A whistleblower lawsuit charging the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority with unlawful firing after an employee raised environmental concerns over an Atlantic City property has settled before it was to go to trial.
The trial between former CRDA employee George Jones and his former employer was set to start today in front of Superior Court Judge James P. Savio. But court records indicate it has been settled. The terms were not immediately available.
The authority hired Jones, of Avalon, in 1992. He was asked to research the environmental issues surrounding the former Atlantic City Linen Supply site on North Carolina Avenue in 2001. At the time the property was being eyed for a future housing development.
Soil samples at the tract were taken at the periphery of the site, rather than at the center.
While Jones said he opposed the testing locations, his suit said CRDA officials ignored his concerns because of cost of remediation. The agency eventually bought the tract for $1 million, providing the company with assistance moving elsewhere in the city.
However, development plans fizzled when the site contamination became apparent. The agency eventually spent between $6 million and $8 million on cleanup, unsuccessfully suing Atlantic City Linen in 2003 to recover costs. The land remains vacant.
Jones, the authority's long-time development director, was fired in 2009 in what officials at the time characterized as a reorganization. He sued in March 2012.
Neither Katherine Hartman, attorney for Jones, or George Karousatos, attorney for the CRDA and its former Director Tom Carver, individually named in the suit, responded to requests for comment.
CRDA spokesperson Kim Butler declined comment because she said the settlement was not final.