Does Atlanta Council Member Felicia Moore Have a Conflict of Interest?

Election season makes for interesting emails, and we’ve obtained one that explores at great, lawyerly length the question of whether or not Atlanta City Council member Felicia Moore would be violating her fiduciary duties if the Georgia World Congress Center Authority tried to enter into a contract with the City of Atlanta to purchase land needed for the new Falcons stadium. From the email: “…the fact that there is no conflict of interest on the side of the State entities does not mean that this contract may not be challenged or held void as a conflict of interest if Ms. Moore is deemed to have violated her fiduciary duties as a city official.” (Link goes to pdf) It seems Council Member Moore is also a real estate agent representing the owner of a parcel needed to build the new stadium, and those dual roles would create a conflict of interest if she voted on Stadium-related stuff.

Before you dismiss this as last-minute campaign hijinks, what makes this an interesting email is that apparently originated from the State Properties Commission -which is in charge of the Georgia World Congress Center and all related stuff.

I’m not a lawyer, and would love for some of our attorney readers to offer their opinion. Link to the full email below the fold. 

Emailnoadd

 

25 comments

  1. Baker says:

    Eminent domain-loving corporate-welfare advocate Hassinger tries to bring down taxpayer champion (H/T to Joe McCutchen) Felicia Moore…

    J/k Mike (insert shoulder punch)…I am not a lawyer so I am limited in the scope of my comments here but I can say that I think Ms. Moore did a great job during all of this.

    From the most relevant piece in the AJC:

    “Although the City Council has held a series of briefings and work sessions on the stadium proposal since February, the vote came FIVE DAYS AFTER MEMBERS RECEIVED THE LATEST DRAFT OF THE DEAL.

    Felicia Moore, chairwoman of the council’s finance-executive committee, strongly objected to voting so soon. “This is unprecedented,” said Moore, one of the four to vote against the deal. “… We are voting about something that will impact this city for 50 years or more. We need to take our time and make sure all our i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed.”

    They did not have one finance committee meeting on the final proposal put forward. Not one. What can you say. And hey look at that, it was just announced the cost of the stadium is going up $200 MILL…will the Falcons cover the difference? Methinks not.

    http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local/falcons-stadium-cost-grows-to-12-billion/nbZ5K/?icmp=ajc_internallink_textlink_homepage

    I know I’m beating a dead, at this point bare bones, horse here, but I will be at retirement age (although that will have long changed) when this thing is over. What a sham.

    • Stefan says:

      Note, that article says that the Falcons will cover the difference using the NFL stadium funds and PSL revenue. I know, I know, that’s still a gouge, but it isn’t quite the same thing.

  2. Stefan says:

    The problem here, in general, is that city council members shouldn’t have business dealings with the city. Even if it is above board, it furthers the perception of corruption which is a huge problem in the city – it is why anyone ever votes for Mary Norwood.

    You have conflict of interest rules to avoid the appearance of impropriety – not impropriety itself, whatever form that takes is generally covered by a specific law (bribery, fraud etc).

  3. FeliciaMoore says:

    The answer to the question is NO. This is all politics. The Mayor and his cronies tried to sell this story to WSB TV and once they got the facts they dropped it. Now they got you to print about the “tip” of course right before Nov. 5th, so his recruited candidate can put it in a mailer or robocall to cast an “unethical” cloud over my head.
    One thing I am not is, stupid. In this political environment, I have the good sense to ask before acting. In short, I cleared my representation of my client with the Ethics Officer of the City before I agreed to represent him. The City of Atlanta is not purchasing the property. Any actions taken by the Council that relate or may relate to my clients property will be dealt with by an abstention and disclosure as our code requires. Its unfortunate that you are being used to do someone else’s dirty work.
    Felicia Moore 404-539-6348

  4. Chris Black says:

    I get from her response that Ms. Moore is attempting to blame others for her shadiness. I’m hearing that she contacted the City of Atlanta Ethics officer and asked very vaguely about this issue, while leaving out a great deal of details about her involvement with property near the proposed site for the new stadium. I hope the ethics officer fully investigates this matter, I am sick and tired of creeps of her ilk!!!

    After being in office for 15 years, one must ask why she keeps coming back with no real progress to show in district 9. I am starting to regret buying my home in Vinings on Chattahoochee. Is there an alternate candidate to Felicia Moore? I guess I’ll have to decide between Duwon Robinson and Ricardo Mosby. Mosby is at least willing to give back the $20,000 raise that Moore and the others gave themselves.

    Chris

    • FeliciaMoore says:

      Mr. Black,

      I wonder where you “heard” that from. You clearly have not heard the facts. The Ethics Officer was fully informed about the issue. We have had several conversations regarding it as well. I think you are either Ricardo Mosby (the Mayor’s candidate) or you are in their camp. Try again.

  5. Chris Black says:

    First of all I am a woman and a taxpayer who is footing the, soon-to-be, $60,000 salary that you gave yourself while we citizens virtually get no new services. Secondly, I am appalled that instead of addressing my concerns, you decided to insult my intelligence and accuse me of carrying Mosby’s water. According to you an informed citizen can’t have an opinion and demand answers from leadership. You, Ms. Moore, are a typical politician and your poor attempt to deflect from the issue at hand is sad.

    You say you “spoke” to the Ethics office about this matter. Care to provide by scan or post the official response? I eagerly await your response.

    MS. Black

  6. Chris Black says:

    For the record, I don’t know either of your opponents nor I am I a fan of the Mayor’s. I just want to know why you, Madame Watchdog, as chair of the budget committee for the city council would want to be involved in real estate matters around the dome. This smacks of corruption!!!

    Ms. Black

    ps. I am still waiting for the official response from the ethics dept.

    • FeliciaMoore says:

      Ms. Black,

      You can call the Ethics Officer, Nina Hickson for a direct response. You can also call me to discuss any details you desire. My cell is 404-539-6348.

  7. Chris Black says:

    Thanks for providing Ms. Hickson’s contact information and I hope there is an official response to your inquiry regarding this matter, because the circumstances certainly warrant one. I respect you as leader in our community, but I am tired of the current state of things. I want progress NOW and for you to potentially profit from the stadium development while our community continues to crumble is deplorable. It’s interesting to me that you fight against so many progressive measures, but my community benefits very little from it. Maybe it is time for change. 15 years is a long time for a person to be in any office.

  8. Chris Black says:

    Wait, I mistook your number for Ms. Hickson’s. I will research her number and hopefully she’ll provide the official response for me to post here. It would’ve been a real show of leadership for you to post it though.

    • Charlie says:

      You have an elected official, responding to criticism in her own name, and offering her cell number to the general public…and you want to question her leadership for not giving you something else?

      By the way, one of the tells of a sock puppet is someone who has never bothered to comment on our blog all of the sudden must answer every comment while claiming “I don’t know either of your opponents”.

      I’ll likely have a bit more to say about Ms. Moore later. For now, I’d say you’ve overreached and have been counterproductive to anything you wished to accomplish here.

  9. Chris Black says:

    Charlie,

    Is it honestly that hard to believe that I am not involved with either of Ms. Moore’s opponents? You are correct that I am a new poster to this site as I came across this article while researching candidates in my local district. Also, if you all continue to post stories that impact my community I will continue to frequent this site and post when I have questions.

    Again, the issues that I have raised are being deflected. My ask is simple, for Ms. Moore to provide the written correspondence from the ethics office that shows her connection to land deals near the new stadium site are ok. Given Ms. Moore’s reputation as watchdog and her demands for transparency, I’m certain she has this in writing and would not ask the public to take her word for it. Other candidates have not gotten away with such vague responses that essentially say “trust me”.

    By the way, I don’t get the sock puppet reference.

    ps. what’s up with the $20,000 raises?!?!

    Ms. Black

    • Charlie says:

      Seriously, did you take a Joel McElhannon “how to be a bad sock puppet” class?

      “I don’t know either candidate, I just really hate this one”

      ” I just stumbled on this site today while doing research as my civic duty”

      “Let me throw in another few talking points from a candidate I’ve never met and don’t support while I’m at it”.

      The only thing you’re missing is having a screen name of “Concerned Voter”.

      ps. Our community has been around about 8 years now, and as most of them are laughing at you. As they should be.

    • bgsmallz says:

      I’m not a smart man…but I know that saying ‘call this other person and hear it from them’ is the exact opposite of saying ‘take my word for it’…

      I’m pretty sure “Chris Black” is the one that started off this foolishness by lobbing unsourced, 2nd hand accusations about what Ms. Moore supposedly said and didn’t say to the Ethics Officer…yep, I am sure that’s what happened. Who did you hear that from again? Oh….riiiiiiiiiiiiight.

      Pretty clever formula…create an unsourced and unfounded rumor and then attack the candidate for not having ‘paper’ that combats said rumor (WHY DON’T YOU HAVE PAPER TO COMBAT THE RUMORS I JUST STARTED?! ETHICS!!!! TRANSPARENCY!!!)

      I’m not really sure if “Chris Black” is a sock puppet, ODB, or Forrest Gump…but I know that “Chris Black’s” logic stinks and that local politics make me puke because of stuff like this.

    • georgiahack says:

      There is no one that has any iteration of the name Chris Black, male or female, in your district Ms. Moore.

      carry on

  10. MAGNUS1 says:

    I just asked several of my friends who live in VOC if they had ever heard of a Chris Black. None of them has nor is she listed on their group Facebook page. Maybe she is new, or flies under the radar, but she sounds suspicious to me.

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