Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter is hoping his push to get to the bottom of the ethics complaints against Governor Deal find traction in the press around the state. He is joined in his efforts by Greg Hecht, a former State Senator and State Representative who is looking to unseat Attorney General Sam Olens.
It seems Deal has gotten a pass on his shaky ethics for so long he is immune. Time will tell if they finally catch up with him.
The Metro Spirit has published numerous articles concerning the Gov. Here’s a snapshot.
June 23, 2011
“Naw, It’s Cool Man. He Ain’t Done Nothin’”
Two weeks after The Guv signed a $30 million tax break for Delta, the airline upgraded Deal and his wife to first class — “Diamond” medallion status the company awards to its most valued passengers.
That status includes free upgrades when seats are available, Sky Club membership, bonus miles, priority check-in and boarding, fee waivers and more.
Deal’s spokesman said there was no connection between his signing of the bill and his new medallion status and called the gift a “contribution to the state of Georgia.”
The top staffer of the state ethics commission is resigning after the panel voted to slash her salary by a third and eliminate her number 2. Commission Chairman Patrick Millsaps said these two changes will free up $40,000-$50,000 in the budget.
Executiive Secretary Stacey Kalberman had coincidentally sought subpoenas to investigate the Deal campaign. Kalberman had raised questions about the timing of the salary cut and efforts to advance the agency’s investigation into a complaint against Deal.
Watchdog groups dismiss the idea that the commission proposed the personnel moves because of budget constraints.
During Nathan Deal’s campaign for Guv, the Office of Congressional Ethics reported he may have violated House ethics rules by using his congressional office to pressure Georgia officials to keep an inspection program that funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars into his auto salvage company.
“Nathan Deal did nothing wrong,” Harris Blackwood said in March of last year. (In December, Blackwood was named the public information officer for the Georgia Department of Highway Safety, where his background as a newspaper editor and columnist obviously serves him well. Wait. Check that. He was named the director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, not the PR flack. The director. The flack is Katie Fallon. We regret the error.
July 28, 2011
Yeah… That’s the Ticket
Gov. Nathan Deal has appointed the spouse of the top federal prosecutor for North Georgia to a seat on a state commission.
Deal’s office announced on the first of July that the governor has reappointed J. Comer Yates, the husband of U.S. Attorney Sally Q. Yates, to a seat on the Georgia Commission on Hearing Impaired and Deaf Persons.
Because of that gubernatorial appointment of her spouse, Sally Yates will be required by Justice Department rules to recuse herself from any future investigations that her office may undertake involving Deal’s activities.
Brian Robinson, a spokesman for Deal, said it was silly to suggest some ulterior motive in this case.
“Comer Yates was part of a group reappointment. The entire board was reappointed at once, at the recommendation of the executive director,” Robinson said. The spokesman said the governor’s office was unaware of internal U.S. Department of Justice policies on conflicts of interest.
“We did 33 appointments just last week. These are non-paying positions. Our investigations don’t go into what their spouses do. It would have looked more odd to take him off,” Robinson was quoted in the AJC as saying.
August 25, 2011
But Will There be a Sequel to “From Lust Till Dawn”?
Georgia Gov. “Ima” Deal recently sold his bankrupt Habersham County Sporting Goods store to a Southern California pornographer and pawnshop owner. According to his CPA, Deal will be self-financing the entire deal, yet after months of negotiations, he claims he had no idea what Steve Diamond did for a living.
So Hab County gets another pawnshop (and most likely a future porn shop). Who cares? Well, the issue is, as are most with the Georgia Guv, Deal is surrounding himself with mouthpieces who continually deny the obvious. When can you tell they really believe what they are saying? According to timesfreepress.com, “Deal accountant Jimmy Allen said he handled the sale and was shocked to learn Diamond also owned the adult businesses in California. ‘We did not know about this and, if I had, I might have advised [Deal] not to go ahead with it,’ Allen said.”
Deal spokesman Brian Robinson said the governor did not handle the negotiations and did not meet with Diamond. He referred all questions to Allen.
Either Allen is a complete idiot or a complete liar. Once again, it’s a case of who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?
Diamond’s son-in-law, producer of such fine films as From Lust Till Dawn, Porn Star Party and Motel 69, will be managing the “pawn” shop. The president of the Georgia Christian Coalition said he was troubled by the deal between Diamond and the governor, a conservative Republican who ran with backing from Christian voters.
Georgia’s voters elected a broke career politician, with no money and questionable ethics, ignoring (or overlooking) the fact that he had to flee Washington on the eve a Congressional ethics investigation, resigning shortly after the release of scathing 138-page report from the Office of Congressional Ethics in February of last year.
“It is undisputed that as a ‘public servant,’ Representative Deal took active steps to preserve a purely state program, one that had generated financial benefit for Representative Deal and his business partner. Further, while taking these steps, Representative Deal used resources of the House of Representatives,” the OCE report found, concluding that Deal appeared to have improperly used his office to pressure Georgia officials to continue a vehicle inspection program that generated hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for his family’s auto salvage business.
The 138-page report details how Deal and his chief of staff intervened in 2008 and 2009 on behalf of the company, Recovery Services Inc., also known as Gainesville Salvage and Disposal. The report also said Deal had improperly failed to disclose that he was a corporate officer at the company, meaning that the $75,000 he earned from the business in 2008 violated a House limit on members’ outside income.
The media coverage of our current Governor is muted. As the state grapples with high unemployment and the slow-moving approach of another dip in the economy, Deal is flying under the radar. The Insider predicts it is only a matter of time before the gold dome is tarnished by this huckster.
August 30, 2011
More Fast Dealing
Reports of Gov. Nathan Deal’s dirty dealing are growing by the day, and you’ve got to wonder when these big-ass tires are finally going to get some traction outside of the political wonks in Atlanta.
This Sunday, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that two ethics investigators looking to peer into Deal’s 2010 campaign expenditures received a harsh how-do-you-do from the commission chairman, who cut one job’s salary and totally eliminated the other.
Creative Loafing reports that when the agency’s director, Stacey Kalberman, stormed out of the office, the chairman of the agency sent her an email saying he accepted her apparent resignation.
The investigators were preparing to serve subpoenas to Deal, his chief of staff and others involved in the campaign.
Most glaring is the campaign’s use of Deal’s North Georgia Aviation LLC to supply aircraft for the campaign, which is a little like getting paid to live in your own house or drive your own car, only cooler, since planes always have that element of danger attached to them.
Deal, however, has shown a pretty fair disregard for danger since deciding to run for office. According to the AJC, Chris Riley, Deal’s pilot and campaign manager — and now his chief of staff — sold the campaign a 2008 Honda Ridgeline for $25,000 while his father’s company received $6,000 for media consulting.
A company formed by Deal’s daughter-in-law received $90,000 for fundraising and spent more than $40,000 on her salary and expenses.
Then, of course, there are his business dealings with the porn king and his work in Congress, which earned him a place on the list of the “15 Most Corrupt Members of Congress.”
At some point, all this Georgia red clay is going to stick. We’re just wondering if anyone on this end of the state is going to care.
July 7, 2012
Gov. Nathan Deal recently named Ken Cronan, his business partner in Gainesville Salvage & Disposal, to the Georgia Ports Authority. Ports Authority members often travel the globe, making international business contacts while gaining a free education on international trade. Through their business, the two once held a very lucrative no-bid agreement with the state to provide space for rebuilt vehicle inspections. They were paid right at $300,000 a year by Georgia vehicle owners over the 20 years of the agreement.
In 2009, then-Congressman Deal intervened with state officials to preserve the program, stating at the time he was worried that proposed changes would lead to less cash in his bank acco… no… check that. He said the was worried proposed changes to the program would lead to unsafe cars on Georgia roads.
He also named James Walters and Hugh M. Tarbutton to the board. The AJC reports that “Deal’s ties to Cronan and Walters are deep. Cronan and Deal are partners in Gainesville Salvage & Disposal. Walters leases office space to Deal’s campaign and contributed nearly $30,000 to the governor’s 2010 election. He was also chairman of the bank that provided Deal’s campaign with a $250,000 line of credit.
“Walters and Cronan are also officers in the Real political action committee formed in 2011. Deal’s campaign slogan was ‘Deal. Real.’
“Tarbutton, a railroad executive, gave Deal’s campaign more than $16,000.”
Deal’s predecessor in the guv’s mansion, Sonny Purdue, named his cousin David Perdue Jr. to the board in 2010.