We wanted you to be the first to know because we need your help to call on Gov. Deal to respond to these requests fully and in a timely manner.
Why not just turn this matter over to the state ethics commission?
Because the ethics commission has proven to be completely toothless when it comes to investigating Gov. Deal.
We’ve learned in just the past 19 days that in 2011, Gov. Nathan Deal’s office worked behind the scenes to hire a hand-picked ethics chief, who is now accused of working directly with the governor’s office to remove or destroy the governor’s financial documents during an open investigation. She then bragged, “now the governor owes her” for solving his legal problems.
The problem is so serious that last week the state ethics commission held an emergency meeting to ask Attorney General Sam Olens to open an independent investigation.
Sadly, the state ethics commission is no longer an independent and trustworthy investigative body when it comes to Gov. Deal. Even the ethics commissioners now admit that.
In light of the new revelations, Better Georgia has decided to take a deeper look at a Gov. Deal’s recent sale of his business to a company that owes the state more than $74 million in back taxes.
$74 million could hire 1,400 teachers.
Over the July 4 holiday, Gov. Deal’s office quietly announced that the governor and his business partner sold Gainesville Salvage to a Texas-based company called Copart, Inc.
The Georgia Department of Revenue assessed Copart $74 million in back taxes in July 2011. The Texas salvage company reported last week that it still hasn’t paid those taxes. The company is trying to get out of paying a dime in taxes that it already owes.
What makes this unusual and worth your attention is that Gov. Deal sold his business, but he didn’t sell the land.
Gov. Deal and his business partner now pocket $20,000 each month from a company that owes the state big.
Will this steady drip of cash influence whether Gov. Deal’s new tenant will pay up all of its back taxes?
He claims to know nothing even though last year the Texas-based company hired four of Georgia’s best lobbyists. These lobbyists worked for Copart while legislation was pending to change the entire sales tax structure for their industry. Gov. Deal quickly signed the bill into law.
Now that the state ethics commission is too mired in partisan politics to function fairly, effectively and independently, we felt some responsibility to look deeper.
Read all of our Open Records Requests here: Open Records Requests.
Better Georgia will make this process as open and transparent as possible.
As Gov. Deal said earlier this year, “Our success as leaders of Georgia depends heavily on the public’s ability to trust us.”
We fully intend to hold him to those words.