank Moran, Camden Council President Curtis Jenkins and state Sen. Nilsa Cruz Perez calling for Ron Chen’s resignation.
“We call on Ronald K. Chen, chair of Task Force on EDA’s Tax Incentives, to resign effective immediately.
Governor Phil Murphy appointed Ron Chen, the former Dean of the Rutgers Law School in Newark, to be the sole member of the Task Force on EDA’s Tax Incentives. We fail to see how an employee of Rutgers University, which has directly and indirectly benefitted from more than $50 million in EDA tax incentives during his employment can provide the public any confidence that his review is objective and unbiased. We think the very idea is suspect at best and laughable at worst.
The fact that Professor Chen knows or should know he is conflicted and yet chooses to preside over the mock trials he and his New York lawyer convene is a blatant political exercise and disregard of ethics rules. To be specific, Professor Chen is violating the Rutgers University Code of Ethics including, but not limited to the provision that states that faculty “shall not knowingly act in any way that might reasonably be expected to create the impression or suspicion among the public having knowledge of [Professor Chen’s] acts that [Professor Chen] might be or may be engaged in conduct violative of [Professor Chen’s] trust as a University … faculty member.” Professor Chen’s conduct in relying on the advice of counsel who is not authorized to practice law in New Jersey and to use that advice to challenge the very program by which Rutgers received significant benefits at the very least creates a reasonable impression that his conduct is contrary to both New Jersey law and Rutgers’ interests. For this reason, we call for his resignation.
Camden is a city on the rise, and we will not be party to nor will we tolerate any efforts to turn back the hard-fought progress that has been made over the last several years. Specifically, we will not let the Governor’s hypocrisy, a task force with political DNA, a conflicted chair and his New York lawyer to hurt the businesses and residents of this great city.”