hey sonny, this ain’t louisiana!

So stop acting like Edwin Edwards. Gov. H. Dumpty’s latest questionable perk:

Gov. Sonny Perdue signed an executive order on his first day in office in 2003 declaring he and most state workers wouldn’t take any gifts worth more than $25 from lobbyists.

But last year he accepted a flight to Jacksonville for the Georgia-Florida football game from a lobbyist for CSX Transportation, Atlanta Falcons tickets from his former chief of staff who is now a prominent lobbyist, and refreshments at the Republican National Convention from a lobbyist for AT&T, according to reports filed with the State Ethics Commission.

Sonny sure is good at finding “loopholes”:

► In 2004, under Perdue’s watch, the state passed on an opportunity to buy the 20,000-acre Oaky Woods tract, a process in which Perdue was involved despite the fact that he owns 101 acres immediately adjacent to the tract. The property eventually was sold to developers, and the value of Perdue’s adjacent acreage doubled in value.

► 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.

And don’t forget the $21 million loan he secured under “remarkable circumstances”:

The lender — a farm credit bank based in Perry — allowed Perdue to put up collateral worth less than 20 percent of the loan’s value, according to a security deed filed in Houston County Superior Court. Commercial lenders typically insist on a far greater level of collateral, and the federal agency that regulates farm banks requires strict underwriting standards to guarantee loan repayment.

The bank, AgGeorgia Farm Credit, focuses on real estate lending and carries just $55 million in business loans on its books, according to its latest quarterly report. Now a large proportion of that portfolio is devoted to the governor, who is a familiar figure to AgGeorgia’s leaders: Eight of the bank’s 23 directors contributed to Perdue’s re-election campaign in 2006.

Unlike his three most recent predecessors, Sonny refused to place his financial interests in a blind trust (the General Assembly should immediately pass legislation that requires it).

The AJC’s Alan Judd reported that, in 2006, Perdue’s holdings had increased by more than one-third in four years.

To quote Bob Dole, where’s the outrage? Seriously. The evidence against Perdue is overwhelming and yet he fails to see the need to explain himself.

That’s what you get when you elect a candidate who courted flaggers and the techer’s union, as Perdue did in his successful run against Roy Barnes in 2002.

6 responses to “hey sonny, this ain’t louisiana!”

  1. Also classic is the decision by the General Assembly to take a two month hiatus in order to wait and see how the stimulus package shakes out. I would imagine that the principled Republicans in the group would forsake any government cheese, but I’m not holding my breath on that one (see Sarah Palin and her groveling for Federal aid for her states precious pipeline). I wish there was a legal way for the feds to only funnel that money into congressional districts that voted FOR the stimulus package (as imperfect as it might be). As it stands now, Republicans in the house and Senate (and GA General Assembly) can have their cake and eat it too by acting as if they are against it but ultimately enjoying its benefits knowing that it will pass despite their opposition. Brazen and crass.

  2. I agree with you atlpaddy that they are trying to show principle, but are actually full of crap. Were against unless you want to give us the money. I have zero faith in 99% of the politicians out there. It is all about power and rarely about integrity, truth, honor or duty.

    Te current group running Ga might be Republicans, but they are only conservative when it comes to social issues and even then they don’t live it. Sonny was elected because he wasn’t Roy Barnes. I think almost anyone could’ve beaten Barnes that year.

  3. Too bad — Barnes was a much better governor than Sonny, and he wasn’t corrupt.

  4. fwiw the split session makes sense to me — it’s hard to know how to allocate funds with this massive variable still an unknown quantity

  5. This buffoon should be in jail.

  6. I have a feeling that Sonny’s $21 million dollar ‘loan’ has raised some eyebrows among Federal investigators. At least it should.

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