Legal challenge filed prior to Braves bond hearing
by Sarah Westwood
July 04, 2014 04:00 AM | 2089 views | 2 2 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
 Local activist Rich Pellegrino, above, on Thursday filed a challenge in Cobb Superior Court to the method in which the county intends to finance construction of the new Atlanta Braves stadium.<br>Staff/File
Local activist Rich Pellegrino, above, on Thursday filed a challenge in Cobb Superior Court to the method in which the county intends to finance construction of the new Atlanta Braves stadium.
Staff/File
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MARIETTA — Local activist Rich Pellegrino on Thursday filed a challenge in Cobb Superior Court to the method in which the county intends to finance construction of the new Atlanta Braves stadium.

On May 27, the Cobb Board of Commissioners authorized borrowing up to $397 million in bond proceeds to finance the $672 million stadium.

The Cobb-Marietta Coliseum & Exhibit Hall Authority is the agency preparing to issue the bonds. But before it can do that, state law requires a bond validation hearing. The hearing is scheduled for Monday before Judge Robert Leonard.

Pellegrino, a member of Cobb Citizens for Governmental Transparency, said he filed the challenge because he doesn’t agree with a new tax the county is using to pay off the bonds.

“I filed a motion to invalidate the bond based on the illegality of, specifically, the hotel-motel tax, which the state Constitution says the state has the right to impose up to a certain limit,” Pellegrino said, adding the state had already surpassed that limit.

The hotel-motel tax charges hotel and motel guests in the Cumberland area extra fees to rent rooms, he said.

He said members of his group feel the deal that will ultimately bring the Braves to Cobb County should not be a taxpayer burden.

“There’s a good chance the revenue from the Braves will not cover the bond, so they’re going to raise taxes,” he said of the county government.

Pellegrino said other individuals planned to pose similar legal interventions.

“This is an opportunity for citizens to express their discontent with the county going into debt,” Pellegrino said.

He noted Monday is the last day for anyone opposed to the bond-issuing process to express their concerns in court.

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Veteran Observer
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July 05, 2014
Why do Mr. Pellegrino and other so-called "activists" feel that their own selfish views need to prevail over the will of the people! Our elected leaders are accountable at the ballot box for their actions and Mr. Pellegrino and his chums need to cease wasting taxpayer dollars by filing these actions that they know they will lose! I am very pleased that an economic generator and a valued community partner and resource like the Braves have chosen to relocate to Cobb! The City of Atlanta has incompetent leadership that has forced the Braves to take this action! Mr. Pellegrino is in their pocket as they attempt a last second desperate ploy to destroy this deal! The Mayor and Mr. Pellegrino need to go back to the Falcons and attempt to extort more money from Mr. Blank as they seem to be better at that!
SW GAl
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July 04, 2014
We are not saying whether the Braves coming to Cobb is a good deal or a bad deal. Let the free market decide, but do so without committing almost $400 MILLION of our hard-earned money to billionaire owners of the Braves. They can afford to foot the whole deal themselves. Almost 200 such stadium deals have been done around the country. Of those, only a hand full were successful, only the ones in the downtown areas (and the Braves are moving to the suburbs.) The majority of the taxpayer-funded stadium deals were a "foul ball" for tax payers. Google "public funding of private stadiums." You will realize that this Braves deal is not a good deal for Cobb taxpayers. We assume most of the risk and none of the rewards. Maybe Tim will let us have his free luxury box seats at the Braves games!
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