A group of Cobb County residents challenged the county’s $397 million bond issuance for a new Atlanta Braves stadium yesterday. After six hours of testimony, Superior Court Judge Robert Leonard — who was appointed to the case after the first judge assigned recused himself for being a member of the Cobb County Chamber of Commerce — promised to make a ruling by the end of the month.
Even the group bringing the challenge admits that the case is a longshot: The charge is that the bond sale is illegal because it provides public money for a stadium that will be used for private benefit (if technically owned by the county), but courts have been overwhelmingly lenient in interpretations of what “public benefit” means. If the stadium project clears this hurdle, the county can sell bonds and start construction on the project, even though I feel like there’s something else that hasn’t been resolved yet … oh, right, whether or not the county will have to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on highway improvements to actually get people to the games. But there’s always time to worry about that later, when the only options are to pay the cost or to leave folks stranded in their cars miles from the stadium. Because that’s what leadership is all about.