Judge Orders Removal of William Tambussi from Rutgers Board of Governors Amid Residency Dispute and Racketeering Charges, Sparking Governance Concerns


A lot of focus has gone into the latest news about Rutgers University Board of Governors member William Tambussi. His ousting by a Judge's order is based on residency, not on the racketeering charges leveled against him, underpinning how tangled and problematic university governance has become.

Judge Orders Removal of William Tambussi from Rutgers Board of Governors Amid Residency Dispute and Racketeering Charges, Sparking Governance Concerns

(Photo : WIKIMEDIA COMMONS / Miles Acquaviva)

The Residency Dispute and Legal Actions

Just at the beginning of this year, the Rutgers AAUP-AFT faculty union filed a lawsuit and threatened to expose the tenureship of William Tambussi as a member of the Board of Governors at Rutgers University. The filed suit was based on claims that Tambussi no longer lives in Camden County, the area he represents. It is thus an important residency requirement, for that matter, to adequately represent the interests of the regions from which board members are picked to represent. The lawsuit from the union had alleged that Tambussi moved outside the county, in apparent violation of residency for his position.

While he is facing more sensational racketeering charges, it was this residency issue that ultimately cost Tambussi his office. To add insult to injury, the ruling did not need to add that his removal from the Board of Governors was in compliance with state residency requirements for such governors. reached out to Tambussi for comment on the judge's ruling, but as of the date of the publication of this news report, they are yet to hear from him. The facts of his current residency and any future plans were also not made public.

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The Racketeering Charges and Broader Implications

Additionally, this month, Tambussi was under indictment on racketeering charges stemming from the much larger scandal that New Jersey's attorney general has lodged against George Norcross, a very powerful Democratic power broker. According to the indictment, Tambussi was Norcross's "long-time personal attorney" and is alleged to have been directly and actively involved in a scheme where he used the government of the city of Camden to bring condemnation action against one developer. The closing court, according to the indictment, was part of a discordant many that used the government of the city of Camden in allegations of conspiracy to extort the developer about development rights and property in the city.

The pressures for the faculty union to oust Tambussi intensified with news of his indictment. The Rutgers AAUP-AFT chapter insisted on Tambussi's resignation, stating that his presence on the Board of Governors threatened the integrity of university governance. The union's stance reflects broader expectations concerning ethical and legal standards that must be upheld when holding his position amidst serious criminal allegations.

Reactions and Future Governance at Rutgers

The Rutgers AAUP-AFT chapter applauds the judge's order to remove Mr. Tambussi. The union took to social media to celebrate their success: "We demanded Tambussi's removal from the Rutgers Board of Governors, and WE SUCCEEDED." It further urged Governor Phil Murphy to appoint a new board member, one who meets a residency requirement throughout the higher mission of the university.

The case illustrates the importance of proper university governance in the preservation of institutional integrity and public trust, as well as the necessity of ensuring that there are strong monitoring and accountability measures for those in governance roles. As Rutgers looks ahead, who takes over for Tambussi will be watching, and stakeholders will be jockeying for a candidate with an impeccable ethical record and whose record of public service aligns with the true spirit of the Rutgers mission.

The ouster of William Tambussi from the Rutgers University Board of Governors raises serious questions of governance, legal accountability, and professional ethics. While the ostensible reason was residency-related issues, the underlying charges were about racketeering. That's how Rutgers will get through this period-- leadership that features transparency, accountability, and a vigorous commitment to serve the mission of the university and its diverse constituencies.

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