A state audit of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority that began almost two years ago is finally nearing completion.
The Office of the State Auditor said it will send its report to CRDA on May 21 and the document will be made public around June 11, after the Authority has had time to make an official response.
CRDA, based in Atlantic City, controls more than $300 million in assets and is one of New Jersey’s largest agencies.
The audit was initially held up last year after CRDA officials requested extra time to submit documents they said were relevant to the report, Route 40 reported. “They asked for time,” said John Termyna, assistant state auditor. CRDA officials said they had some documents that “might sway our report,” he said. CRDA took its time in delivering those materials, which then had to be verified, and the changeover in CRDA management also caused a holdup, Termyna said. In the end, only a few changes were made to the state auditors’ draft report in response to CRDA’s additional information, he said. “We did make some changes (from) what we originally had, but very few,” Termyna said.
CRDA’s firepower has been diminished as the Atlantic City casino industry shrunk in the face of greater competition from neighboring states. But it still made over $74 million from parking, room and other fees and grants in the last fiscal year. The authority is charged with funneling proceeds from casino-related fees back into the local economy. It has come under criticism in recent years as many of its biggest investment projects have focused on the remaining casinos, at a time when poverty and unemployment rates in Atlantic County remain above state and national averages.
The state auditor’s office oversees state entities, and the State Auditor is appointed by the legislature. In an investigation of the Atlantic City-based Division of Gaming Enforcement in 2015, the office uncovered numerous irregularities including official cars being used as private vehicles.