Around Town: Lee the winner ... Maybe not in votes, but definitely in contributions
by Otis Brumby, Bill Kinney and Joe Kirby
Around Town Columnists
April 07, 2012 12:00 AM | 7727 views | 9 9 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
IT’S TOO SOON to know who won the Master’s in Augusta, but the results are already in in the contest to see which of the four Republicans running for Cobb Commission chairman raised the most money in the latest reporting period, which ends Sunday. And the runaway winner was incumbent Tim Lee.

Lee took in $48,564 this quarter and had cash on hand of $54,656 — each more than twice as much as any of his three competitors.

LEE was the recipient of a $2,000 contribution from Douglas Lee of Marietta, $1,250 from the Atlanta Realtors Political Action Committee and $1,000 checks from Taz Anderson, Arcadis, President Kim Gresh of S.A. White Oil Co., Wayne Hilliard, the Holland and Knight Committee for Responsible Government in Atlanta, Jackel & Phillips PC of Marietta, Sandy Miller of Smyrna, Carol Ney of Marietta, Parson Brinkerhoff of New York, Pond & Co. of Norcross, Pull-A-Part LLC of Atlanta, Metro Ambulance CEO Pete Quinones, Robert Schreiner of Dunwoody, former Commission Chairman Earl Smith, Town Center Community Improvement District Communications Director Mary Lou Stephens, Kaiser Permanente VP Dan Styf, John Tanner of Roswell, The Atkins North American Holdings Co., of Tampa, developer Larry Thompson, Elon salon CFO Flonnie Westbrook, and Susan Casteel.

OTHER NOTABLE donors included retired Caraustar Industries exec Bob Prillaman ($500), insurance agent Gary Bottoms ($500), Greg Moregan ($500), Chamber CEO David Connell ($250), the Council for Quality Growth/Metro Atlanta Voter Education Network’s Michael Paris ($250) and banker Ron Francis ($250)

Those who donated $100 to Lee included Cobb Chamber of Commerce Chair Tony Britton, WellStar Health System VP Joseph Brywczynski, Croy Engineering’s Jim Croy, Thomas DiMassimo (spouse of Cobb DOT head Faye DiMassimo), Atlanta Opera director Dennis Hanthorn, Cobb Development Authority member Clark Hungerford, former Georgia Supreme Court Justice Conley Ingram, WellStar VP Kim Menefee (two contributions of $100 each), Marietta Council candidate Pattie Pearlberg, WellStar VP Leo Reichert, Cumberland Community Improvement District director Malaika Rivers, Cobb Galleria Centre GM/CEO Michelle Swan, and Mercer University economist Dr. Roger Tutterow. Giving $50 was Deane Bonner of the Marietta NAACP.

WHAT ABOUT the other three candidates for chairman?

Retired Marine Col. Mike Boyce reports raising nearly $16,000 and also put $5,000 of his own money this quarter into his bid to unseat Lee. A large number of Boyce’s contributors are local retirees giving $100. His only $1,000 contributor was Charlie Edwards, a retiree who lives in the Atlanta Country Club. Boyce’s filing shows cash on hand of more than $15,000.

Former Chairman Bill Byrne reports income of nearly $15,000 in his comeback bid, though he also reports earning $3,000 in interest on his campaign account this period. (Wonder where he banks?) After expenses, his cash on hand is more than $20,500, according to his filing.

Byrne collected $1,500 each from Janet and attorney Mark Spix of Atlanta; and the aforementioned Westbrook, and he cashed $1,000 checks from Debbie Hill and Chris Waldman, both of whom are in real estate; as well as from Williamson Diversified Holdings. Attorney Hylton Dupree gave Byrne $500, and Canoe restaurant owner Ronald San Martin gave $400. George McKerrow Jr., president/CEO of Ted’s Montana Grill, and Ginair McKerrow, both of Atlanta, each gave $200. Businessman Robert Meadows and new Cobb Bar president Robert Schnatmeier Jr. each wrote checks to Byrne for $250.

Chairman candidate Larry Savage, meanwhile, told the Journal he has raised only $260 but spent $420 this quarter. He plans to mail in his report.

EAST COBB Commissioner Bob Ott, who so far doesn’t have any known challengers as he seeks a second term this year, raised more than $22,000 since Jan. 1, and has most of that still on hand.

Among Ott’s biggest donors were Albion Scaccia Enterprises ($2,400); Governor’s Ridge Office Park ($2,400); financial consultant James Brock of Marietta ($2,000); Elon Salon owner Don Westbrook ($2,000) and Michael Brown, of Health Care Capital Corp. ($1,500).

Ott took in $1,000 each from Larry Kelly and Mason Zimmerman, both of Pope and Land; and Carol Ney. Other contributors included Marietta philanthropist Stephen Imler ($500) and the Committee to Elect Sheriff Neil Warren ($200).

WELLSTAR HEALTH SYSTEM will donate $50,000 to the Metro Atlanta Voter Education Network to help fund its efforts to “educate” the public about the upcoming TSPLOST referendum.

“WellStar is planning on providing the funds in the next several weeks,” WellStar’s Keith Bowermaster confirmed to the MDJ.

Perhaps not coincidentally, WellStar Senior VP of Public and Governmental Affairs Kim Menefee is one of four co-chairs of the steering committee for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Competitive EDGE economic development push. The Chamber is lobbying hard along with MAVEN for passage of the TSPLOST referendum. Meanwhile, WellStar Health Parks administrative team member Kim Paris is the husband of MAVEN bigwig Michael Paris. The donation was approved by President/CEO Reynold Jennings but was not run by the WellStar board, even though the recipient, MAVEN (and by extension, the TSPLOST) have become political hot potatoes.

“It did not require Board approval,” Bowermaster said.

The $50,000 will be the first contribution to MAVEN by WellStar and at this time it will be the only contribution, he told the MDJ.

MAVEN has a war chest in excess of $2.1 million — including $370,000 thus far from the Cumberland Community Improvement District and $200,000 from the Town Center CID — to spend touting the TSPLOST between now and the July 31 referendum. State Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs), Cobb Commission Chair candidate Larry Savage and others have contended that MAVEN’s “education” efforts are entirely one-sided in favor of passing the TSPLOST.

WHILE SOME TRIED the stay-cation route and others hit the beach for Spring Break 2012, Cobb Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa was running from tornadoes. Tuesday’s rash of storms hit the Dallas-Fort Worth area while Hinojosa was there visiting family. In a brief email exchange on Thursday, the superintendent said, “We did dodge 12 tornadoes but luckily I was with my mom, who lives by herself, during the worst part. Everyone is fine and amazingly there was no property damage.”

The super, faculty members and county’s 107,000 students will return to school Monday. For those of us who have enjoyed the emptier-than-usual roads this week, it will be like a storm is hitting our area.

THE MARIETTA FARMER’S MARKET gets back in full swing this morning, moving from its winter location on Mill Street to its full-scale format on North Park Square, the street that runs along the north side of Marietta Square. Organizer Johnny Fulmer tells Around Town there will be more vendors this year than ever before.

REMINDER: State Attorney General Sam Olens will give a first-hand report at this morning’s Cobb GOP breakfast about the Obamacare arguments before the Supreme Court. The event starts at 8 at Cobb GOP Headquarters, 799 Roswell St. Later today, the Cobb GOP and Cobb Republican Women’s Club will host a free Republican Easter Egg Hunt at East Cobb Park off Roswell Road. Hunts will take place every 30 minutes between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. ... A “meet and greet” for Bill Byrne will be hosted from 5-7 p.m. Tuesday at Howard’s Delicatessen in Smyrna by former state Rep. Bill Atkins and Jennifer Atkins and Joe and Janet Bland.

SICK BAY: Metro Ambulance VP Devan Seabaugh has undergone surgery on the arm he broke in a fall this week. … Retired Marietta educator Norma Enete underwent back surgery this week

TONIGHT’S opening reception at the Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art for “The Best of the Bentley Collection” honors Fred Bentley Sr. of west Cobb, who has donated countless works to the museum through the years. Tonight’s 6-8 p.m. reception is free to museum members and $8 for others.
Comments-icon Post a Comment
P Town Python
June 24, 2012
Lee is the only candidate who will do what is right for the people of Cobb. He has already saved education, is promoting infrastructure, and is not a pawn or a mindless recluse.
April 10, 2012
The title of this blog post is speculative at best. There is no way the 'Around Town' gang can know how people will vote come the primary. Lee has the most money - there is no way of knowing if he will win. Leave it at that. He probably will TBH.
April 09, 2012
If some of the contributors to Lee's campaign fund are employed by entities (Town Center CID, Cumberland CID, MAVEN, Croy Engineering, Cobb Galleria Authority as a few examples listed in the editiorial) and derive their income from taxpayer funded organizations

is it really appropriate for them to contribute to his campaign?

No accusations

Just wondering?
April 09, 2012
@ Get Real

I think you have your directions mixed up.

Forward means: ahead, progress, accomplishment etc.

Tim Lee is the antipathy of progress.

His contributors simply want someone in the Chairman's seat who will do their bidding.

Can't blame them for that, but it is a selfish strategy that will continue to hold our county back.
Get Real
April 09, 2012
Lee is the only Canidate to move us forward. If you look at the list of contributors, it is a who's who of Cobb Leadership. You nameless whinners can stick with one of your three want-to-be leaders who will take us back 50 years. Perhaps we will construct a moat around our borders so no one else can get in. Pathetic.
Frank S.
April 08, 2012
Continued contributions to the entrenched explain why we have the kind of government we do. If you're an incumbent in Cobb, you can't lose.
Follow the Money
April 07, 2012
After looking at the contributors to Chairman Lee's campaign, it definitely reenforced my decision to vote for one of the other candidates.
Be Careful
April 07, 2012
Not surprised at all by who donates to Tim. It's a "who's who" of Cobb Chamber, the organization that pulls his strings. The Chamber doesn't want to lose their puppet.

Hopefully, the lead in donations doesn't mean the lead in votes. I PRAY the citizens of Cobb have wised up and will turn out in force to vote.
Spring Break 2013
April 07, 2012
Here's hoping that people booking for next year realize that Spring Break 2013 is not the traditional first week in April, but a week later! There will be a lot of unhappy people out there, if they don't realize it.
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