Atlantic City Goes From “Queen of Resorts” to King of Foreclosures

Atlantic City, which had the highest foreclosure rate of any U.S. metropolitan area in 2015, continued to hold that honor in the quarter just ended. Photo | Wikimedia Commons.

Atlantic City, which had the highest foreclosure rate of any U.S. metropolitan area in 2015, continued to hold that honor in the quarter just ended. Photo | Wikimedia Commons

Atlantic City is on a roll. But the dice keep coming up snake eyes.

In this particular case, the bad luck streak pertains to foreclosure activity. The latest figures from RealtyTrac, released yesterday, show the seaside metropolis led all metropolitan areas nationwide in foreclosure activity in the first quarter of 2016, with one in every 106 housing units under a foreclosure filing. Read more »

State Sues Atlantic City as Finances Unravel

Atlantic City at dusk, November 2014

Photo | Dan McQuade

The state of New Jersey is suing Atlantic City, trying to force the municipality to make payments to the city’s public schools instead of making a scheduled payment to employees on Friday.

NJ.com quotes Gov. Chris Christie: “This won’t fix the city’s own financial problems. But it will prevent them from making Atlantic City students and their families collateral damage to their reckless financial games.”

ABC News reports the city owes the district $34 million through July. The lawsuit aims to put the school district “at the front of the line” for any money that Atlantic City, with its foundering casinos, can scrape together.  Read more »

A.C. Teacher Intervenes in Fight, Gets Fired

Atlantic City beach and boardwalk at twilight

Photo | Dan McQuade

An Atlantic City teacher has been fired, accused of using excessive force after intervening in a fight between sixth graders.

The Press of Atlantic City reports Phillip Eisenstein is appealing his firing. The incident took place in October; Eisenstein said that he grabbed the instigator of the fight under the arms and took him to the office at New York School.

“I’d already broken them up two or three times and had them sitting on the bleachers,” he told the paper. “But when they were lining up to leave, the bigger student went after the other one again and had him cornered. I did what I had to do to protect the other student.” Read more »

Harper Lee Called Trump Taj Mahal “The Worst Punishment God Can Devise”

Harper Lee - Trump Taj Mahal

The year was 1990. Harper Lee was writing to a friend in Alabama. She mentioned the Trump Taj Mahal, which had opened earlier that year at the north end of the Atlantic City boardwalk. Lee was not kind to Donald Trump‘s billion-dollar casino.

“The worst punishment God can devise for a sinner,” Lee wrote, “is to make her spirit reside eternally at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City.” Oh, burn!

The letter — dated August 25th, 1990 — is up for sale at Nate D. Sanders Auctions, a Los Angeles auction house once based in Baltimore. It did not return a request for comment; the letter has currently received two bids, with a current price of $1,209. Read more »

Atlantic City: Nothing Will Be Different During 3-Week Shutdown

Don Guardian - Atlantic City mayor; Chris Christie - New Jersey governor

Atlantic City mayor Don Guardian (left) and New Jersey governor Chris Christie.

Come April 8th, Atlantic City is out of cash.

That doesn’t mean the boardwalk is going to crumble like it’s an episode of Life After People. But it does mean the city — which is generally bumpin’ on weekends, no matter the time of year — won’t pay its employees for three weeks.

Mayor Don Guardian said yesterday about 950 city employees have volunteered to work without pay. That’s almost the entire city workforce; Guardian said the city “is not going to look any different” during the government shutdown.

Employees aren’t guaranteed to be paid eventually for those three free weeks of work, though it’s certainly a possibility. But if you’re going to the Atlantic City Beer and Music Festival (Dashboard Confessional and Reel Big Fish are playing!) or the Garden State Film Festival (there’s a movie called Catslaughter screening!), your experience in Atlantic City will not be any different. Read more »

Atlantic City May Stop Paying Employees After April 8th

Atlantic City beach and boardwalk at twilight

Photo | Dan McQuade

UPDATE, 5:30 p.m.: Atlantic City mayor Don Guardian announced City Hall is shutting down on April 8th at 4:30 p.m. It will remain closed until at least May 2nd, when the city is expected to receive it next quarterly tax payments.

Mayor Don Guardian said in a statement employees would not be paid during this time, but that health benefits would continue to be provided. “We are working to ensure that all essential services will continue to be provided from April 8th through May 2nd to the residents of Atlantic City,” the statement said. “Essential services are identified as Police, Fire, Revenue collections, and some divisions in Public Works.”

EARLIER:

Atlantic City’s budget issues are numerous. Now, things may be about to get worse: The city may have to stop paying its employees by April 8th.

Mayor Don Guardian‘s chief of staff, Chris Filiciello, told The Press of Atlantic City the two are in Trenton in an attempt to get a bridge loan that would allow the city to pay its workers until May.

Atlantic City has been dealing with budget issues for the past few years. Its revenue plummeted when four casinos closed in 2014. Then several casinos successfully appealed their property tax bills, leaving the city with another chunk of money to pay out. There was a framework in place for a PILOT program with the remaining eight casinos, but Christie vetoed the bill. He later announced a state takeover — he called it a “partnership” — for Atlantic City. Read more »

A Beacon of Light for Atlantic City, Sort Of

Revel - Atlantic City - Revel ball

Revel on September 1st, 2014, the day before it closed. (Photo: Dan McQuade)

It may not have been the greatest beacon of light, but Atlantic City will take what it can get.

The ball at the top of the Revel lit up earlier this week, as if to remind the town that, yes, a $2.5 billion casino did open here and close less than three years later. (Revel is the tallest building in the city.) Read more »

N.J. Announces Regulations for Skill-Based Casino Video Games

Attack from Mars pinball

The Attack from Mars pinball machine at the Silverball Museum in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Based on the skyline, this pinball game is set in Philadelphia.

New Jersey gambling is going to get a little more exciting soon.

Today, the state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement today legalized more ways to gamble: Namely, it announced temporary regulations for skill-based gaming: Instead of sliding bills into a slot machine where you have no control over whether you win, you’ll be able to play skill-based games for real money in Atlantic City casinos.

“This is another important step towards implementing skill-based gaming in the Atlantic City gaming market,” DGE director David Rebuck said. “Although the Division has had the authority to authorize these games for some time and announced in October 2014 an initiative for manufacturers to bring their skill-based games to New Jersey, the industry requested specific regulations to guide their efforts to create innovative skill-based products.”

The regulations allow game outcomes to be “dependent in whole or in part upon the player’s physical dexterity and/or mental ability.” Slot machines with skill-based elements must pay out at least 83 percent, while games that are entirely skill-based do not have a hold minimum. Games can’t be altered during play in order to make it tougher for a skilled player to win. Read more »

There Will Be an Atlantic City Segment on New Year’s Eve the Next 3 Years

"Miss America 1953 swimsuit competition" by Fred Hess & Son - This image is available from the United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID pan.6a24762.This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons:Licensing for more information. العربية | čeština | Deutsch | English | español | فارسی | suomi | français | magyar | italiano | македонски | മലയാളം | Nederlands | polski | português | русский | slovenčina | slovenščina | Türkçe | українська | 中文 | 中文(简体)‎ | 中文(繁體)‎ | +/−. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Miss America 1953 swimsuit competition” by Fred Hess & Son. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Yesterday, the New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority agreed to pay $12.5 million to keep Miss America in Atlantic City for the next three years. That’s a lot for the city that once ceremonially renamed the street called Miss America Way when the pageant left town for a decade, especially when the event lasts just one week a year.

But wait until you see what the city got for it: Dick Clark Productions, which runs Miss America, is required to produce a live performance from Atlantic City during the Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin Eve TV special for the next three specials. The Inquirer reports the contract even goes through January 1st, 2019. Read more »

Here’s Why Donald Trump’s Opponents Keep Attacking Him Over This Tiny Atlantic City House

Vera Coking House - Atlantic City - 1990s

The Vera Coking House in Atlantic City, photographed by Jack E. Boucher in the early 1990s. (Photo via the Library of Congress)

Jeb Bush attacked Donald Trump about his treatment of a widow in the 1990s on Saturday night.

This isn’t the first time it’s come up. Bush was talking about the saga of Vera Coking, a woman in Atlantic City who refused to sell her home to developers building casinos in the 1980s and ’90s. It wasn’t the first time Trump has been hit with this attack. Ted Cruz, currently Trump’s chief rival for the Republican presidential nomination according to polls, even put out an ad attacking Trump for his battle with Coking.

So why is this battle from the early 1990s getting such attention in the Republican primary? It’s all about Trump’s attempt to use eminent domain on Coking’s Atlantic City house. Read more »

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