Atlanta mayor still negotiating to buy church that Falcons don’t want

Yes, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed really really wants to build a Falcons stadium on his preferred south site, even if nobody else does. On Friday he announced triumphantly that Mount Vernon Baptist Church has lowered the requested price for its land from $20.4 million to $15.5 million — which is still $9.3 million more than the state can pay for it under state law, but hey, compromise!

No word from the state Georgia World Congress Center Authority on all of this yet, but apparently city chief operating officer Duriya Farooqui, Gov. Nathan Deal, and GWCCA director Frank Poe are all going on a trade mission to China this week, and Reed is hopeful they’ll be able to work something out during the trip. Or maybe find $9.3 million that someone inadvertantly left in the seatback pocket.


2 comments on “Atlanta mayor still negotiating to buy church that Falcons don’t want

  1. According to one member of Mount Vernon, Mayor Reed and Andrew Young both gave presentations to the church. Young promised a new park for the neighborhood while Reed told the church that he’d give them some land the city already owns and that they wouldn’t have to worry about that deal falling through because he appointed people he’s friends with to the appropriate approvals board. I hope somebody made a recording of this because even if it’s legal, it’s certainly of questionable ethics.

    Meanwhile, Friendship Baptist, the other church in this mess, has delayed the vote for three weeks so they can figure out how to best present the deal to the congregation. My guess is that they’re getting some outside help to create a high pressure slick presentation to pressure the members of the church to vote yes to the buy out. The fact that they feel the need to do this doesn’t bode well for the deal.

    And the alumni of Morris Brown College have gotten wind of the mayor’s plan to give some of the college’s land to the Friendship Baptist for their relocated church and they’re not too happy about it. On Sunday they occupied the front pews of Friendship’s services to send a message to the church that they won’t be bullied out of their land.

  2. Apparently the state law that the mayor claims is keeping him from paying Mount Vernon the price they want doesn’t actually say what he claims it says.

    http://www.politifact.com/georgia/statements/2013/aug/20/kasim-reed/mayors-claim-about-stadium-financing-no-touchdown/

    Which begs the question, is he simply trying to rip off the church or has someone higher up like Arthur Blank set the maximum price that they’re willing to pay and is using the incorrect interpretation of state law as an excuse?