The feud between New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Atlantic City’s mayor is heating up just 48 hours before the government of Atlantic City is set to shut down.
Christie called Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian, also a Republican, a “liar” in a press conference held Wednesday in Atlantic City.
“I won’t meet with a liar,” said Christie when asked if he would meet with Guardian, according to the Press of Atlantic City.
Christie has been critical of the city’s management of its large amount of debt and said that both the mayor and the city council “has not done their job.”
“So much of this conversation form the mayor … is like Alice in Wonderland,” Christie said. “It’s like going to the land where up is down and down is up.”
The city has around $345 million in debt and is planning to shut down all nonessential services if a restructuring deal is not reached by Friday, including paying city workers.
Guardian and Christie have opposing plans in how to manage the debt restructuring. Christie wants the state to take over all services from the city, including the ability to renegotiate the contracts with public-sector unions. Guardian, in his plan, wants to push back payment for union workers to a monthly schedule and not turn over collective bargaining rights to the state.
The troubles have left Atlantic City’s bonds in danger of default, and the major credit-rating agencies have downgraded the city’s debt well into junk territory.