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Man Sentenced for Offering $10K Bribe to CRDA Official

Cape May

Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced that a South Jersey man was sentenced to prison today for paying a bribe to an official of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) in an attempt to get a higher purchase price from the agency for his property in Atlantic City. The official immediately reported the crime.

Anthony J. Christaldi, 70, of Cape May Court House, was sentenced to five years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Donna M. Taylor in Cape May County.

Christaldi was found guilty on Oct. 9 of second-degree bribery by a Cape May County jury following a four-day trial. By its verdict, the jury found that Christaldi paid $10,000 as a bribe to an official who handles real estate purchases for the CRDA’s voluntary land bank program.

The case was investigated by detectives of the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau, and it was tried by Deputy Attorneys General Valerie Butler and Brian Uzdavinis, under the supervision of Deputy Attorney General Peter Lee, who is Deputy Bureau Chief. Analyst Nathalie Kurzawa assisted.

Christaldi contacted the CRDA in January 2014 about his desire to sell a property at 204 Atlantic Avenue to the agency for its redevelopment program. He submitted paperwork proposing a $157,500 purchase price, which was rejected by the official involved in the case. Christaldi, who spoke to the official by phone, told her he would reduce the price to $75,000 and would submit new paperwork seeking an expedited sale.

Christaldi subsequently delivered an envelope to the official containing the required paperwork, along with $1,000 in cash and a note indicating that if a sales price of $105,000 were approved for the lot, representing $30 per square foot, he would pay her an additional $9,000 in cash, or if a price of $40 per square foot were approved, he would pay her $15,000. The official immediately alerted the legal department of the CRDA, which alerted the Division of Criminal Justice.

In a subsequent undercover investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice, Christaldi delivered $9,000 on Jan. 16, 2014 to a man who he believed was the brother of the CRDA official, but who in fact was an undercover detective. Detectives stopped Christaldi’s car and arrested him after he left the convenience store where he delivered the cash.