Atlantic City is known for many things.

Casinos ... the beach and Boardwalk ... saltwater taffy ... Miss America ...

And, of course, official corruption. Extortion. Bribery. Vote fraud. Name the crime, and chances are, somewhere in the city's sordid history of corruption, somebody did it.

From Louis "The Commodore" Kuehnle (in the city's 1910 election, more votes were cast than there were registered voters), to Nucky Johnson (tax evasion) to "The Atlantic City Seven" in the early 1970s (bribery, conspiracy and extortion charges against seven city officials) to former Mayor Michael Matthews (extortion) in the '80s and several lesser officials in between and since then.

So yes, corruption and Atlantic City go back a long way - which makes the recent indictment of Anthony Christaldi, of Cape May Court House, somewhat noteworthy.

According to the indictment, Christaldi was trying to sell a piece of property in Atlantic City to the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority. He wanted $157,500.

But Mary "Bunny" Rixey, the CRDA's director of real estate and development, rejected that price as too high.

Then, according to the state Attorney General's Office, Christaldi offered the CRDA official - Rixey's name was not used in the indictment - $10,000 cash if she would set the price of the property at $105,000, or $15,000 for a sales price of $140,000.

So what happened next?

Well, Rixey, a CRDA employee since 1991, immediately reported the alleged bribery attempt to the CRDA's legal officer, who alerted the state Division of Criminal Justice.

Rixey then helped to orchestrate the arrest. She pretended to play along, and Christaldi was arrested after he allegedly delivered the cash to an undercover detective he believed was Rixey's brother. If convicted, Christaldi faces five to 10 years in state prison.

One incident of honesty does not mean Atlantic City's sordid history of corruption is over. But it's a start.

Rixey and the CRDA took the courageous path here and deserve high praise for setting the right example in a town that historically has been more than a little short in that regard.

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