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Political Vine: The Insider's Source on Georgia Politics

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Sandy Springs: The Barbarians Inside The Gate-Part 3

by Bill Simon

Chris Burnett – The Barbarian Banker

Chris Burnett was the top vote-getter in the $100,000 Wendell Willard Special Election held on May 24th, gathering 40% of a field of five contestants to fill the position vacated by Graham McDonald. The 2nd top vote-getter was Joe Houseman. Two of the other candidates quickly endorsed Houseman for the runoff.

Burnett is a community banker who works as the president of the Bank of Sandy Springs. Houseman is a pilot with Delta Air Lines.

So, on Burnett’s Facebook page and Website, he touts all of his “volunteer” work with Sandy Springs over the years. Folks, can we be honest here? The reason why people like Chris Burnett “volunteer” their time is to build their business….their banking business….their community banking business.

It is not for the “good” of their heart to help others. If it had been, he would not have spent 100% of his campaign time touting his “volunteer efforts.” So, any organization to which he’s a member of (e.g., chamber of commerce), that membership is likely paid for out of the bank’s marketing budget, and not his own, personal wallet.

On June 21st, Burnett won the run-off against Joe Houseman. Now, to understand why the latest addition to the city council is a Barbarian Banker, you need to understand who, exactly, Chris Burnett really is…and, who he really works for.

The Bank of Sandy Springs is part of a 3-bank holding company based in Marietta, Georgia.

Taking a line directly from the mother-website of https://www.firstlandmarkonline.com/: “First Landmark Bank is ‘A Family of Community Banks,’ including the Midtown Bank and Bank of Sandy Springs divisions, united to serve the Marietta/Cobb, Midtown Atlanta and Sandy Springs communities and throughout metro Atlanta.”

The holding company that is the umbrella entity above all 3 entities is called Landmarc Bancshares, Inc, based out of Marietta in Cobb County. Here is a link to its Board of Directors.

Note that the Chairman of the Board of LBI is John H. Moore. Moore’s legal specialty is that of real estate and rezoning law.

Now, you folks in Sandy Springs likely are not familiar with this guy. Not yet, anyway. But, chances are, either he or one of his underlings associated with the law firm of Moore Ingram Steele & Johnson, will soon be appearing before the Sandy Springs Planning & Zoning, and City Council, to argue for this or that rezoning.

With a guaranteed vote of one of the members of the SS city council in Chris Burnett for ANY project, Moore has an easy sell to any developer (Yes, John Moore, you are welcome for the free marketing mention of your skills).

And, its for damn certain a knucklehead like Wendell Willard would find no ‘conflict of interest’ for Burnett to sit on the council any time a Moore Ingram et al. rezoning is in front of it, would he?

Additionally, with people like Gabe Sterling and Rusty Paul, there are two additional ‘gimmes’ for any client of MISJ to cram a rezoning down the helpless throats of Sandy Springs’ taxpayers.

Conclusion

In a very odd coincidence, the mentality of Rusty Paul pretty much matches that of Cobb County’s Tim Lee. So, when you read newspaper articles about the two of them ‘negotiating’ on matters like the Braves’ game-day traffic and such…you need to keep this in mind: Neither of them are really looking out for the entities they supposedly represent. They will negotiate for, first, their own personal benefit, and then the public in Sandy Springs or Cobb County will have to be content with whatever scraps are left over.

Well, that’s a wrap of this edition of Sandy Springs: Where The Barbarians Are Already Inside The Gates, but stay tuned for future episodes.

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Today's Deep Thought

If I was the head of a country that lost a war, and I had to sign a peace treaty, just as I was signing, I'd glance over the treaty and then suddenly act surprised. 'Wait a minute! I thought we won!'







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