Atlantic County Republican chairman Keith Davis today accused the Corzine Administration of “singling out Atlantic City for state oversight in land development projects while turning an official blind eye toward the history of corruption involving land deals in other major cities in the state.”
Davis said the legislation, signed quietly and without comment by the Governor, establishes the state Local Finance Board as the oversight authority for land development projects and restricts it to municipalities with legalized casino gaming.
“It’s practicing special legislation at its worst,” Davis said, “and is designed solely to wrest control of the future development of Bader Field out of the hands of local government.”
“Two weeks ago, we witnessed former Newark Mayor Sharpe James being sentenced to Federal prison after being convicted on fraud and conspiracy charges involving the sale and development of municipally owned land,” Davis said. “Yet, the bill signed into law by the Governor was amended to exempt cities like Newark and Camden, for example, from its state oversight provisions.”
“By signing the legislation, the Governor has made a clear statement that his administration considers Atlantic City government to be untrustworthy while ignoring the very recent history of corruption in Newark,” Davis said. “State Sen. Jim Whelan, who failed to call for the resignation of James from the Senate when James was indicted, obviously shares the Governor’s view of the City government.”
“Why the double standard?” Davis asked. “Crafting legislation singling out one municipality for state control over land development is not only poor public policy but a case of selective ethics as well.”
“The future of Bader Field is crucial to the economic future of Atlantic City and the entire region and great care must be exercised to assure its’ development is carried out openly and honestly,” Davis said. “The same approach should apply to every other municipality in the state and it’s difficult to understand why the governor feels it’s only necessary here.