My question is why does Bubber Epps spell his name that way. I get that question all the time about using both a C and a K in my name, but why not “Bubba” instead of “Bubber,” which just needs an L to be blubber.
But that is not the question Allen Freeman is asking.
This is one of those seats that the GOP is fighting to hold on to and is probably in the top six endangered seats list along with Jill Chambers. I have long thought Bubber Epps was the person most likely to beat Allen, but Allen is coming out fighting.
Full disclosure: I ran Allen’s first race and then represented the Twiggs County Development Authority on which Bubber sat. I like them both.
That said, when I was a lawyer with the Development Authority, there was some concern with Katherine Epps, Bubber’s wife, went on the Twiggs County Commission and Bubber came to the Development Authority. There were lingering questions about the Epps Brothers paving company and contracts Bubber allegedly steers to the paving company in Twiggs County — it’s kind of a Boss Hogg type allegation, i.e. you own the local paving company so you get all the bids so you get yourself running the County Commission so you become the county boss.
Anyway, Allen is taking those charges on directly. Bubber is firing back. Dubose Porter is burning up phone lines to Macon hopping mad about this. Dubose is desperate to find dirt on Allen to counter-attack. Good luck with that. After two tough races, there isn’t much else that could come out against Allen.
And if he can beat Bubber, he will probably have easy races from here on out, given the demographics of the district and trends thereto.
Below the fold, the allegations that have Dubose Porter yelling at people on the phone . . .Let’s start at Bubber’s own campaign website. Here is a screenshot.
According to the website, “road construction and the paving industry has been Bubber’s calling since 1977. Epps Brothers, Inc. is the family-owned business for which Bubber served as President from 1994 to 2006.”
You can see the Epps Brothers, Inc. registration with the Secretary of State for 2001 here. Note that there were no changes from 2000, save an address change.
This, then, gets to the heart of the problem.
When Bubber was Chairman of the Twiggs County Commission, his family’s paving company, which he has been a part of, by his own admission, since 1977, got lots of roads contracts in Twiggs County.
In the late eighties, after Bubber had become Chairman of the Twiggs County Commission, the state ordered Twiggs County to renovate its courthouse.
The Twiggs Commission pushed through, with voter approval, a $1 million SPLOST.
Instead of doing all the renovations, the county decided to use $300,000.00 to pave roads. That money went to Epps Brothers.
At the same time, an audit of the Commission determined Twiggs County was being run at a deficit — a violation of state law — and Bubber was lobbying for a pay raise.
The Freeman camp put out a big Power Point presentation, which you can view here.
The Macon Telegraph gave some coverage of all of this. You can read Matt Barnwell’s article here. In it, Matt writes,
Epps said the commission’s intent at the time had been to build a new courthouse, but that the political establishment simply wanted it renovated and opposed its move from downtown Jeffersonville.
That group used the media to paint a picture of poor leadership on the commission, Epps said, and he and others left office before accomplishing their goal of building a new courthouse.
But the SPLOST money was all spent lawfully and in accordance with what it was designated for, Epps said, adding that the funds were audited each year. And Epps said he recused himself from any votes that awarded contracts to Epps Brothers Inc., even though he was not a principal in the company at the time.
Instead of really defending himself, Bubber questioned why Allen left the Macon Cherry Blossom Festival in 2004, something that has been explored now in three legislative races, without anything substantive coming up.