Billionaire’s Jersey City golf course lobbied for Liberty State Park redevelopment bill

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Fireman’s involvement with various groups that supported the bill is well known – one even paid for detailed models of potential plans for the park – but the golf course’s involvement runs counter to claims by his own supporters that Fireman’s involvement had little or nothing to do with golf.

It’s unclear why the golf course – known in lobbying records as the WA Golf Company, LLC – would now push for the bill if it had no interest in parks, while conceivable, it could benefit from the increased park development that proponents of the bill advocate.

Company lobbyist Eric Shuffler of the River Crossing Strategy Group did not respond to emails and a voicemail seeking comment.

In 2020, following a backlash over language that has been quietly inserted into the state budget that many interpret as a way to facilitate the rental of Liberty National Golf Club at Caven Point – a migratory bird habitat of 22 acres bordering the golf course – Fireman said in a statement that he was “pausing all efforts to pursue a public-private partnership at Caven Point” to “force supporters of the Liberty State Park Protection Act to address social justice issues related to Liberty State Park.” without using me as an excuse to continue ignoring minority communities.

Sam Pesin, president of Friends of Liberty State Park, said the lobbying is proof that Fireman still wants Caven Point for his golf course, which from 2009 charged a $500,000 initiation fee for new members.

“It was the culmination of two years of lies and slanderous attacks: getting a law passed that offered no protection,” Pesin said. “If he really didn’t care that Caven Point was golf holes, why were they pushing for a bill that didn’t provide any protection for Caven Point? And even now, why won’t he support [state Sen.] Brian Stack’s bill?

The Stack bill Pesin mentioned, NJ S2956 (22R)would designate Caven Point as a natural habitat and preserve it from development.

Stack (D-Hudson), who previously sponsored the Liberty State Park Protection Act for a long time, introduced the measure in response to critics of the new law who noted that lawmakers had rejected amendment requests to ban the development of Caven Point.

Stack told POLITICO he will try to push the Caven Point bill forward through the Judiciary Committee, which he chairs, this summer or early September.

Last month, at the first public hearing on the Liberty State Park development bill, a key Fireman-aligned supporter dismissed claims from critics that Fireman was still interested in expanding Liberty National.

“It will benefit the community in the long run, rather than this idea of ​​someone trying to create their own golf course out of state property,” Liberty State Park for All Superintendent Arnold Stovell said. on the Senate environment committee. Stovell’s group received money from Fireman.

Lobbying reports cover the first half of the year. They do not include the amount spent on lobbying campaigns; this information will not be available until next year.

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