Monday, November 15, 2010

Perdue's legacy now includes questionable meetings with Ga. ports officials to boost personal businesses

Posted By on Mon, Nov 15, 2010 at 8:52 AM

Let me just cut my slice first here...
Gov. Sonny Perdue apparently can't wait to exit the governor's mansion in January and focus full-time on his bidnesses, which, unlike previous governors, he continued to oversee while in office.

According to the AJC's Dan Chapman, the governor and employees of his grain and trucking companies have spent several years laying the groundwork to take advantage of Savannah's lucrative ports once Perdue's second and final term ends.

From yesterday's AJC:

During the past three years, Perdue and his companies’ employees have tapped the expertise of state workers at the Ports Authority and the departments of economic development and agriculture several times to boost the governor’s grain and trucking businesses, according to documents obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution through the Georgia Open Records Act.[...]

State ethics law says a government official may “engage in no business with the government, either directly or indirectly, which is inconsistent with the conscientious performance of his governmental duties.”

Yasha Heidari, a former legal counsel to the State Ethics Commission, said Perdue violated that code.

“Looking at the plain text of the law, he is engaging in business with the government, either directly or indirectly. I believe he’s doing both,” Heidari said. “When you are in a position of public trust, and when you have a fiduciary duty to the public, and when you are using your position for personal benefit, that’s when it becomes ‘inconsistent with the conscientious performance of his governmental duties.’”

Perdue's spokesman says the governor was merely gathering readily available information, like any small businessman worth his or her salt would do.

Unlike your average businessman, Perdue recently stacked the ports authority board with appointees that include his cousin, 2002 campaign manager and his former chief operating officer.

Check out the full article, which includes e-mails between ports authority staffers and quotes from people who basically say the whole thing doesn't exactly scream "ethical behavior." (It does have a certain Nathan Deal-esque quality, no?)

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