Tim Lee Cleared Of Ethics Charges Over Braves Relocation Vote

June 18, 2014 15:55 pm

by Charlie · 7 comments

Not surprisingly, Cobb Commission Chairman has been cleared of ethics charges filed over the Braves stadium relocation vote.  I’ll skip the particulars to highlight the money quote from the Marietta Daily Journal’s report, as it needs to be internalized by anyone who ever thinks about filing one of these things.

“When you say, ‘This is wrong,’ you have to be able to say, ‘And, this is why,’” Patellis said. “And, we didn’t have any of that here.”

It’s just that simple.  If you don’t like something, fine.  If you don’t like the process on how something was done, that’s your right as an American.  It doesn’t mean someone broke the law, nor violated standards of ethics.  The burden of proof isn’t on the elected official to prove to your satisfaction they didn’t do anything wrong.  The burden is on the person filing the complaint to prove there is a violation.

If we ever want to see comprehensive ethics reform in Georgia’s state and local government, the first thing we need to do is get a handle on those who want to scream “ethics violation” every time they’re dissatisfied with losing a vote or an election.  Laws actually matter.  If you expect others to follow them, then you too need to understand the burdens and limits of them before you gum up the system with crap like this.

For full details on this, please follow this link to the Marietta Daily Journal where they’ll explain in detail the events leading up to this non-charge.

Loren June 18, 2014 at 9:39 pm

I’m surprised that no one has filed an ethics complaint regarding the gifts that Braves VP Mike Plant gave to the Cobb commissioners back in December, shortly after the vote approving the Memorandum of Understanding and before the more recent votes authorizing the bonds. Three of the commissioners reported these gifts, ranging in value from $140 to $300, in their year-end campaign reports filed with the state; it seems probable that the other two may have received gifts but chose to *not* report them.

Accepting gifts from a business that is contemporaneously in negotiations with the county, and where the gift-giver stands to benefit to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars if the recipients vote a certain way, strikes me as a HUGE, and plainly obvious, conflict of interest. And it would also seem to be a straightforward violation of Sec. 2-53 of the Cobb County Code of Ethics (“Solicitation or Acceptance of Gifts”).

notsplost June 19, 2014 at 6:45 am

“Not guilty” doesn’t always mean innocent, in this case I would suggest the old Scottish verdict of “not proven.”

There is definitely a bad smell coming from the Cobb Commission these days. It would be nice to know if the supporters of the stadium who crowded out all dissent repeatedly including town hall meetings and the vote on the stadium resolution May 27th were given special access to create an appearance of overwhelming community support.

Ultimately the public needs to use the power of the ballot box to get rid of some of the worst offenders. Ethics complaints probably won’t accomplish much, given the makeup of the ethics board.

The Last Democrat in Georgia June 19, 2014 at 12:31 pm

“There is definitely a bad smell coming from the Cobb Commission these days. It would be nice to know if the supporters of the stadium who crowded out all dissent repeatedly including town hall meetings and the vote on the stadium resolution May 27th were given special access to create –

{The rest was redacted by Charlie.

2 Sentences OR 50 words. I’m not playing around anymore.}

{For everyone else, this limit doesn’t apply to you, just to this one community member who will either learn to make a succinct point (once) or will have to find another place to spend the day.}

The Last Democrat in Georgia June 19, 2014 at 1:53 pm

My apologies, Charlie. I just included the text from notsplost’s comment above as a quote so that readers would know exactly which point I was referencing with my comment.

Charlie June 19, 2014 at 5:35 pm

No more excuses. Period.

Loren June 19, 2014 at 1:05 pm

“It would be nice to know if the supporters of the stadium who crowded out all dissent repeatedly…were given special access to create an appearance of overwhelming community support.”

Who led the effort to fill all the speaking slots with stadium supporters? Local businessman John Loud, of Loud Security Systems.

And who provides security services for the building where the Cobb County Board of Commissioners meets? Loud Security Systems.

(Honestly, I doubt that played a direct role, but when you mentioned ‘special access’, it came to mind.)

DrGonzo June 19, 2014 at 12:41 pm

Tim Lee is a crook and a tyrant. Period. I don’t need an ethics committee to agree with me for that to be true.

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