The MDJ reported Sunday that Sweeney had been quietly hired as a consultant by Promethean Ltd. Its digital whiteboards are ubiquitous in classrooms around the world — but not in Cobb’s. Critics see the hire as a potential conflict of interest for Sweeney, who is being challenged in the May 20 primary by Kevin Nicholas. The MDJ reported later in the week that Promethean also has strong ties to the Cobb Schools Foundation.
Michelle Sollicito’s “Snowed Out Atlanta” Facebook page and its 50,000 “friends” helped link Good Samaritans with those stranded in the storm and proved such a hit that she was recently flown to Texas, where she rubbed elbows with former White House officials while receiving an award from President George H.W. Bush’s “Points of Light” Foundation.
But this week she’s been engaged in a running email duel on Sweeney’s behalf with School Board Chair Kathy Angelucci and vice Chair Randy Scamihorn, although she does not live in his district and even though she’s a Democrat and he’s a Republican.
“I am totally dismayed and disappointed in you both,” she emailed Angelucci and Scamihorn on Wednesday, copying it to MDJ education reporter Haisten Willis and Around Town. “Why would you turn against Scott so publicly? I do not understand it. He has done soooo much for Education around here. He has been the voice of reason, the voice of FACTS as opposed to emotions. He is almost solely responsible for the budget being so much better than originally predicted.”
In another email shortly afterward to Willis and AT, which she copied to Sweeney and his wife, Sandy, Sollicito wrote that, “Even though I have become possibly his strongest supporter, he refuses to divulge any information he considers to be confidential (e.g. he would never discuss personnel issues or Executive Session issues with me) so I had to go to Kathy Angelucci and [board member] David Banks for some of that type of information (David is not the most reliable source by the way as I think you now realize).”
IN YET ANOTHER email later that morning to Willis, AT and the Sweeneys, Sollicito continued that, “The truth is I recognize that Scott is a very good looking man to some women. I also recognize that he is VERY married to Sandy.
“I have had the experience of an unfaithful husband which is why I am now on my second husband, and I would never put another woman through what I went through.
“Besides that, I live with my husband but we are not really a couple. I have been put off men for this century!! I am probably more likely to shack up with Sandy at this point than Scott. You are welcome to put that in your newspaper if you like. So there is no scandal here — just in case you were about to go there.”
She went on to stress that her work on behalf of the community and the school system is unpaid, adding, “One of the reasons my husband is not speaking to me is because I do too much work for free and (am) not enough earning money — I could earn big bucks if I wanted to but I am too passionate about the local community.”
For more on Sweeney, Promethean and the board, see Willis’ story in Sunday’s MDJ.
THE VOTING won’t take place for another month, but Marietta’s Tricia Pridemore is in first place in at least one category this weekend: cash on hand. Quarterly figures filed this week by 11th District Congressional race candidates with the Federal Election Commission show her well ahead of the other five hopefuls. She raised $68,336 in the first three months of the year and had $238,645 cash on hand.
In second place was Georgia House Majority Whip Ed Lindsey of Buckhead. He raised $92,595 and had $168,334 on hand. His fundraising efforts were crimped by the law that prevents legislators from accepting donations while the Legislature is in session.
Coming in third was former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr of Smyrna. Barr raised $102,505 and had $124,963 cash. In fourth place was Barry Loudermilk of Cassville. He raised $114,910 and had $77,162 cash. Retired Col. Larry Mrozinski of Woodstock was a distant fifth, having raised $5,615 (mostly via loans from himself). Sixth candidate Allen Levene of Marietta did not file a report. He’s also running for Congress in three other states. There’s no word on whether he filed reports in any of them.
There is no Democrat in the 11th race, and the depth of the candidates’ respective war chests will determine the tempo of their final-round ad blitzes.
AMONG the donors to Pridemore’s campaign were Cox Enterprises Chairman James Kennedy ($2,500) and Sarah Kennedy ($2,600) of Atlanta, Infomart President Tammy Cohen ($1,000), former Cobb Commission Chair Earl Smith ($1,000), dentist Dr. Bill Farrar ($1,000), CheeseBurger Bobby’s owner Robert Stoll ($1,000), developer John Williams ($500) and former Marietta Mayor Bill Dunaway ($500),
Donors to Lindsey’s campaign included: CBEYOND PAC ($1,000), developer Larry Gellerstedt of Cousins Properties ($500), and Bill and Cindy Voyles, owners of Voyles Automotive ($500).
A number of Barr’s largest donors came from outside not just the district but the state, such as Francis X. Ryan of Lebanon, Penn., ($2,600), Donald Tapia of Paradise Valley, Ariz., and Eugene Klingman of Larwill, Idaho ($2,000).
Local donors included N. Ga. Pain Clinic physician Dr. Barry Straus ($2,600) and Denise Straus (2,600) of Alpharetta, Atlanta restaurateur Pano Karatassos ($1,350, in-kind), Realtor Donna Rowe ($1,000), Rollins VP Gary Rollins ($1,000) of Atlanta, former Georgia Insurance Commish John Oxendine ($500), Futren Corp. chair Jim Rhoden ($500), Krystal CEO Doug Pendergast ($500), Croy Engineering partner Jim Croy ($500) and John Williams ($300).
LOUDERMILK’S DONORS came mostly from his end of the district but also included developer Barry Teague ($500), Acworth restaurateur Henry Chandler ($250) and the campaign committees for state Sen. Lindsey Tippins ($500) and Ed Setzler ($500) of northwest Cobb.
FORMER state Sen. Chuck Clay, a mainstay on the Marietta legal landscape for decades, is moving his independent lobbying firm, Clay Consulting, to Atlanta to become part of the Nelson Mullins lobbying practice. Clay’s client list includes Kaiser Permanent, Georgia Bio and the Georgia Association of Community Service Boards.
IS THERE a move afoot to oust Marietta Museum of History Director/founder Dan Cox, or push him into retirement? Such fears have been shared privately with AT by museum insiders in the wake of an ultra-rare closed-door executive session of the museum board. The session, from which Cox was excluded, took place at the most recent bi-monthly meeting of the board in March.
“He’s not doing a bad job, and to be shoved out the door, even under the guise of ‘retirement,’ doesn’t set right with me,” said a museum-watcher with inside knowledge of the situation.
Cox declined to comment, but museum board Chairman Kee Carlisle said such fears are overblown.
“I think Dan should retire only if he feels like it’s time to retire,” he said. “He’s told me he’d do whatever would be the most benefit to the community. How could you imagine the museum without Dan at the front door? This is not a situation where people are trying to get Dan or anyone else to leave. We just recognize that we’re having growing pains.”
The museum, housed in the historic Kennesaw House, is still trying to figure out how to proceed following the acquisition two years ago of the assets of an aviation museum that had never gotten off the ground.
“We did not take time then to organize better a way to get the structure right. It has caused us some problems. But it’s nothing we can’t fix,” Carlisle said. “(We’re) no longer a mom and pop operation. We’re now transitioning to a professional museum. It behooves us to look at everything.”
The city’s museums and arts groups have been in the news following the suggestion by new Ward 1 Councilman Stuart Fleming that the hotel/motel tax money the city now doles out as grants might be put to better use.
Museum of History director of operations Jan Galt reminds that the museum’s operating budget originally was fully funded by the city, but is now down to 44 percent.
“Even with the cuts we’ve been able to survive and have increased our attendance and programs,” she said. “So I’m very proud we’re still here when it was predicted two years ago that we wouldn’t be here six months later.”
DON’T forget Sunday’s 7 a.m. Easter Sunrise Service at the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park’s Visitors’ Center lawn, cosponsored by the Marietta Kiwanis and Marietta Rotary clubs.