Lesniak, Fulop trade Twitter shots over North Jersey casino stances

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Starting off the weekend with some hard sparring on Twitter, state Senator Ray Lesniak (D-20) and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop traded shots over their views on the pros and cons of a North Jersey casino on their home turf. Fulop-Lesniak

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Lesniak began the pot stirring yesterday by issuing a statement that said “If Mayor Fulop doesn’t want a new casino for Jersey City we will take it for Elizabeth, and we will take the jobs, the economic growth, the private-sector investment and the property tax relief that will come with it.”

Fulop, a strong proponent of a casino in Jersey City earlier this year, tweeted on Wednesday that he needed “to better understand casino culture,” taking a trip to Atlantic City to get a first-hand look at the bars, restaurants and blackjack tables – along with everything else.

After the trip down south, Fulop remarked that “we’re gonna kill it and kill it aggressively” if it’s determined casino gaming isn’t right for Jersey City, according to Philly.com.

A member of the state legislature since 1978, who is expected to scrap with Fulop in the gubernatorial Democratic primary next year, tweeted Fulop in what appeared to be disbelief over listing potential casino cons.

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Liberty Rising, a luxury 90-story hotel and casino, was designed to be built adjacent from the Liberty National Golf Course and Fulop previously noted it would at least be a $1 billion investment that creates at least 5,000 jobs.

In the same exchange, Lesniak responded to someone, who appeared to be a constituent, against an Elizabeth casino, stating that a world class casino with a hotel, casino, restaurants and theater would be “great” for Elizabeth and their construction workers.

He also got chippy with Fulop by claiming his initial tweet was “a cheap shot at an extremely successful businessman.”

Paul Fireman, the billionaire founder of Reebok, would be developing Liberty Rising, and therefore things such as tax incentives wouldn’t necessarily be a deciding factor in getting the project off the ground, Lesniak said.Fulop-Lesniak2

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Fulop, who has made headlines in various tri-state publications in the past 48 hours, called Liberty Rising “a great project” that just may not be right for Jersey City.

Lesniak responded that Elizabeth was “ready, willing and able” to take on a casino and it appeared things were going to end on a cordial note.

However, when Fulop asked “don’t you think Elizabeth has enough crime?” things immediately took a tense turn and ended on a sour note.

While Fulop is yet to officially declare himself all in for next year’s gubernatorial race, previously stating he likely won’t make that decision until the end of the year, Lesniak told Hudson County View in October that “I’m the best one to put the state on the right track.”

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