New Jersey’s only black-owned asset manager adds Murphy, top aides to bombshell amended complaint

TRENTON, N.J. – Blueprint Capital Advisors (Blueprint) is New Jersey’s only Black asset manager firm. On Monday, the investment firm amended its summer 2020 discrimination complaint against the State of New Jersey to add the Governor, some of his top aides, and even bombshell federal racketeering allegations again certain defendants. 

“A Black-owned firm with an innovative solution to New Jersey’s pension fund crisis, was shamefully exploited by the DOI’s entrenched ‘old-boys’ network of political patronage and Wall Street money,” said attorney Michael Bowe. “But, this is not only a case about a past abuse, it is a case about a wrong that continues today, and will continue every day Governor Murphy does nothing. Governor Murphy and his administration shouldn’t say another word about what they are doing about systemic injustice before they address this injustice they are themselves perpetuating. Our 100-page detailed complaint speaks for itself and Governor Murphy should fix this before a Federal court does.”

The 55-page original complaint was filed back on June 23, 2020. It accused members of New Jersey’s Division of Investment of a hatching a conspiracy to steal a plan devised by Blueprint to reduce the state’s pension investment fees. The complaint also accused named defendants of conspiring to give to the plan to another firm, BlackRock Capital Investment Corporation, which is also named in the complaint. The initial complaint’s timeline of alleged transgressions began in 2015 during the Christie Administration.

According to Blueprint, the firm was told that the State Investment Council was “not a fan of investing with women and minority-owned firms.” 

In its 102-page amended complaint, the plaintiff expands upon the alleged culpability of Murphy-era figures including Chief of Staff George Helmy, former Chief Counsel Matt Platkin, and controversial Murphy appointee Derrick Green. Blueprint is specially accusing the current administration of executing a smear campaign against it for bringing its original lawsuit.

“They thought it would be wise to use a Black man to lynch a Black man, thereby avoiding the appearance of it being done by Murphy, Helmy, Platkin or [State Treasurer Elizabeth] Muoio, all of whom are white,” the amended complaint explains.

The plaintiff specially accuses Green and a second individual of having “sent text blasts making the false and defamatory claims that [Blueprint co-founder Jacob] Walthour had been removed as Chair of the Ebony Media Holdings for insider trading, even though they knew these claims were false and had been told they were false.”

“While Blueprint is forging new paths in the financial service sector, they should not have to contend with systemic and systematic racism from Governor Murphy and his administration,” added Jay Sekulow of Constitutional Litigation and Advocacy Group (CLAG).“Racial and economic justice is everyone’s fight and anti-racism is not only bi-partisan, it transcends politics. This landmark case is about affording equal access and exposing the veil of inequality that exists in the asset management and financial services sector for Black Americans in New Jersey and this country.”

A full list of the amended complaint’s causes of actions (as articulated in the plaintiff’s attorneys’ release announcing the new filing) is posted below: 

Count One: Permanent Injunction Pursuant to 42 U.S.C § 1983 and § 1981
(Against Governor Murphy, Corey Amon, Dini Ajmani, and George Helmy)

Count Two: Violation of the Fifth Amendment Takings Clause
(Against the DOI)

Count Three: Breach of Contract
(Against the DOI)

Count Four: Discrimination and Retaliation in Violation of Section 1981
(Against McDonough, Amon, Ajmani, Helmy in their individual capacities)

Count Five: Violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983
(Against McDonough, Amon, Ajmani, and Helmy in their individual capacities)

Count Six: Violation of 42 U.S.C. §1985
(Against Cliffwater and BlackRock)

Count Seven: Discrimination In Violation of the New Jersey Civil Rights Act
(Against McDonough, Amon, Ajmani, and Helmy in their individual capacities)

Count Eight: Retaliation in Violation of the New Jersey Civil Rights Act
(Against McDonough, Amon, Ajmani, and Helmy in their individual capacities)

Count Nine: Racketeering Violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1962(c)
(Against the DOI, McDonough, Rosenstock, Dini Ajmani, BlackRock and Walsh)

Count Ten: Racketeering in Violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)
(Against the DOI, McDonough, Rosenstock, Ajmani, Walsh, and BlackRock)

Count Eleven: Racketeering in Violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:41-2(c)
(Against the DOI, McDonough, Rosenstock, Ajmani, Walsh, and BlackRock)

Count Twelve: Racketeering in Violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:41-2(d)
(Against the DOI, McDonough, Rosenstock, Ajmani, Walsh and BlackRock)

Count Thirteen: Aiding And Abetting Racketeering In Violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:41-2(c) and (d)
(Against Cliffwater and Owl Rock)

Count 14: Fraud
(Against McDonough, MacDonald, Rosenstock, Amon, Cliffwater, and Walsh)

Count 15: Aiding and Abetting Fraud
(Against BlackRock and Owl Rock)

Count 16: Unfair Competition
(Against BlackRock, Cliffwater, and Owl Rock)

Count 17: Breach of Contract
(Against Cliffwater)

Count 18: Breach of Contract
(Against Walsh)

Count 19: Breach of Fiduciary Duty
(Against Walsh)

Count 20: Tortious Interference with Prospective Economic Advantage
(Against McDonough, MacDonald, Rosenstock, Amon, Ajmani, Greene and Platkin in their
individual capacities)

Count 21: Commercial Disparagement
(Against Rosenstock, Green, Platkin, and Cliffwater)

Count 22: Civil Conspiracy
(Against McDonough, MacDonald, Rosenstock, Amon, Ajmani, Cliffwater, Walsh, and Owl
Rock)