Your morning jolt: How blind will Nathan Deal’s trust be?

My AJC colleague Alan Judd has a must-read piece on Gov.-elect Nathan Deal’s plans to give an “unprecedented” level of control over his assets to a blind trust once he’s sworn in:

Gov.-elect Nathan Deal at his first press conference in the state Capitol. John Spink/

Gov.-elect Nathan Deal at his first press conference in the state Capitol. John Spink/

Deal will give a trustee unilateral authority over his homes, his investments, his half-interest in an automobile-salvage company — “everything,” said Randy Evans, the governor-elect’s attorney. The trustee will publicly disclose his or her actions but may act without Deal’s knowledge or approval.

Sonny Perdue broke a three-governor tradition of placing personal assets in blind trusts – a move that made many Republicans nervous. Including, according to this morning’s column, Jim Wooten.

We’ll let Judd continue for a few more paragraphs:

Deal’s situation appears to be much more complicated than his predecessors’, a review by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution indicates. Almost as soon as he takes office, he faces successive waves of maturing loans that he apparently cannot repay without selling at least some of his holdings.

By the time he leaves office, Deal could owe significantly less than the millions of dollars of debt he now carries. But his holdings, to be placed in a blind trust, also could shrink.

By Feb. 1, Deal is scheduled to repay $1.6 million of a loan he guaranteed for his daughter’s failed business. A year later, Deal and a business partner are supposed to pay off a $2.5 million loan. And the next year, he and his partner will face yet another due date, for a $350,000 loan for the auto-salvage company.

Deal also owes more than $800,000 on two home mortgages and $500,000 on a second loan for his daughter’s business, according to his financial disclosure statements.

The governor-elect intends to work out payment plans with his lenders by the end of December, Evans said. After he takes office in January, the trustee will be responsible for making the required payments.

But the real question may be this: Just how blind will Deal’s trust be? One of the governor-elect’s first acts was to name Chris Riley, his chief of staff in Washington, as his right-hand man in the state Capitol.

Every governor needs someone he can trust implicitly. But Riley has been more than a reliable lieutenant. He has represented Deal’s business interests in several documented exchanges with state and Hall County officials. He has shared business interests with the governor-elect.

Deal may be about to put some air between his persona as governor and his personal finances. But he’ll have someone in his office who understands the new governor’s self-interest in great detail.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle hasn’t said much about the Senate Republican coup that stripped him of most of his authority two weeks ago, but the Macon Telegraph on Thursday was able to at least able to squeeze out his contention that he was given little warming:

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said Thursday he did not know ahead of time about Senate Republican leaders’ plans to strip some of his powers in the Senate.

“It was all very much by surprise,” said Cagle, who was in Warner Robins for the dedication of the Houston County Career Academy….

Cagle, who is a Republican, shrugged when asked why Senate leadership might want to strip some of his powers.

“It’s hard to judge people’s motives,” he said.

This Nov. 30 non-partisan runoff between incumbent state Supreme Court Justice David Nahmias and challenger Tammy Lynn Adkins is one of the strangest in state history. Nahmias, who clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, fell short among Republican voters – possibly because of the “i” next to his name.

So, over the last few days, the state GOP has been pumping the incumbent relentlessly as one of its own – most recently in a grassroots e-mail blast from Anne Lewis, general counsel for the state GOP.

Meanwhile, Georgia Women Vote – a blog operated by Democratic activist Amy Morton – has taken up the cause of Adkins. Never mind that pesky endorsement of Nahmias by former Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin.

Politifact this morning goes after the monetary benefits of a Super Bowl contest in Atlanta. So does Channel 2 Action news:

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

36 comments Add your comment

Hall mafia

November 19th, 2010
9:49 am

Deal will be getting $52k a year from congress and anoth $30k – $40k from social security and we wonder why we are broke.

Ostrich Racer

November 19th, 2010
10:05 am

Even a blind trust will find an acorn, every now and then.

Jeff H.

November 19th, 2010
10:06 am

The blinder the better. Deal doesn’t seem to know very much about personal finance management. Good job of the Georgia voters putting him in the highest office in the state.

Last Man Standing

November 19th, 2010
10:16 am

I am sure of only one thing about Governor-elect Deal’s blind trust. I know that it will never be “blind” enough to satisfy the AJC.


November 19th, 2010
10:20 am

Hahaha! Mr. Deal’s “personal finance management” skills are fixin’ to get a whooooooole lot better! Watch how quickly he takes a $135K/yr salary and not only erases $4mil/debt, but adds a few more $mil to his plus column. Then he will claim it was all due to careful management by his “blind” trustee. Meanwhile, the State of Georgia (not having it’s own talented blind trustee) will continue to circle the drain. Suckers.


November 19th, 2010
10:28 am

GaBlue – you are so right. I am sure his ‘ethics’ issues will disappear too.

You Can Tell By The Smell

November 19th, 2010
11:17 am

If Deal pays off all his debts there won’t be much to put in a blind trust. But then if it is blind enough some of the special interests can funnel “bucks for favors” into it unseen. I’ll bet the trust will be about as blind as the fools who elected this creep. This is one Republican who can put a “Don’t Blame Me!” sign in his yard when the Georgia government comes crashing down around the taxpayer’s ears due this this stupid choice and you can bet your butts I will! Have a nice day while you can! There won’t be many of those when the General Assembly gets through picking our pockets in next year’s session.


November 19th, 2010
11:19 am

Deal is going to put his “assets” in a blind trust? What assets? Dude is broke. And you’re right about all that, GaBlue (except for the misuse of “it’s,” anyway).

Dick in Gainesville

November 19th, 2010
11:20 am

The simple facts are Deal’s assets are less than he owes, there is no legal way he can pay off his debts, given Deal’s ethics record I am sure he will retire a VERY RICH man.

An American Patriot

November 19th, 2010
11:21 am

About as blind as his “ethics problems in congress”.


November 19th, 2010
11:23 am

Barry, I can’t tell you how deeply embarrassed I am that you noticed my error. I was mortified the moment I posted it.

tom watson

November 19th, 2010
11:34 am

So, Deal’s income isn’t that much by rich man standards. Dunno what the salvage business nets him, but unless it’s a buttload, I could see where he’d need Cagle’s help to convince a loan officer to lend him millions. And, how’s it Deal’s letting the GOP caucus bully his little buddy Cagle?

Disgusted Republican

November 19th, 2010
11:52 am

Notice the quote from evans that the trustee will be responsible for making the payments. Who’s responsible if the payments cannot be made?


November 19th, 2010
12:09 pm

LMAO. It will be “blind” only in the sense that we (the citizens) won’t be able to figure out how he is making his millions. That’s all.


November 19th, 2010
12:12 pm

I’m a bit confused by Georgia Women Vote backing Adkins. I went to their facebook page and the only reason stated was that Justice Nahmias was “not good on women’s issues” – no mention of those silly little details like qualifications. I suppose that’s because Nahmias is highly qualified and Adkins is not – at least that’s what the Georgia Bar members say.

I do not buy the argument that Nahmias is not good on women’s issues. Clearly if this were true, Georgia’s women leaders like former Mayor Shirley Franklin, former Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears, former Secretary of State Karen Handel, and many others would not be endorsing him. Please don’t take my word for it, do your own research and you will find the same information.

We need to make our decision on who to vote for based on the facts, based on qualifications and what is best for all of Georgia’s women, men, and especially her children.

Keith Helms

November 19th, 2010
12:40 pm

As bad as Deal may be at personal finances and what to do with them now that he is Governor, he is infinitely better than his opponent. Barnes showed his allegiances well before the election and even before his announced run for the office of Governor. His lawsuits against honest elections in which he supported letting unregistered voters vote, letting people vote without any proof that they had the right, letting criminals vote when they had lost that right, and letting illegal invaders vote. During his disastrous term as governor our schools were the worst in the nation, taxes were increased to pay those too sorry to work to sit at home and vote for him or his masters such as Bill Clinton, and to aid in the destruction of Christianity. To be sorrier than him as a Governor or as a human being Deal would have to aid Al Qaeda, kill babies, and support the overthrow of our country.

Last Man Standing

November 19th, 2010
12:42 pm


“LMAO. It will be “blind” only in the sense that we (the citizens) won’t be able to figure out how he is making his millions. That’s all.”

Don’t laugh it all off. If you can’t figure something out, just make it up as you go along.


November 19th, 2010
1:07 pm

Hang on folks this is going to be a fun ride. I wish we could all put our money in the trust ol’ Steal a Deal is using. He’s gonna be rich after all this. Any bets?


November 19th, 2010
2:06 pm

The blind trust is not for the current financial situation. Shady did not pull a midnight exit from Congress and head for greener pastures in Georgia to maintain his dismal financial status quo. A governor can do bidness in Georgia, and his office will be open and ready. Problem is, being insolvent, or soon insolvent, trying to explain how he is a millionaire again when he leaves office could be difficult. So, all bidness opportunities will be handled by the trust. His long time trusted aid will give the trustee Shady’s directions for dealing with the bidness opportunities that arise. Shady’s fingerprints will be no where to be found. When his new millionaire status is confirmed after leaving office and he $135K per year job, he will just point to how the blind trust did so well making lemonade out of his lemons.


November 19th, 2010
2:07 pm

It will probably be a family member as trustee!


November 19th, 2010
2:37 pm

Does this mean that Deal’s trust will steal the taxpayer blind rather than Deal doing it directly?


November 19th, 2010
4:05 pm

I will shock everyone with the prediction that when Deal ultimately leaves the Governorship, he will be a very wealthy man.


November 19th, 2010
4:43 pm

Casey Cagle helped Deal get a bogus loan. He should have plenty of time to run the blind trust for him.


November 19th, 2010
4:51 pm

Mr. Helms, You are certainly one angry man with a lot of untruths, but I dislike Deal at least twice as much as you dislike Mr. Barnes. And I don’t have to make up reasons.


November 19th, 2010
5:15 pm

My cousin is Nathan Deal and he can do anything he sets his mind to.


November 19th, 2010
5:17 pm

Yall are so rude.My cousin,Nathan Deal is the best!


November 19th, 2010
5:17 pm

Putting lipstick on a pig doesn’t mean it isn’t a pig.

the mehlman rings twice

November 19th, 2010
6:05 pm

Whew! We got through another Friday without a bank failure even from a bank that loaned money to Nathan Deal!


November 19th, 2010
11:30 pm

As a Georgia tax payer I would rather Nathan Deal put the state’s funds in a blind trust.

The man can not balance his own check book…what makes anyone think he can do so with the state budget!

Way to go blind GOPers.


November 20th, 2010
9:12 am

The bottom line is, he had better play it close to the chest. All of Geogia is watching!!! $140,000 salary won’t touch what he owes.


November 20th, 2010
9:14 am

Typo, Georgia….


November 20th, 2010
9:34 am

Now that Deal and Cagel are elected freedom will ring and the economy will rebound. Moral values will automatically be restored and Georgia’s unemployment will drop in half by January. We are so much better off that we have conservative values and are no longer a liberal state when Dems ran it for 100 years. The change to conservatism in 2002 was a huge change. Time to bring the same change to Washington. Go Palin-Deal 2012.


November 20th, 2010
5:45 pm

So GA COP, how many jobs has Gov Purdue created in Georgia; 10% unemployment? All I see is that he made sure his grain business is in tip top condition for when he is no longer Gov. You think Deal hasn’t learned from Purdue on how to improve his private business as Gov? I hope all of you Republican voters enjoy getting ripped by the ‘Moral Values’ guys you elect.

One Party Rule

November 21st, 2010
9:18 am

3 cheers for one party rule of the state capitol – Tom Murphy.


November 21st, 2010
6:06 pm

Anybody who had the mistaken belief that this blog represented the voters of Georgia certainly would have learned their lesson during the election (remember that Deal CRUSHED Barnes, don’t you?) It’s good to see the small, tired band of posters didn’t give up their tiny clique just because the election didn’t turn out the way they wanted. They’re still on here, posting their venomous and hate-filled comments about Governor-elect Deal, spurred on by that great political scientist, Jim Galloway. Guess what, losers – Nathan Deal was elected in a landslide and will assume office in January. Deal with it.

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