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:
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