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House Majority Leader Larry O’Neal

House Majority Leader Larry O'Neal
December 7, 2012 --

Larry O’Neal would probably prefer to be remembered for anything other than a tax break seemingly engineered specifically for then-Gov. Sonny Perdue, a client of O’Neal’s law practice. Nevertheless, O’Neal is best known for authoring the 2005 bill that allowed his fellow Houston Countian to retroactively shelter capital gains by reinvesting the money in property in Florida. Perdue, who thus saved about $100,000 in taxes, said he signed the bill into law without realizing it would apply to him. IRS auditors later investigated and exonerated O’Neal, he said in a 2009 email to House Republicans. Neither Perdue nor O’Neal released IRS documents or correspondence that would back up that assertion. A 2007 ethics complaint about O’Neal’s conduct went nowhere.

O’Neal went into business with another Sonny from Houston County, former state Rep. Roy “Sonny” Watson Jr., in 2001 when they formed SONLAR LLC. In 2005, Sonlar bought a 61-unit assisted-living facility at auction for $2.5 million after the previous owner defaulted on revenue bonds issued by the Houston County Development Authority. SONLAR sold the property in August 2012 for $5.1 million.

Appraisers: Oaky Woods sellers got sweet deal in 2004

Appraisers: Oaky Woods sellers got sweet deal in 2004
January 5, 2011 --

The site of the Oaky Woods wildlife area sold for such a sweet price in 2004 that the sale cannot be used to determine a value today, state appraisers say. The state last week forked over $2,860 an acre — 75 percent more than the ’04 price — for a portion of the tract. A subsidiary of Synovus Financial, the Columbus-based banking giant that’s lost a pile on bad real-estate loans, pocketed about a third of the proceeds.

$28.7M Oaky Woods deal OK’d; appraisals remain secret

$28.7M Oaky Woods deal OK’d; appraisals remain secret
December 13, 2010 --

State officials today agreed to pay $28.7 million for a 10,000-acre bear habitat in middle Georgia but still won’t release the appraisals used to determine that value. Houston County values the land at $1,165 an acre for tax purposes. The sellers, who paid $1,600 an acre six years ago before the real estate market collapsed, are selling it to the state for $2,875 an acre. Officials released appraisal summaries that say the property is worth that much, but declined to disclose the full appraisals until the deal is closed.

May 18

May 18, 2010 --

Lockheed withheld discovery documents in trade secrets case Hacking made easy at Ga. Secretary of State’s Web site Ky. nursing home chain pays $1.25M jury award Judge dismisses suit by man jailed 6 months past release date Citizen board given power to subpoena ATL police Houston County hospital CEO fired without explanation Columbus Parks & […]

Ralston wins speaker vote, Richardson bids emotional farewell

December 17, 2009 --

House Republicans today chose Rep. David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) to replace Glenn Richardson as speaker. And Richardson, who will step down at the end of the month, made an emotional farewell, taking the blame for unspecified failures during his five-year tenure: “Wherever we may have failed, I take full responsibility for those failures. All of ’em. … When you leave here today, you leave all those behind. You leave them on my shoulders as I walk out of here. They’re mine.”

New tax troubles for Reps. Talton, Mangham and others

New tax troubles for Reps. Talton, Mangham and others
August 13, 2009 --

Aug. 13, 2009 — Several Georgia lawmakers have gotten deeper into tax trouble this year, even as legislative ethics panels investigate some members’ failure to pay income taxes, property records show. The biggest unpaid bill belongs to Rep. Willie Talton of Warner Robins, who owes $39,197 for local property taxes.