Your morning jolt: Oaky Woods at double the price in a down real estate market

Something to ask yourself today: Is your house, and the land it sits on, worth twice as much today as it was in 2004? Probably not.

In fact, odds are that your property is worth much less.

Even so, the state Board of Natural Resources today will agree to pay $28.7 million for 9,595 acres of Oaky Woods wilderness in middle Georgia — nearly double the cost when the state was offered the land and passed on it in 2004.

Instead, most of the land went to developers – a move that boosted the value of a nearby tract owned by Gov. Sonny Perdue. But plans to create a private city on the land went bust with the housing market. With the DNR purchase, at least the developers, Oaky Woods Properties LLC, will be able to recoup their investment – and still hold onto half their purchase.

You will be happy to know that, according to one board member, no corruption was involved. Just greed. From my AJC colleague Jeremy Redmon, who attended the preliminaries on Tuesday:

Dwight Davis, another committee member, voted in favor of the purchase, but not until he had expressed his concerns.

“I think there are some greedy landowners involved in this,” he said. “Having seen so many times here where generous citizens have stepped forward and donated land or taken reductions, this really stands out as a bad example of how some citizens may well take advantage of a situation.”

Ray Boyd, the former candidate for governor who has become a presence at the state Capitol, was also at the meeting – and became a focus for Dale Russell of Fox5:

On a somewhat similar topic, the joint appointment by Gov. Sonny Perdue and Gov.-elect Nathan Deal of state Rep. Mark Williams, R-Jesup, as commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources, is getting some favorable reviews from local environmentalists.

From the Florida Times-Union:

Satilla Riverkeeper Bill Miller lauded Williams’ nomination. He said Williams has worked side-by-side with other volunteers during Satilla River cleanups and helped protect the river system legislatively.

“He has been instrumental when it comes to helping clean up the river and keep pollution out of it. I feel he’s a friend of the river and a good advocate for it,” Miller said.

Williams helped shepherd legislation in 2009 that made it illegal to ride all-terrain vehicles in stream beds statewide- a measure long sought by property owners, environmentalists and safety advocates.

The law prohibits motoring along stream beds even if they are dry. It does allow vehicles to cross stream beds and makes exceptions for law-enforcement and agricultural vehicles.

Williams co-sponsored the law, which took effect May 21.

Bart Gobeil, chief of staff for Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, is leaving that job to become deputy chief operating officer for the Deal Administration.

Republicans celebrating the switch of House Democratic caucus chairman Doug McKillip of Athens to the GOP side might want to note this paragraph from Blake Aued of the Athens Banner-Herald:

Unlike [Alan] Powell and other party-switchers, though, McKillip is not a conservative. He is pro-abortion rights, fought spending cuts to education in recent years and supports raising the minimum wage, tax breaks for low-income workers, a surtax on high earners and raising the cigarette tax to balance the budget. He would not say whether he would change any of his positions along with his party affiliation.

Erick Erickson of isn’t quite ready to accept the decision by John Boehner, the next U.S. House speaker, to name Hal Rogers of Kentucky as the next appropriations committee chairman – over Jack Kingston of Savannah:

Did you show up at the polls on November 2nd for nothing? It seems that way. The House Republican Leadership has decided to put Jeff Flake (R-AZ) on the Appropriations Committee and that’s pretty much it.

They are sending a signal to the tea party movement that this is all they’ll get.

John Boehner and Eric Cantor want Hal Rogers of Kentucky to serve as Appropriations Chairman. Hal Rogers is a big spending porker who has been a champion of earmarks. So brazen in his lust for your money, Rogers wants to put a Lockheed Martin lobbyist in as staff director for the Appropriations Committee — a lobbyist in charge of doling out the dollars.

But the fight is not over. Today the House GOP must ratify the leadership’s decisions and we can still get Jack Kingston into the Chairman’s chair. Go to our action center and fight to stop this. Call your Republican Congressman this morning. Tell him to support Jack Kingston as Appropriations Chairman.

On the other hand, U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, has declared himself President Barack Obama’s wingman when it comes to the compromise he reached with Republicans over the Bush tax cuts:

Now is not the time to raise taxes on any segment of the population while the economy remains so fragile. Raising taxes would stifle investment, impede job creation, and put severe financial strain on businesses and individuals.

Every worker in Georgia’s Second Congressional District will benefit from having 2% less taken from his or her paycheck each and every week for a year. This will keep money in the pockets of every working American and stimulate the economy. Out-of-work Georgians will benefit from the one-year extension of unemployment insurance benefits, so that they can continue to look for work and provide for their families as the economy recovers.

Furthermore, many of Georgia’s seniors are on fixed incomes consisting of Social Security payments, supplemented by dividend and capital gains income. This agreement will help ensure that seniors can make ends meet in this challenging economic environment.

Finally, while I would have preferred a full repeal of the estate tax, the bipartisan agreement provides substantial relief and certainty to Georgia’s farmers and small businesses by allowing a $10 million exemption for couples and by lowering the estate tax rate by 20%.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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21 comments Add your comment

the original and still the best John Galt

December 8th, 2010
9:31 am

I’m betting this deal equals profit for George “Sonny” Perdue in some way, probably several ways.


December 8th, 2010
9:36 am

Can I assume that Lake Lanier water use is a done deal since no one talks about it? I need to know whether to buy or sell.


December 8th, 2010
9:44 am

I call BS on this. We didn’t have the money in 2004 but we have it now when state workers and teachers are being furloughed. When did repubs ever care about the environment. Why is this going down before he leaves office. Only in Georgia. The biggest rat of them all Nathan Deal gets to guard the cookie jar next. How can this not look corrupt to anyone with common sense. The people that are on the DNR board was probably appointed by Sonny.


December 8th, 2010
9:46 am

Greed and not corruption? Well, then, that’s okay. What a relief!


December 8th, 2010
9:49 am

Those TEA Party folks are so cute! I mean, they ACUTALLY thought that the GOPpers where LISTENING to them! Welcome to the real world of Polictics, folks, where MONEY talks and everything else, and I do mean EVERYTHING else walks. Just ask all the starry-eyed Left-Wing Socialists who thought that Obama was one of them.


December 8th, 2010
9:49 am

compared to other needs this has to be low priority… 10 years no one will have funds to visit pristine sites…..unless the land has some economic worth in terms of minerals, crop production, etc….who needs it? ever get in an airplane and look at all the land untouched? it will all be for sale in the days ahead…


December 8th, 2010
9:51 am

If we had an honest Governor, he would use the state’s power of ” emminent domain for public use” and take this land giving market value which would be about $ 1000 per value in south Houston Co.He would take the whole 16000 acres and not just the 9000 acres the developers want to sell.


December 8th, 2010
9:53 am

Yep — this is how you run a business — arbitrage — buy up a bunch of property, wait til the market is down, find someone with deep pockets, and sell em the swamps… recoup your investment and wait for better times.

Another government subsidy for business, yessirree — and how many jobs got created – zero.


December 8th, 2010
10:01 am

Will any republican call Purdue down on this Oaky Woods deal?


December 8th, 2010
10:03 am

Glad to see that poor little Sonny will be able to make a ton on this one. He really set the bar high for the next crook to be given the oath of office. Of course the only oath these guys follow is the one to make themselves and their rich buddies even richer at the expense of all Georgians. When will the idiot voters of this state rise up and take their government back?

Someone needs to stop the thieves

December 8th, 2010
10:05 am

Georgia is a cess pool!


December 8th, 2010
10:20 am

Erickson is funny….what is the point of acquiring power just to limit your execution of that power? Get real….humans are humans regardless of their political affiliation. No more whining….this is what you all voted for…..change you can believe in.

[...] Original Post By Google News Click Here For The Entire Article [...]


December 8th, 2010
11:52 am

Great job Georgia! Today’s headlines…….

State of Georgia says more education cuts on the way……

Connected good ol’ boys reap obscene land sale profits…..


December 8th, 2010
11:52 am

This whole Oaky Woods thing is outrageous. The investors who bought the land initially are pals of Perdue. He bought land right next to their land when the plan was to build 30,000 homes of this irreplaceable wilderness area. They all intended to make out like bandits and annihilate this gorgeous natural area so beloved to Middle Georgia hunters and outdoorsmen. Now their development plans have fallen through with the real estate market plunge, but they are STILL going to make out like bandits, at the taxpayers’ expense. It makes you wonder exactly what level of self-dealing and chicanery will trigger the interest of those charged with upholding ethics laws and conflict of interest laws. Is this state a total free-for-all for those in power? Are the GBI, FBI, Attorney General and U.S. Attorney totally ineffectual puppets? Is there nobody left in Georgia who will stand up to this type of self-dealing?
Of course Oaky Woods is an irreplaceable natural wilderness area that should be preserved at any cost. But the people who have played fast and loose with it should be exhaustively investigated.


December 8th, 2010
11:54 am

Erickson’s attempts to become relevant in DC politics are comical.


December 8th, 2010
12:27 pm

The FBI and US Attorneys in the Public Integrity Section of the “Justice” Department only concentrate on Black politicians and federal judges that strippers hand to them.

Gov.-elect Nathan (don't call me Shady) Deal

December 8th, 2010
12:40 pm

Too funny….

Synovus, in a widely reported deal, sold hundreds of millions of dollars of Jawja property about 2 mos ago for 12 cents on the dollar. Raw lots- ready to build- in Barrington Oaks, Roswell, brought about 3 cents on the dollar. Many ready lots in metro are available 10 cents on the dollar w/ no bid. But this land is so special, and the dozers are about to start a new city there if the state dont act. And they will help me get out of my real estate fiascos if i help them. A little mutual backscratching. Praise the Lord and pass the plate!

You Can't Fix Stupidl

December 8th, 2010
12:52 pm

On the open market this land would not bring $500 an acre; there is no chance of it being developed. It will hit $200 an acre (at best) within 5 years.


December 8th, 2010
1:44 pm

But but but…. Sonny has fambly values! God wants him to use his power for get-rich-quick scams. Wealth is God’s way of saying, “You’re ok in my book!” Right?

Randall Francis

December 9th, 2010
4:59 pm

The state should have purchased the land in 2004 to protect the natural resources that has stablized the Black Bear Population in Georgia. If the state needed money they could have asked for federal dollars to help pay for the property and allocate some part of land as federal park area. My subdivision is at the north end of Oaky woods and I have seen three sets of black bears in my subdivision since I moved here in 2003. I saw three large black bears cross the road behind FritoLay in November 2009 headed south. The area north of FritoLay was logged last year. I’m afarid the bears are going to decline once developement starts in the Oaky Woods area.