Projects in South Jersey got a disproportionate chunk of the money awarded under tax incentive programs that are now under scrutiny by lawmakers and the state comptroller.
The eight South Jersey counties, which account for a little more than a quarter of the state’s population, received almost $2 billion and some of the single biggest incentives from $4.8 billion awarded over the last five years, according to a Route 40 analysis of two New Jersey Economic Development Authority programs.
The owner of the Atlantic Club, one of Atlantic City’s oldest shut casinos, has agreed to sell the property to a businessman with ties to the city.
Property documents filed with the county in January show that TJM, the Florida-based Atlantic Club owner, reached an agreement to sell the property to Jeffrey Smolinsky and his company, North American Acquisitions.
Fire Dept I + II Ventnor city council introduced a bond ordinance for $3.3 million to replace the fire house on Wellington Ave., which no longer meets FEMA standards and has “outlived its usefulness,” according to this story from Nanette LoBiondo. Chief Cahill said he’s leading tours of the facility to show any doubters the place is indeed a wreck. He seemed serious. Elsewhere in Fires, Lynda Cohen reports that ACFD dealt with two suspected arsons on Saturday afternoon, within a half hour of one another. Both were vacant homes.
Katie Sobko and Kristie Cattafi of the North Jersey Record have a delightful story on the money towns spend in Atlantic City at the New Jersey League of Municipalities conference every year–$30 for an omelet, for instance. A meal for one councilman cost $1,063. Meanwhile, vendors, who are also trying to get your towns to give them your money and presumably have a decent success rate, host cocktail parties and cigar nights and happy hours, etc.
Phil Murphy added opioid addiction to the list of conditions for which a person can be prescribed medical marijuana. The Murphy admin also removed the prior-authorization requirement for opioid treatments involving medication. The governor said they would be opening treatment centers in Camden and Newark.
Businesses and other organizations in Atlantic County are offering to help workers who have been furloughed because of the government shutdown. Here is a list of current offers for workers and places where members of the public can donate food.
Longtime local acting coach Ursula Ryan, who ran Weist-Barron-Ryan studios, died last week and you should read Vincent Jackson’s story.
“Through Weist-Barron-Ryan, actors were cast in TV shows such as ‘Blue’s Clues,’ ‘Sex and the City’ and ‘The Nanny,’ commercials or industrial films for Caesars Atlantic City, Ryder Truck Rental and One Stop Car Audio.”
The budget and appropriations committee in the state senate forwarded a bill that would require groups that spend at least $3,000 to influence elections/policy in New Jersey to disclose their donors. There’s also a $10,000 threshold that triggers disclosures.
The primary sponsors are Troy Singleton and Linda Greenstein in the senate.
Happy Thursday Campers. Hope you’re having a great morning. Mayor Gilliam was at the City of Atlantic City City Council meeting last night, his first appearance in a while, but he kind of kept a low profile. Gilliam’s father, Frank McCoy Gilliam, Sr., died earlier this month, and the council offered condolences. Thanks to Michelle Brunetti Post of the Press of AC for her thorough story which supplied those details on the mayor’s father, as well as many others.
Carl Icahn appealed the taxes on the Taj Mahal and was given a refund by whatever or whoever is deputized to make the decision to give rich people their taxes back in New Jersey. I don’t have a platoon of accountants handy to explain it to me.
NJ Cannabis Insider and NJ Advance Media are reporting that Chris Brown is one of three Republicans in the state senate that may provide the decisive votes in favor of marijuana legalization. In exchange the trio wants funding for addiction treatment (especially outpatient opioid treatment), funding for the 911 system and reimbursement for municipalities to train “Drug Recognition Experts” to test drivers suspected of operating a vehicle under the influence of marijuana. Bateman has said drugged driving is the biggest issue ahead of legalization, but training the experts (in a state with 565 municipalities) is likely to be very expensive. A spokesman for the senator said told Route 40 Brown continued to have an open mind on the legislation.
Old Revel The A.P. reports somebody bought a majority stake in the casino property formerly known as the Revel, and Bruce Deifik, who bought it from Glenn Straub, is keeping a “small, non-controlling interest.” Tyner Suit Current and former employees of the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office filed their lawsuit against Damon Tyner etc., as advertised, alleging a culture of sexism, cronyism and impropriety. The suit also names First Assistant Prosecutor Cary Shill and Deputy First Assistant Prosecutor Mario Formica. In a statement, Tyner said, “The plaintiffs are living in an alternative universe. The very same conduct they accuse me…of committing was actually carried out by them and others during their brief, ineffective period of leadership…”
The Philly Inquirer reports that the former Revel/TEN is “possibly headed back on the market” and faces outstanding construction liens for $1.1 million. Not to diminish the importance of lenderly people fighting over their money, but lots of those casinos have liens and this/these one(s) involve the manager of the nightclub, Joey Morrissey, who is suing the new owner, Bruce Deifik, and this lawsuit is what’s alleging Deifik wants to sell. I love the Spotlight but here are two side-by-side stories: One is $11 billion in tax credits to New Jersey businesses, given out with defective oversight. The other is an op-ed from the head of the NJ Chamber of Commerce that we need to stop ignoring the “needs of NJ’s business community.” A bright fireball appeared in the sky over NJ the other day.
County Prosecutor Damon Tyner is facing a lawsuit over gender discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace. This follows up on the mortgage-fraud allegations and allegations Tyner futzed around in the Kauffman case improperly.