Christmas came early for Atlanta journalists today when the mayor’s office responded to Open Records requests by releasing hundreds of emails between City Hall and the Atlanta Braves. It will take days — if not weeks — to analyze all the information, but a cursory read reveals the escalating tension between the team and the mayor’s office when the Braves lease talks stalled at the same time that the Falcons stadium deal seemed to breeze through.
But, here’s one email we found especially telling. It was sent back in March and encapsulates both the Braves’ frustration and the tension between Hans Utz, deputy chief operating officer, and Mike Plant, the Braves operations director. The email was forwarded by Utz with the comment “this probably requires some love from you” to his boss, Duriya Farooqui (who must be ecstatic that her departure from the mayor’s office for a job with Bain & Company was announced last week).
From: Plant, Mike
Sent: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 2:51 PM
To: Utz, Hans J.
Hans, just got the call from Brianna that the mtg has been cancelled. Again. have to be honest with you Hans, that sends a very bad message that I now have to pass on to our chairman who I briefed yesterday on the current status and upcoming discussion. I think you and I should talk very soon. if you look at it from our perspective, we met with the mayor and peter in October of 2011. 18 months later we are no further along in resolving any of the 3 major components of our discussion presented at that time. on the other hand, we have watched the state pass a major funding initiative for a new falcons stadium and that has now gone thru all the proper channels including approval by the city council in 7 short weeks. Not feeling real good about how we are being passed around. just being honest with you and I know I am going to have a real hard time convincing terry [Braves President Terry McGuirk] that the city still sees value in our team just like they did the falcons who economic impact can’t hold a candle to ours.