The untouchables in the state Capitol

My AJC colleague Jeremy Redmon has this today:

A North Georgia motel that is at the center of a lawsuit involving Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Graves and state Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers is facing condemnation after its electricity was shut off last week amid financial troubles.

A top Calhoun official confirmed Monday the city will likely move in the coming days to shut down the Oglethorpe Inn, citing safety concerns over the lack of power there.

But the article also includes this:

Meanwhile, a lawsuit connected to the inn is still pending in court. The Bartow County Bank is suing Rogers and Graves, alleging the two owe the bank $2.2 million for a business loan that is now in default. Rogers and Graves, who took the loan out to buy and renovate the Oglethorpe Inn, have denied they owe the money….

An attorney for the Bartow County Bank said Rogers has invoked a provision of state law that allows for lawsuits to be put on hold during a state legislative session.

That was an eye-opener. We often joke that lawmakers are immune to speeding tickets while the General Assembly is in session.

But an entire chunk of the Georgia Code (O.C.G.A. § 9-10-150) is devoted to protecting state lawmakers from court actions related to civil suits any time the Legislature is in session — basically, the first four months of the year. And not just the lawmakers, but many of the people who work for them:

A member of the General Assembly who is a party to or the attorney for a party to a case, or any member of the staff of the Lieutenant Governor, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, the Speaker Pro Tempore of the House of Representatives, or the chairperson of the Judiciary Committee or Special Judiciary Committee of the Senate or of the Judiciary Committee or Judiciary, Non-civil Committee of the House of Representatives who is the lead counsel for a party to a case pending in any trial or appellate court or before any administrative agency of this state, shall be granted a continuance and stay of the case.

The continuance and stay shall apply to all aspects of the case, including, but not limited to, the filing and serving of an answer to a complaint, the making of any discovery or motion, or of any response to any subpoena, discovery, or motion, and appearance at any hearing, trial, or argument. Unless a shorter length of time is requested by the member, the continuance and stay shall last the length of any regular or extraordinary session of the General Assembly and during the first three weeks following any recess or adjournment including an adjournment sine die of any regular or extraordinary session.

State lawmakers are, at least in this respect, untouchable.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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30 comments Add your comment

DannyX

February 22nd, 2011
12:54 pm

“Give me a college education…and an Escalade….and……or else. And it’ll all be YOUR fault!”

Heck Chip, just blame the whole thingy on the Escalade drivers.

Same with you state Sen. Jack Murphy, Republican chairman of the banking committee! Your legal problems and your very own bank failure was caused by….Yep,…

…the evil Escalade drivers.

Southside Shawty

February 22nd, 2011
1:03 pm

Yeah, and democrats are the problem. Sure!

Keith

February 22nd, 2011
1:18 pm

Folks there is a very valid reason… to prvent people from filing frivilous lawsuits against legislators while in session in an attempt to embarrass them politically. Chip will have to face this suit in a few weeks, so he’s not getting a pass.

findog

February 22nd, 2011
1:20 pm

Is their reciprocity?
If they are after someone can that person have the proceedings suspended while they tend to the peoples’ business?

Karl Marx

February 22nd, 2011
1:27 pm

Heck Southside Shawty the Democrats are just too dumb to take advantage of the lunacy of the Republicans. Come to think of it you don’t think the Democrats are envious…. maybe so….. they have a few skeletons in their closet as well…..

Aquagirl

February 22nd, 2011
1:28 pm

This lawsuit is hardly frivolous. What an abuse of the system.

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Last Man Standing

February 22nd, 2011
1:59 pm

Wake up, folks! They will have to face their accuser(s) after the legislative session is over. This law does not make them immune from suit but merely postpones it during the session. They are not “getting away” with anything.

Of course, it would be interesting to learn when this law was passed and which party had control at the time. Any takers?

DannyX

February 22nd, 2011
2:12 pm

Republicans are leading by such a fine example.

Chip says his lawsuit can wait.
Ox is trying out his new licenses
Ralston is showing everyone pictures of his vacation.
State Sen Murphy probably wants his lawsuit delayed too.
Gov Deal loves his no-bids.
Sonny is cashing in.

Thank God their friends and families are also well taken care of by the lobby Gods.

bart

February 22nd, 2011
2:24 pm

Republicans are abusing the system right and left, but apparently not enough people care to matter.

Southside Shawty

February 22nd, 2011
2:54 pm

No bart, people in this state only care when a democrat does anything.

Banker

February 22nd, 2011
3:14 pm

The terms of default are pretty straight forward in an executed Note/Security Agreement or Ownership Agreement. A lawsuit of this nature would hardly classify as a sensationlized drudging of character.

Yep, this is politics. I would like to know details for which he denies owing the money

Last Man Standing

February 22nd, 2011
3:40 pm

Banker:

According to what I just read, the company that owns the inn was sold to another party. I assume when you sell a business that both the assets and liabilities are transferred with the sale unless othwise stipulated. I don’t know enough about this to be certain.

Unrepentant Sodomite

February 22nd, 2011
3:58 pm

Yes, Lost Man, you do not know enough… the transfer of this property is the shadiest thing – well, typical of Jawja anyway – in that it was a transfer to get out from under liabilities to an extremely unqualified grantee, in the opinion of many. Just another dive into the sewer for Jawja.

Is there any crack so dirty you won’t lick it, if it belongs to one of the conservative Christian leaders?

Last Man Standing

February 22nd, 2011
4:26 pm

Unrepentant Sodomite:

I directed nothing at you nor did I defend any actions, but you do have my total and undying utter contempt.

Einsteindawg

February 22nd, 2011
4:44 pm

Good article Jim…just another reason to privatize and outsource our state Gov’t. This is what you get when you elect a bunch of real estate salesmen, lawyers, and animal doctors to do your business.

R U Kidding Me?

February 22nd, 2011
5:13 pm

Lost Man (more accurate than Last Man):

According to the law suit, Chip Rogers and Tom Graves(your fantasy threesome grouping) signed personal guarantees for the loan. When the project went south and they couldn’t make the note payments, they found a fall guy to deed the property over to. His plan was to file bankruptcy and hopefully take the debt off of Rogers and Graves.
Besides the fact they signed personal guarantees, Rogers and Graves never informed the lender of what they had done. It’s called mortgage fraud and they are damn lucky they haven’t been charged criminally. Plus the IRS has now slapped both of them with a huge tax lien. Both of these ultra right-wing, tea bagger whackos are serving their last term. They are toast. Sorry Lost Man.

Port O'John

February 22nd, 2011
5:27 pm

Wasn’t that long ago that the GOP passed a law that saved the Sainted Governor Perdue tens of thousands in tax liability. Since the GOP has a lock on all aspects of the state government, it wouldn’t take much for old Chip and Tom to craft a bill that will get them out of this. Maybe they could throw in a clause or two that would solve Governor Deal’s financial problems as well.

Ah, to be a Republican in Georgia. Don’t need no ethics, just engage in a little gay-bashing, latino-bashing or race-baiting and the common (white) sheeples fall right into line.

Einsteindawg

February 22nd, 2011
5:33 pm

Again I’ll say, why not privatize and outsource state gov’t? This would make their actions accountable to the Georgia taxpayers, not self-seving.. Bet you wouldn’t see a $1+B shortfall, especially with a 6% state income tax and most local sales taxes at 7-8%.

dont know nothing

February 22nd, 2011
5:42 pm

Motel must have been bringing in lot of cash since the income and property was only security the bank wanted!!! I would like to see the note and see if it was signed as officer only for the TI Ti Corp..Ha Ha
Now the Ox can write them a policy on it..All the companies love vacant /lights off buildings and owner in bankruptcy Did you know if State senators and Rep are insurance agents they are excluded from any continued education every year because they “write and study insurance law”

albert

February 22nd, 2011
5:59 pm

I will say it again. If you listen you can hear Casey Cagle laughing throughout the halls of the capitol. Rogers is a joke.

Chuck

February 22nd, 2011
6:42 pm

Don’t blame me. I voted for a Democrat…and he got sent home last week after the Republican got an idea from what’s happening in Wisconsin. They told him that they didn’t need another party to question what they were doing since they decided that they would hold debates alone behind closed doors and just tell the public what new bills they had made laws.

Alabama Communist

February 22nd, 2011
7:00 pm

Ah! The night that the lights went out in Georgia on the old Republican tea party corporate leadership……….lol

Hollis

February 22nd, 2011
7:15 pm

Now wait just a minute……

Bobby Anthony

February 22nd, 2011
10:52 pm

Is this motel the sameone which had turned into a safe-haven for drug dealers and prostitues?

truth

February 22nd, 2011
11:05 pm

No mention of “untouchable” Senate Banking Chairman Murphy’s latest lawsuit from Alabama for unpaid loans.

MC

February 23rd, 2011
9:34 am

Chip Rogers and that robe and hood cronies, i.e. the convicted felon and former writer for a white supremacist web site vDARE.com D.A. King, have always been nothing but pigs wearing lipstick.

Jimmy

February 23rd, 2011
11:05 am

When is the AJC going to do an expose on Rogers? This guy has been slimy from day one of his political career. His thugs tore down signs of two opponents during campaigns.

double

February 24th, 2011
8:37 pm

Lost man can’t post without knocking the president or his supporters or democrats.If lost man was half smart as he thinks.He would know there is no difference.