Coliseum panel charges legislator interference

Eight members of the Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority have signed a letter accusing four state legislators of pressuring them into saving a former general manager’s job and hiring a high-priced consultant, then retaliating by dissolving the board when neither plan succeeded.


The letter says Reps. Wayne Howard, Quincy Murphy and Gloria Frazier wanted to save former manager Robert “Flash” Gordon’s job at all costs.

“Representatives Howard, Murphy and Frazier communicated constantly with members during the controversial time and even met secretly with members on one occasion to give advice and direction,” says the letter, signed by authority Chairman Richard Isdell and members Willie Law, Janice Jenkins, Booker T. Roberson, Keith Brown, Harry Moore, Donnie Thompson and Mildred McDaniel.

“One of the tactics used was their constant support and agreement of authority members to not attend meetings in order for a quorum not to be met. Therefore, no official business could be conducted and this allowed Mr. Gordon to stay in his position longer.”

The letter says that in December, authority members were called by “certain delegation members” and told they were expected to vote to hire Jerry Dickerson, an Atlanta promoter proposing to build a new sports and entertainment arena with special-purpose sales tax money.

“When there were not enough votes secured to hire Mr. Dickerson, Senator J.B. Powell and other members of the delegation were furious and expressed this displeasure to authority members they had called to make sure Mr. Dickerson was hired,” the letter says.

The letter says the restructuring bill awaiting the governor’s signature was pushed by delegation members because “members were not voting the way the delegation expected them to vote.

“With the truth being revealed,” the letter says, “the current Coliseum Authority is asking Governor Sonny Perdue to veto House Bill 813 that would restructure the current authority.”

Mr. Murphy said he’s disappointed by the letter.

“I categorically deny that,” Mr. Murphy said Wednesday evening. “I have not been involved with the day-to-day operations or communicating with any of the authority members. It doesn’t warrant any further comment.”

When delegation members moved to revamp the authority, they were only following the wishes of their constituents, he said.

“I think it’s time for us to move on,” Mr. Murphy said. “That operation is a thing of the past.”

View a copy of the letter here.



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