I’m not a lawyer so the question, “Is Phil Murphy meddling in soccer team affairs a violation of his blind trust agreement,” is an honest question.
A few months after becoming Governor, Murphy “and his wife Tammy put their holdings in blind trusts that will manage millions of dollars in assets.”
According to NJ.com Murphy “ held onto his two-thirds interest in the women's professional soccer team Sky Blue FC.
Not being a lawyer I went to Google to try and learn a little something about blind trusts. The simplest explanation of blind trusts comes from Legal Zoom:
In a blind trust, a settlor transfers assets to a third party who has complete discretion in how to use or invest the assets. In the typical blind trust, the settlor is also the beneficiary; thus, the trustee is managing the assets for the benefit of the settlor. However, the settlor/beneficiary can't give any instructions to the trustee about what to invest in; he has absolutely no knowledge of how the assets are invested or what they're being used for.
Based on that explanation of blind trusts it seems to me that calling and attempting to convince draft picks to sign with the team would be a violation of the blind trust agreement. Here at The Bob & Steve Show we mentioned the fact Murphy tried to convince two of the team’s draft picks to sign, The New York Post reported that Murphy tried to convince the number 6 overall draft pick to sign and New Jersey Globe did a piece on Murphy’s “continued involvement in the operations of the professional women’s soccer team he owns.”
Maybe some people feel sorry for Murphy because of all the problems his soccer team has had and are willing to give him a free pass over calling draft picks to attempt to convince them to sign with Sky Blue.
And, I might even be willing to give the same free pass, but it turns out we now know thanks to a Pro Soccer USA report that Murphy didn’t stop at calling only two draft picks. According to Pro Soccer USA:
In addition to having meetings with Reddy and general manager Tony Novo, some players, including Sheridan, spoke to owners Steven Temares and New Jersey governor Phil Murphy after the season. Sheridan said her conversation with them via conference call was good for both parties, particularly the ownership.
And just yesterday NJ.com reported:
The team tweeted photos of players chatting with the first couple at Murphy’s home during a recent dinner party, but it’ll take more than one night of small talk and finger foods to solve the issues.
Obviously, I wasn’t invited to that dinner party, nut I believe it’s a safe bet to assume there was talk about how the team is run.
Mr. Murphy, with all his money, I’m sure has some really good lawyers, but my limited knowledge of blind trusts has me thinking he is in violation of the blind trust agreement. All his conversations with players are/were to either sign draft picks or convince stars to stay because improvements are being made. The way I see it those conversations improve his team’s bottom line, which means Murphy directly benefits from the conversations, clearly a violation of the blind trust.
Then again, I’m not a lawyer, so maybe I’m wrong. You decide.