Mark Doug Duncan’s Words – Butler Service is Sweet

Political Skunks

Opinion by The Arrowflinger

The Butler did it – he did it a lot!

Just when we thought Georgia and Columbia County Politics could not get more absurd, along came District One Commissioner Doug Duncan’s star-studded(oops, embarrassing word choice there!)crossed Georgia state-level endorsers. You wouldn’t trust them in an outhouse with a muzzle on, from Johnny Isakson (more later) down the line to Ben Harbin (more on him, later, too). All lined up behind this guy:

Columbia County District 1 Commissioner Doug Duncan

Perhaps the most innovative scoundrel on that list did something never seen before in Georgia, but first some background is in order. Let us travel down the road a bit with the infamous Erick Erickson for an introduction to the preliminaries in 2009..

Georgia Speaker Glenn Richardson two weeks ago announced he had tried to commit suicide. The Speaker went through a very messy divorce. His best friends were all killed in one day in a plane crash together. He had undertaken an affair with a lobbyist that did not work out well. He admitted to suffering severe depression. People were willing to give him a second chance.

But then his ex-wife spoke out. She had the text messages and voicemails of a belligerent Speaker threatening to use his power to destroy her. What’s more, additional revelations into the Speaker’s affair showed that he might have used his power to help his mistress’s company — Atlanta Gas Light — get some sweet legislation passed.
While many had wanted to give the Speaker the benefit of the doubt, his ex-wife’s television interview and the new revelations sealed the deal. He had to go.

Under Georgia law, when the Speaker prematurely leaves office, the Speaker Pro Tempore automatically becomes Speaker until an election can be called within the House of Representatives. That election must happen in around 100 days.
Meeting in back rooms, late into the night, and with the Governor, a deal was hammered out. …..

Over in Carrolton, a young, diminutive Georgia House member, Mark Butler had enough time watching the Speaker’s sexual antics and the firestorm that consumed Glenn Richardson and plotted a “safer sex” option – he had an affair with a state-paid lobbyist!

Tom Crawford, of the Georgia Report, picked up where Erick Erickson left off – the resignation of Speaker Richardson – continuing down the trail of the Butler who did it.

The disclosures kept coming. A Carrollton newspaper and an Atlanta TV station reported that Rep. Mark Butler (R-Carrollton) had an affair that lasted more than two years with a woman who worked as a lobbyist for the University of West Georgia.

When Butler learned that his girlfriend’s job had been eliminated, he got on the phone with a university official and warned him that he “had ticked off a whole political party” by dismissing the lobbyist. (In fairness to Butler, he was unmarried during his relationship with the university lobbyist.)

Now this old Arrowflinger was simply floored by that! Imagine it! Over in Augusta, they have a Congressman fully prepared and versed by his kin folks to BYOB – Bailout Your Own Bank and now in the Labor Commissioner’s office we have Mark Butler, endorser of Doug Duncan, doing another BYOB – Bring Your Own Booty. In both cases Georgia taxpayers got to pay for the pleasure!

Maybe Doug Duncan and his pal, Columbia County District 3 Commissioner Trey Allen, compatriots at the same temporary labor and placement firm, can get a county or state contract to supply their political brethren with risk free babes. We are sure Mark Butler can grease the skids at the Labor Department.

Whew…… and just think! Doug Duncan is running ads branding opponent Pam Tucker as “Drama” when his Butler is a past master of drama.

-AF

Last episode in this Series – Doug Duncan Proxy’s Attack on Women

Next in Series – Paying the TPole Tax the Harbin Way

Doug Duncan Proxy’s Attack on Women

Opinion by The Arrowflinger

‘I felt like I was being raped with my clothes on – Nydia Tisdale

Columbia County Commission Chairman candidate Doug Duncan best try to hide the high profile state officials who are trying to lord over Columbia County Politics with their endorsements from on high. They might smell up his coronation before he gets there.

First up, we have to address the lamentable Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, who should be a lighting rod of opposition among women.

Hudgeons was speaking at a GOP rally at Burt’s Pumpkin Farm in Cumming, when he spied Nydia Tisdale on the front row videoing him. He called her out whereupon a beefy off-duty officer forcibly removed Tisdale from the meeting as Labor Commissioner Mark Butler was speaking (another Duncan proxy with issues – more later), Tisdale had permission to be there.

“Nydia Tisdale, a citizen journalist, was invited to a GOP rally in Atlanta, but State Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens demanded that she (and not other, more friendly press) stop recording his speech; when she refused, he summoned a deputy who violently arrested her and then charged her with felony obstruction after she elbowed him while he was bending her over and pressing his groin into her buttocks.”

The City of Cumming wound up paying Tisdale $200,000 in damages.

Jim Galloway put it best – “Within the hour, she would be screaming, bent double over a store counter in her black sun dress, with her arms twisted behind her and a deputy close on her haunches.

All because she had pointed her video camera at Republican candidates. Not a proud moment for a political party in need of female support.”

An old Arrowflinger, who keeps up with wayward politicos, thought Columbia County women would like to know.

Next up in the Duncan Proxy Series – The guy who one-upped resigned-in-disgrace Georgia House Speaker Glenn Richardson.

-AF

Austin Rhodes’ Wag the Dog Strategy on Pam Tucker

Opinion by The Arrowflinger

When things got too hot for Bill and Hillary Clinton with the Monica Lewinsky scandal in 1998, they trotted out a time-tested diversion – attack a defenseless made-up “Enemy” to divert public attention away from them! It was a classic Wag the Dog effort with one bombing made on a Sudanese aspirin factory.

As Election season 2018 neared, Augusta Radio Talk Show Host Austin Rhodes needed to Wag the Dog too. With a father in Law, later mother in law, who foisted a financially ruinous school bond in Lincoln County to fund a oversized new high school built under one of those nefarious Guaranteed Maximum Price Contracts by R.W. Allen approaching property tax revolt proportions, Rhodes must have fretted it would come up. Beyond that, with a daughter employed by Congressman Rick Allen and a Brother-in-Law county Engineering Director, with an amusing history of political gamesmanship himself, in the mix of an upcoming hot Columbia County Chairman’s race, Austin Rhodes picked an old opponent, former Columbia County Georgia House candidate Joe Mullins, to be his Wag the Dog victim of the hour, minute, week and month. Rhodes went out incessantly for weeks tearing into Mullin’s personal life, intruding into a Florida political race Mullins had entered, and basically acting crazy in doing it.

He had to do something to occupy dead air and too many issues could hit on Friends and Family, while he awaited in the grass to ambush Pam Tucker’s race for the Columbia County Chairmanship while heaping glory on the Establishment’s choice, first District Commissioner Doug Duncan.

The Columbia County Banking scandal is a NATIONAL STORY because the bank involved was the flagship bank of the American Banking Association (ABA). Another bank, the winning bank and an ABA member itself, got tricked out of getting the business. There was an obvious coverup and when it was challenged on the air by yours truly in 2014, the Bank ran a whole slew of ads braying “Doing the RIGHT THING!” Austin and his employer Beasley Broadcast Group must have made a fortune! Just Friday afternoon, Austin Rhodes started his attack on your old arrowflinger in an epic call in, that many wish he would replay.

Says here he doesn’t have the guts.

Remember this term out of the Arrowflinger School of Political Theory – DODI. If you are Friends and Family of Austin Rhodes, you get a do over. If you are not, you get DONE IN.

All of Austin’s politically active, public figure relatives mentioned above are public figures with accessible records. Austin draws financial benefit and security in ways that can, and will, be shown. Over here is an old construction auditor who has heard every insult invented with a thick hide and quiver full of ideas. Meanwhile, Rhodes attacks aimed this way can, and will redirect to impact his cronies tenfold.

And for the cronies feeding money and rhetorical “ammunition” for Austin to sling, be very, very careful. What you think is an “Gotcha Al!” might ricochet into a “Aiieee…that HURT!…..Somebody make it STOP!”

This ain’t an illusion. It is the key to many vaults and even more laughs. It is time to laugh and worry about money later.

Carry on.

Columbia County B.Y.O.B. Finances

OPINION by The Arrowflinger

What you are about to hear in this poor quality audio recording is the last three minutes of The Austin Rhodes Show of Friday, May 18, 2018. Your arrowflinging protector shook things up, more than a little, one might think.

When GB&T bank board members Rick Allen and James G. Blanchard were mentioned in the present tense, it was in the context of a meeting with law enforcement several years ago, before the bank merged with South State Bank and that Board of Directors was disbanded. Also, neither was a voting member of the Board with management oversight.

As to former Columbia County Commissioner Scott Dean, who was the acting chairman of the county finance committee, he actually did not object AT THE AWARD MEETING, but just listen to what he said in making the astounding motion to let Ron Cross and Charlie Allen vote!

Dean’s conviction was on charges unrelated to this banking vote. Judge Blanchard being the judge who put him in prison and would not grant a retrial despite recanted testimony is more a demonstration of how weird events get twisted in Columbia County. The Arrowflinger tried to get Judge Blanchard, a former family business partner, to discuss this ugly banking matter back in 2014, but somehow we had trouble connecting. There is more there, perhaps, for a later date.

With respect to Edward J. Tarver, he was a member of the GB&T Audit Committee in 2008 and 2009, before becoming the US Attorney on December 17, 2009. Tarver had audit responsibility for the 2008 Financial Statements, which later became the basis for the Columbia County bank selection in April 2010. About a month before his nomination, The United States Securities and Exchange Commission sent the GB&T Chief Financial Officer Darrell Raines a letter expressing questions, possibly requiring a restatement of those 2008 financials.

Imagine that! A sitting US Attorney’s immediately preceding bank Audit Committee work was questioned by the SEC! None of this seems to have dawned on Columbia County Finance. Or did they know? Or did one of them know?

As for Rick Allen, perhaps he can confer with his cousins who owned 40% of GB&T and his brother, the GB&T shareholder who delivered the bank a timely $100 million cash infusion and draft a banking bill like he wrote about in the Augusta Chronicle last year. We have the perfect title. We can call it the Rick Allen B.Y.O.B bill…..BAIL OUT YOUR OWN BANK bill.

-AF

 

The Boardroom Trail to the Talisman

OPINION BY The Arrowflinger

Talisman – an object held to act as a charm to avert evil and bring good fortune.

The revelation to the American public that its establishment media is biased, lazy, and protective of their turf surely by now must extend to the Augusta contingent of “recognized” media. After all, activists brandishing Georgia Open Records Requests and publishing their own stories reinforced by documents offering obvious proof got too big to ignore between 2011 and 2013.

By 2014, you might think their “professional” inquisitiveness would have taken hold, but the Metro Spirit took resolute opposition to perceived competition to extremes. When the reformers started investigating the Reynolds Street Parking Deck boondoggle the Metro Spirit cover was one of black helicopters over the deck. Somehow, they later were acknowledging the discovery of liens on the property under the parking deck as common news. There is no way they would admit that the City Stink blog systematically awoke Augusta to such a ridiculous circumstance without THEM! The exception was Metro Spirit Writer and radio talk show host Austin Rhodes occasionally would provide some coverage to the alternative media, most recently with the absurd Tractorgate Scandal that saw Augusta men and Equipment secreted three counties away for work on private property of an ex-Augusta contractor.

The Columbia County Commission meeting of May 6, 2014 was covered by Spirit reporter Eric Johnson, who promptly disregarded the directly presented challenge to then Finance Committee Chairman Ron Thigpen’s bonus with Georgia Bank and Trust. That bank was awarded a highly irregular mass banking deal with the county, with Thigpen recusing himself from the commission vote.

Instead Johnson decided to interject his own bias and implied that the real subject was instead Chairman Ron Cross, then up for reelection. The acknowledgement of all of our enhanced “time and attention on this stuff” was very true, however. He even got handed key documents in the hope that he would pick up on the story. No way Jose.

Collateral Metro Bank

Astounding. Georgia was number one in mortgage fraud in the USA for 5 years from 2000 to 2004, leading to a tsunami of bank failures in 2008 through 2010, losing 1/5 of the state’s banks, yet NOBODY can come to suspect any alligators in their local banking swamp. The “media” ad sales blindfold “reporters.” “Their” advertisers cannot be corrupt because they pay the media’s way.

What the Spirit’s Johnson blew off was a chance to investigate how Columbia County’s cash infusion into his bank may have boosted Thigpen’s bank bonus. Had he pursued it he might have found the Talisman. From there an epic of financial gamesmanship might have been his prize!

In this burgeoning saga, the Talisman is a man, recently the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, Mr. Edward J. Tarver. When the bank executive compensation contracts were changed for 2008 and 2009, before his appointment as US Attorney, Tarver sat on Georgia Bank and Trust’s Audit Committee. (Page 23)

For the bank, Tarver had to do absolutely nothing to ward off scrutiny from investigators. All he had to do was sit in his office. Mr. Tarver is a fine man by all accounts and is respected but the simple fact is that he could be a cross between Nelson Mandela and Billy Graham and be the Talisman. Common sense says that one look at documents signed by Tarver or approved by his bank audit committee would make federal agents turn away. That is just how things are in the real world.

He wasn’t the only well-positioned protector of the bank, either. Someone in Authority upon seeing this picture of the Bank Board in 2007, the year before the financial world came unraveled might have whistled and exclaimed with eyes as large as saucers, “these are the most powerful people in Augusta!”

The story almost sounds straight out of Washington DC and the recent news bombshells over the conflicts between the FBI and Department of Justice up there.

In Columbia County’s banking controversy, the bankers are off enjoying their stock sale proceeds but the county finance department and the finance committee of the County Commission will now have to explain why they have been incompetent, or far worse.

May be no Talisman for District One Commissioner Doug Duncan, who is running for the Chairmanship of the Columbia County Commission with the backing of those same bankers. He had the chance to investigate 3 years ago, shortly after taking his seat, but dropped the ball. Former GB&T Chairman Robert Pollard, Former GB&T Chief Operating Officer Ron Thigpen, and Former GB&T Voting Board Member Larry Prather are listed as Duncan Supporters.Former GB&T shareholder and current Columbia County Commission Chairman Ron Cross, who voted for the suspect award of the county primary banking contract to GB&T, is said to be a Duncan contributor.

Law enforcement on three levels of government has the greater responsibility of having turned a blind eye until the Statute of Limitations expired, possibly allowing financial thieves to escape prosecution.

There are no Pulitzer Prizes that will be awarded to Augusta “journalists” from this scandal, either. The artwork was nice, though!

-AF

Banking Hard Right into a Wrong Place

OPINION by the Arrowflinger

Well, Well, Well Scott Johnson, What an interesting set of developments since we last talked. Back then, y’all couldn’t identify the Commission Finance committee member who essentially redirected a huge 5 year Columbia County banking contract to Georgia Bank and Trust after First Citizens Bank won that bid, but lately you have gotten really good at finding and disclosing facts about Pam Tucker. Austin has insinuated that you were “looking for dirt” on Ms. Tucker during her vacation, her conversation got very efficiently recorded and replayed, and there was a further dust-up involving a banker. Heaven knows that wasn’t one of the GB&T bankers. No one dare do that back when the banking contract went down. A majority of the commissioners, including 2 out of three on the Finance Committee, were GB&T shareholders then, including one who was the Chief Operating Officer of the bank!

What are the new Developments?

Well, that bank wound up being the 2016 flagship of the whole American Banking Association, when its CEO Dan Blanton became chairman of ALL of the bankers. The ABA was regaled with a story we all heard, GB&T’s claimed focus of “Doing the Right Thing.” Based upon What I have seen there is absolutely no question the executives of that bank were doing the right thing – for themselves! Your doings are trickier, because your finance committee and finance department were “Doing Tha’ Thang Right!”

In the last 15 months the United States Attorney of the Southern District of Georgia very arguably an unwitting protector of the entire mess, left his post after 8 years and was replaced just 6 months ago.

In the last 15 months GB&T sold out at a premium of around $49 per share, up from the dark $9 per share days of 2009, just before your secret finance committee member swung over $100 million of Columbia County’s money into rescuing them.

Meanwhile, the employees of 83 percent of area banks who didn’t work for that bank, many who lost everything in 2009 and got no rescue from you all, and the 100 GB&T employees who lost their jobs after years of propaganda will read this with keen interest. What is worse, we read that you are quoted promising retaliation against one of them for questioning not only Tucker’s departure but that of another departed division director as well.

This was and is a national scandal and you are sitting in the middle of it.

Columbia County Finance got caught “Doin’ Tha’ Thang Right” but the taxpayers didn’t even get a peck on the cheek.

They ain’t gonna be happy with YOU!

An Ice Storm Came to Columbia County Government

OPINION by The Arrowflinger

July 22, 2014 found Columbia County Administrator Scott Johnson in the studio of Augusta radio station WGAC for an hour on the Austin Rhodes Show. The general topic of discussion that day was the upcoming Special Purpose Local Option Sales tax or SPLOST. An Arrowflinger called in to discuss the SPLOST projects and to opine that discussion was needed as to how secure the bank accounts into which SPLOST funds would be deposited were. (More on that to come.)

Toward the end of the show talk shifted to praising long-time Columbia County Emergency Management Director, Pam Tucker for her astute planning and the county’s superb response to the Winter 2014 ice Storm. Listen and admire the warmth, for these days the only warmth is emitting from anger, as Administrator Johnson and now Former Director Tucker are in the midst of a political war being fought by Columbia County District 1 Commissioner Doug Duncan against Tucker. Both are running for the Chair of the Columbia County Board of Commissioners, along with Developer Mark Herbert.

The way Columbia County has gravitated toward rank cronyism, perhaps we should call it the Columbia County Board of Collusioners.

May 22 is Election Day. May Columbia County elect the best candidate, or,more providently, the least damaging one. An emergency management professional has the training to do that.

Maybe Columbia County should hear how highly her current antagonists once regarded Pam Tucker.

Are Herbert or Tucker any Match for THE ARMADA?

OPINION by The Arrowflinger

Rarely, if ever, has there been such a display of raw, naked, affluent power as this fundraiser handbill for a candidate for the Chair of the Columbia County Commission.

This invitation to a (fundraising) “Event” for Doug Duncan, now the District 1 Commissioner, might have dissuaded Mark Herbert and Pam Tucker from even qualifying. It didn’t.

It is breathtaking. This is a crew perfectly capable of raising $400,000 or even more, if they want to maintain their ironclad control of Columbia County.

They do.

Over here one finds fellow Commissioners Trey Allen, Gary Richardson, and Bill Morris. Not an overt sponsor on this invite, current Chairman Ron Cross has been cited in the Augusta Chronicle as donating heavily to Duncan’s campaign. On it we find stalwart backers of Cross from earlier campaigns like Jean Garniewicz and the Ivey Brothers.

Over there one sees the names of three voting members of a board of directors of a bank, that kinda, sorta got a timely backdoor bailout from Columbia County, Robert Pollard, Ron Thigpen and Larry Prather.

A bunch of the rest are developers, realtors, and builders.

Of course, no campaign endorsement list for a Columbia County incumbent politician worth his, or her, salt is complete without Sheriff Clay Whittle. He has been at this for decades now, hasn’t he?

The most amazing aspect of this list are the power brokers from old Augusta throwing their weight into this contest. State Department of Transportation Board member (former Chairman) and former Augusta Commissioner Don Grantham, former Georgia Representative Barbara Sims, and former State Department of Transportation Board member and former Augusta Commissioner Bill Kuhlke are on this list. Throw in names like McKnight and Hull – both of those last names emblazoned on the new Georgia Cyber Center for Innovation and Training in Augusta – and you get a stunning array of power.

This election might have been over before it started.

But then again…

The political seafloor is littered with invincible armadas that suddenly developed holes in their Hulls.

-Arrowflinger

The JERK of Lincoln County?

On Tuesday April 19th, 2016 the Lincoln County Republican Party held a candidate forum at the public Library. Your Arrowflinger was there and asked the candidates very tough questions. Former House District 117 Representative Lee Anderson, now running for the Senate District 24 seat, and his wife Donna were seated the next row in front. When Lee got up to speak my questions were pointed at his previous record of voting for double digit fee, rate, and tax increases on us. Donna turned and called me a “jerk” numerous times, although the only clearly audible one was at the end, when I loudly challenged Lee to take further questioning.

Now, the point being made is that we go broke very fast paying double digit cost increases when our incomes are increasing less than 2%. Lee and Donna have a solution to this dilemma though. You see, Lee’s first cousin Superior Court Judge David Roper heads the guardian ad litem program in Augusta which became a national scandal because of the guardians’ ad looting. Now Donna is in that stable of ad lootems, supplementing their family income. We don’t have that option, do we?

None of the other candidates or their parties reacted with anger at my tough questions, only the one person divorcing parents would expect to stay calm.

Later radio talker Austin Rhodes quipped that the Andersons don’t need the money, but did the other Ad lootems who punished distraught parents with outrageous fees??

Usually the phrase “grab the wife and kids” is hyperbole in a political season, but can you families of the 24th risk having a rogue judge, rubber-stamp lawmaker, and angry guardian ad lootem wife all aligned against you in the event of divorce?

Think about it.

Watch and listen, as Arrowflinger Al gets tagged with yet another insulting label to join many other such Badges of Honor.

Lee Left the Gate Open – Tax Revenues Hoofed It

Back in 2011, during Lee Anderson’s last year in the Georgia House before his doomed attempt at the US House, your arrowflinging writer called and wrote him about the activities of the Tax Reform Council. Lee acted ignorant of the issues and directed me to his guy on the Council, plant nurseryman Skeeter McCorkle. He got back “Lee I know what McCorkle will do – he will get a whole new slew of agriculture exemptions!”

Anderson wasn’t in the Georgia House in 2012 when House Bill 386 passed containing all those costly new exemptions that real people are now having to make up.

Included in the bill was a provision giving nearly every farmer in Georgia, even home gardeners, what is now known at the GATE (Georgia Agricultural Tax Exemption) card. It looks like this.

Georgia GATE Card

Now when we used to visit Lee Anderson’s farm, each and every gate we passed through had to be closed and secured with a chain. So it used to be with Georgia Tax Exemptions.

What transpired was a comical statewide tax looting publicized heavily in the Atlanta Media, municipal publications, and even county papers like the Lincoln Journal. Some farming fellows tried to use their GATE card on the casket and vault for their fathers funeral. Others bought $100,000’s of lumber for home building. The carnage continues today at nearly every rural store in Georgia.

The tax losses exceeded 15% in many counties, causing property tax increases just like the 22% property tax Augustans got out of the same tax reform fiasco.

A Georgia Municipal Association map and chart depicted the damage statewide.GMA-map-for-blog

 

Another term, this time with Lee in the Senate, will be a real riot if the escaped money cows don’t come home.

Cow patties won’t fund education!