JOHN S. WISNIEWSKI, ETC. VS. PHIL MURPHY, ET AL. IN THE MATTER OF THE NJEDA/STATE LEASE REVENUE BONDS 2017 SERIES AND STATE LEASE REVENUE REFUNDING BONDS 2017 SERIES (STATE HOUSE PROJECT) AND IN THE MATTER OF STATE CAPITOL JOINT MANAGEMENT COMMISSION MOTION APPROVING THE RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE RENOVATION OF THE EXECUTIVE STATE HOUSE. IN THE MATTER OF THE APPROVAL OF THE RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE RENOVATION OF THE EXECUTIVE STATE HOUSE. (L-1002-17, MERCER COUNTY AND STATEWIDE, NEW JERSEY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, AND STATE CAPITOL JOINT MANAGEMENT COMMISSION)(RECORD IMPOUNDED)(CONSOLIDATED) (A-4689-16T2/
These consolidated appeals involve a challenge to decisions by two state agencies to finance a comprehensive renovation of the State Capitol complex. The agencies resolved to issue $300 million in bonds and to repay the bonds with rental payments pursuant to a lease of the State Capitol complex.
Plaintiff John S. Wisniewski, then a state legislator, filed a complaint challenging the agencies' actions on the basis that they violated the Debt Limitation Clause (DLC) of the New Jersey Constitution. At the time the complaint was filed, the bonds had already been sold and distributed into the marketplace. Consequently, the trial court dismissed the complaint as moot.
In No. A-4689-16, plaintiff appeals the trial court's determination that his complaint is moot. In Nos. A-4693-16 and A-4698-16, he appeals the final agency decisions. The panel finds the appeals are technically moot. Notwithstanding, the panel addresses the merits because the issue raised is a matter of significant public importance that is capable of repetition while evading review.
The panel concludes the issuance of the bonds to finance the renovations of the State Capitol complex did not violate the DLC. The panel further concludes the State Capitol Joint Management Commission acted within its delegated authority in approving the renovations and entering into the lease/leaseback agreement, and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority possessed the requisite authority to issue the bonds to fund the renovations.