New Jersey takes control of Atlantic City, reeling from casino bust

Atlantic City was just taken over by New Jersey
(Image credit: John Moore/Getty Images)

On Wednesday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's (R) administration took control of Atlantic City, approving a five-year takeover to prevent the city, $500 million in debt, from declaring bankruptcy. Atlantic City and its mayor, Donald Guardian (R), had submitted a financial plan to the state government last week, but the state said it was insufficient to right the seaside town's finances. Under state control, the New Jersey Local Finance Board will have the power to overrule the City Council, hire and fire municipal workers, break union contracts, and sell off assets, including the defunct airport and the city's prized water utility.

"It's an incredible responsibility, one that I've lost sleep over the last few weeks," said Timothy Cunningham, head of the finance board. "I'm sure I'm going to lose sleep tonight." Steve Young, a community activist, wasn't sympathetic. "This is an example of what this country could turn out to be under Chris Christie and President-elect Donald Trump, taking away our rights and sovereignty," he told The Associated Press. "Who do we talk to as residents? What will government look like with the state of New Jersey overpowering the residents? We are headed for some bad times, and your city could be next."

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