Judge to rule by May 2 on state’s request for PILOT law reconsideration | Local News

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ATLANTIC CITY — A former judge was wrong to rule that changes to the Casino Payments in Lieu of Taxes Act violated a 2018 court settlement with Atlantic County, and that penalties against the State would be determined by the court, attorneys for the state argued in Superior Court Monday.

The hearing on the state’s request for reconsideration in the case took place before Assignment Judge Michael J. Blee, who said he would rule by May 2.

State attorney Ron Israel argued that Superior Court Judge Joseph Marczyk should have limited his Feb. 25 ruling to whether or not the law should be prevented from going into effect.

Instead, Israel said Marczyk went further and found the consent order to have been breached. The state filed the request for reconsideration on March 17.

According to Israel, of Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi, the state had only discussed the issue of imposing the law and had no idea that the issue of the consent order would arise, and therefore did not come up. prepared to discuss this point.

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Marczyk’s order did not prevent the law from going into effect, except for the violation of the settlement with Atlantic County. The judge said a later hearing would focus on damages and/or penalties against the state.

“We ask that you rescind the finding that the amendments violated the consent order because that was not… what the state responded to,” Israel said.

Due process requires giving the state the opportunity to respond to the consent order in a separate hearing, Israel said.

Ron Riccio, representing the county, argued that it was clear from the communication on the case that the issue of the 2018 consent order would be key to the question of whether the law should be prevented from being promulgated.

“Judge Marczyk’s decision deserves respect for your honor,” said Riccio of McElroy Deutsch. “They made no allegation of a substantial error of law…or that any legal principles were violated in any way.”

Riccio said he submitted “at least 10 different occasions in which the defendants were warned that the county considered the alterations a violation of the consent order.”

Blee said he took over the case from Marczyk, who was temporarily reassigned to the Court of Appeals. Motions for reconsideration are generally heard by the same judge who made the order in question.

Atlantic County sued the state to prevent the amended PILOT Act from taking effect, saying the changes would cost the county $15 million to $26 million through 2026 over the original PILOT Act. It was this PILOT law that was key to the 2018 settlement order, according to the county.

The law passed quickly in December and was signed by Governor Phil Murphy a few days before Christmas.

The new law significantly reduced casino payouts from what they would have been if the original PILOT Act had been maintained – primarily by removing online sports betting and internet gambling from gross gambling revenue calculations.

Under the consent order, the county was to obtain approximately 13% of PILOT funds calculated under the 2016 law. games.

The original PILOT casino law was enacted to help stabilize Atlantic City’s finances, after successful casino property tax appeals and competition from other regional casino markets nearly put the city bankrupt.

“All we want them to do is stick to their deal, honor their commitments,” Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson said.

JOURNALIST: Michelle Brunetti

609-841-2895

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