TRENTON – After over two hours of testimony from Inspector General Mary Jane Cooper on the financial and communications problems that have plague the Meadowlands EnCap project, Senate Environment Committee Chair Bob Smith, presented five recommendations on how to move forward with the EnCap investigations.
“The Inspector General’s report on EnCap and subsequent testimony today leave no doubt in my mind that further action is appropriate in uncovering the full depth of the improprieties involved in this case,” said Senator Smith, D-Middlesex and Somerset. “There is clearly the appearance that EnCap and Cherokee Investment Partners sought to defraud the State and we need to completely investigate the project and determine if a crime has been committed.”
The five recommendations made by Senator Smith and agreed to by members of the Senate Environment Committee and Senate Legislative Oversight Committee are:
1. To request that the Attorney General undertake criminal investigations into any probable case of criminal wrongdoing by EnCap Golf Holdings and/or Cherokee Investment Partners in an attempt to commit fraud, theft by deception, conspiracy or any other crime.
2. To request that the Attorney General seek to recover the 1,300 acres in the Meadowlands given to EnCap for remediation and redevelopment, as well as civil damages for mismanagement of the property and to recover any monies inappropriately spent on the property.
3. To request that the Attorney General move to protect documentary evidence in the case that criminal charges are filed.
4. To request that the Department of Environmental Protection undertake an environmental audit of the EnCap property to determine whether the funds were spent properly and effectively in cleaning up the site.
5. To request the Offices of the State Comptroller to undertake a financial audit of all public and private entities involved in the project to ascertain that all of the funds were spent properly and effectively.