New Jersey – -(AmmoLand.com)- Over the last year I’ve covered several stories that highlight and outline the incredibly close ties the anti-freedom, gun-grabbing groups have with New Jersey’s Governor Phil Murphy’s office.
When you talk about a swamp, things don’t get much swampier than the situation in New Jersey.
In an Open Public Records Act (W171220) obtained by AmmoLand News (embedded in full below), there is some pretty compelling information in there.
First, as the title suggests, there was information that NJ’s former “Gun Czar”, William “Bill” Castner did not quite like the feel of in a press release. The email exchange occurred between Kevin A. Quinn, the Board Chairmen of Brady (AKA Handgun Control Inc), and Castner on April 23, 2019. Quinn was running past Castner his draft and apparently, it was not 100% acceptable, asking for some changes. For your review, find included both versions Quinn wrote, and the published version, so you can decide if “they” are trying to hide anything:
Brady has established crime guns initiatives in three major US cities: Los Angeles, Oakland/Stockton and Milwaukee. In each of initiatives, Brady partners with city officials, local law enforcement and community activists: to educate communities on the social and economic injustice of trafficked crime guns; to identify the sources of crime guns; and to reform or shootdown “bad apple” dealers through potential litigation or enforcement actions. Brady brings its institutional knowledge; its programmatic experience; and its long history of gun industry litigation to these impacted communities. In New Jersey, Brady will leverage of its deep experience to work with the mayors, city officials and municipal police departments of the 5 largest New Jersey cities which comprise the fact majority of gun crime and gun homicides in the state. these cities includes: Newark, Camden, Paterson, Jersey City and Trenton.
What did Castner say?
Looks good Kevin. I’m wondering right now if we can delete “5” and simply state major cities, and delete singling out cities at the end. Back and forth today with the front office staff about whether we should expand so as to not exclude other cities.
Was this about excluding other cities? Or about not so blatantly including the worst cities in the state? Kevin had no issues whipping up something new, this is the draft Quinn sent back:
Brady has established crime guns initiatives in three major US cities: Los Angeles, Oakland/Stockton and Milwaukee. In each of initiatives, Brady partners with city officials, local law enforcement and community activists: to educate communities on the social and economic injustice of trafficked crime guns; to identify the sources of crime guns; and to reform or shutdown “bad apple” dealers through potential litigation or enforcement actions. Brady brings its institutional knowledge; its programmatic experience; and its long history of gun industry litigation to these impacted communities. In New Jersey, Brady will leverage of its deep experience to work with the mayors, city officials and municipal police departments of major New Jersey cities which comprise the vast majority of gun crime and gun homicides in the state.
Okay, so they excluded the city names and made a few tweaks here and there. I would have added in the country to the end of the statement, but I digress. Where did that statement end up? A press release talking about the Brady partnership and the newly launched (at that time) Rutgers “Gun Violence Research Center” dated April 29, 2019. Almost a week after the start of the talks, similar verbiage popped up:
Brady has established crime gun initiatives in three major cities across the U.S.: Los Angeles, Oakland/Stockton, and Milwaukee. In each city, Brady partners with local officials, law enforcement, and community activists to:
- Educate communities on the social and economic injustice of trafficked crime guns;
- Identify the sources of crime guns; and
- Reform or shut down gun dealers violating the law through potential litigation or enforcement actions.
Brady brings its institutional knowledge, programmatic experience, and its long history of gun industry litigation to these impacted communities. In New Jersey, Brady will leverage its deep experience to work with mayors, city officials, and municipal police departments across the state. The program will be run out of the New Jersey Center on Gun Violence Research at Rutgers, which is only the second center in the country to conduct multifaceted research on the causes, consequences, and solutions to gun violence.
Last year, New Jersey became the first state to publicly release firearms trafficking data, pledging to release the information on a monthly and quarterly basis. That data, which shows where crime guns originate, will help guide and inform the partnership in a new and innovative fashion. The state has also passed a number of significant gun safety laws in recent years, including a package of bills to implement extreme risk orders and expand background checks on private sales.
More information about the new initiative will be made available in the coming weeks.
They very conveniently left out mention of any crime-ridden New Jersey Cities or how Camden was once the murder capital of the United States. Having to dive deep into those cities, the failures of policy, the failures of leadership, etc. does not really have to occur. Camden, Newark, and Trenton are synonymous with violent crime to most everyone in the country. At least those who watch the crime statistics.
What else interesting happened from the date of the first draft of the email to the rollout of the press release? Looking at another press release dated April 26, 2019, we can learn the following:
Governor Phil Murphy today appointed Kevin Quinn as Chairman of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA). Quinn will be integral to implementing the Governor’s plans for reformed state tax incentive programs focused on growing New Jersey’s communities and investing in residents.
Cronyism much? I personally find it to be a gross conflict of interest to have a board member of Brady working for the government while at the same time feeding the same ammunition to be used against the civil rights of the citizens. I further find this marriage to be suspect, especially in light of other “gun control” groups applauding the Murphy administration for enacting operation choke-point-like tactics, which I covered last week: Gun Control Group Applauds NJ Gov’s Office, For ‘Operation ChokePoint’ Style Actions. In that light, there certainly needs to be someone that is concerned that a man who is aligned with a group that wishes to disarm the population, Brady, has anything to do with finances in the state. The press release also gives us a little more info on Quinn:
Quinn is the founder of Genki Advisory, an advisory and investment firm focused on early stage companies. With a portfolio of over 30 companies, Genki Advisory has invested across the tech, consumer and health care sectors.
For over 20 years, Quinn was employed at Goldman, Sachs & Co., where he worked with high tech companies in the firm’s investment banking division. Kevin served in a number of senior roles in Goldman Sachs’s New York, San Francisco, and Tokyo offices. In 2012, he retired as a Partner and Co-Head of the Global Technology Banking business. Prior to his time at Goldman Sachs, Kevin worked as a consultant at Bain & Co. in its Boston office.
Looking through the OPRA, it’s hardly anything to mention that Quinn’s email address was blacked out. In these events, usually, that’s because it’s a personal account. Everyone else listed with an @brady email address had their full addresses displayed. The only identifying information in the emails was an address in Quinn’s footer: 1 Park Pl, Short Hills, NJ. Which happens to be the address of record for Quinn’s company Genki Advisory. What exactly Genki does, would be nice to know, however, there is no information on the company online. A Buzzfile report states an annual revenue of over $200,000.00. From Quinn’s history, we also learn he too, like Murphy, worked for Goldman Sachs.
More mystifying than Quinn’s connection with New Jersey is perhaps William “Bill” Castner’s. Castner was appointed the “Senior Advisor to The Governor on Firearms”. From a press release we know that this task Castner performed for free. According to available information, Castner held this position from May 7, 2018, until January 2020. At that time, when Castner left the position with the state, per the ROI-NJ article the following was stated:
Castner, who lives in South Jersey, said he was eager to return to private practice.
What duties Castner actually performed in his role as Murphy’s Senior Advisor on Firearms is not really known or understood. Outside of quotes and press items, it’s hard to tell what he actually did. Based on his convictions from the press release announcing him taking on the role, we can only wonder:
“Governor Murphy in a very short period of time has already emerged as a national leader in our fight against gun violence,” said Bill Castner. “Despite complete inaction in Washington, New Jersey will lead the way in taking on the gun industry with aggressive, innovative and impactful ways to combat gun violence.”
“…taking on the gun industry” sounds very akin to exactly what is going on now; the Smith and Wesson lawsuit(s), the New Jersey AG going after the mom and pop gun dealers in Florida, and the Rutgers Center that is studying so-called gun violence.
If Castner was ever issued a New Jersey email address, he did not use it. In most of the OPRAs his email address was blacked out completely, however, if you look into some of the other OPRAs (W160618) that AmmoLand News has obtained, you can find it. The domain used is @castnerlaw.us. It’s rather convenient for Castner’s communications to be veiled behind his own private email address. Because of this, what I’m going to call a tactic, we’re unable to get a larger picture of what Castner was up to while leading the charge against civil rights in New Jersey. Is this why Castner’s poistion was unpaid? So that he could veil most of his communications? We don’t really know. One would think that any government position, paid or not, appointed or elected, would have a New Jersey email address. Especially any “Senior Advisors”.
Castner’s “arraignments” were called into question when he accepted the position from Murphy. From a NJ.com article dated January 30, 2019, entitled “How ex-Horizon exec kept ties to company AND became Phil Murphy’s gun guru” some potential ethical issues were brought up:
In May, Bill Castner walked away from a $1.4 million senior executive job at Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, the state’s largest insurance carrier, to advise Gov. Phil Murphy on gun control issues.
What he may have lost in salary, Castner may have gained in clout.
Castner has agreed to act as a consultant to Horizon — a state-regulated company — while at the same time having the ear of the Democratic governor.
It’s an arrangement that some ethicists say should be watched to safeguard against potential conflicts of interest. That’s because Castner is a high-level consultant working with both the government and one of the most important companies in New Jersey — a company the state negotiates with and regulates.
Mark Holmes, the head of the state Ethics Commission, said private contractors are not subject to the same conflict of interest rules that state employees must follow. But there are rules for contractors the state Department of Treasury enforces, Holmes said.
Add the private medical insurance industry to where else Castner had his fingers in. I have to side with the ethicists who are right to say the arrangement should have been watched. At this juncture, anyone working with Murphy should be watched. From the same article we find out when Castner created his own “business” (which there is, like Quinn’s situation, no webpage for that can be found):
Castner, an attorney, formed a professional corporation, Castner Law, PC on April 26, according to state records. Murphy announced Castner’s appointment less than two weeks later, on May 7.
That @castnerlaw.us email handle is looking more and more questionable given the information we’re able to take in.
When bringing up New Jersey, corruption almost goes hand and hand with the name of the state. There are “peas and carrots”. There is “Forrest and Jenny”. And there is “New Jersey and corruption”. I’m certainly not saying there is anything foul that is going on or occurred. I do however think it would be rather naïve to not find all these connections suspect. Connect the dots. Rather swampy. What do you think?
The Gubernatorial Election is coming up this November. How many people really know the depths of questionable relationships that Murphy has? Spread the word.
W171220 NJ OPRA Request Seeking Specific Communications by Mahen Gunaratna Attachment 1 for W171220 Redacted
John Petrolino is a US Merchant Marine Officer, writer, author of Decoding Firearms: An Easy to Read Guide on General Gun Safety & Use and NRA certified pistol, rifle, and shotgun instructor living under and working to change New Jersey’s draconian and unconstitutional gun laws. You can find him on the web at www.johnpetrolino.com on twitter at @johnpetrolino and on instagram @jpetrolinoiii .