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

eatmotacos

December 16th, 2010
8:50 pm

Georgia now has all of the elements of a Banana Republic – open and sustained political corruption – a drug distribution hub – third world traffic – unhampered violence on the streets – overrun with third world illegal aliens…….

Are you kidding

December 16th, 2010
8:53 pm

The sooner we can get Purdue out of Atlanta the better- he has been feathering his nest the whole time he has been governor apparently. And we have Deal now coming in behind him??? God help this state- and it’s ignorant voters.

Are you kidding

December 16th, 2010
8:55 pm

Sonny Purdue has been a complete joke as a governor. But he has certainly done well financially while in office. I know all you Purdue voters must be so proud!!!

Ken Payne

December 16th, 2010
8:57 pm

You would never have seen things like this going on when Speaker Thomas Murphy was in Charge. Roll all the Republicans in the Capitol together & they wouldn’t have the integrity of one Speaker Murphy. God Bless You Soul, You always did what was BEST for Georgia 1st.

Hmmmmmmm

December 16th, 2010
9:01 pm

eatmotacos
You can also thank your washington politicians for all this crap… I mean what is it going to take people…. We need to storm DC throw every last piece of garbage out….. Republican and Democrat!

rural education

December 16th, 2010
9:06 pm

Georgia has the weakest ethics laws in the nation so we should not be surprised by any of this. Deal was cheered enthusiastically by the business leaders today when he stated his desire to eliminate state jobs and be a pro-business Gov., who will count on those men to create jobs. We can eliminate the corporate tax rate and not one single job will be created. The “haves” are determined to take it all and leave nothing left. Anyone remember the “blue collar” middle class, ah those were the days.

Dee T

December 16th, 2010
9:24 pm

As long as the people of Ga. continue to vote AGAINST their own economic interests, we will have crooked governors like Shady Perdue and Nathan Deal.

eatmotacos

December 16th, 2010
9:40 pm

Anyone know what happened to Sonny’s 21 million dollar undercollateralized loan that was coming due last March? Makes one wonder how a man who only makes $137,000 a year got out of that one – must be a real Rumpelstiltskin.

Old Bird Fan

December 16th, 2010
11:54 pm

Oh yea eatmotacos… what did happen to that loan? Makes me sick that he is such a crooked man and flashes that donkey eatin briars smile; while all along laughing over how he and his cronies have run scams on the state that profited them.
Another sham is the whole privitizing of the IT (computer systems, networks, leases, technical assistance, etc) work for the State of GA. One can bet Perdue is set to profit personal gain and likely has a buddy in that mix also.
Interesting how none of these “deals” has ever been throughly investigated by an investigative reporter and the facts shown to the people.

Old Bird Fan

December 17th, 2010
12:01 am

Comeon AJC, be a voice for the people. Get Jane O.Hansen to work the investigative report. I just bet this go around (20 years later) she would be awaded the Prize.

County Francine

December 17th, 2010
12:29 am

This is what the good ol’ confederate boys wanted. Deal was in the senate for nearly 20 years and during his campaign he never once mentioned anything that he accomplished during that time frame. It was all about fighting “Obama”. I am a state employee and it will be real interesting to see how this layoff thing works. I work for DFCS and we can’t even afford to drug test these parents but we found 28 million dollars to buy some land. Where is the tea party??

Cutty

December 17th, 2010
12:33 am

Tea Party was just a bunch of racist out to get Obama. IF they were so concerned about our “tax money” being wasted they would have been all over this. We see now what they were really all about.

rufus

December 17th, 2010
7:14 am

Sonny and Mary should be ashamed…………………claim to be christians and actually they are thieves!!!!! If it was a good deal why so much hush hush………….ie bond for conservation, not the purchase of oaky woods that would have been easy to understand!!! Hope Sonny and
Mary choke on it……………..Sonny stay in Atlanta with the rest of the thieves!!! Mcglamery, Williams, Free and of course that scum bag Charles Ayers are laughing at the state and the taxpayers………..I’m ashamed i voted for you…………….but Ross Tolleson and Larry O’neal will never get my vote again,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,they stood by and never voiced an objection……….laying off state workers, unemployment over 10%, people hungry,,,,,,,,,,,losing home and families……..wonder if they go to oaky woods and watch the black bears that will make it better……………..and why did the land these 4 scumbags own double in value and everbody elses dropped drastically!!! I hope somehow this deal can be stopped………….ITS WRONG we don’t have the money what about our teachers??? How much is enough money Sonny? Read that bible your always carrying around with you, what a joke………….can’t wait for the port authority debacle starts lol the taxpayers just think you screwed them!!! your just getting started aren’t you Sonny DON’T SHOP AT THE SPORTS CENTER THAT SCUMBAG IS LAUGHING AT US

pn

December 17th, 2010
11:07 am

Doesn’t the U.S. Attorney have a responsibility here? Isn’t this an obvious conflict of interest by a public official? If Perdue participated in arranging the initial sale from the lumber company to his buddies and big time campaign donors, while at the same time secretly buying adjacent land, it is an outright unequivocal conflict of interest and using public office for personal gain. If this is considered standard and acceptable behavior by a public official in Georgia, we might as well be living in Russia, where wealthy insiders and politicians pillage the public at will, the is no law enforcement, and all the institutions of government are collapsing from corruption and unconstrained self-dealing.

happy jack

December 17th, 2010
8:40 pm

is that land in gwinnett county?

Bart

December 20th, 2010
2:08 pm

Sonny is corrupt!