Former Atlantic City Councilwoman charged with arranging sham sale of city property

The state Attorney General’s Office today indicted former Atlantic City Council Vice President and real estate speculator Cassandra Clark, charging that she voted to sell city land to a straw purchaser who agreed to buy the land for Clark and deed it to a corporation Clark owned.

A state grand jury indicted the 52-year old Clark on a second-degree charge of official misconduct, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in state prison and a $150,000 fine.

“State law strictly prohibits self-dealing by public office holders in their official actions,” said Attorney General Anne Milgram. “Ms. Clark shamelessly violated her duties in order to acquire this city land for a fraction of what it was worth. We will hold public officials who break the law accountable.

Clark served on the Atlantic City Council from January 2002 through December 2006.

According to the AG’s Office, while serving as council vice president on July 10, 2002, she voted for the city to sell “two adjacent, undeveloped lots at the corner of Baltic Avenue and North Maryland Avenue (823 Baltic Avenue and 203 North Maryland Avenue) for a total of $6,000, or $3,000 per parcel.”

The AG’s Office alleges that Clark concealed the fact that she had previously given $6,000 to the purported high bidder and arranged for that friend and business associate to deed the land to her. The total fair market value of the two lots was assessed in 1980 at more than $20,000, and in 2008 at more than $110,000.

Three days after the city council voted to sell the land, the purchaser executed a deed to convey the land to Rose Garden Research LLC, a company owned by Clark.

According to the AG’s Office press release, “That deed was executed before the purchaser actually received title to the property from the city. However, a second deed was allegedly prepared by Clark in August 2003 conveying the land from the purchaser to Clark herself, not the company, for $1. Clark waited until 2004 to have the deeds recorded.”

Superior Court Judge Pedro J. Jimenez Jr. received the indictment in Mercer County, and assigned it to Atlantic County, where Clark will be ordered to appear in court at a later date to answer the charges, according to the AG’s Office.

Former Atlantic City Councilwoman charged with arranging sham sale of city property