January 23, 2017

Why Did The Casino Association Ask A Norcross To Lobby CRDA?

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The Casino Association of New Jersey last year hired Philip Norcross, brother of Democrat power-broker George, to lobby the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) on the topic of “economic development,” according to lobbying records.

In recent years, Atlantic City casinos have received millions of dollars from CRDA for investments in their own properties, but last year, as part of the city takeover legislation, CRDA saw that chunk of its budget diverted to pay off city debt.

A spokeswoman for The Casino Association of New Jersey, which includes all seven of Atlantic City’s remaining gaming properties, declined to give any details on its lobbying activity. A spokeswoman for CRDA did not immediately respond to a request for comment and Norcross did not return messages left on Friday.

The lobbying records show that Norcross’ Optimus Partners also lobbied the legislature on behalf of the Casino Association on the topic of the takeover legislation. The agents from Optimus Partners who represented the Casino Association were Norcross, Karin Elkis, Jeffrey Michaels and Kevin Davis, the records show.

It is not yet clear how much the Casino Association spent on its lobbying effort last year – that data will be released in the spring. The association paid Optimus Partners $175,500.00 for other lobbying activities in 2015, records show.

Optimus Partners’ other clients last year include New Jersey American Water, Comcast, Atlantic City Electric and Philadelphia developer Bart Blatstein’s Pier Renaissance.  Philip Norcross also lobbied CRDA on behalf of Pier Renaissance, the records show.