Questions remain about Lee, Braves deal
August 24, 2014 12:00 AM | 1352 views | 6 6 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
DEAR EDITOR:

Re: MDJ story “Sounding off on Lee: Officials give their take on recent allegations against the BoC Chairman”

MDJ reporter Ricky Leroux wrote a great article about Cobb Commission Chairman Tim Lee’s secret Braves deal and negotiations. However, the reports about Lee’s behind-the-scenes negotiations and actions to move the Braves to Cobb County still have many remaining unanswered questions that concern ethics and the law. His secret actions were effectively playing poker with other people’s money (Cobb taxpayers’) without their consent.

The story should not go away until the public and the taxpayers get complete transparency and honest answers from Lee. The other commissioners have to deal with him every day. They’re not going to be completely honest and open with reporters about Lee’s actions because of their concern of fallout for their districts’ other issues and problems. Sure, people can file an ethics complaint. But a simple slap on the wrist won’t begin to offset or help repay all the $700 million that Mr. Lee committed in secret emails to the Braves on behalf of Cobb taxpayers for the next 30 years without their approval.

It’s pretty obvious that Lee’s off-the-books attorney Dan McRae knew exactly what he was doing and anticipated a fantastic payday down the road if everything fell into place per the secret plan. His “free” service was motivated by future gains.

Here’s the bottom line. Something is sleazy and smells terribly wrong with this entire deal, from the beginning until now. The public/taxpayers want the truth and total transparency. They deserve it. It’s their money.

At the same time, if Lee knowingly broke any rules and laws or dishonored his position as the Cobb BoC Chairman, he deserves appropriate punishment.

Joe O’Connor

East Cobb

Comments
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SW Gal
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August 25, 2014
To "Commission approved" (or Tim Lee?)

The deal was accomplished behind closed doors using a "Noah's Ark" or two people at a time rule to avoid the open records requirement. The "deal" was accomplished by slight of hand shell game using the CID (in name only) to avoid a public voter referendum on committing at least $400 MILLION of our tax tax dollars for thirty years. The "deal" provides our taxes to BILLIONAIRE owners of the Braves who had enough cash on hand to do the deal without us. The almost 100 such stadium "deals" across the U.S. have, with the exception of a small handful, been abject FAILURES to the taxpayers and an albatross around the necks of the county governments involved. Look at the Marlins deal as but one example. Need we say more? Tim Lee, please resign.
Move On
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August 25, 2014
Chairman made a wise decision to seek advice from an expert, perfectly legal and the right thing to do. If he had not done so, joe, you would be the first to critize him for not seeking advice from an experienced professional. Joe, your letters have become insignificant. Do your homework before you try to play in the big league. You are a rookie trying to make it to the majors, never going to happen.
Rhett Writer
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August 25, 2014
@ "Commission approved." It was "legally" approved, without time for vetting, just a few weeks after it was brought into the open, and under a false threat that if we did not approve it immediately, we would lose the whole thing.

And, yes, in spite of what you say, Lee did commit to come up with 350 million plus, without taxpayer or commission approval. He said as much when he announced the deal.

If you truly believe this deal was on the up and up, then you are either grossly immature or grossly naive, or both.

30066
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August 25, 2014
I think I will take the Ric Perry approach...

If Lee does not resign, I will veto the SPLOST.
Commission approved
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August 24, 2014
Joe, the deal was approved legally and in the open by the commissioners, just like any others. That Lee negotiated in private does not change that. You imply that Lee committed the county to 700 million dollars but that is ridiculous on its face. Go back and study the deal, first it was negotiated, then legally approved in the open. Now what is your complaint?
Kevin Foley
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August 25, 2014
The complaint is Lee had no authority to hire an attorney to negotiate in secret (read my nearby column for more).

The complaint is, Lee hustled the deal past Cobb County voters with practically no public review or comment.

The complaint is Lee handed $400 million to the $17 billion Liberty Media Corp., whose CEO is worth $7 billion. Cobb County's media household income is $65,000.

The complaint is there is no contract between Cobb and the Braves assuring the $400 million mixed use development will ever be built.

As this thing drips, drips, drips, there will no doubt be many more complaints, so stay tuned.

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