Georgia’s ethically challenged new governor already confirming suspicions
Gov.-elect Nathan Deal today named more everyday folk lobbyists to the list of folks who will help build the Gainesville Republican’s administration. Included among the new names on Deal’s transition team are some of the Gold Dome’s top handshake artists and well-heeled businessmen. You’ll also notice some state lawmakers who’ll soon be making big bucks taking their former colleagues to dinner.
We should be used to this by now, after eight years of Sonny Perdue’s self-enriching governance. A quick review:
► In the waning days of the 2005 legislative session, state Rep. Larry O’Neal, a Bonaire Republican who also was Perdue’s lawyer, pushed through a piece of legislation that made a tax break on land sales retroactive to 2004. The new law gave Perdue a $100,000 break on a Florida land deal.
► In the 2004 land deal that was the subject of the tax break, Perdue purchased approximately 20 acres near Walt Disney World for $2 million from Stanley Thomas, a large-project developer whom Perdue the year before had appointed to the state Board of Economic Development – clearly a prime perch for a developer. And the land Perdue bought is located next door to a resort community where half-acre lots were selling in 2004 for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
► Late in 2007, Houston County – the governor’s home county – was chosen as the site for a planned $22 million fish hatchery and visitor center, a centerpiece of the governor’s initiative to promote fishing and tourism in the state.
► Last year, as the roiling economy prompted him to revise state tax revenue estimates downward by $245 million, Perdue left a $7.3 million outlay for a horse barn and practice ring at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter – in Houston County – in the state budget.
The biggest difference? We didn’t know Sonny was a crook before he took office. Ample evidence suggests that our newly elected governor is at best shady — not that
Louisiana’s Georgia’s voters seem to mind.