Glitzy gaming mecca, salty sand dune and coastal swamp; Atlantic City, drained out a little more last week. Looks like open season on those still pillaging local tax dollars. During headier times, moves like these would have never have caused a peep.
The week started with some ace investigative reporting by the Press of Atlantic City’s Christian Hetrick. Surprisingly, the rookie reporter got his MUA story past his typically anti-Trenton, left-leaning editors. Days later, Hetrick reported that AC Water Company, aka: Municipal Utility Authority representative Gary Hill got smacked down. The husband of former AC Councilman John Schultz, Hill was called out for his endorsement of $3,000 bonus checks that MUA colleagues were to receive. Hetrick also revealed that MUA boardmembers received $6,000 salaries and possibly health benefits too. Duting this period, Atlantic City taxpayers were made aware of a MUA rate hike of 10% to boot.
Atlantic City manager; Jeffrey Chiesa, squashed MUA bonus checks PDQ, pretty darn quick.
In other breaking news that AC Primetime predicted a week earlier, CRDA Executive Director; John Palmieri was politely pushed out. As head of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, Palmieri oversaw the investment of nearly $2 billion in casino tax revenues. That pot of cash comes from a 1.25 percent tax (IAT) on gross casino revenue. Hotel, food and other non-gaming revenue is not part of that total.
Palmieri was lauded for achievements like Bass Pro Shop and Atlantic City street paving projects. Unfortunately, he was also at the wheel for questionable expenditures & decisions too:
- Money-losing, lack-luster Atlantic City beach concerts exposed lack of entertainment & marketing smarts inside city.
- Letting Casino’s use their IAT tax share for their own benefit. Dollars should have been used for city’s economic benefit.
- Bad, money losing deal with Live Nation concert promoter. Compare AC with how Wildwood does concert deals.
- Dick Clark Productions and the New Years Rockin’ Eve screw-up. New Orleans will get national exposure, not AC.
- Bad hires & way over-paid. Weak execs at Atlantic City Alliance: Cartmel & Guaracino
Atlantic City wins no award for contract savvy. They likely never read Art of the Deal.
- PILOT Bill. Poor assessments lead to insane, 10 yr. tax revenue plan. Borgata assessed at HALF of true market value.
- Fire-sale prices, buy & hold land acquisitions subsidized by tax dollars: Boraie low-income housing in the Atlantic City Tourism District
- Bart Blatstein’s pending Garden Pier deal.
- Pauline’s Prairie is example of land-banking mismanagement
It should be noted that Palmieri’s severance package seems to have passed muster with some CRDA board members, like Mayor Don Guardian, Gary Hill, Resorts’ Mark Giantonnio, South Jersey’s Chamber chief Deb Di Lorenzo, etc. Unless we missed something, nobody from the CRDA board publicly pushed back on this untimely, yet legal $225,000 severance package to Mr. Palmieri.