Courtesy Atlanta Braves
Cobb Commission Chairman Tim Lee must feel like he’s sitting in a dunking booth. During the Public Comment portion of the bi-monthly Board of Commissioners meetings, it has become almost customary for citizens disgruntled with Lee’s handling of the new Braves stadium to take their best shot at the chairman.
This week’s contestant was Susan McCoy, an East Cobb personal injury attorney. “I have this notion, reflected in the laws of Georgia and the laws of the United States, that the government is to work for the people and by the people,” she said from the podium. “The government is not for a billionaire [team owner] by a chairman who has backroom dealings, in private, without the approval of the public.” She claimed she has gone through 600 pages of “secret” documents not released to the citizens or the media.
By now, Lee is practiced in retaliation. When McCoy was cut off after the allotted five minutes, the chairman snapped back: “I’d like to get a transcript of your testimony and I’d love to meet with you and point out about thirty inaccuracies in your testimony.”
McCoy later told reporters that she has filed a complaint with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission regarding the plan to issue nearly $400 million in bonds to help build the stadium. The SEC does not comment on investigations and Cobb director of communications, Robert Quigley says that, as far as he knows, the Commission has yet to see a complaint.
Meanwhile, the Commission did approve, by a 3-0 vote with two commissioners absent, a contract with Atlanta-based Heery International architecture and engineering firm to oversee the stadium construction. Heery worked in the same capacity during the building of Centennial Olympic Stadium and its transition to Turner Field. According to the 21-page agreement, Heery will report to the County Manager and ensure that all obligations are being met by the construction company—all for a fee that shall not exceed $1.5 million, which will come out of the county’s contribution.
Commissioner Bob Ott—who represents District 2, where the stadium will be located yet was absent for the vote—supports the decision. He also says that while so much attention is being paid to those speaking out against the Braves stadium deal, he has seen positive economic returns for the county. Ott says that more than $100 million worth of retail, office, and residential development in the Cumberland area around the stadium site has come before the zoning commission. A new Apple Store just opened in the Cumberland Mall, and he has spoken with reps from the Parkway Pointe movie theater about a $20-million renovation. “The halo effect of the Braves move is clearly being seen,” he says.