Chris Christie is in S. Jersey today attempting to make a silk purse out of a sows ear at an event in the unfinished Revel Casino in Atlantic City. I’m filing to be a candidate for State Assembly and I think his ideas for propping up the Revel are hogwash. The Atlantic City Press wouldn’t publish an essay I wrote laying out my complaints with the Governor’s plan, so I reworked into something else, and I’m publishing it right here everybody, because I can. Thank you Blue Jersey.
For immediate press release: From Darmstadt Democrats, 1729 Darmstadt Ave, Mullica Township, 2/1/2011 (aka, my humble abode)
The Tea Party franchise suffers a set back today as first term conservative governor, Chris Christie uses his “tool kit” to resuscitate……
a massive half finished private construction project in Atlantic City that had origins in the pre-recession real estate market noted for “irrational exuberance”
Opponents of big government intervention are scratching their heads remembering the mantra of “too big to fail” now watch incredulously as Christie negotiates with TARP recipient “too-big-to-fail” Wall Street Investment Bank, Morgan-Stanley in an effort to bailout the Revel Casino and Resort. The investment firm will package a “mortgage backed security bond’ to raise over one billion dollars needed to complete the unfinished Revel.
Standard and Poor, who once gave AAA ratings to complex debt instruments such as collateralized debt obligations and credit default swaps to clients like Morgan-Stanley, Lehman Brothers and others, are only rating this bond as a B minus.
Compounding growing concerns of New Jersey citizens, and the competing casinos in Atlantic City, is the fact that Christie, at a ceremony in the atrium of the unfinished Revel later this morning, is supporting a $200 million “use” or sales tax reimbursement as reassurance to investors of this crappy junk rated bond.
The Atlantic City Press quotes Assemblyman John Amodeo, R-Atlantic, as saying “(I) heard Friday from Caren Franzini, head of the state Economic Development Authority, that Revel’s backers had applied for a new Economic Redevelopment and Growth (ERG) grant, which would kick in once the casino opens and would return generated sales-tax revenue to help pay for construction.”
Sen. Jim Whelan, D-Atlantic, confirmed the groups of investors and backers in the casino had applied for a new ERG, which would be heard this week, the Press reported.
On the other side of the issue is last falls Democratic candidate for United States House of Representatives in NJ’s 2nd district, Gary Stein, 54 of Mullica Twp., an owner of a small janitorial service. In a recent interview, he questioned the fairness of “unlevelling” the playing field in Atlantic City, and is concerned about the implicit Government guarantee to back the risky bond if Christie puts the weight and prestige of the governors office behind this endeavor. Stein was quoted as saying, “What’s this future Presidential candidate and Tea Party hero thinking? One, propping up an overextended gambling market. If the economy picks up, what’s next in the bag of tricks? And two, allowing us to get shystered by the same bunch on Wall Street that gouged us before?”
Stein suggested an alternative use for the boardwalk white elephant he calls Lucy, “My approach for dealing with the Revel Casino, is direct and avoids Wall Street voodoo bonds.”
“Take this unfinished relic and just turn it into a University,” he said. “Maybe Atlantic City and beach front is not the ideal place if you were starting from scratch, but the property, and completed outer shell, is available for next to nothing, or will be soon, if the Governor played hardball.”
Stein feels an outraged public could persuade Morgan-Stanley, which has already written off $800,000,000 of it’s Revel investment, to write off the rest and turn over the keys to the state of New Jersey by denying any application for tax abatement’s for starters. “Why bail Morgan out twice; once when it went to the brink in 2007 and took TARP funds, and now again this year. Christie is playing the role of Bush, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson,” Stein- an admirer of the former Secretary- complained.
Stein suggests either a University of the Arts, or Alternative/Green Energy School of Technology, or both, and is suggesting the Governor secure 400 million stimulus dollars in lieu of the 400 million dollar education grant NJ lost in the fall of 2010 due to a clerical error. “There’s a city in desperate need, and half my proposed school is already there!” said Stein. He urges the Governor to do this now while the economy is weak and the Obama Administration is still in a spending mood.
Stein warned, “If this Wall Street “shell game” the Governor is supporting doesn’t pan out and there’s no takers for the junk rated bond in 6 months, the stimulus money that might be there now, could be gone and we’ll have gotten nothing from either Wall Street, or Washington.
Stein urged residents to read more about his “think big” idea, which includes seeking philanthropic contributions from Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Ted Turner to finish construction of the former casino as a University. A small National Park to the north of GBTU (Gates-Buffet-Turner University) on mostly empty beachfront, and a 2016 Democratic National Convention held in Atlantic City to mark it’s rebirth, is something the unannounced 2011 candidate for NJ State Assembly has been throwing around as well.
He proposes using eminent domain to secure the land necessary for the park. He adds, “Conservatives have complained for years that the “Island” should have been bulldozed before casinos were ever built. They shouldn’t have a problem now using a little selective eminent domain. Stein suggested a 1% increase on the sales tax in Atlantic county as way to help pay for idea, and show good faith effort to Trenton lawmakers and officials in Washington.
Stein prays his proposed minor tax increase does not come back to haunt him in this years general election, if voters somehow don’t realize it’s part of an all or nothing package for wowing public officials in Washington, and philanthropists, like the three mentioned above. He assures voters that if a Universityl, a National Park on the ocean, and the 2016 Democrat convention, sprung from the seeds of the old Revel- Atlantic County would get back that tentative one percent sales tax increase- at least 50 times over- in perpetuity.
Concerned that he’ll upset Tea Party activists more than any Christie’s fait accomplis in Atlantic City, Stein joked, “I tell myself not to worry about talk of tax increases and eminent domain. It will never make the front page of any newspaper. And the fact is, certain fat cats have their minds made up.” He added, “By hook or crook, Christie and his boys will finish this project as an enormous Casino saddled with tremendous high interest debt. If it doesn’t fail right away, it will put several other casinos out of business overnight We’ll be right back where we started 3 decades ago. Is that the Governors plan?”
Stein, turning dead serious, reminded voters that if Egyptians can go into the streets and turn out a dictator, the least the voters of Atlantic County can do is throw out an incumbent or two in a free and open election this year. He cautiously added, “if they’re as mad about the economy as I am.”
Before heading out to his work van and next cleaning job, the 2010 Democratic candidate for House of Representative (who’s total outlay was a little over 600 dollars) urged readers to visit his web site and facebook pages.