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Morning Briefing 11/20/14

ATLANTIC CITY

Stunned. Shocked. Surprised. What other response could there be, following news a big-time investor is walking away from buying the Revel casino for just pennies on the dollar? Brookfield Asset Management, which had wrangled a deal to snag the $2.4 billion casino for a bargain basement $110 million, tells the Press of Atlantic City it has "terminated" the acquisition. Sure, there were likely plenty of devils in the details that spooked investors, but how could you score a better "Buy Low, Sell High" scenario?

ATLANTIC CITY

The buzz at the League of Municipalities conference last night was a smart move by potential 2017 gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy to cut through the convention clutter. He held a policy conversation with his friend and neighbor Jon Bon Jovi on what looked like a TV studio, moderated by Jim McQueeny. One focus was Bon Jovi's efforts to serve the needy, prompting one malcontent to grouse the open bar event was just "three millionaires talking about the poor." But the event caught a lot of attention and gave some state officials a first glimpse at Murphy - a former Goldman Sachs exec and U.S. ambassador to Germany - under the bright lights.

ATLANTIC CITY

The Murphy event unintentionally collided with another event down the hall at Bally's, as Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage hosted a jam-packed party. The mayor was obviously pleased, standing in the middle of the crowd and noting that 700 people showed up to say hello. "Hey, I beat out Bon Jovi," he said, with a smile.

ATLANTIC CITY

One of the great features of the League of Municipalities conference is to engage in thoughtful discussion with your elected officials about pressing issues. Here is one such exchange with Newark Mayor Ras Baraka about the controversial city payroll tax on local businesses that discourages some from locating there. We ask, "Mayor, when are we going to talk about the payroll tax?" His response: "When you pay it." Our response: "We already pay it." Good talk.

ATLANTIC CITY

Just as thousands of municipal officials, vendors and others landed in Atlantic City for the annual League of Municipalities convention, the owners of the now shuttered Trump Plaza began removing the "Trump" name from the hotel. Not to be caught in an embarrassing photo-op, someone in the organization had the foresight to remove the letter "R" before the letter "T," avoiding the inevitable social media postings of Rump Plaza.

Posted in Morning Briefing

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