Senate leaders object to Oaky Woods deal

Turns out not everybody at the Capitol was happy with the state’s decision this week to spend almost $29 million buying part of the  Oaky Woods wilderness from Middle Georgia developers.

Republican leaders of the State Senate sent the State Properties Commission a letter asking them to delay their decision to spend $28.7 million in taxpayer money on 10,015 acres of Oaky Woods.

Oaky Woods is near land Gov. Sonny Perdue bought in 2003. The value of the governor’s land doubled after he bought it. Perdue, who leaves office next month,  is chairman of the properties commission.

Bert Brantley, his spokesman, said the state Senate leadership’s letter didn’t arrive until Monday’s meeting was underway and that it had no impact. The panel unanimously approved the deal.

The Senate letter, listing among others Senate President Pro-Tem Tommie Williams (R-Lyons) and Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock) as authors, said, “As appropriators, we are concerned with a land purchase by state government at this time and in the proposed amount.”

“Given current real estate market conditions, we believe a delay will give taxpayers an opportunity to voice their opinion without jeopardizing the opportunity to purchase this property at true fair market value if it is determined to be in the state’s best interest.

“Now, more than ever, we must treat every tax dollar we spend as if it were our own. Moreover, we must prioritize every expenditure to ensure we first meet the proper functions of government.”

The panel voted to buy part of Oaky Woods  at $2,874 per acre. In comparison, Oaky Woods Properties bought the entire tract earlier in the decade for $1,600 an acre.

Oaky Woods Properties had planned to develop the tract with shops, offices and thousands of homes before the real estate market deteriorated.

Most of the money for the purchase is coming from a $25 million bond sale approved by lawmakers earlier in the year. At the time, the bond was listed as being  for “conservation,”  but state officials said it was not designated specifically to buy Oaky Woods.

The Oaky Woods tract could have been purchased much more cheaply in 2004, but state officials said at the time that they didn’t have enough money.

Lawmakers have pointed out that the state’s fiscal situation is far worse today than it was in 2004.

When the General Assembly convenes next week, lawmakers could face a $1.8 billion to $2 billion budget hole for the upcoming year. They have cut the budget more than $3 billion in the past few years, and state employees and teachers have had to take days off without pay to help the state stay in the black.

116 comments Add your comment

Toby

December 16th, 2010
3:09 pm

Can’t stop em can you.

Bobby

December 16th, 2010
3:25 pm

Good Christian Perdue only had our best interests at heart in the Oaky Woods deal. No wonder a crooked Deal follows him as Governor.

gene

December 16th, 2010
3:25 pm

SONNY SHOULD LEAVE OFFICE AND GO STRAIGHT TO PRISON.

jblog

December 16th, 2010
3:29 pm

They did the same in Paulding, and the land was not valued right, and family made good money. So this is the second time this has been pulled. Guess Sonny got all the property bought for him and his buddies in Paulding….

Let the Big Dawg Eat

December 16th, 2010
3:29 pm

Sonny has lined his own pockets as governor. Do anyone really expect that Deal will do otherwise?

Wish I was Sonny's friend

December 16th, 2010
3:30 pm

Then maybe I could get the state to buy some land I bought just before the burst. Must be nice to gamble on land, lose your A&& and then sell part of the land to the State for what you spent on all of it to begin with…. and still end up with a LOT OF LAND. Sonny and his friends are grinning all the way to the bank….
SOme might say the last thing Sonny did was rob the state till before he moved out of the BIG HOUSE. No Deal might want to inventory everthing in the house before he moves in…. Then will know what he can steal when he leaves….

nypeach

December 16th, 2010
3:31 pm

This is just another example of good old Republican leadership. We can expect more of this from Deal. How ironic that he announces state cuts at the same time that Perdue is robbing Georgia blind. Nice.

Biggums

December 16th, 2010
3:32 pm

I smell something

bart

December 16th, 2010
3:32 pm

Why do we keep electing crooks to office?

Biggums

December 16th, 2010
3:35 pm

Where Wikileaks when you need them?

Winfield J. Abbe

December 16th, 2010
3:37 pm

Governor Deal and the Legislature should demonstrate some leadership and backbone and still revoke this corrupt, improper, illegal transaction. Failure to do so only undermines all their hot air about how broke this corrupt government is. No appraiser would sign off on this corrupt transaction.
Please “leaders” of Georgia stand up for something, for the taxpayers just this one time. Stand up for principle for a change, rather than corrupt back room dealing you are so well known for.

Covers Dixie like the Dew

December 16th, 2010
3:37 pm

STOP this transaction . . . . . . . somehow.

Spiff

December 16th, 2010
3:38 pm

So after appointing a cousin to chair the Port Authority, cutting educational funding, giving raises to his friends before leaving office, and finding it reasonable to double the amount of money in this land deal why is Perdue still making rounds as though he has done this state a favor? People, unless we decide to vote against and out the “Sonny Perdue’s and Nathan Deals” Democrats, Republicans, and whoever else is diminishing the value of what our state has to offer it will continue. I look forward to the day that we will hold our leadership/elected officials accountable the same way that they have done to those who oppose them. Enough with the earmarks, pork-belly spending, and sweetheart deals. Let’s decide now, collectively, that we will empower others and remain empowered to change the face of what has become a political wasteland!

darkside

December 16th, 2010
3:40 pm

Another fishing lake deal they want to spend another 30 million on this and then say we have to cut education again to pay for crap like this well you all voted them and when your kids have get there education in an alley them maybe you will learn stop electing just cause they have R by there name and lie and say they are conservative not true they say that to get elected then due what they want anyways cause they were bought before the got elected can;t you all figure that out. geez you ask for you got it now stop complaing

will

December 16th, 2010
3:40 pm

You people voicing opposition to this and speaking out against Perdue are doing so out of ignorance of the facts, AND a poorly reported story. Read the story again. Perdue owns property NEAR the tract of land. This simply gives him a nearby real estate comp to work with if he can find a buyer for his tract. Perdue didn’t profit directly from this deal. The purchase makes sense from a long term standpoint. Much like the Paulding purchase mentioned above, the property was already being leased by the state for recreational purposes, for which the state profits from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses. The outdoorsmen of the state will be the ones who pay this tab. Get your facts straight before passing judgement.

darkside

December 16th, 2010
3:41 pm

Another fishing lake deal they want to spend another 30 million on this and then say we have to cut education again to pay for crap like this well you all voted them and when your kids have get there education in an alley them maybe you will learn stop electing just cause they have R by there name and lie and say they are conservative not true they say that to get elected then due what they want anyways cause they were bought before the got elected can;t you all figure that out. geez you ask for you got it now stop complaining

will

December 16th, 2010
3:43 pm

To clarify – No welfare babies will be harmed by this transaction in any way.

darkside

December 16th, 2010
3:44 pm

do you really think they tried to stop it lol if so they why was this letter to late they said they got it to late yea right this was said so they could say oh we tried but were to late so they can lie to you again and get reelected next time cause they know you are sheep follow them where ever lead you cause they have R by there name so they must be telling the truth WAKE UP PEOPLE

Tim

December 16th, 2010
3:44 pm

With this type of corruption in Georgia, we need a strong editorial page.

Seriously, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution needs to start back doing daily Editorials in the print edition and online. It’s pathetic that the AJC is the state’s largest newspaper, and yet we must go to the Macon Telegraph or Athens-Banner Herald to read daily editorials. The AJC only does editorials on Sundays- ONE DAY A WEEK. The number of letters to the editor has also decreased. With a region as large as metro Atlanta, how can the AJC only publish 3 letters to the editor?

We need an editorial every day, blogs are not enough.

For instance, what does the AJC Editorial Board think about these issues:

1. The Prison Protest– Prisoners in Georgia have been protesting poor food, living conditions, lack of pay for work, a lack of educational opportunities,etc. In Georgia, prisoners can only get a GED. In most other states they can earn a high-school diploma while incarcerated. What does the editorial board think about the deprivation and exploitation that Georgia prisoners must endure every day?

2. The 29 MILLION Oaky Woods Purchase. While Republicans claim that Georgia is broke and must continue to furlough teachers, close state parks, cut back on the HOPE scholarship, decrease funding to colleges, etc, they somehow found 29 MILLION to purchase Oaky Woods.

The state paid twice as much as the property was worth! What about the corruption in this deal? Governor Perdue passed on this deal in 2004 because he said the state didn’t have the money. And yet, we have the money six years later, so that he could enrich his developer buddies down in Houston County. Why doesn’t the Editorial Board attack this corruption and graft with the same zeal that they went after Atlanta School Superintendent Beverly Hall?

3. What about the Republican scam to shift the burden on the poor by lowering income and corporate taxes, and then raising the sales tax? They’re even talking about taxing groceries.

Where is the AJC editorial board on these important issues? The largest paper in the state should have Daily Editorials. Blogs should be a supplement to the editorials and columns, they shouldn’t be a replacement. There is no excuse for smaller newspapers in Georgia writing daily editorials, while the AJC only has them on Sundays. It’s truly pathetic.

darkside

December 16th, 2010
3:45 pm

BEFORE WE BECOME THE STATE OF GEORGIA POWER OR SOME OTHER BIG COMPANY NAME

Old Bird Fan

December 16th, 2010
3:46 pm

Oh Good Grief. This is such a SHAM. Gov Perdue is chairman of the State Properties Commission. They approve. The land is near his land. The price is highly inflated. Gov to be Deal is already talking lay offs and GA has a huge debt. Some state workers cannot even order printer ink for their printers. Looks like Perdue is the RAT. He and his band of low-downs have no shame. I’m sure the property is nice and in better times would be grand for the state to have as a preserve. But PEOPLE…. we are in heep big trouble; allowing this to go through is just WRONG. Those in power and us taxpayers that just stand by and let it happen…. are no better than the robbing crew.

zanesmith's teeth

December 16th, 2010
3:47 pm

Hey, at least we didn’t elect no Socialist liberal!

The people get the government they deserve. The vast majority of Georgians don’t care enough or don’t know enough to actually try and make appropriate choices for their government. Mark my words, Deal is going to rape this state like no one before.

James Carville

December 16th, 2010
3:48 pm

SCANDAL in the making…..Perdue will make a killing on the Savannah Port deal with his trucking company. That’s why he put so many of his appointees on that board too. Are you listening AJC, WP, NYT, 20/20,?

Eddie0

December 16th, 2010
3:49 pm

I am continually amazed at the level of blatant disregard Georgia State officals have for common sense. Why would you approve the purchase of overly priced land when the State of Georgia is experiencing a budget shortfall, State Employee reductions and denial of pay raises for State of Georgia employees. We deserve what we elect, oops, I mean what the right minded citizens of Georgia elected.

Spiff

December 16th, 2010
3:50 pm

So I am assuming that Will is either the direct or indirect beneficiary of one of the land deals, a friend of Perdue, or a very detached individual. One thing I have learned in life is that right is right and wrong is wrong. With our state in the position that it is in financially, who does it benefit to spend taxpayer dollars in this way? You mean to tell me that the profits from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses produce a greater ROI than the amount of money going towards this sale? Well, I guess everyone finds their own reality to make things palatable. If you are convincing anyone else to believe this imbecilic logic, our state will find itself not only in the red but with a bare bones educational system but a failing economy for all of us. Not passing judgement, definitely stating facts. Oh, I might add that as a recent graduate from a state school I have seen first hand what the cuts are doing to the ability of professors, administrators, students, and corporations to plot a sustainable course that benefits everyone.

pet

December 16th, 2010
3:51 pm

Enter your comments here

chris

December 16th, 2010
3:54 pm

who raped georgia before leaving office? Sonny did.

pet

December 16th, 2010
3:56 pm

HERE WE GO ,DOWN THAT LONG WRONG WAY ROAD TO NO RETURN FOR THE TAX PAYE OF GEORGIA WAY TO GO PERDUE AND JUST WAIT AND SEE WHAT IN STORE WITH THE DEAL TURN AROUND TEAM, U ASK FOR THIS.,

thomas

December 16th, 2010
3:59 pm

We can’t buy beer on Sunday, but we can take in the shorts everyday from Reverend Perdue. Atleast he was a great leader on water and transportation issues. And no, I’m not bashing Republicans (of which I am one); just the accident of history we (unfortunately) elected twice. Thanks Roy for being such an arrogant a..hole and giving us the midget from Bonaire.

bill

December 16th, 2010
4:00 pm

Needs and Wants Folks…………..Needs and Wants…………the crowd we have now and the crowd coming in are both as crooked as a dog’s hind leg………….

Booger Fling

December 16th, 2010
4:01 pm

Real nice… All this in the same week they say we are 1-2 billion in the dump. Guess they will balance the budget on the backs of state workers.

bill

December 16th, 2010
4:02 pm

Will, you have to feel like a red-headed stepchild at the family reunion!!! No reason in the world this deal should have happened. I know they don’t have to justify this but you would think they would try………….what a bunch of thieves!!!

Nick

December 16th, 2010
4:03 pm

GOP = Crook. It’s that simple, folks, so why do you keep voting for crooks? You lie down with dogs; you get up with fleas.

BTW: Great comment by Tim about the once-a-week editorials. Really shameful, AJC.

TG

December 16th, 2010
4:04 pm

Why in the world isn’t any of the TV, radio stations and newspapers covering this waste, fraud and abuse of power. This properties commission was appointed by Sonny. This is corruption at the very top of state gov’t. Down in Houston County the foreign languages were cut out of the middle schools and teachers lost their jobs. Now the state can spend 29M on half the land (10,000) acres it could have bought in 2004 for 26M (20,000) acres. I believe Gov. Perdue has some involvment in the Oakey Woods Properties LLc which consist of 4 people. I think these state Reps and senators need to rebuke this thing. The taxpayers are fed up with all this corruption.

double

December 16th, 2010
4:09 pm

Lakes we got to have to lessen the water conflicts.Oaky woods is not suitable for this,and when Mr. Deal lays off state workers and allows this deal to go through he and members of his party should be remembered.We need term limits.Possibly can work with mr.Haslam ,and tap the Tn. river.

Dawgbone

December 16th, 2010
4:10 pm

I say, “Something stinks” and they say, “Let ‘em eat cake”….Gotta love Ga politics…I sure do wish we could have had someone to vote for this time….

NGArepub

December 16th, 2010
4:10 pm

Will is the only one with sense on here. Tommie Williams and all those guys are just taking shots at Sonny because they know he’s leaving. All they do when they do this is side with the minorities who want more money for welfare. We won’t forget whose side your on Tommie and the others! Your not on ours!

howard

December 16th, 2010
4:10 pm

Buying this property at this price should be considered criminal…why not condemn it and pay fair market value…that should save about 10-15 million dollars. Governor Perdue should be ashamed of his greed when so many are hurting. Christian, my a…..

freidenker

December 16th, 2010
4:14 pm

As a Tennessean I haven’t seen anything like the corruption in this state since the days of Blanton and Butcher (dems). A guy thumps his bible and everyone votes for him only to get their pockets picked. Just THINK, REASON, people. It’s not that difficult.

nothing seems to matter

December 16th, 2010
4:17 pm

Citizens of Georgia…you are about to witness the GOP “dream state” of smaller government.
Trouble is….services in this state are already on life support. Now, you will reap what you sow.
The party of no government will be the talk of America in a few years…not about any good they accomplished, but how NOT to run a state.
Sure glad I retired.

Don

December 16th, 2010
4:17 pm

Crooks, Sonny and Deal. Greedy m-fers. Both make me wanna puke. Why did you people vote for them????

michael

December 16th, 2010
4:18 pm

Where is your Tea Party Now and it Looks like you’ve made a DEAL!

Pablo

December 16th, 2010
4:21 pm

I know the WikiLeaks comment above was in jest, but that’s the really sad part here – there is no need for a whistleblower in this case because the participants made no effort to hide it! Plan A – Sonny pleads poverty so his pals can make a bundle on the development deal. When the real estate market tanks, go to Plan B – the state will bail out the pals by paying twice the price for half the land. Shameless, broad-daylight cronyism, and they’re laughing all the way to the bank..

luis jones

December 16th, 2010
4:21 pm

try to have a big fish fry !!

Why?

December 16th, 2010
4:21 pm

Because we have another CROOK coming in & people get to keep their jobs,No rocking the boat at this time!It will be a SUNNY day when this fat azz goes to prison.

rip

December 16th, 2010
4:29 pm

I have some property in drought stricken south georgia desperately in need of fire breaks plowed by the Forestry Commission. The gentleman I spoke to at Forestry said they are short 4-5 people and there are only 2 people to cover several counties and do everything that needs done. What sort of lunatic government would cut back FIREFIGHTERS?? I hope these dudes in the legislature don’t have any property at risk for BURNING UP in a wildfire, because thanks to Sonny and the gang of “kill government” crazies in the legislature, everyone is at critical risk now in this desperately dry year.
Oaky Woods may burn up before it’s sold.

markie mark

December 16th, 2010
4:29 pm

Dang Tim, are going to every blog on the paper today and posting that editorial rant? I will post the same answer here I posted on Bookmans an hour ago….

I think the AJC quit doing editorials because, typically, they were so far to the left that people kept dropping the paper out of disgust that only the left side was represented….but thats just my opinion.

As for point # 1, prisoners are where they are due to their own actions. I think they should be fairly treated and fed, but other than that, BS. They repay the cost to society for being segregated from us with their labor, whether it be road work or whatever and I strongly support that. And when we are talking about cutting back on HOPE for lack of funds, damn if I will endorse the state giving them a college education. That is ludicrious.

2. Agreed, but every leftist environmentalist in the state swallowed and said do the deal, just dont let this virgin property get away, at any cost. I dont think this was just to help the governor with his own piddly 100 or so acres; however, I agree this was virtual robbery by the owners….

3. sorry, but we have different philosophies on this, so I will pass on this argument….

Last Man Standing

December 16th, 2010
4:31 pm

will @ 3:40 pm

You are on target with your post. Unfortunately, most people don’t read what is written but read what they WANT to see written.

clyde crommett

December 16th, 2010
4:38 pm

O well, voters jus love crooks. Just voted in another one. What else is important?

tom mitchell

December 16th, 2010
4:38 pm

Last Man Standing…so the Oaky Woods deal was a great opportunity for the State?