Conservative activists around the Atlanta area say they are wary of a number of property deals completed near the location of the proposed new Atlanta Braves stadium in Cobb County.
Tea party activists Debbie Dooley and Jack Staver have both asserted that they are gathering information about land deals near the $672 million mixed-use site in anticipation of mounting political opposition to the public-private project.
Dooley told the Atlanta Business Chronicle Tuesday that she is particularly suspicious of the sale of three large pieces of property adjacent to the new stadium site, near Circle 75, that traded hands nine days before the stadium announcement was made on Nov. 11. The new stadium would be located at Circle 75 and Windy Ridge Parkway, northwest of the I-75 and I-285 interchange. She said she expects to put together the same coalition that was successful in opposing to the regional TSPLOST transportation initiative in 2012.
Staver, leader of the Georgia 9/12 Project and former chairman of the Transportation Leadership Coalition, which successfully opposed TSPLOST, told the Daily World that his group has already put in a Freedom of Information Act request with Cobb County about the deals.
“The problem with this thing is that it stinks,” said Staver of the land sales. “They say nobody knew [about the stadium deal]. That’s not true. All sorts of things have been going on for months prior to the announcement.”
Staver added that while he believes the stadium could drive economic growth, he thinks Cobb County’s politicians are being dishonest about the true motivation for building the stadium and moving the team to the area.
“Who knows what’s the truth right now?” he said. “Nobody does. It’s easy to go out and make statements, but we want some facts.”
Dooley said that the activists will be mobilized prior to Nov. 26 when the Cobb County Board of Commissioners is expected to vote in favor a 30-year memorandum of understanding with the Braves.
The director of the Cumberland CID told WXIA-TV earlier this week that there’s nothing suspicious about the land deals.
“I just don’t know how people could be making investments based on information very few people knew about,” Tad Leithead said. He says the stadium information was a closely kept secret when those property deals were made.
The news of a possible protest from Cobb County comes as Atlanta City Councilman Michael Julian Bond sent a plea to the Braves Monday, introducing a bill that would encourage Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed to continue talks with the team. Though the resolution would have no binding legislative consequences, it passed 11-2. Bond said it was designed to send a message.
“We need to present in a public fashion that we are serious about having the Braves remain in Atlanta,” Bond told the Associated Press. “We can’t wait for the other team to score.”
District 8 Councilwoman Yolanda Adrean and District 2 Councilman Kwanza Hall were the only two members of the Council who voted against it.
“I don’t know if Cobb County will get the votes through, but I just think it’s wiser for us … to just wait and see what happens with the negotiations with Cobb County,” Adrean said.