Basketball superstar and Buick spokesperson Shaquille O’Neal just threw his weight behind Chris Christie in the New Jersey governor’s race, creating an endorsement video. O’Neal offered to record a commercial for the governor who took him up on it. The two recently hung out at at a youth event launching “Just Play,” a new state program designed to combat gang violence. O’Neal, who was raised in Newark, is in partnership with Boraie Development which is behind the development of the city’s first new high rise residential building in decades,
a new 169-unit housing tower…near the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. It will include a pool, a gym and a doorman, with rents starting at $1,400 for a studio.
Boraie, again with Shaq, is behind the $7 million renovation to a movie theater, CityPlex12 Newark, completed in 2012. The developer and the city of Newark signed a deal in 2009, buying the theater for $400,000, along with 18 neighboring lots of city-owned land for $164,027. There are 31 units of affordable housing in the project. Boraie supposedly transferred the deal over to a new legal entity which included O’Neal as a partner. Originally the building was to have 150 units. The Boraie/Shaq partnership also got approval to build a
$75 million complex in Atlantic City near the Revel Casino that will include a Shaq Cityplex movie theater, supermarket, residential units and office and retail space.
The Boraie family has donated approximately $312,420 to New Jersey politicians and political committees on the state and federal level, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Shaq and Christie shared a photo op in March of this year at the statehouse in Trenton to discuss the basketball great’s potential involvement in the state’s gun buyback program.
Shaq explained his involvement with Boraie Development:
My job is to say, ‘Hey, make it beautiful.’
Photo by Keith Allison under Creative Commons license