By Hilary Russ
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New Jersey appeals court on Tuesday sided with the state in its plan to allow $1.15 billion of tax-exempt bonds to finance American Dream, the state's long-stalled mega-mall and entertainment complex.
The facility near the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford has been under construction for more than a decade.
The court rejected a challenge by the nonprofit group New Jersey Alliance for Fiscal Integrity, which had argued that the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority (NJSEA) approved the financing without proper public notice and lacks the authority to issue such debt.
The bond documents make it clear that neither New Jersey taxpayers nor the NJSEA would be on the hook to repay the bonds if developer Triple Five Group of Companies fails to make debt service payments, the ruling said.
A spokesman for the nonprofit was not immediately able to comment.
Triple Five was pleased with the decision, Tony Armlin, senior vice president of development and construction, said in a statement.
"Now that this frivolous claim has been dismissed, American Dream - a world-class retail, tourist and entertainment destination that will serve as the economic engine for the region - will be completed," he said.
His spokesman said it was too soon to comment on when the bonds might actually price.
Triple Five has said the public financing is crucial to complete the $2.7 billion project and needed to be finalized soon.
(Reporting by Hilary Russ; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)