It was only a matter of time before the Cobb County stadium plan for the Atlanta Braves got its very own lawsuit, and now a legal challenge looks imminent, thanks to Atlanta Tea Party Patriots:
Channel 2’s Lori Geary spoke to Atlanta Tea Party Patriots founder Debbie Dooley, who said it’s about public money going into a private enterprise.
“We believe this is an unconstitutional use of the money, the taxpayer money,” Dooley told Geary.
The “unconstitutional” bit is apparently the $9 million a year from existing property tax surcharges that would be extended past their current sunset dates in 2017 and 2018; Cobb County officials say this is existing tax revenue and so not subject to a public vote, while Dooley’s group begs to differ. I’m anything but an expert in Georgia constitutional law, so let’s turn to WSB’s quote from someone who is:
Attorney and part-time Fulton County State Court Judge Louis Levenson told Geary the taxpayers could have legal standing.
“Being around the court system for a long time, I’m astonished the decisions people make without having thought it through. I’m not saying this wasn’t well thought out, but the nuances of this could very well result in litigation for a long time,” Levenson said.
Of course, there’s nothing stopping Cobb County from moving ahead with the deal while the lawsuit proceeds. Unless the Tea Party can get an injunction, that is. That hastily scrawled-upon napkin better be made of Bounty.
In related news, meanwhile, it turns out that Cobb County Commission chair Tim Lee has a day job running the website for an artificial turf manufacturerthat could end up bidding for contracts at a Braves stadium — something he wasn’t required to reveal before the stadium vote, because Georgia’s disclosure laws are, as Atlanta Magazine puts it, “less-than-rigorous.”