July 21, 2016 — Alan Cole has not disclosed ownership of three limited liability companies that are the actual owners of rental homes that he lists on his personal financial disclosure. They are: Ashwoody Leonard LLC, Fancher LLC and The Harts Mill Barn LLC. Each one lists Cole’s home address as its principal office address in filings with the Georgia secretary of state.
July 21, 2016 — Matt Gurtler’s most generous campaign donor has plunked down $4,000. But a Washington-based advocacy group for school choice and privatization dropped eight times as much to support Gurtler’s bid for the House. The American Federation for Children reported spending $20,850 on direct mail, media buys and online ads before the May 24 primary and nearly $13,000 more in advance of the July 26 runoff. Those are considered to be “independent” expenditures and thus are not subject to Georgia’s campaign contribution limits.
July 21, 2016 — Kent Woerner has raised $56,000, mostly from local donors, for his race for the seat of retiring Rep. Steve Allison. Woerner also has the support of House Speaker David Ralston from nearby Blue Ridge; he and other House Republicans have chipped in more than $13,000 to the retired educator’s campaign.
July 20, 2016 — Voters in House District 62 can choose between two runoff candidates with substantial federal tax debts. The IRS last year filed a $32,610 lien against William Boddie for seven years of unpaid taxes dating back to 2006. In February 2016, the Georgia Department of Revenue filed an income tax lien of its own for $15,043.
Boddie, in an interview, said he is taking care of the debts under an approved payment plan and hopes to have it all paid off this year. He blamed the matter on a payroll system at his law firm that was “not quite working.”
July 20, 2016 — Valerie Vie, like her opponent in House District 62, has a significant federal tax debt. The IRS last year filed a $11,554 lien against her for unpaid taxes. Another IRS lien for $4,175 has remained on the books since 2009. Georgia’s Constitution bars tax delinquents from holding state office unless the debt is contested or subject to a payment plan.
Vie also has no personal financial disclosure on file with the state ethics commission. In a brief telephone conversation, Vie said she was unsure why and referred us to her campaign manager, who told us nothing because we couldn’t him. His voicemail box was full and his website’s email was not functioning.
July 20, 2016 — FethullahGülen, the exiled cleric accused of fomenting last week’s failed coup attempt in Turkey, is also the man behind three former Fulton County charter schools that lost their taxpayer subsidies a few years back amid findings of financial misconduct.
July 20, 2016 — Alcohol and tobacco interests have showered campaign donations on Dickson by virtue of his eight years on the House Regulated Industries Committee. Manufacturers, distributors and retailers in those industries have given more than $64,000 to Dickson’s campaigns, or about one-fifth of all his contributions.
He’s also benefited from fellow Republican legislators, who’ve donated more than $47,000 to his campaign in 2016.
July 20, 2016 — Jason Ridley’s runoff campaign was $2,720 in the red July 1, leaving him at a financial disadvantage in his bid to unseat Rep. Tom Dickson. However, Ridley benefited in May from an independently funded mailer calling out Dickson for supporting a sales tax exemption for tickets to the 2019 Super Bowl in Atlanta. The conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity paid for the mailers, which went out a few days before the May 24 Republican primary. No cost has been disclosed, as the mailers are not considered political materials.
July 19, 2016 — Labor and lawyers — two traditional Democratic constituencies — are funding the campaigns in House District 59. Labor is backing Janine Brown, a former staffer of both the AFL-CIO and Communication Workers of America. Unions and union officials have donated more than $56,000 to Brown, or roughly 40 percent of all her contributions.
July 19, 2016 — Lawyers make up the largest bloc of donors by far for David Dreyer, an attorney specializing in commercial litigation at Chamberlain Hrdlicka. They’ve given him more than $113,000, or more than half of all his campaign contributions. He needed it in the race for House District 59, perhaps the most expensive Georgia House race of 2016, with the three candidates collecting more than $446,000 in contributions through late July.
July 18, 2016 — In 2008 Linda Pritchett bought a house in Forest Park, hoping to flip it for a quick profit. The crash of the housing market changed her plans. She kept it without paying property taxes for six more years, until Clayton County sold the home to recoup unpaid taxes and penalties of more than $8,900.
Pritchett wouldn’t give up without a fight, though. In 2015, she filed suit to allege that procedural missteps should void the tax sale. Claiming defamation and violation of privacy, Pritchett also sought damages from the county and the new owner under a racketeering statute.
Pritchett’s legal fight was hardly her first time in a courtroom. WGCL-TV (CBS46) has reported that Pritchett pleaded no contest in 2010 to forging the registration sticker on her Lexus’s license plate. WGCL’s Jeff Chirico reported that Pritchett also had convictions in Virginia for larceny, driving with no insurance and expired registration.
July 18, 2016 — Debra Bazemore filed her 2016 personal financial disclosure today, nearly four months after it was due. When we called last week, she said she’d just learned it was overdue when the state ethics commission sent her a late notice. Bazemore said a campaign aide was supposed to have filed the disclosure as well as a campaign finance report due in February. The two filings cost her $250 in late fees.