ATLANTIC CITY — The owner of the Showboat Atlantic City Hotel and two Boardwalk piers paid more than $2 million in back taxes just days ahead of a citywide tax sale.
Philadelphia-based real estate developer Bart Blatstein paid slightly more than $2.1 million in full for delinquent property taxes on several properties Wednesday. The city tax collector’s office confirmed the payments Thursday.
“While still working with the city on fair assessments, Bart paid his taxes in full (Wednesday),” said Lisa Johnson, a Blatstein spokeswoman.
The city unfairly assessed Blatstein’s investments in the city, Johnson said in response to an earlier story reporting her client’s properties were on a tax sale list scheduled for Dec. 17. As an example, Johnson noted Blatstein paid about $1.5 million for Garden Pier in 2017 but the property was assessed at more than $9 million for tax purposes. The taxed amount for the property was $343,000 this year.
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“Bart has been working closely with state and city officials on a fair assessment and payment plan,” Johnson said previously.
In addition to Showboat and Garden Pier, Blatstein also owns the Playground Pier and several land parcels in the South Inlet.
City Council President Marty Small Sr. said he could not comment on the specifics of any one individual’s tax situation but noted Blatstein has been working with the city toward an amicable solution.
“We certainly appreciate Mr. Blatstein’s business in Atlantic City,” Small said recently, “and City Council will work with anyone who is interested in moving Atlantic City forward.”
Blatstein’s properties were among 2,800 parcels on a tax sale list scheduled for an online auction next week.
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In a tax sale, a municipality auctions off the unpaid debt on a property to an investor or group of investors. Those investors then hold a lien against the property to be repaid by the owner.
The state Department of Community Affairs, which oversees the city’s finances, said it expects the tax sale to be successful and to help Atlantic City plug revenue shortfalls.
The city will hold the auction for 2018 and prior-year delinquent taxes at 8:30 a.m. Monday. All of New Jersey’s 565 municipalities are required by law to hold at least one tax sale per year.