Ex-Sen. Ronnie Chance: Undisclosed condo, non-profits
Leaders in the public sector have plenty of public resources to promote their political views, accomplishments and experience. But often the public record holds much more: personal and campaign finance disclosures, expense reports, and business, tax and court filings. Here’s what they show:
Ronald Wayne Chance (R-Tyrone)
District 16 (Lamar, Pike, Fayette, Monroe & Spalding counties)
Chance for four years failed to disclose ownership of a downtown Atlanta condo that he purchased in December 2007. Property records indicated that lobbyist Christina Searles Tai was co-owner of the property, but Chance and Tai say those records were incorrect. In November 2011, she signed a quitclaim deed relinquishing any interest in the property.
Chance’s disclosures also omitted fiduciary positions on the boards of directors of the Cochran Mill Nature Center, the Joseph Sams School and the Georgia State University Alumni Association. (In November 2011, after the Transparency Project asked about the omissions, Chance amended his disclosures for 2008 through 2010 to include the condo and his board memberships.)
When Chance first ran for the Senate in 2004, his disclosure omitted Fable Investments Inc., a business for which he was CEO. Chance said the business was defunct at the time. Fayette County court records, however, show the company filed papers to evict a tenant in June 2004, about six weeks after the disclosure was filed.
The American Legislative Exchange Council awarded “scholarships” totaling $1,410 to Chance in 2010 and 2011, records show. Corporate donors — including petroleum, pharmaceutical, utility, tobacco and health-care interests — funded the scholarships, which were meant to cover the costs of airfare and lodging to attend ALEC functions. The donations generally are not disclosed as lobbyist gifts, since ALEC does not have a registered lobbyist in Georgia.
- Elected in 2004, winning a Republican primary runoff over Bill Bonner.
- Since then, Chance has faced just one opponent, a Democrat whom he trounced in 2008.
- Elected in November 2012 as Senate majority leader.
- Did not run for re-election in 2014.
- Floor leader for Govs. Nathan Deal and Sonny Perdue.
- Board member, Georgia Agricultural Exposition Authority.
- Board member, Georgia Workforce Investment Board (affiliated with the state Department of Labor).
Chance worked the state Capitol as a lobbyist from 2002-04 before being elected to the Senate. His own business, Chance Public Relations, was his only registered client in 2002. Later, his clients (and their areas of interest) included:
- Accenture (management consulting and technology services)
- Blueshift Inc. (computer software)
- Conwood Co. LLC (now known as American Snuff Co., manufacturers of Kodiak and Levi Garrett smokeless tobacco),
- Georgia Psychological Association
- Lorillard Tobacco Co.
- Nextel Communications
- The North Highland Co. (management and technology consulting)
- Professional Probation Services Inc., whose president, Clay Cox, served in the House from 2005-10.
- South Fulton Community Improvement District
- Swedish Match North America Inc. (makers of Red Man chewing tobacco)
- ThunderHead Distribution.
Chance served as Georgia executive director for Bob Dole for president in 1996 and as Georgia co-chair for Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 presidential bid. Also worked as district director for former Congressman Mac Collins.
- Administrative Affairs (2013 – 2014)
- Appropriations (2013 – 2014)
- Assignments (2013 – 2014)
- Banking and Financial Institutions (2011 – 2012)
- Economic Development (2005 – 2014; chairman, 2011 – 2012)
- Ethics (2011 – 2012)
- Finance (2005 – 2014; chairman, 2009 – 2010)
- Government Oversight (2007 – 2010; chairman, 2007 – 2008)
- Higher Education (2005 – 2012)
- Reapportionment and Redistricting (2005 – 2014)
- Regulated Industries (2013 – 2014)
- Retirement (2009 – 2010)
- Veterans and Military Affairs (2005 – 2006)
- Public relations
As of November 2015, Chance still owed a $125 late fee for filing his 2012 personal disclosure one day after the deadline.
- Chance Public Relations Inc., Peachtree City. (The company did not file annual registrations in 1998-2002, 2004, 2005 and 2009 with the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office, which has dissolved the company twice for failing to do so.)
- Orange Property Investments LLC, Tyrone
- President, Chance Public Relations Inc.
- President, Orange Property Investments LLC, Tyrone (president)
- Proxy holder, Yokogawa Nuclear Solutions LLC, Newnan, Ga. (business support services)
- UNDISCLOSED: Formerly CEO at Fable Investments Inc. (defunct; last registered with the state in 2004)
- NOW DISCLOSED: Board Member, Cochran Mill Nature Center
- NOW DISCLOSED: Board Member, Georgia State University Alumni Association
- NOW DISCLOSED: Board member, The Joseph Sams School, Fayetteville
Chance also serves on the advisory board of United Community Bank — Atlanta Southern Crescent.
- None disclosed
Real estate holdings
- Family home in Tyrone valued at $200,000
- Condo on Jekyll Island valued at $113,000
- Residential property in Fayetteville, 340 Cornwallis Way, valued at $89,000
- DISCLOSED 3 YEARS LATE: Condo unit at 300 Peachtree St., Atlanta, valued at $49,000
- UNDISCLOSED: Residential lots 44 and 49, each appraised at $25,000 for tax purposes, owned by Orange Property Investments in the Ashley Glen subdivision in Pike County.
Business transactions with state government
- None disclosed.
Donors have given Chance’s campaign committee more than $867,000 from 2004 to 2014. The breakdown by election cycle:
- 2004: $116,902
- 2005-06: $125,012
- 2007-08: $165,891
- 2009-10: $134,744
- 2011-12: $163,160
- 2013-14: $161,863
- Reported cash on hand: -$26 (October 2014)
- $70,272 lobbyist Jay Morgan and his clients (including Philip Morris, Georgia Motor Trucking Association, Wellcare, Distilled Spirits Council and AT&T)
- $32,380 lobbyist Christina Searles Tai and clients (Reynolds American, Swedish Match North America, Walmart, Georgia Psychological Association)
- $17,500 lobbyist Mark Sanders and former client Temple-Inland Inc.
- $15,000 Georgia Trial Lawyers Association
- $14,200 Georgia Hospital Association & members HCA & Tenet
- $14,100 Georgia Association of Realtors
- $11,350 Brent Scarbrough & other members of Home Builders Association of Midwest Georgia
- $11,650 Home Builders Association of Georgia
- $11,250 Georgia Apartment Association
- $9,500 Reynolds American & executive David Powers
- $8,800 United Parcel Service
- $8,500 Select Management Resources Inc. & president Rod Aycox, title pawn lender
- $7,950 Georgia Society of Ambulatory Surgical Centers and Resurgens P.C.
- $7,500 Coca-Cola Co. and the Georgia Beverage Association
- $7,500 Georgia Bankers Association
- $7,250 BlueCross BlueShield of Georgia
- $7,000 Centene Management Co., Peach State Health Plan
- $6,800 Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of Georgia
- $6,750 Anheuser-Busch Companies
- $6,350 Georgia Optometric Association
- $6,250 Georgia Affordable Housing Coalition
- $6,000 Georgia Dental Association
- $6,000 Medical Association of Georgia
- $6,000 Titlemax, title pawn lender
- $5,850 Troutman Sanders LLP & lobbyist Robb Willis
- $5,500 Georgia Beer Wholesalers Association
- $5,488 Delta Air Lines
- $5,350 General Electric Co.
- $5,350 Georgia Orthopaedic Society
- $5,250 Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals
- $5,201 Georgia Automobile Dealers Association
- $5,000 American Insurance Association
Chance’s campaign spending included:
- $295,753 with political consultant Sean Donnelly’s firm, Five Points Consulting LLC, since April 2008. Those payments amounted to more than half of all the money that Chance’s campaign raised in that period.
- $18,000 to pay himself back for loans to the campaign in 2004
- $14,607 to reimburse himself for other expenses (a 2005 reimbursement of $2,000 did not specify the purpose of the expense)
- $2,140 to the University of Georgia for 2009 and 2010 football season tickets (Chance says he gave them to charity.)
Candidates may make political donations with campaign funds, allowing prolific fund-raisers to share their contributions with other legislators or candidates. Some advocacy groups believe such transfers should be limited to an aggregate of $10,000 per election cycle. Chance’s committee made these political donations, totaling more than $189,000:
- 2005-06: $49,175
- 2007-08: $21,950
- 2009-10: $70,424
- 2011-12: $48,160
- 2013: $600
Lobbyists have reported paying for meals and other gifts for Chance valued at more than $12,700 since 2005. The big spenders: the University System of Georgia ($2,154); GeorgiaLink Public Affairs Group ($696), Microsoft Corp. ($682). Chance was one of eight legislators in 2010 who accepted upgraded Gold Medallion status, valued at $1,588, from Delta Air Lines; Delta’s gift was disclosed as a campaign contribution rather than a gift. BFF lobbyist: Brian Hudson. Totals by year:
- 2005: $583
- 2006: $1,045
- 2007: $490
- 2008: $2,227
- 2009: $2,988
- 2010: $2,254
- 2011: $1,787
- 2012: $1,618
- 2013: $280 through April 30
Committee days & travel expenses
When the Legislature is out of session, members may collect $173 per diem, plus mileage, for committee meetings or other official business. (Per diem was $127 prior to 2007.) Lawmakers living within 50 miles of the Capitol are taxed on these payments, which were originally intended to cover out-of-town members’ food and lodging. Here’s the annual breakdown, based on the year in which the expenses were paid:
- 2005: $4,757 (25 days)
- 2006: $6,466 (21 days)
- 2007: $13,180 (50 days)
- 2008: $9,846 (43 days)
- 2009: $14,142 (61 days) #8 in Senate
- 2010: $11,548 (56 days)
- 2011: $14,054 (64 days) #7 in Senate
- 2012: $5,017 (24 days)
- 2013: $10,107 (48 days)
- 2014: $11,098 (52 days) #8 in Senate
Posted Dec. 11, 2011; updated Nov. 25, 2015