Exclusive: Magnolia Trace Double Take: County Attorney Worked for Developer


Angry residents gave commissioners and the county attorney an earful back in December

Originally posted on CityStink
January 13, 2012
Appling, GA
By Hwy 221
The author, Al M. Gray is President of Cost Recovery Works, Inc., a provider of Cost Avoidance and Cost Recovery for America’s leading companies, businesses and governments desiring Superior Returns.
At the tumultuous Columbia County Commission meeting over the Magnolia Trace subsidized housing subdivision on December 6, 2011 City Stink videographer Jill Peterson caught WGAC radio talker Austin Rhodes lending sage advice to Columbia County Attorney Doug Batchelor here:

In case the audio was too poor for some readers, Rhodes said “From now on, you make sure that Mr. Batchelor has a standing order that if anybody like this comes in his office again – kick them out.“The double sounds of ‘Kaaa-Chinngg…” might have been ringing so loud in Batchelor’s ears that he missed Rhodes’ imperative.
As with most City Stink pieces, let’s seek guidance from the deed and court documents. Directives to mail executed sales documents to Mr. Batchelor appear on the warranty deed for the sale of the land on September 23, 2011 by Dorra LLC. To Magnolia Trace LLP recorded in Deed Book 7987 Page 196 and it looks like Mr. Batchelor signed as a witness on Page 197. Here are the delivery instructions:
PLEASE RETURN TO :
Douglas D. Batchelor
Hull Barrett, P.C.
7004 Evans Town Center Blvd., Suite 300
Evans, GA 30809
Directives to mail executed and recorded documents to Mr. Batchelor appear on the security deed from Magnolia Trace LLP on September 23, 2011 to Sterling Bank recorded in Deed Book 7995 Page 25. Here are the delivery instructions:
WHEN RECORDED MAIL TO :
Douglas D. Batchelor
801 Broad Street – 7th Floor
Augusta, Georgia 30901
Directives to mail executed sales documents to Mr. Batchelor appear on the Assignment of Rents from Magnolia Trace LLP on September 23, 2011 to Sterling Bank recorded in Deed Book 7995 Pages 35-39. Here are the delivery instructions:
WHEN RECORDED MAIL TO :
Douglas D. Batchelor
801 Broad Street – 7th Floor
Augusta, Georgia 30901
The warranty deed was recorded in the Columbia County Clerks office on September 26, 2011, with the security deed and assignment documents being recorded on September 29, 2011, apparently after being signed by Sterling Bank of Poplar Grove, Missouri and returned for recording. The assignment was re-recorded on October 10,2011 to include a missing exhibit.
The odyssey that began in the Spring of 2010 in Mr. Batchelor’s office looks to have concluded in his office in late September 2011 with Magnolia Trace LLC land purchase documents. Why were the developer’s purchase documents signed in county attorney Doug Batchelor’s presence? Why were the security deed and assignment papers directed to be returned to him after they were recorded? Does the county attorney usually become involved in closing developers’ property? The protesting citizens were told that the county had nothing to do with the sale of the Magnolia Trace property. Was this the truth? If so, why these delivery instructions? Was Mr. Batchelor serving two masters while garnering pay from both? Why are there no other local attorney’s work in evidence on the sale documents?
A decade ago a group of property rights activists was seeking support from Evans businesses in battling the Evans Town Center ordinance and thought a car dealer to be a likely ally. The manager very quickly asserted that he didn’t see that they had a problem, because the county attorney who wrote the ordinance was their attorney. Frankly, that story wasn’t believed then – there was no substantiation of it – and is hard to believe now.The county video of the December 6 meeting shows uncharacteristically halting, stammering, and searching by Doug Batchelor. That was hardly reassuring.
Earlier this week, the report of the special outside counsel engaged to explore ways of halting Magnolia Trace construction was released. It said that the development cannot be stopped.
The legal work on the other side in advance was just too good to overcome.
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One Comment

  1. Have you asked Mr. Batchelor these questions?

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