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Bank sues Regents chairman Tucker over ‘fraudulent’ land deal
A Blairsville-based bank is suing Richard L. Tucker, chairman of the state Board of Regents, to block what it described as the “fraudulent” transfer of $2 million in real estate on Lake Burton and Sea Island, property records show.
United Community Bank sued Tucker (right) and several businesses Oct. 28 in Gwinnett County Superior Court. A judge there, Ronnie K. Batchelor, then took the virtually unprecedented step of sealing the entire case file from public view, including his order explaining why he did it. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution obtained the order elsewhere and reported the story March 15.
But the judge did not seal notices filed by the bank in Glynn and Rabun counties last year to establish the bank’s claim on these properties:
— A home on 3/4 of an acre on Lake Burton, leased from Georgia Power Co. Records show he sold it for $150,000 to Tucker Lake Burton LLC on June 27, 2008. Tax records value the 3,800-square-foot home at $414,000.
— Two lots and a portion of a third lot at 214 W. 18th St. on Sea Island, perhaps the swankiest ‘hood in Georgia, with million-dollar homes left and right. Tucker’s is appraised at $691,600 by Glynn County. Records show he transferred it on June 28, 2008, the day after the Lake Burton deal, for $1.6 million to Tucker Sea Island LLC. Paperwork filed with the state showed the property had a $1.28 million lien or encumbrance at the time.
Both Tucker Sea Island LLC and Tucker Lake Burton LLC were created the same day as the Lake Burton deal. Both are co-defendants with Tucker in the bank’s lawsuit.
Mahaffey Pickens Tucker, the Lawrenceville law firm in which Tucker’s son is a partner, handled the paperwork for the land transfers. The firm and one of its attorneys each gave $1,000 to Batchelor’s 2008 re-election campaign.