Chris Christie let Trump settle $30 million in NJ casino debts for just $5 million: NYT
Chris Christie and Donald Trump (Photo: Screen capture)

Just over a year after becoming governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie and his administration accepted a deal worth 17 cents on the dollar to settle Donald Trump's casino tax debts in the state, the New York Times reported.

Trump's casinos had rolled up $30 million in debt by the time Christie took office in January 2010, and attorneys for the state had accused his company of misrepresenting its payments to state officials. According to the Times, the casinos paid no taxes at all between 2002 and 2006.

But in November 2011, the state agreed to a $5 million settlement, cutting Trump's debt by 83 percent.

"You can't tell whether there’s something problematic," said bankruptcy law professor David Skeel. "But it's pretty striking that this one was written down so much."

The court battle between the state and Trump prior to Christie's election hinged on a corporate tax called the alternative minimum assessment, which the Times described was implemented to "prevent businesses from avoiding taxes through accounting maneuvers."

Trump's businesses then decided the tax did not apply to them because they were partnerships, and subsequently filed for bankruptcy for the third time in 2004. The casinos filed a fourth bankruptcy claim in 2009, by which time its debt had risen to $29 million.

Later in his administration, Christie's chief counsel, Christopher Porrino, agreed to a $250 million settlement with Exxon Oil to settle an 11-year legal battle over the company's contamination of more than 1,500 acres of wetlands. The state originally sought $8.9 billion, meaning the settlement was also worth pennies on the dollar.

(h/t Daily Kos)