Chris Christie's Bad Bet: Taxpayer Funded Casino to File for Bankruptcy
An Atlantic City casino New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) touted as "the model for the future" last year after he authorized millions of dollars in taxpayer funds for its construction is slated to file for bankruptcy after failing to make a profit.
The Wall Street Journal reports the Revel Casino will file Chapter 11 protection in the coming weeks, less than a year after it opened. The casino carried about $1.5 billion in debt and expects to have agreements with creditors that will reduce "the casino's obligations by more than $1 billion."
Even after Morgan Stanley "abandoned the project before construction was complete and wrote down nearly its entire $1.25 billion investment" in 2011, Christie decided to invest taxpayer dollars into the casino, saying if the casino succeeded, it would be a sign that "Atlantic City is back."
According to an April 2012 report, Christie gambled on the casino, backing "the stalled construction of Revel with $261.4 million in state tax credits over the next 20 years," even as mayors saw some red flags. In addition, Christie also "approved $2.6 million in employee-training grants for the casino," which was "on top of additional millions previously pledged through local tax breaks and $20 million in infrastructure funding from the state’s Casino Reinvestment Development Authority."
The Daily Journal noted that Christie, "like a savvy actor," had "repeatedly used the dramatic casino project as a stage prop," visiting the casino "in February 2011 to sign several bills" and again in March of 2011 to shake hands with construction workers and Revel employees.
Christie, at the time, "said the project should draw investment back to the city as Revel’s presence shifts the market away from its recent past and more toward conventions and a destination resort."
“This is the model for the future,” Christie said in 2012.
Christie's advisers still believe, according to the Journal, that a"rejuvenated" casino will remain an integral part of Atlantic City.