Sunday September 1,2013 : ATLANTIC CITY MARKETING BOSS DEFENDS PAY PACKAGE
With mounting competition, selling the ailing gambling mecca can't be easy….
The chief of Atlantic City's marketing drive, Liza Carmell was paid a total package of $400,000 last year as she tried to halt the continuing downtrend in the New Jersey land gambling mecca's fortunes .
Carmell heads the Atlantic City Alliance, a non-profit marketing agency funded to the tune of $30 million a year by the AC land casino operators in a partnership with the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, the state agency that oversees the Atlantic City Tourism District, according to a report over the weekend carried by NBC Philadelphia.
Details of the ACA's expenditure emerged in a newly released document submitted by the Alliance to the IRS and media recently.
Carmell told the publication Press of Atlantic City that her package was fair, equitable and in line with salaries paid to other CEOs. Moreover, it was recommended by a head-hunting firm that conducted a national search for the Alliance's chief executive in 2011, when the ACA was formed and Carmell was hired.
John Paff, chairman of the New Jersey Libertarian Party's Open Government Advocacy Project will be interested in the document's content, having launched legal proceedings last year for disclosure after being denied the information by the Alliance.
The NBC report reveals some of the interesting projects developed by the ACA, which received an additional donation of $2 million last year from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority as assistance in funding a 3-D light show at Boardwalk Hall.
The light shows cost $3.4 million and were created by a Montreal company called Moment Factory. The company has continued to work on the 3-D light presentation, creating new themes every few months to keep the attraction fresh for tourists
The ACA is best known for developing the “Do AC” advertising and marketing campaign launched last year, NBC recalls, noting that the multimedia publicity blitz showcases Atlantic City as an upscale tourist destination offering an array of non-gambling attractions, in addition to land casino action.
Altogether, the alliance spent $20 million on the “Do AC” campaign in 2012, Cartmell said.
Another major ACA expense last year included $3.5 million for a series of public art installations around the city called “Artlantic.” The initiative attracted questions from New Jersey lawmakers on why the Alliance spent millions on art projects, arguing the money could have been used for more pressing needs in the city.
The Alliance also splashed out with a 2012 Independence Day fireworks show organised by the specialist firm Grucci and touted as the biggest yet in New Jersey; that cost $157,598.