A new report from the Associated Press shows that Nathan Deal has gone from rags to riches while serving as our state’s governor.
The man in charge of managing the governor’s business describes the governor’s personal finances this way: “things have sort of been fixed.”
Boy, have they been “fixed.”
The governor’s own records show that his change of fortune didn’t happen independently from his administration.
A nine-month Open Records investigation by Better Georgia reveals that Gov. Deal’s chief-of-staff attempted to hide his boss’s multi-million dollar auto salvage deal with one of Georgia’s biggest tax debtors.
Download the report here: Emails reveal controversial business deal influenced by governor’s staff
After Gov. Deal took office, the Georgia Department of Revenue conducted an audit of one of the governor’s auto salvage competitors. The Department of Revenue ruled that the Texas-based corporation owes the state nearly $74 million in back taxes and fees.
And after being hit with that $74 million tax bill, Gov. Deal then sold his auto salvage business to that company and continues to collect $20,000 per month in lease payments. He informed news reporters that he will not pursue the $74 million tax bill.
Last summer, Gov. Deal told the public that the business transaction was “walled-off” in a blind trust.
But the man who runs the governor’s blind trust was not copied on emails about the transaction. Instead, it was Chief-of-Staff Chris Riley and other members of the governor’s administration who communicated with the governor’s mergers-and-acquisitions attorney.
Lack of Transparency
We want to know more about this business deal, and we believe the public deserves transparency.
In October, we asked the Department of Revenue to turn over all public records related to Nathan Deal, Copart and changes to the tax code that may have benefited them both.
Instead of turning over the records, DOR stalled for 163 days.
Finally, at the end of last month DOR told us that it would cost nearly $4 million to see additional records. And it would take 8 more months to produce the records.
The timing of the audit of Copart, the fact that the $74 million tax bill remains unpaid, and the ability of Gov. Deal to become an overnight millionaire from the sale of a troubled and in-debt company are all facts that deserve scrutiny.
Gov. Deal should order the full release of all documents related to Copart today.