by Bill Simon
Rusty Paul – Barbarian Numero Uno
As I now have to frequent Sandy Springs way more often than usual, I find myself having to be detoured all around the $220+ million money pit that is to become City Center. At the center of this pit is erected a crane. At one time, at the top of the crane, was the name of the crane’s owner/leasee: Holder Construction.
And, hearkening back to my earlier days of being involved in the construction industry in Georgia, combined with what I know about Rusty Paul and his professional representation of the wants and needs of companies like Holder Construction, I must ask a very simple question: DID the City of Sandy Springs actually get the lowest, honestly-bid RFP from Holder (and, whoever else is involved) for this project?
Because, you see, Ladies & Gentlemen, voters, and taxpayers of the City of Sandy Springs, Rusty Paul is the state registered lobbyist of the state association called Associated Builders & Contractors of Georgia (ABC-GA).
Here is Rusty’s lobbyist registration information: http://www.politicalvine.com/sandysprings/RustyPaul-Lobbyist-Info.pdf
The purpose of the entity called Associated Builders & Contractors is to help generate business opportunities for all its members. Nothing illegal or unethical about that.
Except when those “business opportunities” happen to be initiated and guided by…your very own state lobbyist…who is the Mayor of a city like Sandy Springs…well, then it has the potential appearance of resembling…a little something called racketeering. Potential things like…bid-rigging…RFP-rigging…all that comes to mind to wonder how ‘honest’ the government of SS really is when the Mayor of the City is a state lobbyist for the people whose livelihood relies on decisions facing that city?
Now, I know what you’re thinking…is there any official connection between an entity like Holder Construction and Mayor Rusty Paul? Guess it all depends on what you mean by “official” and “connection.” Because…Holder Construction has made multiple, publicly disclosed contributions to the Associated Builders & Contractors entity (here is a link to a PDF of their contributions).
But, for full disclosure, Holder is not the only business involved in the Association that contributed money to its PAC: Here is a live link to many contributors to the PAC.
AGAIN…let me be clear: The ABC-GA entity is legally allowed to participate in the electoral process. Nothing unethical about their PAC having members of its association contribute to it.
The questionable part comes-in with Mayor Rusty Paul pretending he’s just a “Good ‘ole Boy Mayor” shepherding the City of Sandy Springs through its growth phase, when, in fact, he has a direct interest in generating all the business he can generate for the members of the development, banking, and construction industries in his part of the world.
One wonders what Rusty gets paid per month for his work as “lobbyist” for ABC-GA, and how much he gets paid via his various other business entities from companies who are members of ABC-GA, and are beneficiaries of business contracts with the City of Sandy Springs? Seriously, what ELSE would explain Rusty’s welcoming attitude to allow every square inch of Sandy Springs to be developed, rezoned, and redeveloped (and to hell with the traffic people get stuck in)?
Well….by no stretch is Rusty Paul the only Barbarian engaged in Sandy Springs politics and government….there’s another one of recent note. And hereee’s….