Gwinnett’s Phantom Menace Revealed

Though it’s not my favorite movie of the Star Wars saga, the premise of The Phantom Menace is a good one. We begin with a few officials bending laws for personal gain. It’s a familiar occurrence in life, but it just didn’t feel right; there had to be something else at work. We later learn that the real problem is that the Chancellor is a Sith Lord, a much bigger deal.

There are no Sith Lords in Gwinnett County—nor the world for that matter—but I think we have now uncovered something more than a few politicians trying to score points as good guys for bringing a baseball team to town. Some discussion in Rick Badie’s AJC blog led to an interesting discovery. I am merely reporting what others have uncovered.

On October 18, 2007, a corporation operated by County Commissioner Kevin Kenerly purchased a large tract of land across the street from the site of the new Gwinnett Braves stadium. You can find a map on the Gwinnett County Tax Assessor’s site. The lot is shaded and is numbered 7146 002. The Gwinnett Braves stadium is being built across Buford Drive just south of Rock Springs Road.


Tax Tract 7146 002

The owner is not immediately apparent until you dig into government records. The listed owner of the lot is listed as I-85/GA 20 VENTURES INC (click on “View Details”).



Identify layer Land Parcels
2 Features found. Showing 1 to 2

Attribute Value
      Pin  7146 002
      Lot  2
  Assessor Information
  7146 002
      PIN  7146 002
  Owner Information
 
  R7146 002
      Owner Name  I-85/GA 20 VENTURES INC
      Mailing Address  40 TECHNOLOGY PKWY S STE 300
      City, ST ZIPCode  NORCROSS ,GA 30092-2924
  Property Information
 
  R7146 002
      Location Address  WOODWARD MILL RD
      Location City/County  COUNTY
      Assessment Neighborhood  9113
      Legal Acres   29.2800 Ac.
      Dwelling Value (appraised)  $0
      Land Value (appraised)  $3826300
      Total Value (appraised)  $3826300
      Dwelling Value (assessed)  $0
      Land Value (assessed)  $1530520
      Total Value (assessed)  $1530520
      Zone Description  C2-General Business
  Sales Information
 
  R7146 002
      1 – Sale Date  10/18/2007
      Sale Amount  $3000000
      Deed Book Page  48436 505
      2 – Sale Date  09/12/1997
      Sale Amount  $0
      Deed Book Page  14734 00191
      3 – Sale Date  12/15/1994
      Sale Amount  $0
      Deed Book Page  10934 00121
  Building Information
  Stormwater Billing Information
      Pin  7146 002
      Lot  
  Assessor Information
  Stormwater Billing Information
 

Who runs I-85/GA 20 Ventures, Inc.? To find this out, we can go to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Corporation Division and search the record of corporations. There we find the following: Commissioner Kenerly is the CEO, CFO, Secretary, and Registered Agent of the corporation.


kenerly_ceo

Next, let’s analyze the date of purchase of the land. When did discussion of bringing the Braves to Gwinnett begin? According to Daily Report, serious talks with the Braves began in October 2007.

Co-founding partner R. Lee Tucker Jr. and associate Christopher T. Wilson were lead counsel to the Gwinnett Convention and Visitors Bureau on its negotiations with the Braves on moving the team’s AAA International League franchise to Gwinnett from Richmond, Va.

Tucker and Wilson said they’ve been in talks with the Braves on behalf of their client since October and there is much more legal work left to be completed, such as finalizing a long-term agreement between the Braves and Gwinnett and hammering out the details of a lease agreement on a new stadium.

Here is what we know. The County was engaged in negotiations with the Braves to bring its Triple-A club to Gwinnett , and a sitting commissioner possibly used this inside information to purchase land that would benefit from increased traffic (see the update below). Furthermore, after the land purchase was made, and negotiations were ongoing, the commissioner had strong financial incentives to make sure the deal happened.

Following Tuesday’s meeting, where the Board allocated an additional $19 million to the stadium, Kenerly was bubbling with excitement over the new stadium.

“I’m excited,” said Commissioner Kevin Kenerly, who likened the decision to imposing the same standards on the county as he did in a rezoning case that day. “It’s going to cost more money, but at the end of the day, it’s going to be better for the community.”

UPDATE: AJC is reporting that the October sale of land was a transfer to of a 50 percent stake to his partners, not a new acquisition of land.

3 Responses “Gwinnett’s Phantom Menace Revealed”

  1. Don S says:

    JC thanks for printing this. I only hope that a TV news crew will pick this up and put it on at 6&11.

  2. Jack says:

    It always comes down to greed.

    Btw: I love this series of posts!

  3. Don S says:

    JC- Look at the transaction and see who the lawyer was. He is Burt Nasuiti’s law partner. Who was the one that ws really trying hard to put this Braves deal together, nonother than Gwinnett County Comish Mr. Nasuiti.

    So we have a father son team make the contract with the Braves and two BOC’s involved and one law partner.  Trying to find out where the others come in.

    “The fish stinks from the head down” was once told to me by a chef.