Making good on legal threats, the Coalition to Save Westminster Choir College, a group of students, parents, alumni and donors to the school, have brought a suit against Rider University to preclude the potential sale of the college to commercial companies.

The two schools merged in 1991 and since then Rider has operated Westminster’s 23-acre campus on Walnut Lane in Princeton in addition to the main Rider campus on Route 206 in Lawrenceville. However, in March, Rider announced it planned to sell Westminster in order to close its own budget gaps. Activist attorney Bruce Afran is representing the Westminster group, which wants the college to be sold to another educational institution that will continue to operate it, or spin it off into its own independent entity.

Afran’s suit alleges that Rider has solicited commercial entities for the sale, and that the only entities responding to Rider’s solicitation circular are real estate developers or for-profit commercial businesses that do not operate non-profit fine arts or liberal arts institutions of higher education. Potential buyers include EPR Properties United States, Guanghua Education Group, Bloom, Garden Homes of Princeton, Weichert Development Company, CITIC Private Equity Funds, Lunar Capital Management Ltd., Toll Brothers, and The Vistria Group.

The suit claims that selling to one of these companies would violate the 1991 merger agreement and seeks a court order to require Rider to merge Westminster with another institution of higher learning that would continue to operate the college, which was founded in Ohio in 1926, and which has been in Princeton since 1937.

Rider released a statement disputing Afran’s lawsuit and saying it was not in the best interests of Westminster Choir College.

#b#Freelance Pay Bill Advances#/b#

A bill that would require businesses to pay their freelance workers on time has been passed by the state Assembly. The bill was introduced by Democratic assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, who represents a district that includes the Princeton area, home to many technology companies that rely on freelance labor (U.S. 1, May 3, 2017.)

The bill would require that freelancers be paid according to their contracts, and authorizes the Department of Labor to regulate and enforce freelance contracts.

“Freelance workers aren’t free,” Zwicker said. “Freelance workers must be paid the compensation they’ve earned, and we need to ensure this basic fairness afforded to every other worker. Freelancers are a valuable part of our workforce, and they provide many services, but too often they lack basic protections. This bill will ensure they’re treated fairly, benefiting our economy and, in the end, everyone.”

The bill would apply to freelance contracts more than $600, and requires that freelancers be paid no more than 30 days after completing services. Clients who don’t pay their freelancers could be found guilty of a disorderly persons offense punishable by up to six months imprisonment for the first offense, and subsequent offenses are fourth-degree crimes punishable by up to a year and a half in prison and a $10,000 fine.

The bill has been referred to the Senate.

#b#Partnership#/b#

Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce, 182 Nassau Street, Suite 301, Princeton 08542. 609-924-1776. Peter Crowley, CEO. www.princetonchamber.org.

The Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce has joined with its competitor, the Mid-Jersey Chamber of Commerce, in partnering with the mayor of Trenton’s 2017 Summer Youth Employment Program. Other partners in the program, which is designed to provide summer employment for Trenton students, include Millhill Child and Family Development, the City of Trenton, and former mayor Doug Palmer.

“We are excited to be a part of the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program and to bring the extensive resources of the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce to support our youth in Trenton,” said Rick Coyne, chairman of the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce. “Young people face challenges in getting their first work experience, and the mayor’s program goes a long way in making that first step a successful one.”

The six-week program, beginning in July, provides young people in Trenton with work experience and job skills that they otherwise might not have access to.

The program, now in its second year, hopes to provide at least 200 jobs for residents age 16 to 24 who reside in the capital city.

#b#Name Changes#/b#

United For Good Insurance (UFGI), 10 Route 31, Box 278, Pennington 08534. 609-737-0426, www.ufginsurance.com.

Mercer Mutual Insurance Company has been bought by United For Good Insurance, based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Weir & Associates, 20 Scotch Road, Suite A, Ewing 08628. 609-594-4000. W. John Weir, www.weirattorneys.com.

The law office of Paul Daly has been taken over by Weir & Associates following the unexpected death of Daly on March 17. Daly, 58, was a graduate of Widener University and a 30-year member of the Mercer County Bar Association.

#b#Financing#/b#

Slayback Pharma, 37 Slayback Drive, Princeton Junction 08550. 609 452 8029. Ajay K. Singh, CEO. www.slayback-pharma.com.

The pharmaceutical research and development company, headquartered in a home on Slayback Drive in Princeton Junction, has secured $60 million from investment company KKM and has named Patrick McIntosh head of its commercial operations.

CEO Ajay Singh was formerly an executive at Dr. Reddy’s. The company makes generic formulations of sterile emulsions, sterile suspensions, sterile microspheres, and other hard-to-make drugs.

#b#Crosstown Moves#/b#

The Ingredient House, 30 Vreeland Drive, Unit 1, Skillman 08558. 609-454-3856. Rudi van Mol, president and COO. www.theingredienthouse.com.

The maker of high-intensity sweeteners and other food ingredients has moved from 50 to 30 Vreeland Drive.

Princeton HealthCare System Foundation, 3626 Route 1 North, Princeton 08540. 609-497-4190. Joseph E. Stampe, vice president of development. www.princetonhcs.org.

The philanthropic and support arm of Princeton Healthcare System is moving to the main hospital building on Route 1 in Plainsboro, while a wound care center will take over the office it formerly occupied on Route 1 near Carnegie Center.

VIHO LLC, 3 Independence Way, Suite 204, Princeton 08540. 732-595-0801. Gau­thaman Thangaraju, vice president. www.viho.net.

The IT consulting company has moved suites in its Independence Way office building.

#b#Leaving Town#/b#

Battelle Ventures LP, 100 Princeton South, Ewing.

The venture fund, which specialized in early-stage technology companies, has left its Princeton South office. The company’s website was down and its listed phone number was disconnected.

Clarke Insurance Agency Inc., 230 West Delaware Avenue, Pennington.

The insurance agency has moved to its second location in Mount Holly.

Matinas Biopharma, 1 Deer Park Drive, Monmouth Junction.

The biotech company, focused on developing drugs based on Omega-3 acids, has left its Deer Park Drive lab. The company still has locations in Bedminster and Bridgewater.

Strayer University, 3150 Brunswick Pike, Lawrenceville.

The for-profit college has closed its Lawrenceville campus, which housed classes in accounting, business, and information systems.

Systems General, 666 Plainsboro Road, Plainsboro.

The IT consulting company has left its office on Plainsboro Road.

XYPress, 3 Independence Way, Princeton.

The data analysis company has left its Independence Way office.

#b#Deaths#/b#

Geetha Arulmohan, 64, on June 26. She was executive director of the Mercer Council on Alcoholism and Drug Addiction, a nonprofit group for substance abuse prevention.

Mildred Stephens, 88, on June 12. She was assistant treasurer and executive director of finance at ETS.

George Luchak, in early June. He was a 1942 graduate of the University of Toronto and earned a doctorate in physics there in 1946. As a scientist at RCA, he developed the Lunar Excursion Module that landed astronauts on the moon. He later introduced the academic study of operations research at the Princeton University School of Engineering in 1966.

Carolyn Quay Wilson, 88, on June 18. She volunteered for years at Recording for the Blind (now Learning Ally) and the Women’s Professional Roster before being hired as a grant writer at the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. She retired as director of teacher education there and later founded the Evergreen Forum, a popular life-long learning program in Princeton.

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