Morning News Digest: July 14, 2009

Izod Center: A costly 'dinosaur' or in the black?

To New Jersey Devils principal owner Jeff Vanderbeek, the Izod Center is a “dinosaur” that loses at least $10 million a year — and should be closed as a favor to state taxpayers who spend tens of millions annually to keep the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority solvent. To Meadowlands Sports Complex officials, the arena broke even in 2007, was in the black by $1 million in 2008 and will make about the same amount of money again in 2009. The Record’s review of the books of the sports authority and the Devils’ analysis show that both are right — depending on which accounting method is used. But in either case, one thing is indisputable: The arena — built in 1981 for $85 million — is $77 million in debt. (Brennan, The Record)

Report says Gov. Jon Corzine is close to picking Randal Pinkett for lieutenant governor run

Gov. Jon Corzine is close to naming Randal Pinkett as his choice for a lieutenant governor running mate, according to a report in The Asbury Park Press. (The Star-Ledger)

Chris Christie widens lead on Gov. Jon Corzine, poll shows
GOP challenger Chris Christie has widened his lead vs. Gov. Jon Corzine in the race for New Jersey governor, a poll released today shows. (AP)

GOP gov candidate Christie, N.J. chairman Jay Webber deny party division after Lonegan letter
Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie and GOP state chairman Jay Webber today brushed off talk of division within the New Jersey Republican ranks, despite a critical letter sent this morning by Steve Lonegan, who lost to Christie in the primary by 13 points. (Heininger, The Star-Ledger)

'Naughty Governor' online game includes James E. McGreevey
Former N.J. Gov. James E. McGreevey may have resigned from office nearly five years ago, but his stunning disclosure of a gay affair while quitting remains enough to rank him among other politicians featured in an online "Where's the Naughty Governor" game. (The Star-Ledger)

GOP leader Michael Steele stumps in N.J. for gov. candidate Chris Christie
Calling the New Jersey governor's race a "bellwether" for national politics, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele campaigned in south Jersey this afternoon with GOP candidate Chris Christie. (Heininger, The Star-Ledger)

Christie's not eager for Palin to pitch in
Republican Christopher J. Christie is quickly realizing that Governor Corzine's money is not the only challenge giving him fits on the campaign trail. (Stile, The Record)

Judge rejects bid to dismiss case against two lawyers
A federal judge rejected a bid Monday by politically-connected lawyers Joseph Ferriero and Dennis Oury to dismiss their eight-count mail fraud indictment in an alleged scheme to conceal their interest in a grants-writing firm that did business with Bergen County municipalities. (Sampson, The Record)

Opponent sues NJ pol over her Fla. residency claim
A local politician who claimed for tax purposes that she lived in Florida is being sued by a man she defeated to win a council seat. (AP)

Vets group pushes to fund South Harrison Township memorial
The flag in front of the municipal building here on Harrisonville Road flies proudly in the afternoon sky, jutting up from a small garden. A group of local veterans are hoping that the little plot of land there will soon serve as a reminder for those who have served proudly under that flag. (Murray, Gloucester County Times)

GOP chairman stops by N.J. to support Christie
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said yesterday that his party would "prove once and for all" that it is not in decline if nominee Christopher J. Christie wins the New Jersey governor's race. (Burton, Inquirer)

Rutgers anticipates record enrollment
The shaky national economy is helping to swell student enrollment at Rutgers to record heights while giving the university's financial aid office a beating as more students seek assistance with tuition. (Bichao, Asbury Park Press)

Holmdel awaits Obama's visit to town on Thursday
Township police and local officials still are awaiting instruction from the Secret Service and State Police regarding the arrival of President Barack Obama on Thursday. (Vega, Asbury Park Press)

Atlantic City Board accepts resignation from suspened assistant superintendent
The nine-year tenure – and nearly five-month suspension – of Assistant Superintendent of Schools Thomas Kirschling will end July 31. (Campbell, Press of Atlantic City)

Atlantic City turns tables on developer lawsuit
For a city constantly shelling out money in lawsuit settlements, this victory is big on several levels. (Clark, Press of Atlantic City)

North Brunswick schools, township continue to share services, cut costs to taxpayers
A new pact between the Township Council and the Board of Education aims to trim residents' tax bills and smooth out the middle school's parking lot. (Kaltwasser, Courier News)

New Brunswick mayor to propose truce in ward standoff
Mayor Jim Cahill will outline a proposal Tuesday aimed at ending the standoff over whether and how to change the size and make-up of the City Council. (Kaltwasser, Courier News)

Christie campaigns in Pitman
The outcome of the New Jersey governor's race is important nationally and will be a bellwether for the Republican Party, the national GOP leader said as he campaigned with the party's nominee Monday. (Delli Santi, AP)

State to probe distribution of Ku Klux Klan publication
The state's Division of Criminal Justice has launched a criminal probe into the distribution of a white supremacist newsletter in parts of Burlington County in May. (Smith, Courier-Post)

Shivery laments a lost Republican opportunity
Greenwich Township Mayor George Shivery and former Cumberland County surrogate Arthur Marchand were the establishment GOP’s pick for Assembly in the 3rd Legislative District – a place where state Republicans had at least made noise about competing. But the two lost the primary in an upset to political newcomers Robert Villare and Lee Lucas. Now a 2006 police report has surfaced that quotes Lucas using a racial slur towards neighbors, and his candidacy is considered sunk. (Friedman, PolitickerNJ)

Amid GOP leadership uproar, Lucas says he won't budge
Despite a growing chorus of GOP leaders disgusted by racist remarks police said he made, embattled Republican candidate Lee Lucas today refused to back out of his District 3 Assembly race. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)

Morning News Digest: July 14, 2009