by Bill Simon
By the time you get finished reading this, and absorbing the degree and depth of just how corrupt every level of government in Georgia is, here are some questions you might ponder in addition to the ones I posit:
1) For the corporate members who pay who-knows-what in annual membership to the Council for Quality Growth (“CQG”), do those dues make it all worth it that either members of your organization, or employees of your organization, may potentially be involved in either an actual criminal act and/or be part of the cover-up of a criminal matter in connection with promoting the Cobb County Braves stadium?
2) For the Braves’ organization set to come to Cobb County, does it please you that some of the very people you now hob-nob with know, exactly, who is behind, the people who committed the criminal act, and you’re okay with this?
3) In helping to bring “economic development” to Cobb County, are oaths of office to uphold the law superseded by this desire to bring “economic development deals” to a county?
4) If James Touchton did not engage in what Cobb County Resident/Fire Victim Susan McCoy has explicitly stated in her emails to Cobb County government personnel and commissioners (and, CCed to a variety of people), then one should expect a rather public, and clearly delineated, rebuttal by Touchton (please make sure the Political Vine email address is CCed if such a statement is issued).
Because, as you can see in the previously linked PDF of her email(s) to, first to Cobb County Manager David Hankerson yesterday (10-19-2015), and then Hankerson again this morning, Susan McCoy CCed every single Cobb county commissioner (thus making these emails and their contents instantly in the public domain when it is sent to a public official’s government email address), DA Vic Reynolds, and AG Sam Olens. (Thus the reason why I am publishing all this to you folks.)
As such, since Susan McCoy has explicitly stated in the 10-19-2015 email to Hankerson that: “James Touchton poured the gas in my yard after the groundbreaking for the reversible lanes and my video surveillance cameras showed a truck driving by my front yard 8 minutes after the fire was lit and they did not hit the breaks or call 911. It took me 2 minutes and 54 seconds to drive from Precinct 4 to my home so any vehicle that was here 8 minutes after my yard was lit on fire and came in two hours prior, was connected to the entire SEC complaint.”, one has to wonder that if such a statement was categorically false, wouldn’t Mr. Touchton immediately seek to neutralize the effects of such a statement? After all, it’s one’s professional reputation on the line.
5) When a state such as Georgia has as much intricately-connected corruption that covers-up criminal acts, this does not just appear at the local county level, but is directly connected to the AG’s office as also participating in the corruption and cover-up. At what point does it take the Ga Legislature to get off its effing asses and seek to remedy these issues? And don’t freaking whine to me about “But, Bill, what I am s’posed to do? I just take whatever pile of sh*t the Chamber or the Speaker or the Lt. Governor or the Governor gives me and I am allowed to only play with that pile, and not ask questions. Also, I’m really too much of a coward, but don’t tell anyone that because I like my freebies and the fact that all these lobbyists love me completely!!!”
So that I can be very streamlined in the story, I’m going to give you all the dots and all the connections I know about that are necessary to begin to understand the deeply embedded levels of corruption in this state and Cobb County:
Susan McCoy: Cobb County attorney who challenged the Braves deal by attending a Cobb County Commissioners meeting and presenting to the Commission her viewpoint that the Securities and Exchange Commission may have a problem with the bond issuance by the county to finance their part of the new Braves Stadium.
One week or so after this presentation to the county commission, Susan’s picket fence had gasoline poured on it in the wee hours of the morning and it was lit-up. Little did the perpetrators of this act know that McCoy’s house had had cameras installed on it prior to the fire where some evidence was recorded, along with time stamps of the different events.
James Touchton: Director of Policy and Government Affairs for Council for Quality Growth (“CQG”)
Michael Paris: President & CEO of CQG and someone who just happens to reside in a home 7 houses down the street from Susan McCoy.
Tim(my) Lee: Cobb County Commission Chairman, who cares very little about telling the truth in any circumstance.
Vic Reynolds: District Attorney of Cobb County who, apparently, is unaware of what OCG 16-7-23(a)(2) declares to be against Georgia law, and whose office “investigators” are just too befuddled to bother performing the legal research required to identify the explicit criminal statute that was violated by someone in connection to this fire.
Sam Olens: Attorney General of Georgia and former Cobb County Commission Chairman and former Cobb County Commissioner, whose protege is Tim Lee. Olens may be best known for his unabashed ability to engage in lying publicly, engaging in deliberate violations of the Georgia RICO Act, not just this time, but this time as well as it relates to the corrupt Georgia Board of Regents in the Anthony Tricoli matter.
And then there is the infamous $20,000 fine levied by Fulton County Superior Court Judge Ural Glanville (that the taxpayers paid for his withholding of evidence in a civil lawsuit against the State of Georgia) against Sam Olens and his office for their deliberate cover-up of the existence of a memo that, had it been seen in court by the jury, would have a) resulted in a much higher award to Stacey Kalberman, as well as b) likely exposed the Governor and his henchmen to a criminal investigation had the memo been made public. (Which, of course, explains why Sam Olens repeatedly violate his oath of office…because he believes it is his duty under the Constitution of Georgia to keep evidence hidden in criminal and civil matters that would expose his clients to criminal investigations. His “clients” being every state level constitutionally-elected executive, as well as every state-level board, commission, or agency. Getting the picture now as to >why Georgia is the most corrupt state in the USA?)
Also, he is an AG who seeks to demonstrate how utterly incompetent he and his office is when it comes to carrying out a favor for a politician who worships the very ground that Sam Olens walks on (i.e., Senator Josh McKoon) in spending AG resources and taxpayer dollars bringing an 18-count criminal indictment forward against a state senator who got acquitted of all 18 counts in one fell swoop.
Yes, that is the Sam Olens everyone should be familiar with. Instead, too many effing people think Olens hung the moon and deserved the award he recently received from the Ga First Amendment Foundation for his (choke!) “Open Government” activities.
As an aside, giving a guy like Sam Olens this type of award is like giving Barack Obama a Nobel Peace Prize. That is, it becomes meaningless when something like that is done. (Kudos to GFAF ED Hollie Manheimer for demonstrating how low to go to devalue the work once performed in earnest by Charles Weltner.)
Though I digress when it comes to Sam Olens, the very fact that he is allowed to engage in the frequency of corrupt acts (not just incompetent, but deliberate corruption and violations of state law) is the very reason why corruption at the lower levels of Georgia government is encouraged to happen: Who will have the power or authority if the AG doesn’t give a damn? AG Sam Olens is the most corrupt elected official in this state, and he is responsible for the culture of corruption wherever it occurs in this state, at whatever level it happens.
Mike Plant: Atlanta Braves EVP and “man on the ground in Cobb” for the Braves.
Heath Garrett, Mitch Hunter, et al., associated with the 2013 campaign to get the county commission to approve of the Braves deal. I haven’t had a chance to ask Susan McCoy why Heath Garrett was included in her email as a CC, BUT I will propose one or all of these possible reasons:
a) It was one of Heath Garrett’s companies that Mitch Hunter worked for at the time of the push for the Braves (his companies have changed names multiple times over the years, so I’m not sure what the entity name was back in 2013), so Heath might have inside knowledge of who may have either set the fire, conspired to set the fire, or found out about it afterward the fire, and has not told anyone about it (just a possibility), and
b) Heath Garrett is the husband of Lee Garrett, editor of the Marietta Daily Journal, a publication that pretty much exists to ensure that cover-ups of such activity like torching someone’s property can occur at-will in Cobb County, and
c) Heath just happens to be the mastermind consultant behind getting DA Vic Reynolds elected in 2012…which points to a potential why as to Reynolds’ office may not having the stomach to actually engage in an investigation. Because the people who hired Garrett’s company to promote the Braves’ deal are some of the same people who financially-backed Reynolds in his election to be DA…and who are people who don’t likely give a damn about someone being traumatized by having their property damaged for publicly objecting to the Braves financing deal, and
d) Heath also just happens to be the consultant who helped Sam Olens get elected in 2010…which loops back to why Sam Olens doesn’t care about acts of a criminal nature in his very own county. Because the people that support Cobb County’s taxpayers’ footing the bill for the Braves’ stadium are the same people who hired Heath Garrett’s company to run the campaign in support of the Braves, who also financially support Sam Olens. (Thus looping me back to my point about the award the GFAF gave Olens for “courage” or some other such bullsh*t in enforcing Georgia’s Open Records laws…this man is the biggest and most corrupt coward in this state. But, that’s none of our business, is it? As long as the Braves move to Cobb and the county taxpayers are robbed of their money, who cares about a little illicit criminal activity like setting someone’s yard on fire?)
e) Not that this fact is related to Susan McCoy’s issue, but Heath also happens to sit as an appointed member of the State Ethics Commission, getting to decide who has broken state ethics laws and who has not. Why do we have an ethics commission that allows a political consultant to sit on it? Because we have FUBAR for a state legislature. (And, if you cannot figure out why that is a bad idea on your own, then you likely graduated from UGA.)
f) Also, Heath Garrett is also a lobbyist for Cobb County Government as per this MDJ article:
“Published May 28, 2014 04:00 AM
“MARIETTA — In a push by Chairman Tim Lee to ensure the county is ahead of the state’s legislative agenda, county commissioners have agreed to hire a local lobbying firm for a $168,000 annual contract.
“In a 4-1 vote Tuesday night, with Commissioner Bob Ott against, the Board of Commissioners hired Marietta-based Garrett McNatt Hennessey & Carpenter 360 as part of a budget item from the general fund for consulting services.”
“Garrett McNatt Hennessey & Carpenter 360 is led by Marietta attorney Heath Garrett, former chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson. (Full disclosure: Garrett’s wife, Lee Garrett, is general manager of the Marietta Daily Journal.)”
John Loud of Loud Security & Superior Plumbing owner Jay Cunningham: Two prominent Cobb County business owners who “spearheaded” the effort by the business community to get the Commission to approve of the Braves deal.
State Rep. Earl Ehrhart: The man identified to be THE man to bring the Braves deal to Cobb County and happily push the county commission to pursue the taking of Cobb County taxpayers’ money without them being able to have a say in that process. (Hey, Earl? Don’t ever try to claim yourself to be a “conservative” again. Because I’ll call you a liar to your face if you do.)
September 9, 2014: Susan McCoy addresses the Cobb County Commission to inform them that she has filed a complaint with the SEC over the Braves’ stadium funding.
September 18, 2014: In the wee hours of a Thursday morning, someone poured gasoline all along McCoy’s picket fence in her front yard and lit it on fire.
The cameras on Susan McCoy’s house could not pick-up the identity of exactly who set the fire at the time of the fire, but there were several clues demonstrated in the video segments as to who could have been involved.
Prior to this event, I am pretty sure Susan McCoy had absolutely no idea of who James Touchton was. She knew who Michael Paris was because they live in the same neighborhood, but I doubt that Susan personally knew who James Touchton was.
So, when you read in her two emails to Hankerson where she states (she does not “allege” it, but she states it as though it is a fact) that James Touchton is responsible for ‘pouring the gasoline” on her fence and lighting it on fire, the reason why she is using his name is because some of the Cobb-way insiders told her that Touchton was responsible.
No arrests have been made in connection with the act. Not much investigation effort has been made by Cobb County criminal investigators to find out who set the fire. And, the County’s lack of effort and investigation quality has led Susan to issuing these types of emails that inform a) the potential culprit(s), b) the potential conspirators behind the culprit(s), and c) people like me to communicate to people like you that something is vastly amiss in Cobb County government.
Now, whether Susan McCoy’s sources are correct or not, the BIG question is, IF James Touchton….and Michael Paris (Touchton works directly for Paris)….and any entities associated with the Council for Quality Growth did not have anything to do with the fire, then we should expect to see/hear about Susan McCoy receiving a lawsuit accusing her of libel, RIGHT?
Whether a lawsuit is filed against McCoy or not, I have to ask these questions:
Is it worth it to the members of the Council for Quality Growth to potentially have someone involved in your organization who believes in vandalizing property owned by political opponents? Of course, for all we know, the CQG may be entirely its own little “Cosa Nostra” where they DO engage in bribery, extortion, arson, etc. to achieve their political goals. Maybe there’s a special CQG Henchman School where everyone learns how to pour gasoline and light it on fire without catching yourself on fire. Dunno, I’m not a member.(Michael, is there a secret handshake for CQG? Or, maybe you folks just brand each other in a ritual ceremony of some sort at some nuclear electrical plant in the boonies, eh?)
I would ask Tim Lee a question, but he’s too frickin’ crooked and stupid to give a straight, honest answer.
To Mike Plant: Is it worth the Braves deal to know that someone torched someone else’s property in retaliation for daring to oppose the funding method? Are you so excited about the Braves coming to Cobb County that you not only don’t care that someone you might actually know who planned/engaged in the torching of someone’s property? But, for all I know, perhaps you yourself might, given the opportunity, engage in a similar activity as well for the thrill of it. Just wondering, you know, hypothetically speaking…
To Business Owners John Loud and Jay Cunningham: Does it trouble either of you to know that someone’s property got destroyed because they exercised their right to free speech to oppose the funding of the Braves’ stadium? Just, you know, wondering…
To Mitch Hunter: How about you, Mitch? What do you think of Susan McCoy’s accusation that James Touchton is responsible for torching her picket fence? You and James run in the same insider-circles, and you were paid to push the Braves to the Commission, so what is your unabashed opinion on this matter? Is it okay to destroy your political opponent’s property when you engage with them on a government matter?
To Heath Garrett: Heath, same question to you that I asked Mitch. Is it okay for someone to engage in acts of property destruction of people who oppose an issue before a government entity like the Cobb County Commission?
ALSO, Heath…is it okay for a “news publication” (sic) like the Marietta Daily Journal to also…kinda be involved in the cover-up of a criminal act? Even though the MDJ was all for the Braves coming to Cobb County and forcing taxpayers to foot the bill…is that “okay” to also provide cover for the perps and/or the people who may have been involved in a conspiracy to plan and execute such an event?
Just a few of the many questions I ponder the answer(s) to…