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Longtime Booker aide and confidant Mo Butler. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe).

Butler picked to lead Casino Reinvestment Development Authority

Top Booker political advisor becomes first Black chairman of powerful N.J. agency

By David Wildstein, June 23 2021 4:50 pm

Modia Butler has been named chairman of the powerful New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, which directs the spending of a giant pot of money to pay for projects in Atlantic City and throughout the state.

Gov. Phil Murphy notified the authority today that he wanted Butler as the chairman.  He becomes the first Black chairman of the board of directors.

Butler will replace the venerable Robert E. Mulcahy III, who has been a major player in New Jersey politics since the 1960s.

“The CRDA’s important efforts to increase economic development, improve equity, and address quality of life issues for Atlantic City residents could not be in better hands than with Mo Butler,” Murphy said.  “Mo’s integrity and extensive experience will benefit the residents of Atlantic City and the mission of the CRDA. I look forward to working with him in his new capacity as CRDA Chair.   I would also like to thank Bob Mulcahy for his many years of service to the CRDA and the state at large.”

A partner at Mercury Public Affairs, Butler is a top political advisor to U.S. Senator Cory Booker.  He served as Booker’s chief of staff and spent seven years as the chairman of the Newark Housing Authority.

Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin named Butler as a direct appointment to the authority in 2019.

“Mo Butler is a phenomenal choice to chair the CRDA Board. He cares about strengthening neighborhoods, developing our youth, and expanding economic opportunities for working families, which align with the CRDA’s mission under the Murphy Administration,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver. “Plus, Mo has a passion for cities and the diversity and cultural richness they bring to people’s lives, so I know he feels at home in Atlantic City. I look forward to Mo’s leadership of the CRDA Board and I can’t wait to see the progress the CRDA achieves under his direction.”

The authority uses parking revenues in Atlantic City and a portion of the state’s take from sports betting to fund economic development projects.  It also runs the Atlantic City Convention Center and the Historic Boardwalk Hall.  They have invested more than $2 billion to grow the state’s economy and attract visitors to Atlantic City.

“I am extremely excited that Mo Butler is named the first African American Chairman of CRDA and we now have much needed diversity in the upper ranks of CRDA,” said City of Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small, Sr.  “Mo will be a great asset to the great City of Atlantic City and I look forward to working with him and getting support for our agenda for the good people of Atlantic City.”

A former Mendham councilman and mayor, Mulcahy served as Gov. Brendan Byrne’s Commissioner of Corrections, spent 19 years as president and CEO of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, and more than a decade as Rutgers University Athletic Director

This story was updated on June 24 at 7:25 PM.

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