NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Amid a long line of political controversies between State Senate President Steve Sweeney and Rutgers University, the New Jersey Senate confirmed the Governor Chris Christie’s appointment of William M. Tambussi to sit on the school’s Board of Governors.
Both Sweeney and Tambussi are close allies of George Norcross III, one of the state’s most powerful unelected political players.
Tambussi is a partner at Brown and Connery, LLP, a South Jersey law firm which has represented George Norcross, as well as Cooper Health Systems, where Norcross serves as the Chairman of the Board.
On August 19, the Senate voted to approve Tambussi’s appointment to the board, which is a combination of individuals appointed by the state’s Governor and others selected from amongst the 59-member Board of Trustees.
“Rutgers is a valuable resource for all the residents of New Jersey,” Tambussi said, adding that the Camden campus would be the focus of his service on the board.
“I think the Camden campus is a very integral part of that. My primary goal is to see the Camden campus is enhanced to its full extent.”
Governor Christie had nominated Tambussi to the Board of Governors, as part of a larger package of appointments, back in May 2013. Senator Sweeney blocked his nomination, along with several of Christie’s other nominees.
According to a 2008 PolitickerNJ report, Brown and Connery is considered one of New Jersey’s most powerful law firms.
A 2014 Financial Disclosure Statement shows that Tambussi is a partner for Lawland Associates, a Labor Attorney for the Vineland City Housing Authority, a Municipal Attorney for Chesilhurst Borough, and a Special Counsel Professional for Pennsauken Township.
Sweeney had argued against Governor Christie appointing New Brunswick resident Martin Perez to the Board of Governors. In his argument, Sweeney cited the new requirement of New Jersey state law to have at least one board member from Essex and Camden County.
However, the Superior Court in New Jersey ruled that Tambussi’s appointment satisfied the Camden County requirement.