Jerry Zaro, Chair of Banking and Real Estate Services Department, focuses his practice on banking and finance, real estate, corporate and government relations matters. He began his law career as a judicial secretary to the Honorable Thomas F. Shebell, Jr. in the Superior Court of Monmouth County. Prior to joining Sills Cummis & Gross, Mr. Zaro was the President and Managing Partner
of Ansell Zaro Grimm and Aaron for 25 years and served as the Chair of the Commercial Real
Estate and Finance & Banking departments.
Mr. Zaro has served in a variety of leadership posts in the administrations of the last eight consecutive Governors of New Jersey—five Democrats and three Republicans. Mr. Zaro
served as Commissioner of the New Jersey Highway Authority, Chairman of the New
Jersey Highway Authority, Commissioner of the NJ Sports and Exposition
Authority and as the Chief of the Office of Economic Growth for
the State of New Jersey, a cabinet level position in the administrations of
Governor Jon Corzine (D) and Governor Chris Christie (R). During his tenure as New
Jersey’s "Economic Czar,” Mr. Zaro made multiple significant
strides in promoting and improving the business environment in the State
utilizing incentives offered by New Jersey. In this capacity, he had a hand in bringing thousands
of jobs to New Jersey
and helping retain jobs in danger of being relocated out of state.
On April 10, 2018, upon recommendation of New Jersey
Governor Phil Murphy, Mr. Zaro was appointed as the New Jersey Trustee of the
three member Gateway Development Corporation (GDC), to serve alongside the New
York and Amtrak designated Trustees. Mr. Zaro served as Chairman of the GDC in
2019 and now serves as Treasurer. GDC oversees the Gateway Project, a potential
$30 billion infrastructure initiative to build a new rail tunnel under the
Hudson River, a new Portal Bridge over the Hackensack River, an expansion of New
York’s Penn Station, and other ancillary projects which would comprise the
largest current infrastructure project in the United States.
In May 2020, Mr. Zaro was appointed as a Member of Governor Murphy's Restart and Recovery Advisory Council - Facilities and Construction Subcommittee. The Governor’s Restart and Recovery Advisory Council brings together leaders throughout New Jersey to advise state leadership on economic matters impacted by COVID-19.
Mr. Zaro has also worked to make New Jersey a friendlier environment for all businesses. He helped to create and then lead the New Jersey Real
Estate Advisory Board, comprised of the leaders in the industry, to identify
and eliminate red tape, propose pro-business legislation and attract more
businesses to locate in New Jersey. He worked to develop the widely praised Licensed Site
Remediation Professionals Act, which outsources some Department of Environmental
Protection applications to private licensed professionals and fast-tracks the
Mr. Zaro is also engaged in numerous
business and corporate entities. He was
a founder of Ocean Independent
Bank, where he served as chairman, a Member of the Board of Directors
of First DeWitt Bank and Rumson-Fair Haven Bank, as well as Commerce of Bank Shore
N.A., now part of TD Bank. He is also a principal in numerous real estate
companies which acquire, develop, own, manage and operate various properties, consisting of several million square feet,
located in eight states, including office, industrial, warehouse, residential
and retail properties.
Mr. Zaro is also an active breeder and
owner of thoroughbred racehorses, based in New York State. Among the horses he
has campaigned are, most notably Blindwillie McTell, a 3-time NY-bred stake
champion in 2019, as well as Baby Yoda, who recorded the fastest Beyer figures
at both Saratoga and in the United States in 2021.
In addition to his involvement with a
variety of businesses and corporate boards, Mr. Zaro has been engaged with
numerous charitable, governmental organizations and civic affairs.
Mr. Zaro’s experience has earned him recognition in numerous
industry publications, including being ranked #9 on the 2021 NJBIZ “Law Power 50” ranking of the most
influential individuals in New Jersey’s legal profession.