New York Outguns New Jersey in Casino Expansion Campaign

The campaign to oppose the expansion of casino gaming in the north of New Jersey was entirely funded by New York-based people and organizations, data analyzed by Route 40 shows. Even though a small chunk of the campaign’s funding came from an individual and company with ties to Atlantic City’s Resorts, the data suggests that it was New York interests that felt most threatened by the possible arrival of casinos to the north of New Jersey. You can download – for a small fee – here our full electronic database of expenses and contributions for both sides of the Public Question #1 campaigns. The Trenton’s Bad Bet campaign – which raised about $14.5 million in total – received $9 million from Genting Group, a Malaysian company that operates the Resorts World Casino NYC. A further $3.5 million came from Yonkers Racing, which operates the Empire City Casino, and Empire Resorts which operates the Monticello Raceway, according to data obtained from filings made to date with the Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC).

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CRDA, Miss America And Boardwalk Hall

The Miss America Organization is getting 1,800 square feet of prime Atlantic City real estate from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority for $1,500 a month, according to CRDA, but the nonprofit pageant says it’s not a done deal. “We are currently in discussions, and there is no further information at this time,” said a spokesperson for the Miss America Organization in an email, after we sent them a copy of a CRDA press release announcing their new office-space arrangement. Miss America Organization currently has office space at The Claridge and it was not immediately clear what would happen to that space. CRDA said the lease, which will start in April, was signed between the organization and Spectra Venue Management, which operates Boardwalk Hall and The Convention Center. When we questioned the price of the lease, they told us that the office space is “not upscale or highly visible and it features no windows.”

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State begins audit of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority

The Office of the State Auditor has begun scrutinizing the books and records of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, an official told Route 40 on Tuesday. CRDA, an Atlantic City-based government agency responsible for investing casino taxes and other government funds for economic development, has spent $2 billion on state-wide projects since its 1984 inception but it has rarely been put under the microscope. A spokeswoman for CRDA declined to comment on the audit. Some of its biggest projects in the last few years have paid for casino expansions, including $15 million spent on the Borgata night club and private pool project last year and almost $19 million spent on Tropicana’s boardwalk “enhancement” in 2014. Adding to its influence in Atlantic City, CRDA has been tasked with land use regulation and enforcement in the Tourism District (which includes the casino areas) since 2011.

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You’re a sucker if you’re paying more than $1 for year-round AC parking

A law firm is paying the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) just $1 a year for 10 sweet parking spaces in the Authority’s swanky gated lot in Atlantic City, according to a document released to Route 40 as part of a freedom-of-information request. The lot abuts Gordon’s Alley, an historic Atlantic City retail lane, where businesses and workers said they’ve been adversely affected by the lack of convenient parking. The agreement between CRDA and the law firm is ridiculous for a few reasons:

The other weekend, I rode the jitney and met people who live and work in Atlantic City (and pay their taxes) and who can’t afford to drive to work because the parking costs* in this crazy city are too high. Apparently, they’re just not working for the right companies. CRDA’s main source of revenue is from parking fees.

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A Surreality Tour of Atlantic County

Living around here can be a surreal experience at times, so we decided to photograph a few of our favorite surreal places in the county. Do you live or visit this area? Do you drive by or live near a bizarre building or abandoned lot? Do you want to know more about it? We’d love to hear from you by email, on Twitter or Instagram – we’d be surprised if we couldn’t add more to this list and we’re up for some local research. We’re pretty sure there are some crazy stories behind these crazy places.

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Atlantic City investment agency fails to publish annual report on time

The New Jersey agency charged with investing proceeds from Atlantic City’s casino business to create jobs and otherwise benefit the South Jersey region has failed to publish its annual report by its May 1 due date. A spokeswoman for the agency, known as the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA), said its board had not yet approved the annual report. “They are meeting again on 5/17, I’m not sure if it will be on the agenda for that meeting,” spokeswoman Karen Martin added in an email. As a government agency, the CRDA has to publish audited annual financial statements. These help taxpayers see how the agency is being run and how it is spending its money.

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