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Rep. Kevin Tanner: Gave up state contract
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Kevin Kermit Tanner (R-Dawsonville)
District 9 (Lumpkin, Dawson & Forsyth counties)
Tru-Vision Security Consultants, Tanner’s private security business, gave up its six-figure contract with Lanier Technical College in January 2013 on the day he took the oath of office to serve as a state legislator.
Tanner said he did his research and found Tru-Vision could have continued doing business with the college if it won a new contract through a competitive sealed-bid process. “However,” he wrote in a Jan. 14 letter to a university official, “I feel it best that I turn this work over to another company to avoid any appearance of impropriety.”
A former county manager and deputy sheriff in Dawson County, Tanner said in an interview that he believes it’s fine for a legislator to do business with a state agency as long as the selection process is transparent and impartial.
“I just felt like in an abundance of caution … I should request that they let someone else do the contract,” he said.
Lanier Tech had paid Tru-Vision $1,163,552 since 2005. Tru-Vision won the college’s security contract at least twice, most recently in 2007 when it submitted the only bid in an open procurement process, state records show. (Two other potential vendors attended a mandatory pre-solicitation briefing in 2007 but did not submit a bid.)
Tanner continues to serve on the board of the technical college’s fund-raising foundation.
Bail bondsmen are Tanner’s single largest donor group. The Georgia Association of Professional Bondsmen and its member businesses have donated $9,500 to his campaigns.
- Elected to the House in 2012, defeating former Rep. Clint Smith with 67% of the vote in the Republican primary.
- Re-elected in 2014 with no opposition.
- Appropriations (2015 – present)
- Education (2013 – present)
- Intragovernmental Coordination (2013 – present)
- Natural Resources & Environment (2013 – present)
- Special Rules (2015 – present)
- Transportation (chair, 2017 – )
- Motor Vehicles (2015 – 2016)
- Owner, Tru-Vision Security Consultants Inc.
- Former county manager, Dawson County, 2008-12.
Business ownership interests
- Board member & secretary, First Citizens Bank of Georgia (now known as Foothills Community Bank). The board in October 2012 signed an FDIC consent order agreeing to write off bad debts, ensure adequate cash reserves and reduce a concentration of commercial real estate loans.
- President & owner, Tanco Investments LLC, investments
- President & owner, The Tanner Group, investments
- Partner & owner, Tanwal LLC, land development
- President & owner, Tru-Vision Security Consultants Inc., security services.
Other fiduciary positions
- Board chairman, Lanier Technical College Foundation
- Board vice chairman, Chestatee Regional Hospital
- Vice chairman, Rainbow Children’s Home Inc.
- Board member, Northeast Georgia Boy Scout Council.
- Former board member, Georgia Department of Corrections.
- FIRST DISCLOSED IN 2013: CFO, Tanner Timber Inc. (Tanner said he hadn’t previously known he’d been listed as an officer of the company, which his father used to run a chicken farm.)
Real estate holdings
- Personal residence and an adjacent lot in Dawson County valued at $312,000.
- Two single-family homes in Dawson County valued at $111,000 and $64,000.
- Three unimproved residential lots in Dawson County valued at a total of $48,000.
- Fifteen undeveloped residential lots in Dawson Forest Manor valued at $125,000.
- Two houses on Keith Bridge Road in Forsyth County valued at $199,000.
- Small house on Dahlonega Highway in Forsyth County valued at $41,000.
- 1.1-acre lot on Hightower Circle valued at $31,000.
- Unimproved 1.4-acre lot in Gilmer County valued at $33,300.
- Tanner’s wife, Stacie, owns a single-family home in Dawson County valued at $106,000.
- None disclosed.
Payments from state agencies
- Lanier Technical College paid Tanner’s company, Tru-Vision Security Consultants, $1,163,552 from 2005 to 2012 for campus security.
Friends & family
- Dawson County Commission Chairman Mike Berg and ex-Sen. Chip Pearson serve with Tanner on the board of the holding company that owns First Citizens Bank of Georgia. All three are shareholders.
- Tanner went into the land-development business with James A. Walters of Gainesville, forming Tanwal LLC, in September 2013. Walters, a former president of the Georgia Industrial Loan Association, is a longtime friend of Gov. Nathan Deal.
Since 2011, donors have given more than $190,000 to Tanner’s campaign. In 2012, Tanner also loaned his campaign $20,000 that was fully paid back in 2014. The breakdown of donations:
- 2011-12: $92,228
- 2013-14: $58,225
- 2015: $39,590
- Reported cash on hand (Feb. 2016): $36,714
- $8,200 House Speaker David Ralston & other Republican legislators
- $9,500 Georgia Association of Professional Bondsmen & its members
- $9,300 Tanner Timber Co. & CEO Kermit Tanner, Dawsonville
- $8,500 Sleeveco Inc. & executives David Johnson & Martin Wilson, Dawsonville, Ga., packaging
- $3,250 John Megel Chevrolet, Dawsonville
- $2,950 Burt’s Farm LLC (cash & in-kind donations)
- $2,850 Byrd’s Landfill
- $2,750 Altria (parent company of Philip Morris USA)
- $2,750 James A. Walters Management Co. & owner James Walters
- $2,600 Eli Lilly & Co.
- $2,500 Mike Cottrell, Dahlonega, Ga., investor & manufacturer of car hauler trailers
- Tanner’s campaign paid Southern Magnolia Capital LLC and the Sassafras Group, both founded by Gov. Nathan Deal’s daughter-in-law, Denise, $17,430 since 2012 for fund-raising.
- Tanner’s campaign charged $5,745 for campaign supplies without identifying the end recipient, as required by state law.
- In 2012, Tanner’s campaign paid his business, Tru-Vision Security Services, $1,702 for labor, T-shirts and furniture.
Candidates may give campaign funds to other candidates, a practice that some say provides a legal means to circumvent contribution limits. A 2003 bill to ban such transfers altogether passed in the Senate but died in the House. Tanner’s committee made these contributions:
- 2012: $400
- 2013-14: $7,300
Since 2013, lobbyists have reported spending $318 on meals and other gifts for Tanner. The big spender: AT&T ($44).
- 2013: $66
- 2014: $182
- 2015: $69
Committee days & travel expenses
When out of session, legislators may collect $173 per day plus mileage for committee meetings or other official business. Those living within 50 miles of the Capitol are taxed on these payments, originally intended to cover out-of-town members’ food and lodging.
- 2013: $3,397 (14 days)
- 2014: $3,381 (14 days)
- 2015: $4,009 (17 days)
Updated Jan. 15, 2017