Decades before casino gambling was even a thought in Atlantic City, the city developed a long storied history of graft and corruption. While organized crime festered and politicians used the city as a personal piggy bank, the city enjoyed a dedicated police department and fire service for well over a century. Thankfully, those dedicated men and women were providing outstanding services regardless of the political and criminal environment that surrounded them.
So in November 2016 along comes the Municipal Stabilization Recovery Act. Say what you want about the broad reaching authority the act bestows on a very few, some parts of the act have certainly given the city an opportunity to return to a fiscally responsible and vibrant city once again. We all hope that happens very soon. The part of the MSRA that disgusted me then and disgusts me even more today is the power that was given to a few individuals to literally decimate the public safety agencies and the citizens they serve and protect. Unfortunately that is an opinion for another day.
On Sept. 11, State Auditor Stephen Eels released an audit of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority. The CRDA is one of New Jersey’s largest agencies and controls more than $300 million in assets. The audit was conducted for the period Jan. 1, 2014, through Dec. 31, 2017. If you live in Atlantic City or have any interest whatsoever in its economic vitality, I urge you to read the 29 page audit. Please don’t read the 15 page rebuttal from the CRDA, it’s a laughable work of fiction. Way too little and too late to ease the suffering of public safety professionals and restore the level of public safety enjoyed prior to 2016.
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