Atlantic City to Hire Advisers as It Tries to Avert Takeover

Atlantic City’s Council is set to vote on hiring a financial adviser and bond attorney as the distressed gambling hub tries to avert an unprecedented New Jersey takeover by crafting an acceptable plan to shore up its finances.

The council is scheduled at its meeting Wednesday to consider retaining Acacia Financial Group Inc. of Marlton, New Jersey, which was fifth among advisers nationwide last year, and McManimon & Scotland, LLC, a bond-attorney firm based in Newark.

Mayor Don Guardian said in an interview last week that the city may refinance portions of about $240 million in bonds, if possible. The city paid about $35 million in debt service last year, and "that’s a big chunk" he would like to reduce in the annual budgets, he said.

State legislators last month pulled Atlantic City from the brink of bankruptcy by providing enough cash to pay its bills this year and setting a deadline on a five-year roadmap to stabilize its finances. The city must have a plan approved by Nov. 3 or it will fall under the control of state officials with expansive powers, such as selling its assets and changing or voiding labor contracts.

Acacia’s compensation would be up to $125,000. McManimon would earn as much as $180,000 plus bond fees, according to resolutions before the council.

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