Newark Mayor Cory Booker did not mince words Wednesday, calling New Jersey Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek a "hustler" who "came into this city with a mouthful of promises and a pocketful of lies." It all came in the aftermath of an arbitrator's ruling in favor of the Devils in a dispute between the team and the city over the revenue-sharing agreement at Prudential Center, the five-year old home of the team in downtown Newark.
"He is a high-class, high-falutin huckster and hustler," the mayor said in a diatribe more in the style of Chris Christie than Cory Booker. "A Wall Street millionaire that played into every stereotype that's out there."
On Tuesday, a panel of independent arbitrators upheld a lease agreement and "parking letter" that leaves Newark owing roughly $600,000 to the Devils after waiting in vain for $13 million in unpaid rent.
The ruling awarded the city $14.7 million in unpaid rent and other expenses from the Devils, but it also awarded Vanderbeek's club $15.3 million in parking revenues and excess taxes.
The Devils pay the city rent and a share of revenues each year as part of the Prudential Center lease agreement, and the city is obligated to pay a share of the parking revenues as part of a separate agreement. Both deals were signed before Mayor Booker was inaugurated in 2006.
For more on the New Jersey Devils, including actual on-ice matters, check with In Lou We Trust.