Five questions the Georgia state ethics investigation of Governor Nathan Deal’s 2010 campaign never answered
(And what we found trying to answer them)
The state ethics commission is a mess, its organization and reputation in shambles. It’s forked over $3 million to four fired employees who blamed a cover-up in an investigation of Governor Nathan Deal’s 2010 campaign, then fired its most recent director last month after a judge said she’d been “dishonest and nontransparent.”
The week after Susan McCoy spoke at a Cobb County Commission meeting, her picket fence was torched.
East Cobb lawyer Susan McCoy hoped “something exciting” would happen when she asked the feds to investigate Cobb County’s bond deal with the Atlanta Braves. “I didn’t realize that would be my garden and fence burning up,” she said.
Judge Robert Leonard presided over a six-hour hearing on Monday
Cobb County officials went into extra innings Monday trying to get bond financing approved for the Atlanta Braves’ new stadium. But it’ll be weeks before they know if they won.
“They touch everything,” says a critic of the business group’s cozy relationship with the County Commission.
It would be difficult to overstate the role the Cobb Chamber, a 2,500-member business organization, played in bringing the Braves to Cobb, whether as public cheerleaders or private decision-makers.
In case you’re curious, here’s what dissenters wanted to discuss at the Cobb Commission meeting on the Braves stadium
Plus, a little more detail on how pro-Braves folks got all the speaking slots
Before Tuesday’s vote on bond financing agreements for the new Atlanta Braves stadium, Cobb County commissioners refused to let critics voice concerns. A brief standoff ensued, as several members of the advocacy group Cobb Citizens for Governmental Transparency (CGT) stood to protest before police escorted them from the room. We were curious to hear what CGT might have said if given the chance, so we asked representatives of the group whether they’d come to the Cobb chambers with talking points in hand. As it turns out, they had.
Long-shot filings with the Cobb Board of Ethics have generated media coverage but little else
Critics of Cobb County's $314 million deal with the Atlanta Braves moved on to round two on Wednesday, filing a new ethics complaint against Cobb commissioners just hours before their first such complaint was summarily dismissed.
Cobb commissioners tout a consultant’s rosy economic forecast—and downplay costs to the county.
If the new Atlanta Braves stadium becomes the economic engine that boosters predict, it would be as likely as seeing Julio Teheran throw a perfect game. Economists say they know of no major league ballparks that justify their public subsidies. "Study after study after study agrees with this finding," said sports economist J.C. Bradbury of Kennesaw State University. "People don’t even study it any more, it’s so non-controversial."
Cobb commissioners deliberate more about backyard chickens than they do about using tax dollars to build a $672 million stadium for the Braves.
Cobb County commissioners agreed Tuesday to a two-week delay before voting on new zoning rules for keeping backyard chickens. But they wouldn’t postpone a much more contentious decision on $8 million a year in new taxes to subsidize the Atlanta Braves. Opponents objected that new information on who would be taxed to help finance a new stadium for the Braves had only become available this week. Previously released maps of new tax districts, they said, were poorly reproduced and virtually unreadable.
Two Cobb legislators are sponsoring a bill that would add an exemption to Georgia’s sunshine law.
Atlanta Braves pitchers and catchers are basking under the Florida sun as they prepare for the 2014 baseball season. Meanwhile, dark clouds could be forming in Atlanta to obscure details of public spending on the team’s proposed $672 million stadium.