SBD/Issue 88/Facilities & Venues

Does Re-Election Of Newark Mayor Equal New Arena For Teams?

NJ Gov. James McGreevey "backed away yesterday from comments that suggested the construction of a long-anticipated sports arena" in Newark "hinged on the re-election" of Mayor Sharpe James, according to Richard Lezin Jones of the N.Y. TIMES. McGreevey said on Monday, "Under the leadership of Sharpe James, we will build an arena for the Devils and Nets. ... Newark, you give me Sharpe James," and the city would get the Devils and Nets. But McGreevey said yesterday that he had "not intended to draw an official connection between a win for" James and construction of the $355M arena. McGreevey: "There exists no linkage yet. Mayor James has always been exceptionally supportive of the idea of an arena from the very outset, but there is no linkage." But Republican lawmakers said that they were "troubled by the governor's suggestion that there might be some kind of quid pro quo" for Newark if James was re-elected. NJ State Sen. co-Majority leader Anthony Bucco said of McGreevey: "You can't go around endorsing people and telling residents, `I'll give you the Nets if you give me Sharpe James'" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/23).

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