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State gets temporary stay in paying out millions to Atlantic County

The state will have at least three more weeks before it has to pay the more than $2.3 million it allegedly owes Atlantic County..

Superior Court Judge Michael Blee handed the county a multimillion-dollar win last week, giving the state five days to pay $2,362,500 it owes as part of the Casino PILOT, or payment in lieu of taxes. That deadline is today.

The state’s lawyer called the timeframe “burdensome,” and filed a motion to stay the payout for appeal.

Blee will hear that motion Aug. 26, which in essence gives the state at least three weeks before it must pay out millions.

By then, the state also would owe on of two increased payments due Aug. 15, under Blee’s ruling. The second would be due Nov. 15.

It’s the state’s failure to pay its share of the Casino Property Tax Stabilization Act that has been a burden on Atlantic County, according to issues raised in court.

The state’s “willful violation of the Court’s Order had a significant negative impact on County services,” Blee wrote his opinion.

Those cuts included meal delivery and nutrition sites for senior citizens and disabled residents, an in-home flu and COVID-19 vaccination program and a county opioid response program, Blee wrote, citing Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson.

The state filed a brief with the Appellate Division on Tuesday, asking for “emergent handling of a motion for a stay of the July 29, 2022 order that was simultaneously submitted to this court,” Appellate Judge Clarkson Fisher Jr. wrote in Thursdays decision.

Now that court will wait to see what Blee has to say first, putting the payouts on hold for now.

The only thing that does continue from Blee’s July 29 decision is on attorneys’ fees.

The state must pay the county’s attorneys’ fees, with those costs due to be filed by the county today.

Attorney Ronald Riccio has done that, he told BreakingAC.

“We look forward to the county’s continued success in our effort to recapture the monies the state should have been paying to the county,” he said.

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