Taylor strikes back.

Hat Tip: chrisishardcore.

Here’s a new Mark Taylor ad which goes after Perdue on the Florida land purchase:

I received Perdue’s response via email even before I saw the ad (here’s a link):

In his new ad, Mark Taylor claims that Governor Perdue bought a $40 million property for $2 million. We’re not sure whether this is the funniest thing we’ve ever heard or the most outrageous. Even the Atlanta Journal-Constitution conceded that the Governor paid fair market value for the land.

Because you can’t attack creating 249,600 new jobs or turning a $640 million deficit into a surplus, and you can’t attack turning our education system around and having the highest SAT ranking and graduation rate in Georgia history, Mark Taylor’s desperation forced him to launch a political attack on Governor Perdue’s family and their land ownership.

The truth is that Sonny and his sister grew up in Middle Georgia, the children of a farmer and teacher, who worked hard for everything they got. Their family owned a farm since the 1930’s and not too long ago, their parents passed away and Sonny and his sister had to sell the land they inherited. Sonny knew there were only two places he could reinvest in property that would not cause the perception of a conflict of interest – adding on to his current home or buying out of state where none of his actions as Governor, like building a road or making other community improvements, would affect his land value. He did both. He also reported all of his actions appropriately on the financial disclosure forms he files as a public official.

Mark Taylor may not understand the importance of property ownership to regular Georgians. He lives in a house his father bought him and has likely never had to write a mortgage or rent check. Sonny worked hard all his life to create a veterinary practice and three other small businesses and to provide for his family. Mark Taylor has been on his father’s payroll since graduating from college and earns $100,000 per year for what he admits is only a couple of hours a month of actual work. That explains the difference between the two men.

I’d say the campaign is heating up. 🙂

41 comments

  1. GAWire says:

    This spot comes in second behind Sonny’s ads for most ineffective media spots during this cycle.

    This spot does nothing. It has some insinuations that, with the makeup of Georgia’s current political environment, will have no affect on Sonny. It’s just going to rally his base. There is nothing fruitful in this ad. Sure, they try to make it sound like there was some big conspiracy, but come on … most people won’t be smart enough to follow and the people who are smart enough, won’t give a crap, b/c they have either already decided to vote for Sonny or Taylor (which we know Sonny has more of those people). So, it does nothing.

    Congrats Sonny and Mark on spending all that money on crappy media.

  2. To hear Perdue tell it, Taylor is some sort of communist who is attacking Perdue for land ownership. My favorite part of Sonny’s response is: there are only two places I can buy land, next to my property and out of state. Originally it was only one – out of state, until we later found out that actually Sonny has bought land in state also.

    Which begs the question, you don’t have to sell land you inherit, you can choose to keep it in the family. If it’s ok to buy new land that abuts your current property, why is there a need to sell land that’s about a mile down the road?

    My favorite part about this entire exchange came from Mark Taylor’s email to supporters. Sonny spent $2 million dollars on this land, which is fully 1/4 of his entire wealth. And because he bought the land site unseen, thanks to Taylor’s ad he will finally know what the largest single chunk of his net worth actually looks like.

    Because Sonny’s people told the paper that they weren’t sure whether he will make money on this deal or not (ha), I’m sure when Sonny finds out that the land is right next to Disney World, he’ll breathe a sigh of relief. Good investment!

    It must make it easier for Sonny and Mary to get up on TV and tell all those fibs about negative advertising knowing they’ll be so in the money once Sonny leaves office.

  3. RandyMiller says:

    The new Taylor ad is missing just one thing,
    Chrisishardcore, tell ’em they forgot at the end of it to add “remember, vote for Fred Taylor”!

  4. Sonny Perdue is about to make more money than he ever dreamed of because his dad died, left him some land, he turned around and sold it and reinvested with a billionaire who he appointed to a state board.

    I’m not sure who (Perdue or Taylor) wins the birth lottery in this instance.

  5. Mojo says:

    That was a pretty weak defense of the action offered by Perdue. He does not explain why he obtained such a sweet deal on prime real estate and how the developer suddenly ended up owith an equally sweet appointment. Then he blasts Taylor for the sin of having a successful father. Let the negativity begin!

  6. defnotrep says:

    If Sonny wasn’t the governor, there is no way he would have gotten this land deal. Sonny should put his business affairs in a blind trust.

    I wonder what the land is really worth. Guess there’s no honest answers coming. It’s probably not 40 mil but it’s definitely not 2 mil either

    Samuel Clemens said, “Always do what’s right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.”

    I think every politician should have to say that to themselves every day. This deal is a bad thing for Sonny Perdue and for the citizens of Georgia.

  7. rightofcenter says:

    Okay, conspiracy theorists, it was the guy on the grassy knoll.

    And Sonny doesn’t blast Mark for having a successful father…..he blasts him for sponging off him his entire life. Lots of folks have successful parents but manage to work hard themselves to build on that success.

  8. Mark may not be “successful” in business, but that’s not the only measure of success. He got elected Lt. Governor against Mary Margaret Oliver, Guy Middleton, Mitch Skandalakis, Steve Stancil… Defeated Cathy Cox in the primary when no one thought he could. He has a good voting record in the senate and as LG.

    I think he’s done a lot of good. By Sonny’s standard, a teacher who never made enough money to buy her own house wouldn’t be successful. Because the only success that matters is financial success, right?

    Mark got into politics at an early age. Sonny waited a little bit longer. Both had rich fathers, and I’m sure if Mark had gone into business first, he’d have built some sort of financial success the same as Sonny did – not by pulling himself up from the bootstraps but by being intelligent and having a good family base to build on.

    So they took different paths. Sonny, as a legislator, has only one bill to point at as a successful piece of legislation, and that is the natural gas deregulation bill. What a record!

    What part of Sonny’s land deal is a conspiracy theorist. Are we speculating that he bought it from Stanley Thomas? No. Are we speculating that Thomas is a billionaire who develops land all over the country (and currently near Disneyworld) that he makes massive profits on? No. Are we speculating that Thomas got appointed to the Board of Economic Development? No.

    Really, if you think there is nothing fishy about this deal, maybe you are the conspiracy theorist.

  9. GAWire says:

    Chris, nothing you have said about Sonny and the land deal is wrong, ethically, morally, or legally! Your argument says one thing: Sonny made some good business deals. That’s great. Finally, a politician who shows some leadership in the real world of commerce and not having spent their entire lives as a trial lawyer or defense attorny (no offense to my attorney friends out there). So, get over it!

    A lot of people have made large investments without seeing them first. Guess what, I’ve done it. That’s the beauty of a prospectus and the whole investment process. Businesses do it every day.

    Finally, do you think Sonny is so stupid as to think that if there was a real conflict of interest, then no one would find out about it? Come on. This is ametuear and grasping at straws. Sad to see the Big Guy being such a Big Baby.

  10. defnotrep says:

    Typical republicans…RIGHTOFCENTER and GAWIRE….come back with rhetoric that makes no sense.

    Conspiracy theorist oh please. …doesn’t even make sense. And a prospectus, sure on a joint venture or stock deal but how many times have you spent 2 mil on land and not looked at it. Give me a break.

  11. defnotrep says:

    By the way GAWIRE, I am a business person too. I just happen to think ethics are important particularly when you are the Governor.

    I was a lower middle class kid that went to GA State night school for 6 1/2 years and earned a degree in business.

    I went to work in business. Eventually I started my own business with $500. My company bills around $6 mil a year and has for the last 10 years. So please don’t condescend to me about business. Thank you.

  12. GaWire, I bet you wouldn’t invest 25% of your net worth sight unseen. And the other thing is, you may be a state senator, but you are not the Governor with the power to influence the guy who sold it to you.

    Duke Cunningham is in jail because he did favors for a guy who then paid him more money than his house was worth. Sonny Perdue has just done the opposite transaction, the guy let him buy in for less than it is worth (and less than he paid).

    If you don’t think that’s bad, you’re deluding yourself. If Perdue is such an awesome businessman and great land speculator, why did he wait until he was governor to start doing it?

  13. GAWire says:

    That’s great, guys, so where are the investigations? How about an ethics complaint and findings? I’ll meet you at the hearings. Either way, Sonny Perdue will be re-elected Governor.

    And def, it’s actually not uncommon to drop a couple mil on land an advice of a broker. Not uncommon at all.

    And finally, that’s great about your business. Congrats and welcome to the club, but it doesn’t mean you know jacksh*% about politics and it certainly doesn’t mean anything will happen to Sonny.

    You know what this sounds like? This sounds like all the Dems that were whining last year about MoC’s using privelaged information in their business dealings. Dems said that’s not right. They said people holding office shouldn’t have the right to use information they receive to help them financially. But guess what … not only is it completely ethical and legal for them to do so, it is considered to be a privelege and perk of office.

    So, information is information. Just because Sonny had information that an investment could prove profitable and thus invested his own money in it, doesn’t mean he did anything unethical.

    So, stop your whining, boys and girls. Again, there isn’t anything unethical or illegal about Sonny’s investment deal.

    And, Mojo, the answer to your question is NO. It isn’t unethical to use the powers of elected position to enrich onself, assuming that no laws are broken and everything is done properly according to requirements (as Sonny did). If you think differently, I suggest you start by contesting current Congressional privelages for Members to use strategic market information obtained in closed hearings for their own financial gain, which is completely acceptable and done by Members Republican and Democrat alike.

  14. defnotrep says:

    Rant long enough GAWIRE try to change the spin right. lol.

    Walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, Must be a duck.

  15. Mojo says:

    GAWire seems to make the mistake that what is legal is ethical and what is illegal is unethical. GAWire said, “It isn’t unethical to use the powers of elected position to enrich onself, assuming that no laws are broken and everything is done properly according to requirements.” It’s amateur hour.

  16. Mojo says:

    Those who write and enforce the laws are allowed to use those powers to enrich themselves financially, and it is considered ethical and acceptable by some. It’s a new Gilded Age.

  17. Maurice Atkinson says:

    Desparate times call for desparate measures. The Taylor campaign, nor the Democrat Party, especially in the state of Georgia, have no agenda and have marketed anything other than the fact they want a job for Taylor.

    The entire Republican team have effectively articulated competence and an agenda that Georgians like. They have a strong track record of governing with distinction. Georgia is far better because of their service.

  18. GAWire says:

    Mojo, it sucks to be in the minority with no hope for success doesn’t it? Chances are, the GOP will have that feeling to some extent at the national level come Nov, but there is some comfort knowing that the GOP has nothing to worry about here at home.

    And talking abour ameteur hour … you should be talking to Taylor’s strategists and media people. Hey, if you want any sort of hope, you should at least put forth a good professional effort, and not this sorry atttempt. The lack of professionalism and experience put forth by the Taylor campaign looks very defeatist to me, meaning they never really had any hope of winning, so I guess they just concluded that wasting all the time and money wasn’t really worth it. At least they can admit that …

    Finally, if you want to cry and whine about this being the new Gilded Age, then I will tell you again to take these issues up with the federal gov’t, as they have concluded that elected officials using privelaged information for financial gain isn’t unethical, illegal, or wrong in any sense. So, cry my a da&* river!

  19. Mojo says:

    GAWire,

    “Mojo, it sucks to be in the minority with no hope for success doesn’t it?”

    I’m not of any political party so I don’t know what it’s like. Nice assumption.

    “Chances are, the GOP will have that feeling to some extent at the national level come Nov, but there is some comfort knowing that the GOP has nothing to worry about here at home.”

    Sucks to be Georgia.

    Just b/c those who write the laws say something isn’t unethical doesn’t make it so, there is a right and there is a wrong and it is dangerous that those who decide these things are enriching themselves at our expense. But, I’ll take it up with them by voting and by donating to campaigns that seek to eliminate this aura of corruption and negligence that sits at the top levels of our gov’t. No one is crying and no one is whining, but all I hear from you is defeatism and acceptance of the status quo that creates this corruption. If you see it as well, then what are you going to do?

  20. Mad Dog says:

    GaWire,

    What the flip are you talking about?

    Prospectus? Reading a prospectus is like being swamp land in Florida without visiting the property?

    Do you understand that a prospectus has status as a legal document?

    A For Sale sign on 40 acres of prime Florida Swamp land isn’t even considered an offer to make a contract.

    I hope your “clientele” doesn’t read your posts.

  21. GaWire, I agree with Mojo. Republicans in Congress are about to get their asses handed to them for actinn unethically and unmorally, but beforehand finding the dividing line between what’s legal and what’s not and seeming to make an obsession with getting as close to it without actually crossing it.

    Perdue making a good investment isn’t illegal. But there’s a difference between having the same options as everyone else and choosing one that performs better and not having the same options.

    Could anyone have bought this land for this price. The answer appears to be no. Does Stanley Thomas sell parts of his developments, ever? According to his interviews, the answer is also no. Would Sonny Perdue be involved in this transaction if he weren’t governor and hadn’t appointed Thomas to the Economic Development Board? The answer also appears to be no.

    You may want to apologize for his behavior, but I think the more Georgians that find out about this, the less willing the state as a whole will be to continue trusting Perdue.

  22. defnotrep says:

    Chrishardcore,

    Sadly GAWIRE isn’t trying to apologize. He’s just trying to justify. Doesn’t appear he’s winning anyone over.

    And when you disagree…he reverts back to personal insults like whinning. He can’t just debate the issue without making it personal.

  23. rightofcenter says:

    Okay, Chris, let me ask you about your facts: You claim both had rich fathers. Where’s your evidence of that? (And please don’t tell me that because Sonny’s father was a farmer in Houston County whose farm appreciated over the years because of surrounding development that he was rich. That just shows you have no clue as to the ways of life outside of Atlanta.

    You refer to Stan Thomas as a billionaire. Perhaps that is true. Share your documentation.

    Stan Thomas makes massive profits on his developments. Stated as a fact, but I’m again curious as to your documentation.

    Y’all claim the land is now worth $40 million. Another fact I suppose. Again, where’s the documentation?

    MT’s certainly has been successful at somethings in life (and I’m not talking about his zest for food or his ability to finally land a trophy wife on his third try). He has been very successful at getting elected. That track record is about to change.

  24. Right of Center,
    Both Taylor and Perdue’s fathers started out with nothing and thanks to massive success in industry (Taylor’s father) and successful farming and land acquisition (Perdue’s father) they are able to give their children a very good foundation. Sonny and his family have millions and millions of dollars worth of land. I understand that a good amount of South Georgians are also land rich, but probably 80% of them aren’t anywhere close.

    As for Stanley Thomas, please read this article:
    http://atlanta.bizjournals.com/atlanta/stories/2006/04/10/story2.html

    After you read it, you can tell me whether or not you think Perdue is getting a great deal, or whether (as the Republicans initially spun it) he “may make money, he may not”.

  25. RandyMiller says:

    Re: the Perdue land deal. Isn’t one half considered wetlands? And you can never develop wetlands, right?

  26. Mad Dog says:

    Randy,

    Laughing out loud !

    I guess Perdue will have to get elected Governor of Florida to drain a few acres?

    With the right plan, wetlands can be developed. I’m not sure if it’s wetland, but the expensive development next to this plot is not being stopped.

    It is just a matter of either protecting the existing wetlands, or making some trade off with the state/feds.

    By trade off, I mean giving the state an equal number of acres.

    Of course, a developer could just go ahead with the development and OPS! accidently violate the law.

    In our state, Georgia, first time offenders are given a warning. I think it’s called a notice of violation. But, I’m not real sure on how that works.

  27. rightofcenter says:

    Chris,
    First of all, it looks like Thomas is a very successful developer. But you really can’t call him a billionaire because he has billions of dollars of development projects. There’s such a thing as debt that is subtracted from assets that yields net worth, which is what determines whether one is a bilionaire or not. I have no idea, but after reading that article I would bet he is fairly well leveraged. It’s the nature of the business.

    As for whether or not Perdue got a good deal: right from the article is this quote regarding Thomas Enterprise’s projects -And they’re also among the riskiest, with the chance for the greatest reward. Risky implies there’s a good chance he’ll make a big return, but there’s also a good chance he won’t.

  28. Mad Dog says:

    Rightofcenter,

    I think if we asked Thomas, he’d say Billionaire with a capital B.

    I think you’re right saying the b stands for BS.

    But, if he’s a huge risk taker, why appoint him to a statewide development board?

    If he were to meet the criteria as a billionaire, he’d be one of the top 400 or so in net worth in our nation.

    He’s not a billionaire by annual income.

    He ‘might’ be, by some standards, a billionaire on paper.

    it’s even harder to evaluate risk into objective standards.

    Why is a man like Perdue taking risks with his retirement monies?

    If he has insider information and pricing not possible for the public investor (public meaning not Governor of Georgia), then Sonny’s retirement nest egg might be safer than my 401(k). And, far more likely to increase 8 – 10 times in value without making more investments of time, money, or effort.

    You might want to google Henry George. He proposed a very interesting Single Tax Plan.

    Since MOST people can’t change the value of land, rent is not a form of wage. Hence, not earned.

  29. Randy,
    Mad Dog is correct. Some people have claimed Perdue’s plot is wetlands, but this has never been verified. Either way, lets say half of it is wetlands. That means Perdue just has to go purchase corresponding land and “bank it” as wetlands. So, he could be sitting on an acre worth $750K (or something like that) and go find a $35K acre of land and bank it as wetlands.

    The other thing you can do in Florida is trade wetlands. So, lets say there is a developer out there (it could even be Stanley Thomas) who has a plot of land of 50 acres, but there is a 5 acre plot that is “wetlands” in between the main acreage and the main road. If the developer can do the whole 50 acres he will make $100 million. But he needs to get those 5 acres undesignated. So he could go to Perdue and say, I’m about to make $100 million, but I need to trade some wetlands. So I’ll buy yours for $10 and then my other development can proceed.

    The moral of the story is, there are so many ways for Perdue to make money on this land that it doesn’t really matter if it is wetlands or not. He got a better deal than you or I would get, and he’s appointed this guy to the most powerful state board. You guys make not think that is technically illegal, but it’s definitely wrong.

  30. GAWire says:

    The point is that people invest millions of dollars in land without seeing it every single day a thousand times over. If someone legally offered me a chunk of land backing up to Epcot for a mere $2 mm, I wouldn’t think twice about it and throw in a little extra to get a few rides on Pirates of the Caribbean and getting in good with Bob Iger. Again, assuming it was legal and within the boundaries of whatever regulations might apply, then yeah, why not?

    So, where did Sonny do wrong? He made a good investment on the advice of someone that had the information. He did this legally and ethically. Not only were laws not violated, but it didn’t cost taxpayers and it didn’t hurt Georgia or its citizens in any way.

    Bottom line, you guys are trying to make something out of absolutely nothing. You sound/look like Taylor at the Golden Corral Buffet special – grabbing at anything you can find to fill your unhealthy appetites.

    But here is the thing – as much as you want it to work, as much as you don’t want Sonny to be re-elected, as much as you want to believe there is something to the Florida land deal, as much as you want the Fat Guy or whatever to be elected … it just aint happening!

    Finally, what the heck is Mark Taylor of all people thinking with this kind of thing?!? Does he really want Sonny and the GAGOP to let their deep warchests and the overwhelming support across the state loose on Mark Taylor?!? Do you really think the ammo isn’t there? This is a dangerous game for the Lt. Governor. Now, seeing that Sonny doesn’t have a da*& thing in the world to worry about, that shouldn’t be necessary. Still, perhaps Taylor and the Dems should think harder about things like this.

  31. Mojo says:

    GAWire,

    “You sound/look like Taylor at the Golden Corral Buffet special – grabbing at anything you can find to fill your unhealthy appetites.”

    Come on, you guys really need some new material. These “Mark Taylor is fat” insults are not even funny anymore, just pathetic.

  32. GaWire, Stanley Thomas didn’t say “this is a great investment opportunity” the way I might tell someone to buy Stock XYZ. He created the great investment for Sonny.

    Stanley Thomas hasn’t sold anyone else land like this, subdividing part of his development just for one person. This land wasn’t even on the market. He created this great investment just for Sonny. Sonny appointed him, a developer, to the most powerful board a developer can sit on.

    Randy, as for the $40 million number, comparable land in the immediate vicinity is selling for that much. Of course, this land either has to be developed to be worth that much, or the land around it must be completed in its development to see the appreciation.

    However, Thomas owns pretty much all the surrounding land, and he is in the process of developing it. Once people start to move in, it would be easy for Perdue to get the capital to finish his land. Or, he could just sell it to someone else who would pay a very good premium for what Perdue paid, because the land would be ready to develop. Either do it as houses/condos and people will move in, or do retail for the people moving into the Stan Thomas developments on all sides.

    For someone who has $2 million to invest, this is the deal of a lifetime.

    GaWire, people may occasionally purchase land sight unseen. But you and I know they most often do this as part of a group investment (common in the timber industry) or in some sort of planned development along with other investors.

    You are fooling yourself and deceiving yourself if you think most Georgians who have $8 million would plunk $2 million into just a random unseen plot of land regardless of how assured they were that it would be a good deal.

    The biggest difference here is that this land was not just on the market. The deal was created for Perdue, he was cut in for a lower price than Thomas himself paid for it, and it is about as close to a guaranteed investment in real estate as you can get.

    Pretty good for the first time this guy has bought out of state, wouldn’t you say. Again, I add that if you think there is nothing wrong with this, then you’ve bought into the GOP mentality that says anything goes and to the victor goes the spoils. The country has figured that out, if Perdue and his supporters keep up this attitude, they’ll figure it out in Georgia too.

  33. GAWire says:

    Firstly, Mojo, no you’re wrong. Fat jokes about Mark Taylor never get old. They’re just so easy and yet so funny.

    Chris, you argue your point well, but you’re still grasping at something that isn’t there. Again, if someone legally offered me a hefty chunk of land next to Disney, I wouldn’t need to see it first and I certainly wouldn’t think twice about dropping $2 mm at it. That kind of thing is done all the time. It isn’t uncommon whatsoever.

    Now, as for Thomas and the land, you can’t say that it was “created” for Sonny. Perhaps Sonny got it on the deal b/c he is Governor and the person in the deal was a friend or ally, but again, there is nothing illegal or unethical about that. Do you know how much Members of Congress make financially every year off of strategic information they hear in closed hearings? It’s in the hundreds of millions, and guess what, it’s perfectly legal and condoned. Same thing goes with Sonny and this deal, there isn’t anything wrong with what went down here.

    As for me “buying into the GOP mentality” I don’t have to do that. For years I helped develop and promote that mentality, but that’s not even what the point is here – this has nothing to do with the GOP here. You know I am not completely pleased with Sonny, but overall I support him b/c overall he has been a good Gov. And this specific situation is rediculous, whether it is a Dem or a Republican. You guys are trying to make something out of nothing. If this were a Democrat, I’d say the same thing: It appears as though a businessman made a legal and ethical business deal for profit. That’s it. I’m not the biggest Sonny fan in the world, but I will back him all the way on this, b/c not only is this stupid politics on behalf of the Dems, but it’s the same old crap from Dems where they bash and damage the business community for their own agenda and political gain.

  34. rightofcenter says:

    Unfortunately for Mark, obesity is not one of those protected categories like gender, race, age, or sexual orientation. It’s kind of like UGA – Tech jokes. They are not politically incorrect – yet.

    This will be my last post on the subject (not that anyone cares) because there’s no new information here, but I will conclude with several points: 1) I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the deal as far as we know, 2) I don’t think Sonny showed very good judgment in going through with it because it is the type of thing that would raise red flags and provide campaign fodder, regardless of the legality or ethics of it; and 3) all in all, it’s not a winning subject for Taylor and he better come up with some issue-oriented way to bring Sonny down because if it comes down to a personality contest (in the eyes of the voters), Sonny (with Mary by his side) will win hands down.

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