James Salzer takes on Perdue and Taylor

UPDATE: Bobby Kahn calls for an investigation.

How convenient. Kahn tips off the newspaper, then calls for an investigation based on the resulting article. One interesting note in Salzer’s new article:

Perdue’s purchase was first disclosed in May when the governor filed his financial disclosure report, although he was not required to report that he bought the land from Thomas’ Fourth Quarter Properties.

Kahn’s outrage seems manufactured. Where was the outrage way back in May? Also, for Mark Taylor to chime in seems hypocritical, since the Ethics Commission is considering complaints filed against him (by me).

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The AJC’s James Salzer has a pair of articles today looking at some land Governor Perdue purchased in Florida and an accusation that Mark Taylor took too much money from a donor.

The Perdue article looks in depth at the purchase, which could be lucrative for the Governor at some point in the future. Apparently Perdue purchased the land from Stan Thomas, who the Governor appointed to a State Board. I don’t see this as a problem. Since it is in Florida and the Governor will not have any control over any situation that may impact the value of the land. No complaint has been filed, but Salzer seems to be looking for a problem – with some help:

An account of the land deal was brought to the attention of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution by the Democratic Party. The newspaper confirmed details of the transaction through public records.

Salzer’s article on the accusation against Taylor is much shorter, but probably because the story is not that complicated. Several car dealerships owned by Carl Gregory gave a total of $40,000 to Taylor’s campaign, which Taylor claims was legal to do at the time (last December).

What about all this? Are these issues potential problems for these two candidates?

74 comments

  1. GetReal says:

    Buzz- Nice try at giving the two stories equal billing, but it won’t fly. Perdue stands to make millions (maybe tens of millions) from a shady land deal with a developer that he has used his government office to give major benefits to. That’s the kind of stuff that leads to grand jury investigations and worse.

    The Taylor thing is at most a complaint to the State Ethics Commission that probably won’t succeed.

    If I were a Republican, I’d jump on the Casey Cagle bandwagon right now. Even if Perdue gets re-elected (which appears to have become more doubtful today) he may not finish his second term. If you get Cagle elected, at least you have some insurance.

  2. CHelf says:

    I think there were some people (not mentioning names) who jumped on Casey Cagle’s back about him making money while in office. The amount of money is large. These same people kept saying on several boards that even if nothing was wrong that it just smelled funny. These people used that as a main reason not to vote for Cagle. Their logic was that this just didn’t look right.

    In Perdue’s case, this is a little more extreme. His cover is that he cannot put his own businesses in a blind trust. But he can put finances in a blind trust. And why would you do something that could be used against you? A fat land deal and then an appointment to a state board position looks shady. It doesn’t matter if everything is on the up and up. It just looks like favors and buying into office.

    The issue could just die out but the strategy is sound on the part of the Democrats. This election will be about chipping away at GOP strengths. One of those is ethics and sunshine ideas on government. If the ethics party is doing things like Frist in HCA dealings and your Abramoff, Ney, Cunningham, DeLay dealings, what else is going on?

    The Democrats will just add this to the pile of questions. As the questions pile on, however small they are, they will begin sticking in the minds of the moderates and the ‘undecideds’ out there.

    It is what we did to Clinton by going after everything we could get our hands on about him. This time it is a broad based attack on the entire party. With poll numbers as they are across the board, this will be a chip in the armor. Like I said, it could just die out. But if things like this keep coming out between now and November, the tide could easily turn with an already disgruntled electorate.

  3. rightofcenter says:

    Get Real……help us out here. I read the article, and if you take away the suggestive headlines and captions, where’s the beef? The most interesting thing is the admission by the AJC that they get there storylines from the Democratic Party. Surprise, surprise.

    “Shady land deals”…..what is shady about it? It’s not like he turned $1,000 into $100,000 overnight like a former first lady. He still owns it, and apparently paid a “speculative” price for it. Chances are, he will one day sell it and make a tidy profit on it. Or not. That’s the nature of land speculation. Unless he suddenly gains some fiduciary responsibility in the state of Florida, it’s difficult to see how being governor of Georgia helps him in this situation.

    If he has given major benefits to this developer, I would suggest you and the AJC list them out. An appointment to the econ. dev. board may be prestigious, but’s its hardly a financial benefit. If he has financially benefitted from his appointment, by all means let us know.

    When the worse thing you can pin on Sonny is a quote of disdain from Barnes hack Sehgal, it’s a pretty weak case.

  4. MorganCoGOP says:

    Well said rightofcenter. There is a reason Sonny did not reinvest his money in Georgia property, he would have taken major heat for it. I don’t see anything wrong in investing in a state that he has no control of.

  5. rightofcenter says:

    “A fat land deal and then an appointment to a state board position looks shady.”

    Again, why is it a fat land deal? He hasn’t made a penny off it yet, and the AJC offers no proof or even rumors that some lucrative “deal” is in the works. (In fact, reading the entire article will lead you to the conclusion that it’s a bad investment, but what does the AJC know about investments?) And if you look at the timeline, the appointment took place long before the “fat land deal”, not the other way around.

  6. bird says:

    MorganCo,

    Of course there is nothing wrong with Sonny buying land in Floriday. The jist of this is that Sonny may have gotten a sweetheart deal from a major donor and someone he appointed to a major state board. This would be a violation of the public trust.

    This story will need to develop, but this isn’t good news for the Perdue.

  7. rightofcenter says:

    bird,
    first of all, define “sweetheart deal”? If the #s are correct in the paper, he paid the same thing for the property that the developer did. And if there was a “sweetheart deal” in the works to sell the property, we can be assured that it’s dead now thanks to the AJC. As far as “sweetheart deals” go, this is a pretty crappy one.

  8. wakeup says:

    Wakeup you morons. Why did this developer cut Sonny in on the deal at all? Why didn’t he just keep the land for himself and the expected large profits?

  9. CHelf says:

    Simple….he got the land from a guy he appointed to a state board. Who cares about the cost? The fact is it looks as if someone steers the governor to favorable land deals that will make a killing and then the guy gets appointed to a state board. Essentially, this guy knew the land would turn quite a profit. He steers the governor to it and then gets appointed to a state position shortly after that.

    Come on. You know if a Dem did this, we’d all be jumping all over it. As I said before, there are those who jumped all up and down Cagle’s back for the illusion of impropriety as well.

    Again, the legality of this is sound. But in the eyes of voters who already show a HUGE distrust of their leaders right now, this does not bode well for appearances. As I said, it is just one of many things the Dems can pile up and slowly chip away. Those of you screaming that this is a cheap shot and media bias or whatever are voting for Perdue anyway. What does it matter to you? These things aren’t designed for you. They are designed for the moderates and undecided voters. THAT is where this will play in November.

  10. Let’s say the average Georgian inherits some land, sells it for a couple of million dollars and then for tax purposes needs to turn around and invest it in a like kind property to avoid paying taxes. Would Stan Thomas hook them up with the land to buy? And then would Thomas be appointed to a powerful state board that oversees state growth?

    My uncle in Virginia sold some family land and was looking for a like kind investment. He bought a house in DC for a relative to live in. You can be damn sure he “visit[ed] the property before purchasing it”. We are talking about big bucks here.

    You guys were rightly up in arms about the Northern Arc. Let me refresh your memory. People over time purchased land in what they thought would be prime development area later on, to sell at a big profit. How did they allegedly obtain this real estate acumen, by being involved with state government and the plans for those land.

    Perdue is too clever by half. Instead of doing this in Georgia, he chose another state. If it was wrong then, it’s wrong now. And the fact that he went to great lengths to hide it from public scrutiny raises even more questions.

    The proof that Perdue and the GOP think it is a big deal is in the timing of Johnson’s press release attacking Taylor for accepting legal contributions. Perdue gets interviewed on Tuesday by the AJC for a story that is coming out on Wednesday. And Tuesday afternoon, the GOP and Eric Johnson spring into high gear to make sure there is a negative Taylor story out there at the same time. Sounds very innocent to me.

  11. caroline says:

    CHelf is probably on the right track. This in itself might be able to be explained away but it plays into the larger GOP problem-rampant cronyism.

  12. whitemalevoters says:

    Chris,

    White male voters are not in touch with your gloom-and-doom attitude. Do you not think it is important for Sonny to appoint fellow white male voters to high offices? The white male voter is the most underrepresented entity in America, yet you spout off your fancy hypotheticals and your “my Uncle in Virginia” boo-hoo stories. You are obviously not a white male voter.

  13. atlantaman says:

    “which could be lucrative for the Governor at some point in the future.”

    Isn’t that the definition of real estate speculation.

    “Let’s say the average Georgian inherits some land, sells it for a couple of million dollars and then for tax purposes needs to turn around and invest it in a like kind property to avoid paying taxes. Would Stan Thomas hook them up with the land to buy?”

    No, but the Georgian would probably seek out a friend or business acquaintance that is familiar with large 1031 exchanges to advise on or help facilitate the transaction. If you sold an investment property with a large capital gain, you’ve got a few months to move the money into a like-kind investment or your’e looking at a big tax hit. I’ve got a couple close, smart friends in the business investing world and real estate investing world where I would make an investment soley base on their reccomendation. People do it all the time by investing with stock brokers and stock mutual funds. They turn their money over to an expert and allow the broker to make investment decisions on their behalf in companies the investor has never visited or performed any due dilligence on. Would you have been happier if Sonny had set his money up in a couple of blind trusts and then made Stan Thomas the head of the real estate trust?

    “You guys were rightly up in arms about the Northern Arc. Let me refresh your memory. People over time purchased land in what they thought would be prime development area later on, to sell at a big profit”

    The Northern Arc is probably not the best example since it only demonstrates the downfall of political real estate speculation.

  14. Atlantaman,

    When a broker sets up an investment opportunity for someone, does the broker generally do it for free? No, they get a commission. Stan Thomas is not some broker recommending an investment to one of his clients. He is a big time developer who has been appointed to a state board while at the same time developing numerous projects in Georgia that require various approvals, recommendations, etc.

    I mean, when my broker at Fidelity recommended a mutual fund to me I didn’t turn around and put him on my association’s homeowners board. Is that how you do business?

  15. GetReal says:

    If you guys don’t think this is the type of thing that leads to law enforcement investigations and possibly indictments, you are kidding yourselves. Perdue has been given the chance to make millions of dollars by a developer he has used his power as Governor to benefit.

    There have been full investigations of elected officials triggered by far less troubling stories than this. The source of the information isn’t relevant to law enforcement officials when the facts are independently verifiable.

  16. atlantaman says:

    Once again, I get investment advice from several close friends and believe it or not they do it for free. I think so highly of these folks, that if by some amazing chance I were to ever be elected Governor I might just appoint them to some boards. Or are you trying to say that Roy Barnes never appointed any friends or acquaintances to the thousands of appointed positions.

    It seems as if you want to complain both ways. You want to complain that the money is not in a blind trust, but then you find it odd that he’s never been to the property in Florida.

    If you inherited that kind of money, my guess is you would want advice from a trusted advisor you thought very highly of. I think it’s and endorsement of the caliper of person that Sonny appoints to his boards that he would choose to get 1031 exchange advice from him. I know you are probably accustomed to political hacks getting appointed as a reward for getting the vote out – and I wouldn’t trust their advice on how to spend a McDonald’s Happy Mead Coupon.

  17. Atlantaman, I am pretty sure Roy Barnes never appointed anyone to a board who then cut Barnes in on a land sale in another state.

    You know, I could look into it, but it doesn’t ring a bell.

    And you are right, between friends sometimes investment advice (just like other advice) does pass. But that friend is usually not appointed to a state board after that.

    So, the question remains, is Stan Thomas just a friend of Perdue, and if he is helping Perdue personally profit on an investment, why did Perdue appoint him to a state board?

    Or is Stan Thomas more of a broker whose commission was appointment to a state board?

    And finally, if Perdue at some point sells or develops this land down the road and makes a tidy profit, is that normally how our elected officials should conduct their business?

  18. GetReal says:

    The problem with comparing the Governor to other people who get investment advice from friends is that those other people aren’t the Governor. Perdue has the power to use his government office for the benefit of Thomas, and he appears to have done so. If Perdue got a personal financial benefit from Thomas in return (which appears to very possibly be the case from the AJC story), that’s a crime.

  19. atlantaman says:

    “And finally, if Perdue at some point sells or develops this land down the road and makes a tidy profit, is that normally how our elected officials should conduct their business? ”

    I hope he makes a bunch of money on it. Being that it’s in Florida it’s an arm’s length transaction or would you rather have elected officials buying ocean front property in Arizona with their investment dollars.

  20. Bill Simon says:

    GetReal, Bird, CHelf, etc.

    Puh-freakin’-leez. Nice of the Dem Party to go on a fishing expedition to the swamp lands of Florida, but you folks are reaching for something that isn’t there.

    I’m not sure what the “sweetheart” part of the deal is since Perude paid over 10 times the assessed value of the property.

    Is it speculative? Sure. Is it “cronyism? No. Why not? Because it didn’t happen in Georgia where Sonny COULD possible be found to be influencing legislation (or officials of a municipality into doing his bidding) in order to make a personal profit off of the speculative investment.

    Now, the Mark Taylor thing is clearly a violation of the “affiliated companies” clause of the Ethics Act, which has been in place since at least 1998. Both Taylor and the donor are guilty of violating contribution limit laws. That’s a slam-dunk.

  21. Demonbeck says:

    If Governor Perdue dropped his change into an MDA cup at a gas station register, GetReal would say he shortchanged Jerry’s kids.

  22. caroline says:

    Bill Simon,
    If he paid 10 times the assessed value then he is pretty stupid. Or there is some kind of kick back for him. He looks like someone who should have the check book taken away.

  23. Demonbeck says:

    Right on Caroline! Because any investment Sonny Perdue makes has GOT to be dirty or illegal.

    (Please read the above statement in a sarcastic tone of voice.)

  24. landman says:

    Much to do about nothing!!!!!There is no smoking gun here,the Gov did what every Georgian has the right to do and that is to take a risk with the hopes that the rewards are worth the risk taken.Speaking from a position of experience the land business is anything but a sure thing and if you are not in the business on a day to day basis the most prudent thing to do is to seek the advice of someone who is.Stan Thomas is someone that could proffer sound advice and as a friend of the Governor’s its only natural that he would be one Sonny would seek advice from.

    As far as the Board appointment doesnt it make sense to appoint talented,proven,successful businessmen or women on the Economic Developement Board ? Stan is more than qualIfied for the position and the State of Georgia is fortunate to have people of his caliber willing to take time out of their busy schedules to help better the lives of its citizens.

    You Dems are starting to reach early for pipe dreams,you will need to do better than this.

    PERDUE 06
    CAGLE 06

  25. Bill

    If Sonny overpaid for this property is he stupid. Because he is either stupid or he has been cut in by a developer on a deal. Which one is it? And regardless of the answer, should that person be governor?

  26. Bill Simon says:

    See, this is the problem with politics today. Every move made by someone in politics must be for the purpose of enriching themselves or someone close to them.

    Tell you what, why don’t we start looking at ALL of the deals by Mark Taylor’s father’s companies in South Georgia? That will be an interesting expose`.

  27. Yes. Out of all of the talented real estate developers in the state, does anyone think it is a coincidence that Perdue appointed the same guy to a powerful state board that cut him in on a big company land deal sight unseen?

    But then again, Haliburton gets no bid contracts because they are the best at what they do. No coincidence there either.

  28. MorganCoGOP says:

    All you liberals attacking the Governor need to re-read the story again. Sonny didn’t purchase the property and say, “Oh this is going to make me a lot of money. Let me appoint this man to a state board.” The fact of the matter is that Sonny had already appointed him to the board well before he sold the property in Houston County. It sounds to me that people are jumping at any little thing they can get their hands on.

  29. Bill Simon says:

    Chris, WTF? What a completely ridiculous line of logic. “If he overpaid for something, he shouldn’t be governor.”

    Dude, here’s the thing: We aren’t privvy to EVERYTHING that goes on in a public official’s life. So, what he does with his own money is HIS business.

    Next thing we’ll see is an investigation by the Dem Party on how many times a day Sonny takes a dump and uses-up Shirley Franklin’s water and sewer system too much….and then Chris will be back on here asking “How can this guy be qualified to be Governor if he spends X amount of time on the toilet per day?”

  30. John Konop says:

    Looking at this from a pure investment deal Sonny took risk.Land can go up and down and Sonny is holding the land for now.It would be a real story if he sold it right away and made big $$$. Or if Sonny had something to do with using his power to make the investment worth more.

    I would call this a smoking gun with no bullets.

    Chris,

    Agree or disagree you make good points most the time. I just do not get it this time. Is the free advise your issue ? In business this is done between buddies all the time. I have made and lost money on advise from buddies.As long as we did not have a conflict of interest or used inside information whats the problem ?

  31. CHelf says:

    Bill,

    Do you honestly think that piling on issues like this has NO effect on the electorate? Are you telling me that if about a half dozen of these types of cases came up it would make NO difference? If that’s true then why do both parties make issue with things that look suspicious? Reed went down due to things that were questionable. DeLay is out of office because he was under fire for several questionable items. Politicians suffer on a daily basis from news tidbits that are questionable.

    As I said, it DOES NOT MATTER whether these are legal or not or compliant with ethics laws. If suspicion comes up and it comes up over and over, then it sets in with the voter. After hearing how the GOP would clean up 150 years of shady, corrupt, and good old body cronyism, Joe Voter will say to himself “what’s the difference?”

    Again Bill and others, this is not about a legal matter. This is a PR move. You make your opponents’ strengths their weakness. Remember we’ve all hit the Dems in this state upside the head on all of the backroom deals, favors, crony appointments, Tom Murphy’s land deal back home for that lake, etc. We made the GOP out to be pure and unquestionable. Now the Dems are digging up every little item to prove that wrong.

    Erick being in law can tell you how you destroy the case of the other side who appears invinceable is slowly wear down their credibility. We can hit Mark Taylor all day long but he hasn’t been the one in charge nor has he been one who placed himself and his party on a moral pedestal.

    I’m not saying this will work and Perdue will get booted because of it. But it is a sound strategy by the Dems and if enough of it is brought out, it could actually succeed. So while you all on the ‘already decided’ column argue legality, keep in mind there is a huge segment out there that this was designed for.

  32. Demonbeck says:

    According to the article,

    “[The Governor] said he didn’t want to buy in Georgia because he believed that such a purchase would provide critics ammunition to argue that he was benefiting from state road projects or other public improvements.

    “When you don’t have the time to be a good evaluator [of an investment], you have to look to someone you can trust,” Perdue said. “I knew Stan was a developer, and I asked him to help me find the land. He was very helpful to me. He is the kind of person who never asked me for anything, and the kind of person you would not expect to ask you for anything.”

    Perdue added, “You’ve got to be very careful in this job who you do business with.”

    I’d rather have someone with business experience who is looking towards a future outside of politics as my Governor than someone whose career has been politics whose future is inheriting “Daddy’s money.”

  33. John Konop says:

    Chris,

    No because I do not understand the big issue. I do agree you could spin this and people could get upset. I never used stuff like this against Tom Price nor would I.Yet you are talking to guy who lost. And most the races on both sides used stuff like this , and very view talk about issues.And the side with the best spin and most money won most the time.

    My point is not rather this could be used as an issue.Its just I do respect your logic, rather I agree or disagree with you. And this time I do not get what is the real issue.

  34. rightofcenter says:

    Chelf: First of all, that purer than thou stuff really never worked for us, did it? So the Dems better have a lot more in their playbook or they are going to continue to go downhill.

    GetReal: Again, where are these benefits that Sonny allegedly showered on Stan Thomas? The timeline isn’t your friend.

    Chris: Let’s see: Otis Brumby, best pals and client of Roy Barnes, was appointed Chair of Education Board. I wonder if they continued to have a relationship outside of “official” duties once that appointment happened. And for R. K. Sehgal to complain about a developer being appointed to the Econ. Dev. Board is a joke. Sehgal’s entire networth and career was/is tied to the very type projects that Econ. Dev. is involved in.

    Hey, that Bill Simons backs Sonny on this goes to show what a ridiculous story it is.

  35. CHelf says:

    ROC,

    Review the timeline again. Follow the money. Stan contributes a large chunk of money to the state party and GOP candidates. Stan gets a position on a state board. Stan helps Sonny on a transaction for profit.

    Again, not saying anything is wrong with that last part. But this just does not fit well with the image of ending the ‘Good Ol’ Boy System’. Money supporting candidates and getting appointments that could help oneself or others. Plus we only know what’s been released/discovered. Hopefully this is the end of the story. The Dems are obviously looking and digging deep. Word to the wise is that everyone at the Gold Dome needs to do some self-checks.

    No matter how you look at this, the average voter will see this and at least shrug off any claim coming from the GOP that we’re not like the Dems. They will at least say there’s no difference. If more stories come out like this, then it will begin to erode the image even more.

  36. caroline says:

    Good grief. Are you proud that Sonny overpaid for land? I think I would be embarrassed to have someone with that little common sense.

  37. whitemalevoters says:

    Caroline,

    We can tell you one thing. White male voters are extremely displeased with Governor Perdue. Governor Perdue has helped foster in the worst anti-business climate in the nation. How the heck are we supposed to keep non white male voters out of work if he keeps bringing in business and industry?

    He also didn’t give us our flag back. Here’s why we support Taylor:

    He did NOTHING during his term as Lt. Governor to keep the white man down.

    He will most likely try to bring back the confederate flag.

    He is the ONLY white male voter running for Governor.

    White Male Voters for Taylor ’06!

  38. rightofcenter says:

    CHelf,
    Let’s just agree that, all things being equal, it would be better not to have this type of story in the middle of a campaign. I just think the damage is minimal, and there’s no “there” “there.”

    Caroline,
    The point is he did not get it at a sweetheart price. Obviously, the hope is that at some point in the future, it will be worth a good bit more than he paid for it. That’s the nature of speculative land purchases. If the purchaser is willing to hold it longterm, it’s difficult to gauge whether or not someone overpaid for it because it all depends on the purchaser’s desired return on investment.

  39. Paidtoomuch??? says:

    Most of the comments here miss the point about what Perdue paid and the fact that he is essentially a business partner with Thomas as long as they own adjacent property. Assuming the story’s report is correct, Thomas paid $10 million two years ago for 67 acres near a developing area that is about to have improved road access. That’s $149,000 an acre. He then sold Perdue 20 acres for $2 million, or $100,000 an acre. Tax assessments are notoriously below market value, because if they’re above market value people appeal and get the number reduced. So the market value is what people will pay, the $149,000 an acre attributed to the Thomas company.
    It would seem to be a bit disingenuous for the governor to claim the lower assessed value on his financial disclosure, when the more honest thing to do would be to declare the market value – which most folks would agree is what the property actually sells for. If any of you go to sell a house, to set the price your real estate agent will look for “comparable sales” nearby – not what the local tax assessor thinks your house is worth.
    And since Thomas still holds 47 acres adjacent to Perdue’s land, their fortunes are tied to each other until one of them sells.
    That said, Perdue isn’t the first governor to have a business relationship with a person he appointed to a board. Roy Barnes was a longtime legal counsel to apartment developer John Williams. Barnes appointed Williams to GRTA.

  40. Paidtoomuch??? says:

    Just checked the state’s financial disclosure forms and it’s notable that under the real estate section the candidate is supposed to disclose “net fair market value.” Again, that’s more like what someone just paid than how the local tax office assesses the property.
    While a quid-pro-quo with Thomas isn’t proven, at the least the governor should correct his disclosure to reflect the market value of the property.

  41. GetReal says:

    With all due respect to Bill, the fact that the property is out of state is irrelevant. The issue is whether Perdue has used his office to provide benefits to Thomas in return for Thomas giving him the chance to make millions. We know he gave him an appointment to the Board of Economic Development. Was that part of a quid pro quo? Has Perdue done anything else as Governor to benefit Thomas, and if so, is that a quid pro quo?

    That needs to investigated. There is no way anyone could honestly say that this sort of transaction with a sitting Governor doesn’t deserve close examination.

  42. Rightofcenter, we have no way of knowing if he got the land at a sweetheart price or not. Land appraisers in Florida aren’t sure how to value the land, although they’ve admitted that if Thomas’s company is up to something, the land might be worth well more than what it was sold for.

    I like how people have talked about risk. Well, Perdue purchased a hand picked parcel of property from one of the most successful developers in the country. Some risk! I would be shocked if this land is eventually sold or developed for anywhere near the $2 million he paid for it.

  43. GADemObserver says:

    Perdue doesn’t strike me as an idiot who would invest $2M in a swamp without a reasonable expectation of a profitable return on his investment. Lost in all this back-and-forth is that Perdue invested the money in Florida to avoid paying taxes on the land he sold in Houston County. Does that strike you as something a moronic investor would do? Not really, at least not to me. Nor would a sane investor buy land that has no hope of appreciation and greater profit (if that were the case, Perdue would have held on to his land in Houston); that’s just not sound investing. I hope that if most Georgians think Sonny’s that stupid, they’ll vote him out of office. Does anyone think that he bought land in Florida from a donor friend just to avoid some taxes?

    No, Sonny invested that $2M to make more money *and* to avoid paying taxes on his land sale. Were Sonny *not* the Governor, there would be no problem with either of those two goals.

    There’s a reason most Governors place their funds into blind trust — to avoid any appearance of impropriety and so no one can accuse them of paying more attention to their finances than the state’s. As Perdue himself notes, he doesn’t (and shouldn’t) have time to properly investigate the land deal. So, he invests it with a friend. Who is a donor. Who Perdue appointed to a state board.

    Hey, to victor goes the spoils — if Sonny wants to appoint his political donors to boards, authorities, etc, that doesn’t bother me. That’s politics.

    What’s not cricket here is using your office to enrich yourself. And, via Stan Thomas’s appointment to a state board and this subsequent deal, it is reasonable to question whether or not there was a quid pro quo.

  44. whitemalevoters says:

    Caroline,

    We are on the same side you’re on here. No one has done more for the white man than Mark Taylor. Hell, Sonny won’t even give us our flag. Mark Taylor was adamant about the flag.

    Sonny Perdue is NOT for the white male voter. So the white male voters are NOT for Sonny Perdue.

    WMV for Taylor ’06!

  45. John Konop says:

    GADEM,

    Is your point , That Stan Thomas gave Sonny a great deal on land to get a job so he could make inside money via being on the board?

    So my question is show me the deal Stan Thomas did that he made extra money via being on the board ?

    I am all ears if I am missing something.

    If not this is a smoking gun with no bullets.

  46. Paidtoomuch??? says:

    The thing I like about this board is that, although it admits to leaning toward the GOP, it urges ethical conduct for all elected officials. So I’m puzzled by the tin ear some commenters have about why someone might crinkle an eyebrow at this transaction.
    We have a prominent Georgia developer who sold the governor property for $500,000 less than it cost the developer two years ago. It’s property on the development fringe of Orlando, one of the South’s hottest real estate markets.
    Even in the absence of a smoking gun, it does make one wonder how one could persuade Mr. Thomas to make the same kind of deal available to the public.
    Some comments indicate the belief the property is only worth the $180,000 special agricultural tax assessment Perdue disclosed on his forms. If that’s so, then Thomas paid more than 10 times what the land was worth two years ago. Not likely. But if true, then somebody with that buy high and sell low philosophy certainly shouldn’t be on Georgia’s economic development board. Can’t imagine they’ll be solvent much longer.
    But absent an ABSCAM-type video tape, I guess some folks just aren’t that curious when it comes to something fishy about their own team.

  47. John Konop says:

    Paidtomuch,

    After this last election for Republicans or Dems to brag about the high road would be hard.

    Getting back to the point, what did Mr. Thomas get and how did he turn it into money? I am looking at this from the bottom line. I am sorry I do not get it.

    Also the real estate market is slowing down. That is why I said if Sonny had a quick turn on the deal and made big $$$$$ you would have a point. I give clients the same advise I give my son when he talks about what a baseball card is worth ie land, It is only worth what someone will pay you.

  48. fishtail says:

    First of all, I am a politically independent real estate developer. A Republican friend emailed me the link to this website. I have logged on to give you my strong opinion about the Sonny Perdue/Stan Thomas real estate transaction. After reviewing the facts, I can only conclude that Sonny Perdue is an opportunistic thief and he hopes the dumbasses who elected him Governor will never figure out what he is up to. That especially goes for most of the Hitler Youth that blog here. Stan Thomas is a highly successful developer who literally coins money. He has never made a deal where he did not feel he had an “unfair advantage”. Do yourself a favor and check his holdings out at http://www.thomasent.com and you will actually know some facts about this guy. As far as John Konop’s questions regarding what Sonny did in return, in 2005 Stan Thomas announced a $250 million development IN GEORGIA ON HWY 400 AT OLD MILTON . This land was worth only $10 million before Stan got the State’s approval, called a DRI. This development could NEVER HAVE BEEN APPROVED without the blessings of the GA REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY and GA DOT. That is where the rat is on this deal. If these two guys are as “Christian” as they publically brag, then they should confess their sins.

  49. Dan says:

    Ok, so the Dems give him the idea for the article, then call for a probe based on the article, and another article is written on the fact that they called for a probe.

    Taylor said Wednesday that if he’s elected, he will put his assets into a blind trust.

    WHAT ASSETS? It’s been well established that he lives in a house that he doesn’t own and essentially gets an alowance from his father. He has no assets. And why would he? He’s spent most of his adult life as a politician. He’s never built a business. Sacha on the other hand at least put together a fairly successful business.

  50. Paidtoomuch??? says:

    Despite what you may have heard, the Dems don’t have a monopoly on planting poltiical stories. Whatever the source, the test ought to be whether or not the story is true. It’s actually a refreshing new policy that the AJC story reflected where the story came from.
    I don’t agree that the issue is whether the possible profit the governor makes is short term or long term.
    What seems germane are the questions: why did the developer take a short term loss on a real estate sale to the governor and why did the governor lowball the value of the property on his financial dislcosures?
    I think if these were issues that had been brought up, oh, say, in the White Water investigation, nobody on this board would be confused about why these are valid questions.

  51. fishtail says:

    I am a politically independent real estate developer. I am familiar with quite a few real estate deals in GA. A Republican friend emailed me the link to this blog. After reviewing the facts, I can only conclude that our Governor Sonny Perdue is an opportunistic thief and he really believes that he has outsmarted the dumbass voters of Georgia. That especially goes for the Hitler Youth types that seem to lurk around this site. Enough of my opinion. Now for the facts. Stan Thomas is a very shrewd real estate developer who literally coins money. He never makes mistakes. If there is not an “unfair advantage” for him, he creates one. Check this guy out at http://www.thomasent.com. He is a real pro. As to what Stan Thomas got from the Governor other than his appointment to the State Board of Economic Development, please consider this FACT. Stan Thomas, after concluding his Florida land deal with Perdue, applied for and received a highly lucrative DRI designation from GRTA and ARC that allowed him to turn a piece of real estate on 400/Milton Highway into a $250 million development. I believe this development is near where John Konop lives. No wonder Mr. Konop got trounced so badly. A parting suspicion, which is only a suspicion…Stan Thomas lives in Newnan and is on the State Economic Development Board and has been to Korea with Governor Perdue. The highly touted billion dollar KIA car plant will be built in Newnan. Somebody stands to make gazillions. Go figure….

  52. atlantaman says:

    This from the AJC:

    “Taylor said Wednesday that if he’s elected, he will put his assets into a blind trust.”

    I had to laugh at that one since Daddy has all the assets, right down to Mark’s pad on West Pace Ferry Rd.

  53. rugby_fan says:

    “Hitler Youth”?

    Wow. I would say most of us here are not youths. Oh, and I would go so far as to say most of us are not Hitler-ites either.

    More of the latter than the former.

  54. rugby_fan says:

    I had to laugh at that one since Daddy has all the assets, right down to Mark’s pad on West Pace Ferry Rd.

    That attack has been used against MT since his first senate campaign. Hasn’t worked before. Use a different tack IMO.

  55. rightofcenter says:

    fishtail,
    Gee, I would have more confidence in your rantings if the only point I know anything about was accurate. However, it’s not. The Kia plant is being built in West Point, not Newnan. But continue your conspiracy theories. They provide entertainment.

  56. Dawgfan says:

    I’m a little late to this game but let me add a few thoughts.

    Paidtomuch: Perdue didn’t pay $100,000 an acre he actually paid $200,000. According to the AJC half of the land is wetlands so only 10 acres are actually developable. $2 mil divided by 10 (the amount of usable acres) is $200,000. It is not uncommon to discount the price of a tract of land because of wetlands or flood plain. Especially if the developer already made his money from the original development and so this would be basically all profit.

    Fishtail: Neither the Gov or Stan Thomas have a vote on GRETA or the GA DOTand the DRI process is completely open and transparent. So if anyone especially an appointee of any Gov. tried to ram a development through we’d know about it in a big way real fast.

    GaDemObserver: So you’re saying the quid pro quo is that the Perdue appoints Thomas to a prestigous position so he can buy a $2 million tract of land from him so that sometime in the future he MIGHT make a profit. That’s not exactly “Arms for Hostages” now is it?

  57. GADemObserver says:

    John Konop,

    I don’t know Stan Thomas’s motivation for wanting to be on the board, and, frankly, it wouldn’t be fair for me to speculate. But, I do know that Thomas is a land developer with probably millions of dollars in projects subject to regulation by the state of Georgia. Thomas wanted to be on the board, and Sonny did appoint him.

    Thomas did sell Sonny, after Sonny requested his help, this piece of land — and he sold it to Sonny below the value that Thomas himself paid for it.

    Remember Duke Cunningham? He sold a house above its market value to a donor. He’s in jail.

  58. RandyMiller says:

    Dawgfan….some great points!

    And fishtail; We’ve got you pegged buddy! You’re sure as hell no independant as evidenced by your rantings. You must be one of the developers that lost out big time when barnes was unable to force the northern arc down peoples throats.
    As for the dumbass voters of Georgia, (this shows the dems true colors and what they think of us down here) I guess we’re not as educated as say…Cynthia Mckinneys goon squads and other quasi marxist rebels???

  59. GADemObserver says:

    Dawgfan,

    Do you think Sonny is a moron? Or, perhaps, do you think Sonny is a smart man and a savvy businessman. Because only a moron buys a $2M piece of swamp with no hope of increasing value. Whereas a savvy businessman would buy land directly from an extremely successful developer. There’s nothing wrong with a random investor making such a deal. There is a problem when that investor is a public official, however.

  60. pulease says:

    The post made earlier by CHelf explains it all. The post admits to the crap tactics of personal assasination politics waged in the past and the follow-on posts whine about the details of the deal. I don’t remember Clinton getting the benefit of the doubt for Whitewater (which resulted in nothing after $70 million on YOUR TAX DOLLARS for a 7 year long investigation).

    Part of me would like to see a small fraction of that cost and time be spent investigating the incumbent, but as I look to my motivation for that I realize its just because I want to see Sonny gone.

    His part of making Georgia, a non-border state, central in the immigration issue, suspension of school when high gas prices became a reality, jacking up of teacher compensation plans (and turning his back on campaign promises to teachers) all make him fair game in November.

    We have a LONG way to go to fix the laughing stock that the Georgia Republican Congressional Delegation, Sonny Perdue, Ralph Reed and Cobb County School board has made of Georiga Politics. We should be leading and coming up with a way to do so.

    But alas…negative politics works…wha does that say about the electorate?

  61. fishtail says:

    Any comments on these FACTS….Sonny Perdue’s House floor leader sponsored some back-dated legislation in 2005 that helped Sonny avoid paying $100K in State income tax…see AJC….FACTS do seem to get in the way of the Kool-Aid drinkers on this site.

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