The Michaels Organization, a national leader in residential real estate, announced that CEO John J. O'Donnell has taken a leave of absence.

O’Donnell, 61, is stepping away “to focus on vigorously defending himself against allegations announced in an indictment on June 17, 2024, by the New Jersey State Attorney General,” said the company in a statement.

Adobe Stock/Christopher Boswell

Mark Morgan, who has served Michaels for more than 35 years, most recently as chief operating officer, has assumed the CEO role, effective immediately. Joe Purcell, chief financial officer for more than 20 years, will continue in his current position.

"John O'Donnell has been a trusted colleague and industry leader for more than 30 years and has our organization's full support during this difficult time," Morgan said. "Our organization’s focus remains, as always, on our mission of crafting housing solutions that jump-start education, civic engagement, and neighborhood prosperity, and on creating communities that lift lives.”

The indictment does not name The Michaels Organization as a company and is limited in scope to two properties along the Camden waterfront: one office tower and one market-rate apartment community, said the firm.

Headquartered in Camden, the company is the nation’s largest owner of affordable housing. It is also active in market-rate, student, and military housing.

On June 17, New Jersey attorney general Matthew J. Platkin and the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability announced the filing of criminal charges against six defendants following a yearslong investigation of George E. Norcross III and his associates in South Jersey and elsewhere.

The 13-count indictment alleges that through a series of unlawful acts, the Norcross Enterprise obtained property and property rights on the Camden waterfront for itself and others and influenced government officials to further the interests of the enterprise, according to state officials.

Six people, including O’Donnell, were charged with first-degree racketeering and other counts, said a news release from attorney general's office.