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Atlantic City sues N.J. for $33.5 million in aid Christie vetoed

Friday, April 22, 2016   (0 Comments)
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NJ.com 04/19/16

Atlantic City officials claimed a legal victory and threw a counterpunch Tuesday in the ongoing battle over how to save the Jersey Shore gambling resort from financial collapse. A state Superior Court judge denied a request by the state to freeze the city's spending until the local government makes all the payments it owes to the city's school district over the next three months. Then, Atlantic City officials filed a counter lawsuit demanding the state pay the city with $33.5 million in aid — money local leaders say they were promised but Gov. Chris Christie vetoed in January and is now tied up in a legislative stalemate. The officials also want a special master to be appointed to oversee the state monitor the Christie administration placed in city hall six years ago to oversee the city's finances. 

The developments come as Christie, state lawmakers, local leaders, and unions continue to argue over how to rescue Atlantic City, which is set to run out of money within weeks and possibly face bankruptcy. Local officials say the state told them to include the $33.5 million in aid in the current city budget. But Christie vetoed the aid package — known as the PILOT bill — twice, even though the second version included changes he sought. The Republican governor said the city had not done enough to fix its issues. Instead, Christie and state Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) have said they will provide the aid if the state Legislature approves a state takeover of the local government for five years.

The lawsuit filed by the city calls for the state to "immediately provide" the aid.It also calls for the state to hand over documents related to financial oversight of the city, a report produced by an emergency manager Christie hired last year, and an ongoing tax appeal fight with the Borgata hotel and casino. And it asks the judge to ban the state from taking any "punitive, retributive or adverse action against the city of Atlantic City." 


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