A.C. Will Face Major Budget Cuts if Christie Signs Rescue Bills

Photo | Dan McQuade

Photo | Dan McQuade

The future of Atlantic City is now in Gov. Chris Christie‘s hands. Or, rather, his pen.

A pair of state aid packages passed the Assembly and Senate today and are now awaiting Christie’s signature. The bills give the city 150 days to come up with five-year fiscal plan for balanced budgets. If Christie signs them, the city would have to cut roughly $100 million in its fiscal plan.

The city will get about $56 million for the 2017 state budget, with the money coming in state aid and redirected casino funds.

Both bills passed the assembly in the early afternoon. The Senate passed them later in the day.

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Soon, You May Be Able to Drink on the Atlantic City Boardwalk

Atlantic City beach bar sign

A beach bar in Atlantic City. (Photo: Dan McQuade)

Soon, you might be able to stroll down the boardwalk in Atlantic City with a beer in your hand.

If you’re a regular visitor to Atlantic City, there’s a chance you’ve already done this — maybe during the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, or maybe just with a drink you snuck out of a boardwalk-adjacent bar. But you’ve actually been breaking the city’s open-container law.

The city may soon vote to allow the drinking of alcoholic beverages on the boardwalk, under certain conditions, between Albany Avenue (south of the old Atlantic Club/Hilton casino) and Metropolitan (just north of the old Revel casino). That’s the entire casino stretch of the boardwalk. Read more »

Third Time’s A Charm: Garces Is Headed Back To Atlantic City

Tropicana Casino in Atlantic City

Photo | Dan McQuade

So, I’m guessing no one has told the Iron Chef that Atlantic City is going through a bit of a rough patch, huh?

Or maybe Jose Garces just doesn’t care. Maybe he knows something we don’t. Maybe, at the tail-end of a $40 million renovation, the Tropicana in Atlantic City just looked like too good of a bet not to take (see what I did there?).

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Bernie on the Boardwalk: Sanders Bashes Trump at Atlantic City Rally

Bernie Sanders - Atlantic City

Bernie Sanders speaks at a campaign rally at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall on May 9th. (Photo | Dan McQuade)

In the building where Donald Trump once held Mike Tyson prizefights and World Wrestling Federation world championship matches, Bernie Sanders spoke before a crowd in Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City this morning. The assembled masses were as boisterous as the ones at the WrestleMania events once hosted there by Trump.

“I don’t have to tell you too much about Donald Trump,” Sanders said at the rally. “You know more than most Americans … what we’re seeing in Atlantic City capsulizes the ugliness and the greed we’re seeing all over the country.”

Trump once owned three casinos in Atlantic City, but lost them through a series of bankruptcies. He still brags about the money he made in Atlantic City, and considered his time there a success. That stance is ripe for Sanders to hit with his message of economic populism, as he did at the seaside resort that is on the verge of bankruptcy. “Don’t tell me it makes any sense for Wall Street billionaires to be profiting while the people of Atlantic City are suffering,” Sanders said. Read more »

Chris Christie: 10 Days to Avert Atlantic City Bankruptcy

Chris Christie

Chris Christie speaking at today’s press conference on the Atlantic City state takeover bill. (Still from NJTV livestream; used under a Creative Commons license)

“We’re either going to do it, or Atlantic City is going to be bankrupt.”

Those were the words from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at a late-afternoon press conference today, speaking about series of Atlantic City state takeover bills that he wants the legislature to pass as soon as possible. According to Christie, Atlantic City will run out of cash in about 10 days.

“We don’t have time to dawdle here,” Christie said. “It’s 10 days.… I am not going to permit the taxpayers of New Jersey to be fleeced again.” Christie supports a bill, proposed by Democratic Senate President Steve Sweeney, that allows the state to take over large swaths of city government for five years. Read more »

Atlantic City Makes Bond Payments, Avoids Default (For Now)

Photo | Dan McQuade

Photo | Dan McQuade

Atlantic City made a $1.8 million bond payment this morning, but Mayor Don Guardian could not guarantee at this point the city would make its bond payment next month.

“I wanted to make sure I didn’t put the bonds before payroll, before schools, before anyone else,” Guardian said. “But if we didn’t make our bond payment, it would be detrimental to everyone, including us.” The mayor said the city would be able to meet payroll this month, and expected to make a payment to the school district on May 15th.

Atlantic City had considered skipping the bond interest payment in order to make payroll, which would make it the first New Jersey municipality since the 1930s to default on a bond payment. Read more »

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 »

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