- Associated Press - Friday, December 8, 2017

LYNDHURST, N.J. (AP) - Officials say Gov. Chris Christie’s administration has drained the entire $3 million budget of a conservation trust for the Meadowlands.

The Meadowlands Conservation Trust said it was shocked to learn its budget had been diverted to the state general fund in August. The Record reported the Legislature formed the trust in 1999 to preserve land in the Meadowlands.

State Treasury Department officials told the Legislature in March the $3 million appropriation had been set up to be automatically terminated, department spokesman Willem Rijksen said. The money was sent to the general fund after the Legislature approved the state budget, Rijksen said.

“This is not a diversion, this is theft,” trust Chairman Bill Sheehan said.

The lost funding will impact several immediate efforts, including one to secure wetlands from a developer who approached the trust, he said.

The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which oversees the trust, learned about the diversion just this week when it was preparing for a financial meeting with the trust, authority spokesman Brian Aberback. He declined to comment further.

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This story has been corrected to show the trust chairman’s last name is Sheehan, not Sheenan.

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Information from: The Record (Woodland Park, N.J.), http://www.northjersey.com


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