Updated at 5 p.m.: John Oxendine’s Republican campaign for governor just issued the following statement on behalf of his father, Jim Oxendine, who until last week was a senior judge for the Gwinnett County Superior Court:
For the last 26 years, I’ve served the state of Georgia in some capacity as a judge. In 2001, I stepped down from the bench and became a part-time Senior Superior court judge.
Because of questions that have arisen regarding my executing certain documents with a power of attorney, last week I accelerated my retirement which had been planned for the end of the year.
I want the people of Georgia to know that I have been honored to serve them.
And the following comes from the candidate:
My 81 year old father, who has been a judge for the last three decades, had planned to retire at the end of the year. Last week he decided to step down from his part-time position.
My dad has served the people of Georgia and I am proud to stand up for him. He has been a light to my pathway my whole life and career. I love my dad. He is a wonderful man.
Doug Richards with 11Alive News has the story of the morning, with a report that Jim Oxendine, a Gwinnett County senior judge, has been dismissed.
The judge is the father of state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, the front-running Republican candidate for governor. The video:
For the reading enabled:
The judge signed papers for a land deal that is now under investigation….
Last week, according to one Gwinnett County official, “The (other Superior) Court judges informed him that they would not utilize his services as a senior judge any longer.”
Three additional Gwinnett County court officials confirmed that … but did not want their names used. Oxendine vacated his office Friday, according to Court Administrator Philip Boudewyns — but he would not say why.
The Gwinnett District Attorney’s office provided public records with Judge Oxendine’s signature. It appears several times in a real estate transaction that is now under investigation by the DA. The land, near Lawrenceville, was sold to Gwinnett County. The DA is asking a grand jury to investigate whether the county illegally used tax dollars to purchase this and other parcels from well connected landowners.
Jim Oxendine is listed on the paperwork as the power of attorney for the seller of the land near Lawrenceville. His secretary’s signature appears as the notary public — and Oxendine gives his address as the Gwinnett County Courthouse.
[D.A. Danny] Porter says the signatures show the judge was practicing law on the side.
Neither has it been a good week for U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal, another GOP candidate for governor. The Gainesville congressman began the week by apologizing for his use of the phrase “ghetto grandmother.” This from today’s AJC:
U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal, a Republican candidate for governor in 2010, has ended a nearly 20-year business arrangement with the state that earned his company about $300,000 a year.
State records show that Deal and his business partner Ken Cronan have chosen for now not to apply to be one of the Department of Revenue’s locations where rebuilt salvaged vehicles are inspected.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported in August that Deal personally intervened with state leaders to preserve the obscure state program that granted him a regional monopoly. Deal on three occasions in the past year and a half met with Revenue Commissioner Bart Graham to question changes Graham wanted to make to the program. The state has, since 1982, required any vehicle that is totaled and rebuilt to pass a safety inspection before it can be given a new title.
It’s not President Obama, but it looks like the White House is finally going to hear out U.S. Rep. Tom Price on health care reform, according to my AJC colleague in Washington, Bob Keefe.
Price, the Roswell Republican, has been bugging Obama for an audience ever since the president told Congress and the world that his door was open to any Republican who had something to offer up on health care reform.
As a former orthopedic surgeon and chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, Price not surprisingly has had plenty to say about health care reform – and has complained regularly that he wasn’t getting Obama’s ear as promised.
Price and his committee have introduced their own health care reform bill that mainly calls for tax cuts and tort reform to help get more people insured and reduce insurance companies and doctors’ bills. Price also is quick to point out that numerous Republicans have offered up other bills and suggestions on health care, but have gotten little if any response from Democratic leaders.
Today, the White House is sending Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to sit-down with Price and other Republican Study Committee members to hear them out. She’s scheduled to hold a closed-door meeting with them at the Capitol at approximately 5 p.m.
It is doubtful Sebelius will win over the staunch Republicans to the President’s health care plan. But it’s a pretty good bet Price will have something to say after the meeting.
File this under The Little Guy Is Doomed, So Let’s Cut Out the Middleman: The state Public Service Commission on Tuesday cleared the way for AGL to build a new natural gas pipeline, but only after agreeing that residential customers will be charged as much as business customers for the project.
That’s the good news, according to my AJC colleague David Markiewicz:
Initially, AGL had proposed that residential customers pay 95 cents more each month, with businesses paying an extra $2.85 per month….
Commissioner Robert Baker called the decision to charge residential and business customers the same amount “egregious” and “regressive” and said it sets a bad precedent.
Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald, who proposed the payment plan, said businesses are under financial pressure.
When Baker asked who residential customers can “pass on” their higher gas costs to, McDonald said, “The residential customer will get it one way or another.”
And from the Thank-you, Dear God, For Making It Stop Department, via the Washington Post:
Fractured feet did in former House majority leader Tom DeLay in his bid to make himself over from scandal-tainted pol to that nice old man who won the cheesetastic Mirrored Disco Ball on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.”
The rump-shaking Texas Republican announced his resignation from the running Tuesday night — 24 hours after he ignored the advice of show producers and a doctor in order to samba to War’s “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” while dressed in red and white stripes, a big GOP elephant across his back, with partner Cheryl Burke, who wore a backless little white-stars-on-field-of-blue number with a Democratic donkey planted on her thigh.
While you ponder that, consider these items found while perusing this morning’s ajc.com:
Some will abandon flooded homes, Cobb officials say. Tort reform challenged over ER care. Cobb County judge tosses gun dealer’s lawsuit against NYC. Cobb teen told he can’t dress like a female at school. Atlanta board OKs plan for Midtown nightclub. Fulton County court fines Atlanta Councilman Willis $25,000 for not registering charity. American Cancer Society eliminates 80 jobs in Atlanta. Olympic gold medalist robbed at gunpoint. Government needs to steer clear of trade war, U.S. trade rep says. Delta maintains low costs, airport gains some control.
Political memo for Georgia Democrats. Lessons for the GOP from the Gipper. Atlanta’s sewers need state and federal aid.
And from beyond:
NYT: Support builds for tax credit to help hiring. WP: Obama tells bipartisan meeting he has no plans to lower troop levels in Afghanistan. WSJ: Behind Afghan war debate, a battle of two books rages.
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