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Atlantic City To New Jersey On Possible Takeover: Back Off Or We'll Sue

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ (CBS) -- Barring a reversal of the rejection of Atlantic City's 5 year financial recovery plan by the state of New Jersey, it appears any attempt to take over most municipal operations will be met with a lawsuit to block it.

The Department of Community Affairs determined the plan did not provide financial stability to the city. Mayor Don Guardian disagrees, and believes DCA made a number of errors in their assessment. Errors the city will correct by resubmitting its plan by the close of business Thursday.

"We're taking the opportunity, line by line through the 75 pages, to respond to their concerns," Guardian told reporters and residents at a press conference. "We're going to name the inaccuracies they have in the report and providing the backup detail that they said they weren't aware of."

Assuming there's no change, the Local Finance Board could decide as early as next week whether to takeover and to what extent. Guardian promises a lawsuit if it comes to that, insisting the city has a financial plan, while the state doesn't.

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For his part, one of the architects of the financial plan believes it did not stand much of a chance.

"The effort here wasn't to have the plan reviewed to see if it would work," Attorney Ed McManimon said. "It was to see what's wrong with it around the edges. And that's what they did."

There was no comment from Governor Chris Christie's office to the remarks made in Atlantic City, with his Press Secretary referring all calls to DCA. A spokeswoman for the agency, Tammori Petty, issued the following statement late Wednesday afternoon.

"Commissioner Richman categorically rejects any claim that his decision was disingenuous, inaccurate, misinformed, politically-motivated, or guided by anything other than the requirements of the Municipal Stabilization and Recovery Act and the City's Plan. Any items for consideration should have been addressed during the 150 days provided to the City to prepare its Plan and then included in the Plan as required by the Act."

"The Commissioner, Department staff, and consultants analyzed the numbers and information provided by the City in order to determine whether the City's Plan was likely to achieve financial stability in accordance with the Act. It was a fair examination; the Commissioner and his Team stand by the decision."



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