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The question now is how big of a step this is toward Gov. Phil Murphy lifting the takeover completely.

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Gov. Phil Murphy is removing a longtime Chris Christie ally as head of the state takeover of Atlantic City — though the takeover itself will remain.

Murphy announced Monday the state is ending Jeff Chiesa’s role as the state designee in charge of the controversial takeover within 30 days.

Christie picked Chiesa — a longtime friend who once served as state attorney general under Christie and was appointed U.S. senator by the Republican governor — to oversee the five-year takeover shortly after it was instituted in November 2016.

The state seized control of many functions of Atlantic City’s government because the seaside gambling resort teetered on the brink of bankruptcy.

Murphy could be hedging on his vow to end state takeover of Atlantic City

Chiesa’s West Orange law firm has since billed the state millions for its work — with Chiesa himself making $400 an hour, and his associates making slightly less.

But Murphy, the Democrat who succeed Christie in January, announced control of the takeover will now revert back to the state Department of Community Affairs.

That department is overseen by Murphy’s lieutenant governor, Sheila Oliver, who has long been an opponent of the takeover.

Technically, the DCA has always overseen state control. Chiesa, though, has been the state’s point man.

Former U.S. Sen. Jeff Chiesa (left) and Gov. Chris Christie (right) are shown in a file photo.Tony Kurdzuk | NJ Advance Media for

The news isn’t a surprise. Murphy was expected to replace Chiesa eventually.

The question now is how big of a step this it is toward Murphy lifting the takeover completely.

Under the legislation Christie signed, state control could last until 2021.

Though Murphy campaigned on ending the takeover, he was less adamant when asked about it in February, saying that the state will be a “partner” with the city.

He made similar remarks Monday.

“The economic revitalization of Atlantic City is critical to advancing our overall state economy,” Murphy said in a statement. “The actions we are taking today will ensure we are working in full partnership with the city to ensure economic growth and empowerment for all Atlantic City residents.”

Oliver said the DCA will “continue to play an active role in Atlantic City to build …read more

Source:: New Jersey Real-Time News


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Murphy axing Christie ally as head of Atlantic City takeover

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