Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Christie Names A.C. Turnaround Team

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Christie Names A.C. Turnaround Team

Article excerpt

Declaring "I can't wait any longer" for Atlantic City to right its continuing financial crisis, Governor Christie on Thursday named corporate finance attorney Kevin Lavin as the struggling city's emergency manager for municipal and school budget issues.

Kevyn Orr, a key player in Detroit's recent bankruptcy saga, was named as a consultant to Lavin.

Christie revealed his appointments to a group of 30 elected officials, casino industry executives and other interested parties at the office of the state Casino Reinvestment Development Authority in the city as part of his third gaming summit since September.

Christie stressed to Mayor Don Guardian -- one of the attendees - - that the move did not negatively reflect on him.

The appointments "are not meant to marginalize or to minimize the role of the mayor and the council," Christie said. "What I'm striving for here is for them to work in partnership.

"We are digging out of an enormous hole that was brought about by a decades-long period of time -- some by bad actions, some just by changed circumstances," Christie said, noting that the city lost four of its 12 casinos in 2014 while a fifth, the Trump Taj Mahal, still struggles to survive. "We need to take aggressive action, and that's the action that I am taking today."

Lavin and Orr both said it was too soon to say if Atlantic City could wind up following Detroit into bankruptcy. But the executive order issued by Christie directs Lavin to produce "a plan to place the finances of Atlantic City in stable condition on a long-term basis by any and all lawful means, including the restructuring of municipal operations and the adjustment of the debts of Atlantic City pursuant to law."

Guardian, who has been wary of state involvement in the city's operations, said after the meeting that it was "premature" for him to assess the appointments.

"We don't know what their jurisdiction is going to be, other than that they are going to be working with us," said Guardian, a Republican who just began his second year in office. …

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