Reports: Norcross getting Philadelphia newspapers

It seems pretty definite now that that South Jersey political boss Norcross is getting the Philadelphia newspapers. This is the version reporting rumors about itself being sold on Monday:  

The investor group has spent much of the last two months negotiating to acquire PMN from its hedge-fund owners in a transaction valued at between $55 million and $60 million, according to multiple reports.

The buyers of Philadelphia Media Network Inc. are a group of local investors, led by George E. Norcross III…

Other versions of the story are at the New York Times and  Jim Romenesko, so it seems pretty solid.  

Reports: Norcross getting Philadelphia newspapers

The New York Times Media Decoder blog cites “several people” that the Philadelphia papers will fall into the hands of Norcross:

The sale could come as early as Friday to a consortium that includes George E. Norcross III, a Democratic power broker in South Jersey..

They also note that Jim Romensko’s blog broke the story.

I pledged to be “hopeful.” So, at least there might be more coverage of New Jersey.

Comments (26)

  1. 12mileseastofTrenton

    Using the kickback money to buy the paper that ran the story the other day about one of his kickback schemes.  Gotta love the circle of corruption.

  2. firstamend07

    PMN needed new LOCAL leadership and this group of buyers will make sure PMN succeeds.

    Citizen Norcross helped save Cooper Hospital and I am confident he will use his business savvy to make this turnaround.

    This is great news for South Jersey and our region.

    Strong,vibrant newspaers are the key to a strong vibrant region.

    Unfortunately some predictable naysayers will once again use this forum to attack citizen Norcross but most of us see what a great thing this is for PMN,its employees,and the region.

    Good luck and keep the presses ( and website! going!

  3. Bertin Lefkovic

    …just give Norcrossippi to Pennsylvania and let the Pennsylvanians deal with him and his nonsense.  I wonder if it would still be a swing state if we did that.  Is there any chance that we could get Bucks County and the Lehigh Valley and Pocono Mountain regions in return?  I think that would be fair considering the gambling and tourism revenue that we would be giving up.

    If we could get a deal like that, one of the first things that I would do is dam the Delaware River somewhere around Trenton and build a canal to connect it to the Raritan River if for no other reason than to watch everyone in Camden and Philadelphia freak out as their section of the river dries up and they can see firsthand all of the filth, pollution, and radon that their avarice and bad policies have dredged up.  It would be fun indeed.

  4. 12mileseastofTrenton

    Not only is it not constructive,  but given the crap that goes on in Hudson and Essex County, not to mention the reactionary areas of North Jersey that has given us such folks as Scott Garrett, it takes a lot of chutzpah.

  5. firstamend07

    Why should I or anyone else even read what you post anymore. You have become just another type of bigot with all this venom.

    Why the hatred? You need help?

    This al sounds like a psych problem.

    Maybe you need an intervention.


  6. Bertin Lefkovic

    …and if you look closely at the fiefdoms in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Union, and Middlesex Counties, you will find enough intraparty conflict to prevent the bosses from amassing too much power for too long.

    Yes, it definitely helped that people like Joe Ferriero, Sharpe James, and John Lynch pigged out at the public trough to such a degree that they were eventually busted and went to jail (clearly Norcross is either too clever or too well connected to let this happen to him), but at least in Bergen County, you had someone like Loretta Weinberg to stand up to Joe Ferriero and you have guys like Brian Stack and Nick Sacco fighting each other, dividing the strength of political machines, and making themselves and it less effective.

    Over a decade ago, Ray Lesniak handpicked Mike LaPolla to be the Democratic nominee in CD7 and when he lost to Maryanne Connelly, he and Charlotte DeFilippo decided that it would be better to let a Republican, Mike Ferguson, win the seat than the woman who stood up to them.  This year, Lesniak couldn’t even give the Union County line to his preferred candidate in CD10, Nia Gill.  He had to settle for an open primary.  AN OPEN PRIMARY IN UNION COUNTY!!!  Do you have any idea how huge that is?

    That in and of itself is proof positive that the bosses in North and Central Jersey are much weaker than they used to be and by comparison, Norcross is much stronger than he used to be.  A decade ago, the North and Central Jersey bosses were united against him.  Now, they are fighting each other to ally with him.  He controls 6 State Senate seats and 12 State Assembly seats.  Nobody in North or Central Jersey controls half as many.

    Yes, people like Michael Patrick Carroll and Scott Garrett are terrible, but aside from the fact that they cannot be defeated in their districts, they have very little real influence or power over anything.  I am more concerned by the fact that not a single Republican in Norcrossippi seems to be concerned about Norcross and the media conglomerate that he is about to control.  And the reason that we have guys like Carroll and Garrett is because redistricting is rigged so badly.  If we had competitive election districts, we wouldn’t have far-right-wingers like them holding office.  But the bigger problem is that we don’t have nearly enough progressives representing safe Democratic districts.

    So you are absolutely right that North and Central Jersey have its share of problems, political and otherwise, but they are far more manageable than what is going on in Norcrossippi.  And as I have said elsewhere, at least our conservative areas are beautiful.  Unless you like the Pine Barrens, whose name speaks for itself, then there is very little, if anything, of merit in Norcrossippi between I-295 and the GSP.

    The fact of the matter is that I am tired of fighting a losing battle against someone who has no opposition whatsoever in his fiefdom, even from Republicans.  And his power and reach is only growing.  If something isn’t done to contain him, it is only a matter of time before he controls Mercer, Middlesex, and Monmouth Counties.  I think that cutting Norcrossippi off from the rest of the state and letting him do what he wants with it is the only answer.  If you have a better idea, I am open to reading about it.

    But if we could cut off Norcrossippi and reorganize our governance and political systems, I think that the end result could be far better than anyone could imagine.  There is no doubt in my mind that without Norcrossippi, we could elect a Governor Codey.  In our 29 legislative districts (11-29 and 31-40), we would have an 18-11 advantage in the Senate and an 36-22 advantage in the Assembly, but more important, those Democratic majorities would have no choice but to vote Democratic consistently, because we would have a Democratic Governor who would be far more powerful than the weak North and Central Jersey bosses.

    If you think about it, there is absolutely no downside to this idea, unless you live in Norcrossippi, but people who live there are screwed either way.  At the very least, secession contains the cancerous tumor that is Norcross and enables the rest of us to have a chance at a better future going forward.

  7. Rosi Efthim

    We are not going to use this blog to demean all of South Jersey. If you cannot make the distinction between some of the politicians that represent SJ and the people who live there, make your insulting remarks somewhere else. Not here.  

  8. Bertin Lefkovic

    You and Norcross can have everything south of I-195 to do with what you will in your new state of Norcrossippi.  Let the rest of us start fresh with our own state of New Jersey.  Why fight when we can just go our separate ways?  I think that it is the only solution to our problems.

    You will still have your own 6-5 and 12-10 majorities in your State Senate and State Assembly.  You can finally elect Rob Andrews to statewide office.  He can be one of your U.S. Senators, Steve Sweeney can be the other one, and you can elect Donald Norcross to be your Governor.

    And when you take control over PMN, you can rename the newspaper (The Norcrossippi Inquirer) and the website (  You can do anything that you want to do down there and I will not say another word about it.  You can have your Rut-Ro merger and call your new university “Rowan, the State University of Norcrossippi”.  All I ask is that you and the rest of Norcrossippi go away and leave the rest of us in New Jersey alone.  Please!

  9. JackHarris

    It’s one of the best places in the country to flatwater canoe.

    And the only thing that beats driving from the Delaware to the Atlantic through the Pine Barrens — which I refer to as the Pinelands and have since I was a kid — is the drive from the Delaware to the Atlantic through the farmland (even though it’s rapidly diminishing) of Monmouth and Mercer Counties on a late summer night.  

  10. Bertin Lefkovic

    You like what you like and I like what I like.  Let’s leave it at that.

  11. carolh

    I spent many a day canoeing in the Pine Barrens. It is a fascinating and wonderful place.  The farms of south Jersey are beautiful.  Just the scene of the rich green farmland is breathtaking.  That’s where us northern treehuggers go for some fun and fresh air. Not to mention wonderful summer corn… I also have a lot of wonderful friends down there too.  

  12. carolh

    or do you already have one in this new Murdoch-type enterprise?  Spinning for Norcross here has given you lots of experience shoveling stuff.

  13. KendalJames

    I mean this isn’t even GOOD ass-kissing. Enjoy your reward from the king for being such a good soldier/propagandist.

  14. mmgth

    When Brian Tierney “acquired” the Phila. Inquirer he had stories criticiizing his PR firm’s clients quashed. He hired John Yoo! He pushed a Republican agenda. What could be worse?… George Norcross is a corrupt hack. Yeah, so much for a “strong vibrant newspaper”.

  15. Bertin Lefkovic

    …of Norcrossippi are as much a part of the problem as the politicians.  Those who vote Democratic, but fail to recognize or do anything about the fact that their Democratic electeds and party leaders are in bed with Republicans are as bad, if not worse, than those who vote Republican.

    And anyone who buys the Norcrossippi Inquirer or visits and doesn’t have a clue about the role that they are playing in the death of a free press is as much the problem as the solution.

    There is nothing demeaning about anything that I have written about the people of Norcrossippi unless you think that it is demeaning to say that they have more in common with the people of the Deep South than they have with the people in the rest of our state, and if you think that is demeaning, then you must think that it is demeaning to say anything negative about the people of the Deep South.

    You never answered my question the last time that you scolded me about this, Rosi.  How much time have you spent in Norcrossippi?  I believe that I have spent enough time and have interacted with enough people to support my opinions.  Have you done enough of the same to refute them?

  16. mmgth

    The Bertin L comments are trollish in that they shift the discussion from the appalling consequences resulting from  a corrupt party boss controlling a major newspaper to the Norcrossippi/secession nonsense rather than the issue of George Norcross acquiring a significant propaganda outlet.    

  17. deciminyan

    First, as a South Jersey progressive, I resent your characterization of my neighbors. Yes, I have Republican friends – even Tea Party friends. They are decent people with whom I happen to disagree. But at least among the folks I hang out with, they are not like Southern racists and haters. So please back off.

    Despite the fact that I disagree with a good portion of what Sweeney is doing, and what my two decent but Christiecrat assemblymen are doing, I will probably support them in the next election. The alternative is unthinkable. Can you imagine how much worse things would get with a Republican majority in the legislature?

    Consider what would happen if Sweeney had lost the last election. His opponent had said (I was there) that “all taxes are bad” and there are too many regulations. His opponent was against teacher tenure and was luke warm on shared services.

    Would I like to see a progressive in Sweeney’s seat? Sure, but it ain’t gonna happen in my lifetime. The best I can do is work within the Democratic party to try to get my voice heard. I can have civil conversations with my Christiecrat legislators and agree to disagree when necessary – but at least they listen. Their Republican opponent would not even talk to me when he found out about my Blue Jersey connection.

    If you have a better realistic suggestion, I’m all ears.

  18. 12mileseastofTrenton

    He must get prime steak dinners for flacking for Sweeney.  One can only guess what he’ll get for flacking for Boss Norcross.

  19. Swamp Watch

    That Present Themselves as True

    Can Sabotage You


  20. Bertin Lefkovic

    There used to be a time where I thought that progressives in Norcrossippi could organize, run for county committee seats, and provide a progressive alternative to the Democratic establishment, but I think that most agree with you that people like Sweeney, Madden, and Van Drew are the best that you can hope for in their districts and that might be true.  However, what would have happened if those three Democrats and their Assemblymates lost last year?

    I’ll tell you what would have happened.  Democrats would have still had a 21-19 majority in the Senate and a 42-38 majority in the Assembly, but the Norcross power base would have been cut in half and it is very possible that Barbara Buono would be Senate President right now and Joe Cryan would be Assembly Speaker.

    It is also possible that this weakness would have made Norcross, Beach, and their Assemblymates vulverable to primary challenges in 2013 from progressives running with Dick Codey.  It might have also released otherwise progressive Democrats like Jim Whelan, Troy Singleton, and Herb Conaway from the Norcross orbit, enabling them to run with Codey as well.

    But these are all pipe dreams.  Unlike the Real Democrats of Bergen County, there is no progressive alternative to the Norcross machine in Norcrossippi and there isn’t going to be one anytime soon.  I am not blaming you, deciminyan, or any other progressive who lives down there.  The fact of the matter is that there is not a critical mass of outrage to the way that Norcross et al does business down there and if the comptroller’s report about his kickbacks and this Rut-Ro boondoogle isn’t enough to stoke some, then nothing will and the power that Norcross wields is only going to continue to grow, especially once he has his own newspaper.

    He will eventually get a couple of Republicans to run with Jim Whelan in LD2 who can take those Assembly seats and when Diane Allen retires, he will get her seat as well.  He already has John Wisniewski and will probably align himself with Peter Barnes against John McCormac or with McCormac against Barnes and take Middlesex County.  He will align himself with Wayne DeAngelo and John Cimino against Dan Benson and Linda Greenstein and eventually take them out.  He will finance some ambitious Trenton pols and use them to take out Shirley Turner, Bonnie Watson Coleman, and Reed Gusciora and there goes Mercer.

    If Vin Gopal becomes Monmouth County Chair, I have faith that he will choose to continue to lose elections rather than win with Norcross machine money, but eventually, Norcross will buy enough Municipal Chairs who want to win at all cost and overthrow him.  If Vin’s opponent wins, my guess is that he will take the money and probably win some elections that they would not have won without it, but one way or another, Norcross will eventually control Monmouth as well.  I don’t know if he will take these counties in a year or three years or five years or ten years, but if nothing is done to stop him, it is just a matter of time.

    Union County will fall shortly thereafter.  Ray Lesniak’s power is clearly not what it used to be.  He is either going to retire or sell out to Norcross.  As soon as he does, Norcross will align himself with the sleazebags at the Elizabeth Board of Ed and other ambitious insurgents in other parts of the county and it will only be a matter of time before Scutari, Green, Stender, Cryan, and Quijano are replaced by his acolytes.  After that, the rest of the dominoes will fall very quickly.

    I see a two-state solution as the only way to contain Norcross, because I can only hope that with complete control over his own state, the ROI for moving forward would be less and he would focus his resources solely on maintaining his control over Norcrossippi.  I could be wrong about this, but even if I am, everything else that I have predicted is eventually going to happen anyway, so it would be to take a chance that I might be right and do something than do nothing and wait for our emocracy to crumble around us.

    I am sorry if I have offended you or your neighbors, deciminyan, by comparing Norcrossippi with the Deep South, but how is what I have said any different with what you said?

    But at least among the folks I hang out with, they are not like Southern racists and haters. So please back off.

    There is no doubt in my mind that there are plenty of progressives in the Deep South who would say the same thing about some of their neighbors and the people with whom they hang out, and while you are both probably right, that does not mean that there aren’t hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of others who you don’t know who are truly terrible people.  There are also plenty of terrible people in North and Central Jersey as well in both blue and red counties, but in my experience, the critical mass is just not the same while those in the Deep South and Norcrossippi are undoubtedly more comparable.

    Obviously, we can continue to debate this point or we can agree to disagree.  Regardless, this is far less relevant than the short and long term threat that Norcross represents to the state and as long as nobody is going to challenge him from within his fiefdom and the powers that be in other parts of the state are either aligned with him or on the verge of being overthrown by others who are aligned with him, a two-state solution, as insane as it might seem, remains the only real solution to containing him.

  21. Bertin Lefkovic

    …is another man’s solution to a problem without a solution.  Sadly, there is no law against a corrupt party boss controlling a major newspaper and using it as a propaganda outlet.

    You can call me a troll if you want, but the fact remains that far too many people are dwelling on my opinion, which I have the right to have and express, that Norcrossippi has more in common with the Deep South than with the rest of New Jersey than my argument that the only way to contain Norcross and his efforts to expand the reach of his political empire is to separate Norcrossippi from the rest of our state and allow him to have a state of his own to do with what he wants.

    He already has this, more or less.  I just think that it is time to make it official and hope that running his own state consumes enough of his time and resources to prevent him from continuing to make inroads into North and Central Jersey.

  22. denniscmcgrath

    y’all know how to make a small fortune in the newspaper business, right?

    The Inky conglomerate is selling today for 1/10 of what it went for in 2006.

  23. deciminyan

    Rick Santorum was also a columnist for the Inquirer.

  24. mmgth

    Your comments are trollish in their effect. I give you the benefit of the doubt. There’s an argument for expressing an opinion. You’re getting called out for being offensive with your opinion on S. J. (which is nutty (sorry). I’d like to hear your opinion on the topic (Norcross gaining control of a mayor newspaper).

  25. denniscmcgrath

    when he’s off the campaign trail

  26. Bertin Lefkovic

    There should be Glass-Steagall-esque legislation that prevents anyone who has any connection to the political process from having any connection to any form of mass media with the obvious exception of blogging, which cannot and should not be regulated the same way that a supposedly independent media empire should be.

    That said, the purchase of PMN by Norcross et al has become somewhat irrelevant, since there is no meaningful opposition to Norcross and his corrupt political machine in Norcrossippi either from a progressive alternative within the Democratic Party or even from the Republicans who have effectively divided control over Norcrossippi with Norcross to achieve mutually beneficial goals and objectives.

    What you call nutty, my opinion that Norcrossippi has more in common with states in the Deep South than it does with the rest of our state, is the truth.  I don’t know how to access census data, but I would imagine that there are statistics somewhere that would tell us what percentage of people living in Norcrossippi, the rest of NJ, and the Deep South have at least one year of higher education, and I am willing to go out on a limb and guess that Norcrossippi’s percentages are closer to the Deep South’s than the rest of New Jersey’s.  There is probably other data out there that could be used to make my point as well.

    That said, the crux of my argument is that New Jersey and Norcrossippi are different and distinct enough to justify their separation and as long as Norcross has no internal opposition and the growth of his influence, power, and reach continues unabated, the only solution to containing him is the two-state solution that I have proposed.

    Who knows?  Maybe a three-state solution makes even more sense.  You could make Hunterdon, Morris, Somerset, Sussex, and Warren Counties into its own state and call it Christievania.  Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Passaic, and Union Counties could become Weinbergersey.

    But in the end, maybe the best solution is just to disband New Jersey altogether.  Norcrossippi and Christievania could become part of Pennsylvania and Weinbergersey could become part of New York.  Heck, if nothing else, we wouldn’t have to hear people bitch and moan about what to call the Giants and Jets anymore.  They could actually be the New York Giants and the New York Jets.


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