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Atlantic City Casino Reinvestment Development Authority chief resigns

The executive director of the New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) is reportedly resigning.

SymClub
Apr 8, 2024
3 min read
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Casino Reinvestment Development Authority Executive Director Sean Pattwell speaks at the Golden....aussiedlerbote.de
Casino Reinvestment Development Authority Executive Director Sean Pattwell speaks at the Golden Nugget Hotel in Atlantic City on September 26, 2023. Patwell is reportedly preparing to leave the New Jersey government agency..aussiedlerbote.de

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Atlantic City Casino Reinvestment Development Authority chief resigns

The executive director of the New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) is reportedly resigning.

ROI-NJ Sean Patwell will leave his position in the near future, a media outlet that specializes in covering business affairs in the Garden State reported Wednesday. The report did not give a timetable for his departure.

Pattwell joins CRDA as Executive Director on April 1, 2022. Prior to arriving, Patwell worked in the insurance industry. He holds a bachelor's degree and three master's degrees and is currently pursuing a fourth liberal arts degree at Harvard University. The ROI-NJ report states that Patwell will leave the company "to pursue other opportunities."

New Jersey voters passed a referendum in 1976 amending the state constitution to allow casino gambling in Atlantic City, and the state Legislature created the CRDA in 1984.

The 1984 law requires each casino license to remit 2.5% of its gross gaming revenue to the state or reinvest 1.25% of its gaming revenue through the CRDA. Atlantic City's casinos have always chosen to reinvest, although the way state agencies use those funds is certainly not without controversy.

CRDA FUNDING

In addition to collecting 1.25 percent of each casino's physical gaming revenue, the CRDA also collects other taxes and fees generated by the resort. The Casino Reinvestment and Development Authority imposes a "luxury tax" (9%) on hotel revenue, as well as a 3% tax on alcohol sales and a 9% tax on entertainment revenue. CRDA also charges the casino a parking fee of $3 per vehicle per night.

CRDA's mission statement is to reinvest casino revenues and resort taxes into projects and programs to achieve "meaningful, positive change." But in recent years, many Atlantic City residents have questioned whether certain CRDA allocations meet those standards.

The agency has been criticized for its continued financial support of the Miss America pageant, which holds its annual event at Boardwalk Hall. CRDA regularly donates more than $4 million to the Miss America Organization each year. But the agency ended the subsidies after the 2019 show after widespread opposition. The pageant was then held at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut.

A year ago, then-New Jersey Auditor Stephen Eells concluded in an audit of the CRDA that the agency "did not always ensure that its funds were used effectively and efficiently." Ells also discovered accounting discrepancies.

Ells' report also criticized the agency for failing to properly negotiate with third parties, thereby paying exorbitant fees to vendors. Robert Mulcahy, who chaired the CRDA in 2018, defended the agency.

“I want to make sure the public knows that the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority is audited annually by one of the country’s leading independent accounting firms,” Mulcahy said in response to Ells’ findings. “These professional reviews resulted in consistent, clear opinions confirming the design, implementation and maintenance of the agency’s internal controls related to the preparation and fair presentation of financial reports.”

CRDA will soon begin a nationwide search for its next executive director. State employee records show Patwell's salary as executive director of the casino agency is $175,000.

The Atlantic City Journal wrote a profile about Patwell in April, describing a different leadership approach than his predecessor, former CRDA Executive Director Matt Doherty.

[Patwell] has given few interviews since taking office last April and does not appear to have addressed a board meeting. The meeting is still being held remotely and minutes show Patwell was in attendance,” wrote Press reporter Bill Barlow.

"To illustrate this point, Patwell was unable to be reached for an interview. To date, he has not responded to previous requests for comment on news coverage of the CRDA issue, which staff said cannot be scheduled before June," Barlow added. Interview for this story. "

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Source: www.casino.org

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