Black-Owned Investment Firm Sues State of NJ For Blatant, Aggressive & Unapologetic Racist Abuse

Jacob Walthour Jr., co-founder and CEO of Blueprint Capital Advisors. - File photo

Amended complaint adds federal racketeering claims against New Jersey’s former and current Division of Investment (DOI) on quid pro quo schemes and entrenched corruption and malfeasance.

NEWARK, NJ– Blueprint Capital Advisors (Blueprint), the only Black asset manager in the state of New Jersey by and through its undersigned counsel, Brown Rudnick, LLP and the Constitutional Litigation Advocacy Group, P.C., today filed an amended complaint directly against New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and senior members of his administration charging blatant, aggressive, and unapologetic racist abuse from the State of New Jersey and seeking injunctive relief for his failure to address the maltreatment. 

Torturous and debilitating are among adjectives Blueprint Capital Advisors CEO Jacob Walthour Jr. uses to sum up what his investment firm has endured the last four years. Blueprint is among the few Black-owned firms operating across the country in the multitrillion-dollar asset management industry. And, according to its founder, the minority firm has not only been discriminated against but had one of its proprietary products stolen by one of the major asset management firms, reported.

On Tuesday June 23, 2020, Blueprint Capital Advisors, the Newark-based investment firm Jacob Walthour (pictured above) co-founded in 2015, filed a federal lawsuit against the state of New Jersey and six current and former state officials alleging racial discrimination, retaliation and the theft of confidential business information. The firm is also suing BlackRock, the money management firm the state ultimately hired, and Cliffwater, a consulting firm that advised the state on the deal.

“Sadly, even today, a Black-owned firm like Blueprint has no voice and to get justice from the powerful Murphy Administration, Wall Street’s biggest firm and one of its more influential institutional consultants. It was necessary to file this complaint in a court of law,” Jacob Walthour Jr., Blueprint’s co-founder and CEO, shared with in June.

The amended complaint filed Tuesday, November 24, 2020, adds federal racketeering claims against former and current employees of New Jersey’s Division of Investment (DOI) on quid pro quo schemes, entrenched corruption and malfeasance, where external investments were granted to firms on the basis of racial preference using discriminatory practices and policies and in multiple instances Black-owned firms like Blueprint had their intellectual property stolen and provided to larger firms thereby unjustly enriching the firms and individuals who participated in the schemes.  

In the amended complaint, the Plaintiff Blueprint seeks declaratory, injunctive and equitable relief, as well as monetary damages, to redress Governor Murphy and the DOI’s violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1981 (“Section 1981”), 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (“Section 1983”), New Jersey Civil Rights Act, racketeering in violation of 18 U.S.C.§ 1962 and N.J.S.A. 2C:41-2, violation of the Fifth Amendment Takings Clause, breaches of contract, fiduciary duty, duty of confidentiality, as well as claims for unfair competition, civil conspiracy, fraud, commercial disparagement, tortious interference with prospective economic advantage, aiding and abetting racketeering, and aiding and abetting fraud.

Blueprint filed its original complaint against the State of New Jersey on June 23, 2020 for racial bias, and also sued BlackRock and Cliffwater LLC for profiting from Blueprint’s proprietary investment program. On September 30, 2020 Blueprint announced that attorneys Michael J. Bowe of Brown Rudnick and Jay Sekulow of Constitutional Litigation and Advocacy Group (CLAG) would join Blueprint’s legal efforts against New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s Department of the Treasury, Division of Investment (DOI), BlackRock Alternative Advisors, and Cliffwater LLC for racial discrimination, fraud and retaliation.  CLAG has been intensely focused on New Jersey’s refusal to comply with the New Jersey Open Records Act and release public information Blueprint believes demonstrates the racial animus and bias that has characterized its relationship with the DOI and underlies their refusal to provide opportunities for other Black-owned firms.

“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.”

“Governor Phil Murphy frequently cites with dishonest pride the diversity of his state, his cabinet and the state Democratic Party yet, over the last four years, began working with the DOI and the Assistant Treasurer to attack Jacob Walthour, Jr. after he publicly reported Blueprint’s abuse to, and sought the support of, the African-American community and its religious and political leaders,” said Pastor David Jefferson, Senior Pastor, Metropolitan Baptist Church and board member of National Action Network. “This is a necessary legal fight against Governor Murphy and the DOI to put a stop to exclusionary policies and practices that hurt certain groups and hold all parties who preclude fair and equal access to opportunities accountable.”

“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,” said attorney Jay Sekulow. “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.”


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)