As Cobb County proceeds with plans to subsidize a $672 million stadium for the Atlanta Braves, questions continue to surface about the transparency of county leaders’ deliberations and the accuracy of the projected public benefit and cost to taxpayers. Here’s what I’ve written on the subject recently in for Atlanta Magazine’s Daily Agenda:
Infighting and tax troubles threaten the future of a citizens’ group founded to improve the Summerhill community near Turner Field. The Summerhill Neighborhood Development Corp. has sued its founder, former state Rep. Douglas Dean, alleging he secretly pledged the nonprofit’s property to back $2.4 million in bank loans — now in default — to benefit a private developer. The non-profit, according to the suit, “now faces the very real possibility of losing substantially all of its real property assets.” In addition, federal tax records list $470,000 in unsecured, interest-free loans from the non-profit to Dean and his wife, and $50,000 to the group’s new CEO. Dean says those payments were reimbursements of money he loaned the non-profit over the years. IRS auditors could find little or no documentation for those debts.
Ever wonder why MARTA’s rail line doesn’t run near the Atlanta baseball stadium where tens of thousands of fans gather 81 times a year? Me too. Now, as my pals at Atlanta Unsheltered reported yesterday, MARTA is in early discussions with a private firm about using magnetic levitation trains to shuttle Braves fans to home games.