Wednesday, August 24, 2022
Atlantic County won yet another victory in its legal battles with the State of New Jersey regarding the casino PILOT legislation.
County Executive Dennis Levinson announced that on Monday, August 22, 2022, Superior Court Judge Michael J. Blee awarded Atlantic County more than $176,000 in attorney fees and costs in this case.
“Judge Blee ruled in July the state made a calculated decision to willfully violate multiple court orders when it shortchanged the county on its scheduled May 15, 2022 payment. His decision on Monday reaffirmed that,” stated Levinson.
While Levinson is pleased with the decision, he admits it comes at a cost.
“The rulings have been in our favor yet the state continues to file motions to prolong the court proceedings,” he said. “While we win, the taxpayers in Atlantic County and throughout the state lose. They ultimately foot the bill for the state’s decision to keep us in court.”
“Sometimes you need to know when to fold,” Levinson added. “The state appears to have little regard for this unnecessary waste of taxpayer money.”
Levinson vowed to fight for the taxpayers in Atlantic County when he first challenged the original PILOT and won a settlement in 2018 to guarantee them their fair share of casino payments. He then challenged the 2021 PILOT amendment that would reduce those payments by as much as $25 million through the remaining years of the PILOT. In 2022, two Superior Court judges found he was correct in that the state had violated the court-ordered settlement and must continue to make payments to the county based on the 2018 formulas.
The state has filed multiple motions to challenge the court’s findings.
“Despite the rulings in our favor, the state cannot accept the court’s decisions. It’s a poor example of leadership by not doing what is in the best interest of those you serve,” he concluded. “Unfortunately, it’s easy for the state to spend other’s people’s money.”