Raymond H. Bateman, chairman of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority for the past six years, resigned July 9 after a public dispute with Donald DiFrancesco, the state's acting governor, over the proposed Newark sports arena deal.
DiFrancesco wants to move the New Jersey Devils and Nets from the Continental Airlines Arena at the Meadowlands to Newark and build a $335 million arena. Bateman has been vocal about his opposition to the arena and sent out a letter to lawmakers asking them to oppose the deal, which is still under consideration by the Assembly.
Bateman will remain on the board — because "it's an awkward position for the chairman to be fighting his own governor. I disagree strongly with the proposal, and the governor has a right to have a chairman that agrees with him," Bateman told the Courier News.
If the Newark Arena gets a green light, it could be ready, tentatively by 2004. Continental Airlines Arena would be torn down and a new Giants stadium would be built.