Thursday, December 08, 2005

In the News


The big news in politics today is actually kind of non-political.  We mention it here mostly because the person involved was, at one time, a candidate for State Senate.  Of course, we’re talking about Jim Ivey and the ongoing GBI investigation into whether he more or less embezzled $40,000 from funds earmarked for the construction of a veterans’ memorial in the OC.

For once, we’re not going to jump to conclusions, but we will say this.  One of you crack editorial staff has had the somewhat dubious pleasure of dealing with Ivey in the past, and the allegations are definitely not outside the bounds of possibility.  In any event, if the GBI rounds up enough evidence, and the authorities bring actual charges, look for this to be a pretty messy case.

We would note however, that Ivey more or less owned up to doing it last night before the Oconee County Commission.  

“Ivey has publicly admitted that he may have used funds meant for the memorial inappropriately, apologized to donors and residents of the county and pledged to repay the money he withdrew from the account,” says the ABH.  (full story here)


Maybe one of the most interesting facets of the whole La Puerta del Sol mess is that you’ve got representatives from the two camps arguing over something that can easily be proven – namely, whether Cedar Shoals Drive is actually a commercial area or not.  In a letter Tuesday, Taco Bell fan Margaret Wood said, “Cedar Shoals Drive is not a business corridor, as you would have people think, as there is very little business on it at all, and what business there is down there exists near Gaines School Road. Near the proposed restaurant site there are only private businesses, such as real estate offices, dental offices, etc.”  A few points here, if you will.  Wood is pretty much right in asserting that most of the business on CSD is on the Gaines School Drive end, but guess what?  So is the proposed site for LPDS!  

And we’re not sure what the distinction is between “private businesses,” which Wood admits exist, and LPDS.  It’s privately owned, not a franchise, not a big box, so what’s the diff?

In today’s ABH, Jeff Scarbrough wonders the same thing.  Here’s what he’s got to say: “To say, as the letter did, that ‘Cedar Shoals Drive is not a business corridor’ and then say ‘Near the proposed restaurant site there are only private businesses, such as real estate offices, dental offices, etc.’ seems contradictory. Granted, there are no big-box retailers along that street, but business is business.”  (Full letter here)

Read the Scarbrough letter carefully, because he does as good a job as we’ve seen of isolating and answering most of the criticisms we’ve heard recently about LPDS.  

Just one other thing, though.  We’ve been meaning to touch on this for a few days.  If States McCarter has heard of other businesses interested in the site, doesn’t he owe it to the community to let us know who they are?  It would help the residents out, and as it is, it reeks of the same type of closed government we’ve been seeing up in Atlanta with respect to business development.

Day Laborers
Just one quick thing about the letter in today’s ABH about the day laborer roundup in the OC.  The writer hits the nail on the head, but in some ways, this debate kind of reminds us of one aspect of the whole poverty debate.  Everyone agrees that government, the private sector, and non-profit groups have a share in working towards a solution, but everyone is waiting for someone else to step up and start the ball rolling.  Somewhere, someone needs to show some real leadership on this, and many other issues.


Oconee Democrat said...

It is political and the shenanigans have been going on for some time. Ivey poisoned the park with his partisan embezzlement. Check out my blog for several background elements to this story.

Anonymous said...

oh, I think the Jim Ivey story is VERY politically important around these parts. In fact, it doesn't reflect very well on Sonny (who put him on the Lottery Commission) or Brian Kemp (who probably had something to do with that, too). In fact, Ivey was one of the very few Republican campaigners who lost and did not get tossed overboard and forgotten. So, he must have been deemed important to the OC Republicans (which are very much wed to the Clarke County Republicans).

Anonymous said...

which are very much in control of the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce

Anonymous said...

I can't help but snicker at this... there've been rumors that he was crooked for years, but I never credited them much. Now I take all my skepticism back, this is wonderful.


Dawg Corleone said...

FWIW, local radio station says he's paying back at least some of the money. the story is about halfway down the website

Hard to read with that pain-in-the-rear ALL CAPS TYPING, but it says he's stroked a check for almost $30,000.

Anonymous said...

His friends will come up with enough money to make this all disappear as quickly as possible.

Dawg Corleone said...

His friends will make this go away? I seriously doubt it. First of all, his supply of "friends" will dry up very quickly. That sound you're hearing right now is the rush of people scrambling to distance themselves from this mess. The idea that someone is about to hold a Jim Ivey telethon is laughable, and anyone advancing that notion is someone who has watched too many Michael Moore movies.

As for this being a political issue in Oconee County, maybe, maybe not. At worst, it means one group of Republicans will replace another. That's how politics are argued in the OC. The question isn't Republicans vs Democrats; it's Republicans vs Republicans, and Republicans win that one every time.

On a scale of 1-10 in terms of political import, this measures an 0.5. It's one guy screwing up and getting set to pay one hell of a personal price.

Publius said...

For once, I kind of agree with Dawg on this one. It's not exactly politics (although it involves a pretty big OC GOP insider), except the the extent that others' political fortunes are connected with Ivey, the most obvious example being the Gubner's appointment of him to the lottery commission.
Will Ivey hurt the Gub? Probably not, this is a pretty small issue on the statewide stage, it's a long time until November, and the headline "Key Perdue Fundraiser Investigated in Embezzlement Scam," or however it'll read is, sadly, pretty much what folks have come to expect from politicians anyway.
Still, a little damage control from the OCGOP and the Gubner's office is probably a good thing.

andyrusk said...

Word is, Ivey's lawyer Harry Gordon wrote the check, and mum's the word on where the dough came from. Willing to bet it's not Ivey, since American Express is after him for 15k, and he would rather steal to settle his debts.
Harry Gordon is an exceptional lawyer, by the way. He's represented a few folks I know. Listen carefully and you might be able to hear the slap on the wrist from here.
Although, IMHO, skimming 30,000 from a charitable organization is no different from pointing a .38 in somebody's face and taking their wallet.