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Coutinho resignation comes days after Assembly approves Christie's changes to incentives overhaul bill

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Al Coutinho talks to customers in Coutinho's Bakery, in Newark. According to the Star-Ledger report, the former assemblyman has liens and court judgments against him and his businesses, including the bakery, in Newark's Ironbound section.
Al Coutinho talks to customers in Coutinho's Bakery, in Newark. According to the Star-Ledger report, the former assemblyman has liens and court judgments against him and his businesses, including the bakery, in Newark's Ironbound section. - (NJBIZ File)

Al Coutinho abruptly resigned from his Assembly office this afternoon, in a brief letter of resignation addressed to Assembly clerk Dana Burley.

According to a report published this morning by The Star-Ledger, Coutinho's resignation was expected in connection with a criminal investigation involving his family's nonprofit foundation.

Related: Business is personal for Coutinho

The news comes just weeks after a bill Coutinho championed, the Economic Opportunity Act, made its way to the governor's desk. The bill, which has been closely tracked by the business community, will expand the state's corporate incentives programs and tie them closely to job creation.

Christie conditionally vetoed the measure on Monday. The Assembly quickly adopted his changes; the Senate is scheduled to take up the measure Thursday.

Related: More on the Economic Opportunity Act

Coutinho (D-Newark), who has served in the Assembly since 2008, announced in a statement last week that he would not seek re-election, and canceled a scheduled appearance Tuesday at a NAIOP New Jersey seminar in New Brunswick.

Coutinho was chairman of the Assembly's Commerce and Economic Development Committee, and was a member of the Assembly's budget and human services committees.

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Andrew George

Andrew George

Andrew George covers the Statehouse from NJBIZ's Trenton bureau. Born and raised in N.J., Andrew has also spent time as a reporter in D.C., Texas and Pa. His email is andrewg@njbiz.com and he is @AndrGeorge on Twitter.

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