Handicapping an unasked-for defense of Chip Rogers

“I can handle my enemies,” the proverb goes. “But God save me from my friends.”

Perhaps you’ve heard of the recent article by Emory University journalism student David Michaels, posted on the website Atlanta Unfiltered. The piece detailed the early career of state Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock, as a pitchman for a sports pick operation throughout the 1990s.

Michaels unearthed videos of a fresh-faced Will ‘the Winner’ Rogers pushing would-be football game bettors to a $10-a-call 900 line, guaranteeing 80 percent accuracy. He found the name of Will ‘the Winner’ Rogers on a 2001 NCAA blacklist of tout services.

“Tout services provide information about specific teams and games on which to place wagers…Tout services have implied in the past that they receive information from individuals close to collegiate athletic programs,” the NCAA warned team staffers, emphasizing that contact with those involved in organized gambling violated collegiate athletic bylaws.

(The NCAA stopped publishing the list in 2005, a spokeswoman said.)

The Michaels article found no evidence that the No. 2 ranking member of the state Senate, who faces a July primary challenge, placed or accepted bets. Rogers says he was merely “the talent” for an entertainment vehicle. Indeed, he speaks with the deep, melodious tones of a radio veteran – and provided the official voiceover for Gov. Nathan Deal’s inauguration last year.

“I was hired to play a part on the TV show,” Rogers said in an interview with Channel 2 Action News. “The company who hired me gave me a script, and I would read from the script – or I would use the script as a kind of basic outline of what I’m supposed to say.”

Rogers contended that he did nothing that viewers don’t see every day on ESPN. He provided talking points for the water-cooler gang.

But the majority leader’s self-defense wasn’t good enough for some. In recent days, Joe Duffy of Alpharetta posted on YouTube his own defense of Rogers.

Duffy is the CEO of Offshoreinsiders.com, a sports pick firm. He’s been in the business since his college days with Rogers – but he’s not necessarily the advocate that the senator would have chosen for himself.

Duffy starts well enough. “Sit down, shut your pie holes, and take note,” he begins. The game picker declares the talk about Rogers’ past to be a “non-story.” Mostly.

“The hard sell, the fact that he was kind of on the seedy end of the sports handicapping industry, okay, that’s a fairly legitimate story,” Duffy concedes. “Except it was at the turn of the century. That’s more than 10 years ago. If that’s the biggest skeleton he has in his closet, I say elect him president of the United States.”

Then there’s that part about Rogers being a mere scripted actor. “That’s stretching the truth. But I know where he’s been as far as not having total editorial control of your content,” Duffy said.

The most significant aspect of the Atlanta Unfiltered piece is that it links two narratives, both involving Rogers. In 2009, Rogers and fellow state Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ranger, who would soon become a member of Congress, took out a $2.2 million loan to purchase and renovate the run-down Oglethorpe Inn in Calhoun, off I-75.

The two public officials defaulted on the loan, later settling with the bank that took it over for $1.2 million. The ownership of the hotel they transferred to a man named John Edens.

The Michaels piece clearly shows Edens – a.k.a. Johnny DeMarco – to be an associate from Rogers’ days pushing sport picks. Duffy knows Edens and doesn’t like him.

“He’s your Jeremiah Wright,” the sports picker chides Rogers, adding that it was “bad, bad, bad judgment not getting that creature in your review mirror.”

In a follow-up interview, Duffy said he hasn’t had any personal contact with Rogers in a dozen years. The senator says the gulf is even wider.

“As I remember him, [Duffy] is a very nice guy. I have had no interaction with him since I was in college and am not sure how he would have any knowledge of my business arrangements in the late 1990s,” Rogers said via email.

The senator drew a firm line when it came to Edens. “Let me be crystal clear. I have no business relationship with him in any respect. The last time I have seen him is almost a year ago,” Rogers wrote. “Yes, I knew him when I was in college and a few years afterwards. There have been a number of years when I did not see him or talk to him at all. Right now I could not tell you where he lives, because I don’t know.”

Rogers expressed skepticism that a period in his life 14 years gone — “and completely legal” – constitutes a legitimate topic of discussion. No doubt the point will be settled by voters in north Fulton and Cherokee counties.

If nothing else, think of Rogers as a cultural marker. Republican attitudes toward gaming are in flux. On Tuesday, at a debate in Paulding County, state Sen. Bill Heath, R-Bremen, declared that he not only opposes casino gambling – an issue that will be on the GOP primary ballot – but would vote to end the state lottery if given a chance.

Rogers is on the other side of that divide, a man who thinks there’s nothing wrong with generating a little ammunition for those about to buy into the office pool.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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47 comments Add your comment

Patrick Thompson

June 6th, 2012
6:29 pm

This is not about gambling. It is about who you associate with and the poor, non-exemplary decisions you make based on those relationships. And the relationships are purely based on money. Chip will work for anyone. He lobbies and gets paid by groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council, Asian Hotel Owner Assoc, Jeb Bush’s Digital Education Foundation, and the Physician Committee for Responsible Medicine among others. He is the antithesis to conservatism and works only on those legislative items that personally benefit him. This is not citizen representation.

Slip

June 6th, 2012
6:44 pm

Scripted actor … Or a pigeon drop. Either its a nothing story or there is more to come.

Kris (IPay My Bills)

June 6th, 2012
7:05 pm

Question for Tom Graves…Why is I have TO PAY MY DEBTS AND YOU DO not. “Five years later it appears U.S. Rep. Tom Graves and state Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers a pair of prominent Republicans took out a loan for $2.3 million to buy and rehabilitate a dilapidated North Georgia hotel will have to pay back about half of
of the 2.3 million loan. They should be brought up on charges of hypocrisy”.
No wonder Georgia last in public corruption laws.

Give Chip the Boot

June 6th, 2012
7:25 pm

In the Atlanta Unfiltered article Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Fagan stated that: advertising or promoting an illegal gambling operation is also a federal crime. “If you aid, abet, counsel, command, induce or procure an illegal act,” he said, “you are as guilty as the person who commits the crime.”

If this is true and I assume a former Assistant U.S. Attorney would know; this means that even if Chip was telling the truth that he was just an actor playing a part – HE BROKE THE LAW!!!

What I want to know is why hasn’t he been arrested? They have the video and they have him on camera admitting to this act. Is this more special treatment for an elected official?

Will Winners

June 6th, 2012
7:38 pm

Why did the bank in Bartow County allow these two politicians to get away with selling a property for $10K when that property had a lien on it for $2.2 Million? If I tried to do this I would be in jail. They didn’t even collect the ten grand, it was to be paid later. How is that legal?

I also notice that Chip is now downplaying his friendship with Edens. Jim you should ask him about why his wife is friends with Edens on facebook.

Kris

June 6th, 2012
8:04 pm

Will Winners

Amen amen…Jail for me too. But at with ethics being defined as accepting only $36,500 in bribes per year. Graves can pay the 2.2million off in no time..Unless he gets voted out this fall.

I vote no for graves.

Serious Robuck

June 6th, 2012
8:15 pm

I’ll wait to hear what td has to say.

hiram

June 6th, 2012
8:21 pm

Rogers nor Graves have anything to worry about, when you consider the case for Nathan Deal, who fled Washington in the middle of the night with the hounds nipping at his heels. Georgia’s inhabitants, like those of any other banana republic, are too unsophisticated to comprehend that the people they elect to office, based soley on the R after their name, are going to lower their quality of life even further. They are for sale to the highest bidder (those companies they are supposed to regulate, that want to save money by endangering your lives, or charge you unjustifiable amounts for inferior services). It’s not a sporting event, where you jump up and down and shake your pom poms for pure entertainment. There is a high cost to pay for ignorance.

Kris

June 6th, 2012
8:37 pm

A Deal came down to GA looking for a job to steel. So he double dipped ran for office…won he office after his stunt in DC (crashing the economy) later fired or ran off all the good people and hired his cronies and family. Who why did the democrats let roy barns run against Double dip.. well I guess he fits in…no ETHICS and dumber than a bag of DC republicans.

td

June 6th, 2012
8:45 pm

“Rogers expressed skepticism that a period in his life 14 years gone — “and completely legal” – constitutes a legitimate topic of discussion”

Sorry Chip but if the voters of your district feel this a legitimate topic for discussion then it is and you will have to deal with it or suffer the consequences.

td

June 6th, 2012
8:52 pm

Serious Robuck

June 6th, 2012
8:15 pm

I’ll wait to hear what td has to say.

Where you surprised by my answer? I am not about a person but instead a philosophy. I am not sure if I would vote for Chip or not in the primary. It would depend on the philosophy of his opponent as compared to what I know about Chip. Changing the people that represent me do not bother me at all. I live in Glen Richardson’s old district and had no problem voting against him twice in the primaries. I did not vote for Deal in the first round of the primaries (supported Eric Johnson) because he was closer to my philosophical beliefs but then voted for Deal against Handel (did not think she was qualified to hold office).

Serious Robuck

June 6th, 2012
8:53 pm

And the gal Deal beat in the GOP primary never graduated from high school. Dumb beat dumber. But…they’re good Christian people, I’m sure. At least they say they are, and that’s all that matters to the typical Georgia Republican voter. Just tell’em you’re a Bible thumper and their vote is yours. Your ethics are not an issue. All you have to say is that you’re a consrvative Christian. The Georgia voter is apparently incapable of looking beyond such a statement.

Kris

June 6th, 2012
8:55 pm

Wonder if the Chipper has any inside info on how I’ll Have Another will do in the Belmont Stakes race.

Serious Robuck

June 6th, 2012
9:03 pm

td, I was anxiously awaiting your response. Yikes. You’re a trip, td. I’m often unsure of what you’re trying to say. Tonight, that’s the case, again. I am quite impressed, though, that you think of yourself as “about a philosophy.” Mercy me. It is really uncomfortable for me to agree with you on much of anything, but when you tell Chip Rogers that his past associations are a valid issue for the voter, I’m with you, my man.

Kris

June 6th, 2012
9:42 pm

Nathan Deal: Among “15 Most Corrupt Members of Congress”

http://blogs.ajc.com/cynthia-tucker/2010/08/11/nathan-deal-among-15-most-corrupt-members-of-congress/

Wonder if Double dip has ask chipper for horse racing tips? Did DD pay the $10 call fee

td

June 6th, 2012
9:47 pm

Kris

June 6th, 2012
9:42 pm

Yes, I heard all that BS during the campaign about how Deal was so corrupt that he would not last a year in office before he was brought up on Federal charges. It is the Obama administration in charge and I am still waiting for those charges to be filed by the Holder justice department. Where are they at?

honested

June 6th, 2012
9:58 pm

As the parable says, ‘a leopard does not change his spots’ or as we say in unicorporated ‘Brookhaven’
‘once a scammer, always a scammer’.

The General Assembly has become scammer central, and the GA taxpayers seem to vote on the basis of who is most crooked.

And look what it gets us.
No cab ride, no kiss and no t-shirt.

honested

June 6th, 2012
10:00 pm

tiny dog,

I do wish the Holder Justice Department would be allocated the funds necessary to bring our accidental governor to the striped suit palace of their choosing.

Don’t you?

td

June 6th, 2012
10:16 pm

honested

June 6th, 2012
10:00 pm

I think if there was anything illegal then the prosecution would have happened (See the governor of IL as an example). This was a wish of you libs and it was just simply not true.

hiram

June 6th, 2012
10:23 pm

@ honested
You may have forgotten Deal’s/Perdue’s maneuver to block the DOJ.

“Gov. Nathan Deal has taken a page from the political playbook of Sonny Perdue by appointing the spouse of the top federal prosecutor for North Georgia to a seat on a state commission.”

“Deal’s office last week disclosed that the governor has reappointed J. Comer Yates, the husband of U.S. Attorney Sally Q. Yates, to a seat on the Georgia Commission on Hearing Impaired and Deaf Persons.”

http://blogs.ajc.com/political-insider-jim-galloway/2011/07/08/the-implications-of-a-routine-appointment-by-nathan-deal/

This seems to have slipped td’s mind, or maybe he decided to overlook it, given his philisophical alignment with our last two governors.

Bobby

June 6th, 2012
10:30 pm

Tom Graves and Chip Rogers are both inherently dishonest and morally corrupt. Rogers gaming past doesn’t bother me in the least but both of them used their political influence to avoid a $2.3 million bill. There would be very few, if any bankruptcies in the State of Georgia if all Georgia residents were afforded the same treatment as Tom Graves and Chip Rogers. Graves and Rogers represent the Sodom and Gomorrah aspects of Georgia legislators.

bart

June 6th, 2012
10:34 pm

When you consider the likes of Deal, Rogers, Graves, Balfour, etc., etc., etc. there’s no wonder GA was named the most corrupt state politically in the country. And yet, we still keep voting for these crooks.

B. Thenet

June 6th, 2012
10:37 pm

He is crooked enough to be a GOP nominee for Governor.

bart

June 6th, 2012
10:39 pm

And voting for them simply because they have an R behind their names and claim to be wonderful Christians. Forget their morals and ethcs; those don’ t seem to matter.

Centrist

June 6th, 2012
10:42 pm

Once again this blog takes the same old shots at Rogers. We remember that article because Galloway keeps bringing it up. I doubt too many voters will now care about what he did right after college before he was a Senator as long as it wasn’t illegal. The real estate investment has been repeated ad naseum and some voters may turn to the his GOP opponent – but once again, here are the facts purposely left out. There were cross claims, but they was settled between Rogers, Graves and the bank. We aren’t privy to the private details of the settlement. All the principals lost money, and taxpayers were not involved. Thousands of real estate investors and banks backing them were caught in the bubble when values stopped increasing and fell. It precipitated a long, brutal recession. Partisans can do their best to use these things to discredit Rogers, but he has been popular with his constituents for his Georgia Senate service which will probably get him re-elected.

Slip

June 6th, 2012
10:43 pm

Who gives odds that the unfiltered story is the setup in a “long con”? July seems so far away.

Slip

June 6th, 2012
10:59 pm

… Is it me or does Duffy YouTube looked dubbed?

hiram

June 6th, 2012
11:02 pm

Centrist
June 6th, 2012
10:42 pm

” All the principals lost money, and taxpayers were not involved.”

“Experts say the FDIC, the federal agency that insures bank deposits, will be on the hook for most of the loss.”

http://www.ajc.com/news/in-failed-hotel-venture-1399384.html

Centrist

June 6th, 2012
11:09 pm

@ hiram (and other partisans/bloggers who leave out important facts) – “The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is a United States government corporation operating as an independent agency – The FDIC receives no Congressional appropriations – it is funded by premiums that banks and thrift institutions pay for deposit insurance coverage and from earnings on investments in U.S. Treasury securities.”

honested

June 6th, 2012
11:27 pm

centrist (of the moons of Uranus)

‘Those claims were SETTLED’.
And what is the polite word for the short end of the ’settlement’ the Citizens of GA got?

honested

June 6th, 2012
11:28 pm

centrist (you know the rest),

And in the interest of full disclosure, who, in the end, foots the bill for FDIC premiums and expenditures?

honested

June 6th, 2012
11:30 pm

It is refreshing to see at least some Georgians are awakening to see who’s greasy paws are on the ‘levers of power’.

If only this could have occurred 8 years ago.

td

June 6th, 2012
11:53 pm

honested

June 6th, 2012
11:30 pm

It is refreshing to see at least some Georgians are awakening to see who’s greasy paws are on the ‘levers of power’.

If only this could have occurred 8 years ago.

Like the dems paws were not as if not more greasy. Tell us another fable while you are at it. Do you want to talk about the “consumer protection laws” that Barnes, Murphy (both lawyers) and the big fat one passed? How much has these laws cost business in this state and enriched Barnes? I am willing to bet that it is more then anything Purdue, Graves, Rodgers and what ever Deal does combined. How about that state golf coarse built contiguous to Zell MIllers property in Blairsville or the fact that Joe Frank’s son has the exclusive AFLAC contract for all state employee’s?

Fact: people do not go to the gold dome to just serve the voters of their district (either party). If it is not illegal then it is to be expected and if it is illegal then they need to go to jail (either party).

Flock of Schoolgirls

June 7th, 2012
12:32 am

I do not know of a single person that plans on voting for Chip Rogers in July. Between his gambling, loan default, lack of funding for public schools and his oh so arrogant “I know better than you do” stance on charter schools he has alienated 95% of his constituents. Yet he is still going around telling folks that ” teachers LOVE him in Cherokee”. What rock has he been hiding under for the last 6 months. Cherokee County wants him GONE!

It’s time for this Chip to sail! Chips Ahoy from all of us in Cherokee!

Buckhead Boy

June 7th, 2012
2:25 am

td, so your concern is the ideology espoused without regard for the character of the source? My congratulations. That’s the best synthesis of the psychology of fanaticism since John Adams said merely that “ideology is the science of idiots”.

Will Winners

June 7th, 2012
2:27 am

I would love to know why so many people outside of Cherokee County believe that those of us from Cherokee love Chip Rogers. I would say the opposite is true. The only reason he has stayed in office this long is because he’s never had a republican challenger before. If you have any doubts about our feelings on the Chipster you should take a ride through his district to see the sea of Brandon Beach signs everywhere. The king of arrogance must have put his signs up without asking permission because people are taking them down and asking for Beach signs. Chipster is reduced to strapping his signs to guard rails and on county and state ROW. Cherokee County has gone to the BEACH!

[...] Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers has come under friendly fire from a former college friend, who has taken to YouTube to defend Rogers&#82…. [...]

mark

June 7th, 2012
8:33 am

I am a teacher and was added to Chips new district. Vote Him OUT!! The teachers do not love him even with an R next to his name. Don’t Let him Gamble with your tax dollars! Vote Beach!

Keep doing this GOP

June 7th, 2012
8:34 am

Do you want to talk about the “consumer protection laws” that Barnes, Murphy (both lawyers) and the big fat one passed? How much has these laws cost business in this state and enriched Barnes?

If you are talking about the law that protected consumers from sub-prime lenders, that law was repealed only 6 months after it when into effect. I wish it hadn’t , it would kept the state from being first in bank failures. Also, Zell Miller did not own any property in Blairsville, what you are talking about is the Brasstown Resort just out side of Young Harris. Which is 9 miles west of Blairsville.

hiram

June 7th, 2012
9:21 am

“Calhoun taxpayers could be on the hook for more than $100,000 to clean up a business blunder by two lawmakers who preach cutting taxes and rail against government intervention.”

http://timesfreepress.com/news/2011/aug/21/a1-failed-motel-could-cost-taxpayers-100000/

Centrist

June 7th, 2012
9:35 am

@ hiram – year old biased article and about a property owned by the bank as part of their settlement. That property was in disrepair prior to the investment – it simply never got re-vitalized, so it was already a potential Calhoun liability.

Your, and other partisan attacks over this issue may have some influence on Rogers re-election efforts (along with his working for a handicapping firm after college) – but the election will turn on his Senate record and recent political stances on T-SPLOST,/ charter schools which is what the AJC and other partisans really oppose.

PMC

June 7th, 2012
9:58 am

LOL at the NCAA. The biggest pimps in the sports industry.

hiram

June 7th, 2012
10:16 am

@centrist You can rationalize anything (in your own mind). Rogers and Graves signed the papers and took possession of the property, along with all the obligations that go along with it. The responsibility for the property passed from the former owners to them at that point. When they dumped the property, they couldn’t have cared less about their obligations to anyone. BTW, if you do a little research you will find that the FDIC, which acquired Graves and Rogers’ lending bank, has shifted 100s of billions of dollars of their debt obligations to the taxpayers via the bailout. The SEC is a joke, and that is a non-partisan issue.

hiram

June 7th, 2012
10:29 am

@centerist One other point. The Chattanooga Times defines a right wing newspaper. They are far, far to the right of Fox News. You should read some of their editorials. Any article that is contrary to your viewpoint is automatically biased.

deegee

June 7th, 2012
10:36 am

HAHAHAHAHA! Chip Rogers has been campaigning on the “round up the illegals and deport ‘em” theme for years. Well, he’s out of gas and stuck by the side of the road. Let him stay there. There is a pattern of deception with him and it’s time to clean up. Good riddance to bad, stinky garbage.

Woodstock

June 7th, 2012
1:05 pm

Teachers, combined with other interests, voted out Democrat Barnes in 2002, and the same is about to happen with Republican Rogers. I’m not sure the “Meth 6″ issue alone would’ve gotten him, but the “Will the Winner” / “Atlanta Assassin” revelation was the tipping point. Yes, I live in Towne Lake and can vouch that the even the casual, uninformed, (typical) voter in the Cherokee portion of his district is now aware of his record and will be voting against him. Plus, it’s a safe bet (”80% guaranteed”) to assume that the north Fulton portion folks will be voting for their own, Beach, as well.

catlady

June 7th, 2012
3:32 pm

If I didn’t need to vote in a school board election here (against the incumbents) I would establish residency in Cherokee just to vote against Chip.