Should Atlantic County Help Stockton Build 107 Student Apartments in Atlantic City for $654,205 Each?

The Atlantic County Improvement Authority (ACIA) today plans to borrow $70 million, so that Stockton University can build 107 apartments in Atlantic City to house 416 students.  The average cost of each apartment is $654,205.  Isn’t this the real reason why colleges today are so expensive?  Isn’t this  why unsustainable student loan debts are ruining the lives of so many young people for years?

The Authority announced its plans, and invited public commend just two days ago!  The deadline for written comments was yesterday morning, just one day later.  Telephone comments will be permitted at 10 am today.  The Commissioners will then vote later this afternoon at 4 pm.  The Authority was also supposed to borrow another $97 million for a Water Park.  However, that resolution was postponed until next week.

Written comments and notice of public comments were to be submitted to John C. Lamey, executive director of the Authority, at, by 10 a.m. yesterday.  That deadline has passed.

Those wishing to participate in the hearing tomorrow (Thursday) can call in at 800-615-2820 and use the participant code 826559. Public comments can be made during the meeting but will be limited to 5 minutes.

We think this is a very bad idea for many reasons.  If you agree, please call and raise your objections today!

  1. Spending $654,205 for a single four bedroom apartment to house college students is ridiculous!  That is more expensive than most luxury condominium apartments with swimming pools and ocean views!
  2. Debt has already made college unaffordable, and has forced many students and their families to take out mortgage sized student loans.  When Stockton University opened  in 1971, a student could pay for a year of tuition, room and board with a summer of work on the Boardwalk.  Today, the average student spends $26,000 per year to attend Stockton.  Three quarters of Stockton graduates have an average of $30,000 of student loan debt when they graduate.  Many experts have blamed the easy credit of student loans for the explosive increases in college costs.  Before giving helping Stockton build student apartments for $654,205 each, it should ask Stockton to explore less expensive ways to house its Atlantic City students.

3.  Why does Stockton want to borrow $70 million for a $64 million building? Who is getting roughly $6 million in upfront fees, and why?

4.  This culture of unsustainable government debt is destroying America.  The Federal government now has $22.5 trillion ($22,500 billion) debt.  Our national debt is now bigger than the entire US economy! New Jersey State Government was unable to pay the $230 billion in debts it had BEFORE the coronavirus shutdowns.  The NJ Supreme Court just let the State borrow $9.5 billion more to through this year.  What will happen next year when businesses that lost a year of income get tax hikes to pay that money back?  Atlantic County has $156 million in debt.  Atlantic City with 42,000 residents has $400 million in government debt.  The owners of most properties, including casinos, are exempt from paying this debt. Taxes to pay this debt are crushing everybody else.  How can taxpayers (or in this case students and their families) pay more, if most of us are earning less?

  1. Who benefits when Stockton pays for two campuses instead of one? Why doesn’t Stockton cut expenses—and tuition?

7.  Wasn’t Atlantic County asked to “jump-start” its Atlantic City project two years ago?  Weren’t we told that other investors for “jump in” once the project got started?  Where are they?

8.  How long will it take to pay off this debt?  20 years?  25 years?  30 years or longer?

9.  What are the consequences if the project fails?  What if Stockton can’t find enough students to live in the Atlantic City campus?

A.  Will Stockton simply let the apartments to empty, and raise tuition or cut back programs for other students to cover the loss?

B.  Will Stockton rent the apartments out as “affordable housing” to the general public?  Will they be used for rehabilitation programs?

C.  Will Stockton become insolvent and stop paying?

D.  What happens if Stockton stops paying and defaults on the bonds.

E.  Will the State allow a default, or will it force Atlantic County to raise property taxes to pay.  Forget the language in the bonds.  Did New Jersey ever allow any of its government agencies on its bonds?   Didn’t the Governor Whitman force Atlantic County to bail out the Atlantic County Utilities Authority (ACUA) when it defaulted on its $82 million it borrowed for the incinerator it never built?  Didn’t Governor Christie and both Republicans and Democrats raise the gas tax many times to bail out bankrupt Transportation Authority bonds?

F.  If the project fails and the bonds are not paid, who will lose money?  Will government pension funds invest in these risky bonds for political reasons like they did with the worthless “mezzanine” bonds for the failed Revel Casino?

10.  Is a “Black Swan” event possible in Atlantic City during the next 20 to 30 years.   Could a future riot or pandemic force Stockton to close its Atlantic City campus?   Can there be radical changes in online and virtual learning that makes four year, bricks and mortar, live-in colleges obsolete?

11.  Why should Atlantic County government reward Stockton University for indoctrinating its students to hate everything that made America great?

Roy Foster, the Chairman of the Atlantic County  Improvement Authority (ACIA) is also President of the AFL-CIO Central Labor Council for Atlantic and Cape May Counties.  This may explain why his Atlantic County Improvement Authority recently financed a major project in Cape May County.  It may also explain why the AFL-CIO Central Labor Council s promoting the same “woke” “Workers First Agenda” promoted by radical leftist professors at Stockton University.  That agenda actually puts American workers last.  It cuts American jobs and lowers wages by promoting massive illegal immigration, America-last trade deals with China, raising energy and health care costs.

  1. Years ago, Communist leader Vladimir Lenin said, “The businessman (capitalist) will sell us the rope we will hang him with”. Does this explain why nobody is challenging the indoctrination at Stockton that is destroying America?  Are the administrators and professors at Stockton, the big Wall Street banks and lawyers doing the financing, and the big union contractors doing the building getting rich by destroying America?
  1. Are Board Members in conflict of interest? Roy Foster the Chairman of the nine member Atlantic County Improvement Authority.  He is also President of the Atlantic and Cape May Counties Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO.  Is it a conflict of interest for Foster to use his position to borrow $70 million on projects that directly benefit him and his employer–the union that will collect dues from members working on this project?

 14.  Don Guardian, a former mayor of Atlantic City, is also on the nine member Board.  Guardian also just announced that he is a candidate for the NJ Assembly.  Will he get political support from Roy Foster’s unions if he votes to borrow that $167 million?

We didn’t have much time to prepare.  The public notice was not published until Tuesday, two days ago!  The actual original notice in the Press of Atlantic City was apparently removed for some unknown reason.

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Thank you.

Seth Grossman, Executive Director



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2 thoughts on “Should Atlantic County Help Stockton Build 107 Student Apartments in Atlantic City for $654,205 Each?”

  1. WHY.. was a Satellite University even BUILT (on PRIME property) when there was a University (with accessible public transportation) within 20-30 minutes ride?

    1. Seth Grossman

      Short answer: In 2015, Atlantic City government was on brink of collapse because it had lost 2/3 of property tax base with collapse of casino business. Republican Gov. Christie took over City’s finances in 2010, but refused to cut spending. As a result, City was spending $80 million more per year than it was taking in, in direct violation of NJ Local “Balanced Budget” Law. Christie allowedc this to continue for 6 years, and for City’s debt to increase by $480 million, because Christie was busy running for President. Christie didn’t want messy problems with public employee unions, as with his then chief rival for nomination, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. To distract from his failure to control spending and debt, Gov. Christie had Jon Hanson set up a plan to “fix” Atlantic City. Hanson brought Chris Paladino in to repeat in Atlantic City, what Paladino did to New Brunswick with the “New Brunswick Development Corp”. In New Brunswick, Paladino gave himself a salary of $620,000, and put City $250 million in debt to build various public buildings. His project also got a $20 million CRDA loan, which was still not paid back. In Atlantic City, the State bullied South Jersey Gas into building commercial offices on the Boardwalk, and “persuaded” Stockton University to build a second campus in Atlantic City. This “development” did nothing but raise costs and prices for both South Jersey Gas Co. and Stockton College by having them borrow money to pay for buildings they did not want and did not need. Seth Grossman

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