Atlanta City Council Members Call for Third-Party Audit on Gulch Deal

Atlanta City Council members Amir Farokhi, Michael Julian Bond, J.P. Matzigkeit, Natalyn Archibong, Jennifer Ide, Andre Dickens, Dustin Hillis and Matt Westmoreland introduced an ordinance Monday calling for a third-party audit of the Gulch deal. The proposed legislation directs the city’s Chief Financial Officer to contract an outside accounting or consulting firm to analyze documents and figures related to the project and offer an independent report of its projected outcomes.
The bill’s author, Council member Amir Farokhi, said the decision to introduce the legislation is in response to overwhelming constituent demand.
“We heard Atlanta loud and clear,” Farokhi said. “Hundreds of constituents have called, e-mailed, or come to City Hall to weigh in on the Gulch deal. The overwhelming feeling is that while residents want to see the Gulch developed, they don’t feel fully informed and want more assurances that the framework is in the public’s best interest.”
Farokhi believes that the size of the project and public fatigue from taxpayer funding of mega-projects provides a mandate for deeper scrutiny.
“We are talking about potentially $1.75 billion in taxpayer assistance,” he said. “There are many benefits to the project but we’re failing residents if we make a decision without hearing from more experts.”
Council member Michael Julian Bond, a co-sponsor, added to this sentiment.
“This project has the potential to change the face of Atlanta for untold decades,” Bond said. “On such an enormous proposal, we need to avail ourselves of the best minds to ensure that we are fully informed.”
Earlier this month, the city of Atlanta announced that it had reached an agreement with CIM Spring St. to redevelop the Gulch, a 40-acre site in downtown Atlanta that sits on what some consider prime real estate in the city. The Atlanta City Council did not vote on the deal at Monday’s full council meeting.

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