Newark mayor Booker under fire for “fighting an expensive personal vendetta” with Devils

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From The Star-Ledger:

Assembly budget officer Declan O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth) is calling Newark Mayor Cory Booker to task over what he deems fiscal mismanagement in the face of millions in state aid.

Citing a series of articles in The Star-Ledger regarding failed deals with the New Jersey Devils, O’Scanlon questioned the wisdom of awarding Newark an additional $24 million in state aid for this year’s budget.

“It appears Mayor Booker has walked away from several deals with the Devils over the last few years,” said O’Scanlon in a statement. “Everything from contractual assumption of risk to a parking agreement has led to discord and litigation. Now, Newark is on the hook to the Devils for $600,000 owed immediately and at least $3.7 million in legal fees to their lawyers. The bills keep piling up.”

The war of words between Booker and the Devils really heated up in April when the mayor called the club’s owner, Jeff Vanderbeek, a “highfalutin, high-class huckster and hustler” after an arbitration ruling called for the city to pay the club $2.7 million a year in parking revenue.

Now it’s Booker coming under attack, with O’Scanlon accusing the mayor of “fighting an expensive personal vendetta with one hand while he has the other hand out expecting state aid.”

The state is threatening to withhold $24 million in aid if the city doesn’t introduce a budget by July 19, and O’Scanlon says he “can not, in good conscience, imagine handing Newark another $24 million when the mayor is continuing to rack up legal fees and costs for litigation that could have been settled months ago.”