Will Bloomberg report impact Gov. Murphy’s nomination of Jaclyn Fulop to state board?
Jersey City First Lady Jaclyn Fulop has been nominated by Gov. Phil Murphy to be a member of the State Board of Physical Therapy Examiners, but a recent report by Bloomberg News might add controversy to the process.
David Kocieniewski’s bombshell report published this morning by Bloomberg News brought new light to questions surrounding the business dealings of Jaclyn Fulop, Mayor Steven Fulop’s wife, at the same time she’s been nominated by Gov. Phil Murphy to the State Board of Physical Therapy Examiners.
Specifically, the Bloomberg piece highlights potential conflicts of interest related to Jaclyn Fulop, as co-owner of Exchange Place Therapy Group (EPTG), leasing space from Mack-Cali in Weehawken – first brought to light by Real Jersey City during the Katyn Memorial controversy back in May 2018.
Jersey City Spokesperson Kimberly Wallace-Scalcione told Bloomberg that “to avoid even the appearance or perception of any conflict of interest, the mayor, in fact, has recused himself from any city negotiations or dealings with Mack-Cali requiring city approval,” and provided recusal letters that date back as far as June 2018 – which would be one month after Real Jersey City’s original report questioning the business relationship.
Furthermore, according to the report, Michael DeMarco, CEO of Mack-Cali, said his company “negotiated the leases with Jaclyn Fulop’s business partner and didn’t realize the mayor’s wife was involved.”
“She’s only a co-owner of the business,” DeMarco said in a recent interview, “so even if there had been some special deal, she would’ve only gotten half of it.” The report also notes that EPTG has since negotiated another lease with Mack-Cali for an Exchange Place space.
The Bloomberg report couldn’t have come at a less opportune time for the Fulops, given that Gov. Phil Murphy has nominated Jaclyn to the State Board of Physical Therapy Examiners – according to an agenda posted on the NJ Senate Judiciary website.
It remains to be seen whether the state senators on the committee will be raising questions surrounding the Bloomberg report. Regardless, leasing from Mack-Cali properties might not be the long-term future of EPTG.
According to public records obtained by Real Jersey City, Jaclyn and her business partner, Drew Nussbaum, closed on a $1,000,000 commercial space in Hoboken back in April. It’s not clear how or when they plan on utilizing the space at 133 Monroe Street – a property which includes residential condos that have been marketed by Chicpea.
Despite all that’s been written, without seeing financial records it’s impossible to know if any nefarious business activity occurred. As of now, the only thing that can be ascertained from all the reports covering Jaclyn Fulop is that she runs a profitable business.
Whether everything has been done “above board” remains to be seen, but DeMarco’s comments certainly didn’t quell speculation and should draw the attention of members of the NJ Senate Judiciary Committee before confirming Jaclyn Fulop’s nomination.
CORRECTION & UPDATE: Jaclyn Fulop was confirmed prior to publication of this article, read more here.