Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Atlanta Tea Party to sue Cobb, throw wrench into stadium deal with Braves

Posted By on Wed, Dec 11, 2013 at 4:53 PM

A group of Cobb County residents and activists will soon attempt to bring the Atlanta Braves' plan to build a new stadium deal in the 'burbs to a screeching halt.

Atlanta Tea Party Patriots are expected to file a lawsuit against the Cobb County Commission sometime during the next 10 days in hopes of stopping officials from spending public funds on the new stadium. Last month, county officials voted to contribute an estimated $300 million in taxpayer dollars to the new $672 million sports facility through local cash, car rental and hotel and motel taxes, and transportation funds.

Tea Party Patriots Co-founder Debbie Dooley, who criticized the stadium deal prior to Cobb's approval, told WSB-TV last night that the county's vote was an "unconstitutional use" of public money:

Dooley said the problem is the proposal uses almost $9 million a year from the general fund to help pay off the $300 million in bonds.

She calls it creative financing by the Cobb Commission.

"We believe the legal advice they received was on shaky ground," Dooley said.

Earlier this week, the Associated Press reported that Dooley and company considered options other than taking the county to court:

The coalition of opponents initially asked commissioners to postpone the Nov. 26 vote for a memorandum of understanding between the county and the team. Pellegrino says the next step is submitting a detailed list of questions that the MOU outline hasn't yet answered.

There's also the possibility of legal challenges for various components of the financing deal, including the plan to redirect existing property tax revenues to pay off stadium debt. Then, Dooley says, there's the task of going after the commissioners' jobs, first through recall petitions and, if that fails, when they're up for re-election.

"This is not over," Dooley said, "not by a long shot."

Dooley says that between five-to-ten plaintiffs, namely residents or activists, will join the lawsuit. Merry Christmas, Tim Lee!

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