Thursday, August 13, 2015

DeKalb CEO Deliberately Left Half The Commission Out Of Stadium Negotiations

August 13, 2015 17:28 pm
by George Chidi 
Peach Pundit 

If Nancy Jester, Kathy Gannon or Jeff Rader are your commissioners, you are not entitled to representation in DeKalb County government any more.

Commissioner Nancy Jester revealed today that other commissioners signed a letter to open negotiations with Arthur Blank in April for a new soccer training facility, and that she wasn’t informed of it until about a week before the vote. I suspect commissioners Rader and Gannon will say the same.

One week ago, interim CEO Lee May said this on Twitter:
"There were no back door deals. I personally spoke with each individual Commissioner the day that I received information concerning this deal "
Confronted with Jester’s revelation on WABE’s “A Closer Look” this afternoon, May said that none of these commissioners were informed because the land on Memorial Drive isn’t in their districts. Never mind, it seems, that Sharon Barnes-Sutton was apparently worthy of being informed, since the territory isn’t in her district, either. Nor that the $12 million public “investment” in a private company’s sports facility comes from taxpayers across the county.

I have questions. Many, many questions.

The first, of course, is whether this kind of communication violates open meetings and open records law. Three other commissioners plus the CEO constitutes a quorum; I suggest that triggers the law.
I recognize an exemption to open meetings law with regard to the disposition of real property … although it’s worth noting that the use of the land as a usufruct in the stadium deal may provide challenge that term. I do not recognize an exemption to open meetings law with respect to informing other members of a legislative body about official actions under consideration.

When did Mereda Davis Johnson know about this? Given how gung-ho she’s been about the deal, one might infer that she’d had enough time to digest details. Was she informed about the negotiations before she was elected? Before she announced her candidacy? Were other candidates?

With four months to consider the deal, why then was there such a rush to vote, other than the desire to limit public discussion? How can Lee May tell the public with a straight face that there should have been a public hearing when there was plainly ample time for one?

Why, if discussion began in April, was the site development plan and economic analysis presented to the public as weak as it was, given how much public money was put on the table? What staff resources were made available to the commission to evaluate the propriety of the deal in terms of economic payoff and feasibility? Were actual analyses done and then buried? Did people ask to do cost-benefit analyses and were rejected?

What kind of time pressure was placed on the commission by Blank? What did he say to justify a quick, no-public-input vote? When did he say it, and to whom? Why would that threat be considered credible?

And where’s the letter? I have an Open Records Act request out for it now.


Anonymous said...

Its kind of obvious that there was some kind of back room deal concerning this soccer stadium. The Crooked commissioners who have a nasty habit of not conferring with their white counterparts on any major "improvement" for the county, but is damn sure that these deals are quickly voted on and passed.

Its the same old game of lining one's pocket to put this county deeper in debt just like the USA. DeKalb County doesn't need Obama down here because many of his students have learned from what Obama has done for the country, just on a local level.

Its sad that this country with its many counties run by corrupt idiots have made the outlook for tomorrow's kids pay the price for all of this stupidity and corruption.

God help this country and possibly the world

clifsteward said...

Well I don't know how POTUS got involved in THIS ignorance , and the wan attempt to implicate the sitting CIC in this ignorance is just plain well ...... ignorant . There seems to be no shortage of ignorance in Georgia , especially in DeKalb county . Case in point : a federal court has ordered the recorders court to return illegally collected traffic fines assessed by the recorders court . Yet when you call or appear , all parties involved assume their three monkeys stance I.E. "see no evil , hear no evil , speak no evil" . Despite the fact the news coverage of the matter was telecast nationally , and covered in a number of newspapers . Calling the appropriate county executives , and leaving polite messages with both the exec and her personal assistant numerous times has resulted in BEING COMPLETELY IGNORED , DISREGARDED , AND APPARENTLY DISMISSED , owing to the fact that five weeks later I have heard from no one . So much for the competence of African American county execs is this county. My own ethnicity being African American as well , I expected a greater level of competence and attention to the immediate constituency . However at this juncture , Santa Claus , The Easter Bunny , and The Great Pumpkin , can receive a higher credibility rating from me .
Now ..... on this latest travesty , in a county where they think nothing of massive homeowner , and small business tax increases without proper representation of increases of as much as 50 to 100 pct. on the backs of many struggling homeowners , and mom & pop businesses. Is now preparing behind the backs of those same victimized , deprioritized , ignored taxpayers , Whose taxes are perpetually being increased , while services and employee benefits are being decreased . To GIVE a professional sports team rights and clearance to construct facilities in this county , and at completion , under contract , allow a profit making very rich sports team to operate in Dekalb county [ TAX FREE FOR THE NEXT 30 (thats right thirty) YEARS ] ......WHAT ????? !!!! . So I guess the residents of this God forsaken county will be expected to foot the tax bill for this team and their stadium . While we residents bust our behinds for every penny we earn , only to watch the county absorb them in taxes . While a millionaire sports organization will dance about the county carte blanche earning profit after profit and keeping their hands buried in their deep pockets . REALLY ???? Who in county government is benefiting from this deal which screams dishonesty , collusion and downright shenanigans . Quite obviously , the residential populace of Dekalb county is of the LEAST significance to our county executives on both personal AND mass scales .I humbly request that readers of this posting feel free to copy and paste it . Lets get the ball rolling to get DeKalb off it A_s and recognize the people it taxes so heavily .