New Jersey Lawmakers Start Probe of Allegations Against Former Murphy Aide

(Bloomberg) -- Governor Phil Murphy is on a nine-day trade trip to Germany and Israel as fellow New Jersey Democrats set up a panel to investigate the handling of sexual-assault allegations leveled against a former campaign aide and administration appointee.

Murphy, a retired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. senior director and former U.S. ambassador to Germany, departed on Oct. 15 to tout New Jersey as a place to do business. He had scheduled the trip before media reports that a Murphy aide who was accused of rape, but not criminally charged, remained on the job after the administration reportedly had advised him to resign. At a news conference on Oct. 15, Murphy said it was “a big mistake” to hire Albert J. Alvarez to head the Schools Development Authority and asked former state Supreme Court Justice Peter Verniero to investigate. Alvarez resigned on Oct. 2.

Senate President Steve Sweeney, a Democrat from West Deptford, today announced that a six-member, bipartisan committee will examine state hiring practices and make “a full accounting” of the incident.

The attorney for Alvarez has said he did nothing wrong, according to media reports. His accuser, Katie Brennan, went public with her story in the Wall Street Journal on Oct. 14 after Politico and other media reported on her allegations last week. Brennan, chief of staff at the state Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, said prosecutors told her they lacked evidence for a conviction.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.