ATLANTIC CITY — Embattled after little more than three months in office, Atlantic City Mayor Frank Gilliam said Tuesday that a judge's ruling, dismissing a citizens' complaint alleging he stole a $10,000 campaign check not meant for him, clears him of any wrongdoing, and urged a return to focusing on the positive narrative of a city on the rebound.

"Justice is served and justice is well deserved," Gilliam said at a news conference in the mayor's conference room in City Hall. "Atlantic City has so much that it should be honoring as opposed to the same old monotony pertaining to Atlantic City and the black cloud we continue to have."

He said a small group of disloyal Democrats were able to "place so much pressure on the system" with allegations of theft of campaign funds that it "almost outshines the fact that… Atlantic City is poised for rebirth."

"For three months, that's all we could hear," he said.

The mayor handed out copies of a March 27 ruling by Superior Court Judge Bernard DeLury finding no probable cause to support the complaint filed by John Devlin, a member of the Atlantic City Democratic Committee.  Gilliam said that every check deposited in his account was logged properly and that he has "openly and publicly stated it was an oversight."

In the ruling, the judge said there did not appear to be "even a scintilla of evidence" that Gilliam or his campaign chair, Rich Winstead, meant any wrongdoing when Gilliam endorsed and deposited the $10,000 check from the Atlantic County Democratic Committee that was made out to the City Democratic Committee. Gilliam said he returned the money to the county Democratic Committee.

The issue of the $10,000 check has dogged Gilliam's nascent administration, which has also been limited by the presence of the state's Department of Community Affairs and its hired lawyers, who continue to oversee operations in the resort town under a state takeover act, despite some expectations that the state would transition out of its supervisory role under Gov. Murphy.

Gilliam, a former city councilman, narrowly defeated Republican Mayor Don Guardian in November.

Devlin said Tuesday that he was still waiting to see a copy of the judge's decision and that further civil action was being considered.

Even as the city prepares to welcome two new casinos this summer, the Hard Rock International remake of the Trump Taj Mahal, and a Hyatt rebranding of the Revel into the Ocean Casino Resort, as well as a new city campus of Stockton University, the political atmosphere in City Hall has appeared to slide into old patterns of infighting and allegations of corruption.

Councilman Frank Tibbett, a running mate of Gilliam and longtime ally, says he no longer supports Gilliam. Tibbett last week said he had been interviewed by county and federal investigators about checks that were made out to his campaign that also ended up in a TD Bank account of Gilliam's campaign.

"I was interviewed upon request as a victim, not as a target," Tibbett said. "By the FBI as well as the [Atlantic County] Prosecutor's Office.

Tibbett said he did not know the amount of money contained in the checks he says he was told were improperly deposited. Donna Weaver, a spokeswoman for the Prosecutor's Office, referred to DeLury's dismissal when asked about any investigation into the mayor and campaign checks. "A complaint was filed but was dismissed by the presiding judge for lack of probable cause," she said by email.

Former allies of Gilliam, including Craig Callaway, a Democratic operative who ran an extensive mail-in ballot operation that helped Gilliam get elected, have publicly distanced themselves from Gilliam since he took office. "When money started getting involved, Frank changed big time," said Tibbett.

Gilliam attributed the defection of previous supporters to "a lack of loyalty, lack of love for the city, and lack of vision" on their part.

"There is a new Atlantic City that is evolving right before our eyes," Gilliam said.