Stockton University interim President Harvey Kesselman may need a clone Nov. 9.

State Sen. Paul Sarlo, chairman of the state Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, wants Kesselman to return on that date to testify about the failed Showboat casino hotel purchase. That is also the date on which Stockton is scheduled to finalize its sale of Showboat to Philadelphia developer Bart Blatstein.

Sarlo, D-Bergen, Passaic, issued a statement saying he wants to hear from Kesselman and representatives of the Gibbons law firm, which was hired by the university trustees o investigate the purchase.

“The investigation identified a series of bad risks and poor judgment that allowed a bad deal to go through,” said Sarlo. “I want to get more information on how and why this happened and what actions need to be taken to prevent anything like this from happening again at Stockton or at any other state university.”

Kesselman issued a statement saying that while he fully expected to return to testify, he is concerned that the date conflicts with the Showboat sale settlement.

Kesselman previously testified April 30, just two days after taking over as acting president, replacing Herman Saatkamp, who resigned and went on medical leave. Kesselman said at the time that since he had not been involved in the purchase, he could provide little information, but he agreed to return.

Sarlo said he also wants to get an update on the status of the facility and its proposed sale and use, saying the fate of the property affects the local economy as well as Stockton’s finances and the state’s taxpayers.

After being told of the conflict, a spokesperson for Sarlo said Wednesday night that they would be willing to consider changing the date. 

"We were not aware of the closing schedule but Senator Sarlo would consider rescheduling the hearing date if Mr Kesselman makes that request."  said Richard McGrath, spokesman for Sarlo. 

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