N.J. Governor-to-be Codey Severs Ties to Insurance Agency to Avoid Any Possible Conflict of Interest

A retired federal judge will oversee state Senate President Richard J. Codey’s insurance agency during the Essex County Democrat’s tenure as acting governor.

Codey signed a blind trust agreement on Oct. 14 that names Nicholas H. Politan sole trustee of the Olympic Agency Inc., giving Politan the authority to act as chairman of the board and the power to sell, merge or consolidate the company.

Codey announced this week that he had severed ties to his insurance business and had asked the state Department of Banking and Insurance to suspend his insurance license.

“Even though these actions are not required under law because I’m governed by the Legislative Code of Ethics, I’ve removed myself completely from the day-to-day activities of my company and will receive no income from my business in order to eliminate any appearance or actual conflict of interest while I’m acting governor,” he said in a prepared statement.

In the event Politan resigns or is unable to serve, former Gov. Brendan T. Byrne will appoint a successor trustee. Politan was appointed to the federal bench by former President Ronald Reagan.

Codey’s insurance agency is located in the same West Orange building as his legislative office.

Codey will fill the 14 months remaining of Gov. James E. McGreevey’s term, beginning Nov. 16. McGreevey announced in August that he would resign on Nov. 15.

Earlier this month, Codey said his political action committees and his individual campaign committee would not accept contributions from vendors who do business with the state while he is acting governor.

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