🔴 Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small spoke at a convention Thursday

🔴 His "personal" matter doesn't change his commitment to Atlantic City

🔴 Small remains focused on the city's issues


Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small said Thursday he remains committed to his family and to his city as he deals with charges that he and his wife abused their teenage daughter.

In his first public comments since prosecutors on Monday charged him and his wife, LaQuetta, the city's superintendent of schools, with physically and verbally abusing their 16-year-old daughter and endangering her welfare, Small said he would not be distracted from his duties.

“We've all seen news accounts of what's going on with myself personally,” he said in a speech at the East Coast Gaming Congress at the Hard Rock casino. “It's just that: personal.

“But I pledge to each and every one of you, it doesn't change my commitment, number one, to my family, and it doesn't change my commitment here to the great city of Atlantic City,” the mayor said.

An affidavit filed in the case by the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office says the girl at one point acknowledged making up the accusations against her parents because she was angry they wouldn’t let her go out with friends.

But in many other sections, the affidavit includes detailed claims by the girl that the abuse was real, and it said she photographed bruises she said were inflicted by her parents and sent them to her boyfriend, who shared them with detectives.

Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small, center, speaks at a news conference in Atlantic City with his daughter Jada and attorney Ed Jacobs
Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small, center, speaks at a news conference in Atlantic City with his daughter Jada and attorney Ed Jacobs 4/1/24 (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

Daughter didn't feel safe

The office of Prosecutor William Reynolds cited evidence including recordings of interactions between the girl and her parents; her statements to police, school personnel, a therapist and state child welfare investigators, and messages she sent to friends asking for help, saying she did not feel safe at home.

The mayor is accused of repeatedly hitting his daughter in the head with a broom until she blacked out, and repeatedly punching her in the legs, court documents say. Her mother is accused of dragging her by her hair, punching her in the chest and face, and hitting her with a belt.

The root of the conflict, according to the court document, was the Smalls' disapproval of their daughter's boyfriend.

Their lawyer, Ed Jacobs, has said the mayor and his wife "are completely innocent of any wrongdoing and will ultimately be vindicated.”

Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small talks to a attendant in a conference room in Atlantic City
Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small talks to a attendant in a conference room in Atlantic City (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

Is it a great day in Atlantic City?

Small's appearance at the casino conference was scheduled months ago, and there was considerable anticipation as to whether he would begin his speech with his trademark phrase, “It's a great day in the city of Atlantic City," given his current legal troubles.

He did indeed use the phrase, noting challenges Atlantic City faces, including the impending opening of New York City casinos.

Small pledged to work with the casinos and all levels of government to prepare the city for that challenge and make Atlantic City “the very best it can be.”

Part of that should include cleaning up and redeveloping Pacific Avenue, the street nearest the ocean on which six of the nine casinos front, said Jim Allen, the global chairman of Hard Rock International who got his start in the casino industry as a cook in Atlantic City.

He called improving the appearance of that street as “the game-changer.”

“If we continue to leave Pacific Avenue the way it's been since the ‘70s, then the perception of the town won’t change, just the vacant lots and boarded-up buildings.”

(Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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