Last week the Huffington Post revealed another chapter of the still evolving Christie-Gate saga (now including economic development subsidies!). The New Jersey Governor’s mansion, used extensively by the Christie Administration for fundraisers and state business, is maintained by the Drumthwacket Foundation – a non-profit of modest means until the current administration. That is no longer the case, as Christina Wilke exposed last week. Donations to the Drumthwacket Foundation have skyrocketed in recent years, many of them made by businesses and individuals seeking economic development incentives, high profile appointments, and government contracts.
Chief among these donors are John Strangfeld, the chairman of insurance giant Prudential, and his wife, Mary Kay Strangfeld – now also chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the Drumthwacket Foundation. A year after the Strangfelds assumed leadership of the foundation, Prudential received a jaw-dropping $250 million tax subsidy deal from the state Economic Development Authority that didn’t even require the company to create any new jobs. (Prudential is massively subsidized in other states as well – see our new Subsidy Tracker 2.0 database for more information on awards to the company’s subsidiaries across the nation.)
Head on over to the Huffington Post for more details on the Strangfeld/Prudential deal and the rest of the story – it deserves to be read in its entirety.