Barnes' legal record becomes issue

ATLANTA --- In the eight years since he was ousted as governor, Roy Barnes has taken on legal cases that kept him in the headlines and bolstered his personal wealth. They now are coming under scrutiny as the race for governor heats up.

Former Gov. Roy Barnes has argued for political allies and for Republicans in the courtroom, and he has been an advocate for consumers.   Associated Press
Associated Press
Former Gov. Roy Barnes has argued for political allies and for Republicans in the courtroom, and he has been an advocate for consumers.

He has championed consumer rights, challenging companies that tacked fees on gift cards and urging judges to shut down lenders that burden borrowers with heavy finance charges.

He has also defended the chairman of a power cooperative against a lawsuit filed by customers and helped fend off a lawsuit against a former federal agent convicted of leaking sensitive data.

The Republican Governors Association has launched an online attack ad depicting the Democrat as a greedy trial lawyer and claiming "there isn't a doctor Roy won't sue." The campaign of his Republican opponent, Nathan Deal, has even labeled Barnes "A Roy Named Sue."

Barnes spokesman Emil Runge says the former governor "believes that being a lawyer is an honorable profession and that lawyers play an important role in protecting our constitutional rights and preserving the freedoms that make our country great."

Sometimes Barnes has helped supporters, such as Superior Court Judge Brooks Blitch, who was accused of using his position to profit.

He also challenged Georgia's voter ID law, which Democrats claimed could disenfranchise Georgia's poor and elderly voters.

In others, Barnes crossed party lines to back former rivals in legal trouble.

Garland Pinholster, once a powerful Republican lawmaker who frequently sparred with Barnes, stepped down from the state Department of Transportation board in June 2008 after he was accused of making sexual comments to two employees. He said he received a surprising call from Barnes, who offered to represent him for free.

"I thought it was very big-league of him, since he wasn't a member of my party," said Pinholster, whose case was settled when the state agreed to pay about $150,000 to the two employees. "I was truly grateful, and I am still grateful."

Barnes began championing consumer-friendly litigation shortly after his election defeat in 2002, working a six-month pro bono stint for the Atlanta Legal Aid Society before starting a law practice with his daughter and son-in-law.

He filed a lawsuit claiming fees and expiration dates on mall gift cards amounted to "stealing by contract" because they lost value after a few months. He challenged the tactics of companies that he said tried to skirt Georgia's ban on "payday" lenders by finding new ways to tack on high fees.

He also championed less popular causes. Among them was his decision to defend Cobb EMC Chief Executive Dwight Brown against angry customers who accused Brown of using the nonprofit cooperative's money to bolster a for-profit affiliate that he ran.

The lawsuit was settled in December 2008.

Deal has 8-point lead in new poll

A new poll shows Republican Nathan Deal with an eight-point lead over Democrat Roy Barnes in the governor's race.

Deal leads 45 percent to 37 percent, with 13 percent undecided, according to the Insider Advantage/WSB-TV poll. Libertarian John Monds had 5 percent.

Taken Monday among 412 likely voters, the poll has a margin of error of 5 percentage points.

-- From staff reports

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GaPatriot
0
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GaPatriot 09/29/10 - 05:29 am
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Reelecting King Roy would be

Reelecting King Roy would be just like reelecting Obama-destructive to Georgian values. What kind of moron doesn't want only qualified voters participating in our elections. Also, never forget who crawled into bed with jessie jackson to change the flag. Roy Barnes holds the average Georgian in contempt. He looks down on us and thinks we are dumb enough to believe his drivel about how he has changed.

nerthus
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nerthus 09/29/10 - 06:56 am
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I certainly hope the good

I certainly hope the good intelligent people of Georgia wake up and elect Roy Barnes. Sonny Perdue might be the worst governor in our state's history but Deal might break that record. Deal cannot run his own business how is he going to run the state's. Deal has been a turn coat all along. I remember when he ran for election as a democrat then immediately after getting elected turn Republican so he would be in the majority party. Turn coat and certainly a very poor and dishonest businessman.

bettyboop
8
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bettyboop 09/29/10 - 08:21 am
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Between the two of these

Between the two of these liars and cheats the folks of Ga. have to choose......since both are equally disgusting I suppose you just vote your Party.

createyourfuture
68
Points
createyourfuture 09/29/10 - 08:31 am
0
0
Why don't you all vote for

Why don't you all vote for John Monds? He is on the ballot.

Local Interests
40
Points
Local Interests 09/29/10 - 09:33 am
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I don't see the point of this

I don't see the point of this article other than a lame attempt on the part of the AC to try to paint Barnes with the same corrupt that Deal used to paint himself.
It really doesn't matter if we all like or agree with Barnes' legal clients. He is working honestly and fairly within our legal system. If you're going to condemn that, you have to condemn the entire system.
Many republicans will vote just as bettyboop has suggested. That's their right, though it certainly defies any form of intelligent thought. However, republicans should at least be honest with themselves (because they're not fooling anyone else) about why they vote for Deal. It's not that he is better than Barnes or even no worse than Barnes, it's because they are just not capable of independent thought. They have to vote the way their "party" tells them to vote.

Ga Values
27
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Ga Values 09/29/10 - 10:09 am
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I don't like King Roy, I like

I don't like King Roy, I like Raw Deal even less.. I'll be voting NONE OF THE ABOVE John Monds.

Ga Values
27
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Ga Values 09/29/10 - 11:55 am
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Republican gubernatorial

Republican gubernatorial nominee Nathan Deal is facing more questions about his finances now that a federal judge has reopened a bankruptcy filing for his daughter and son-in-law.

Deal and his wife Sandra guaranteed more than $2 million in loans for Wilder Outdoors, a failed sporting goods store started by the former congressman’s daughter and her husband. Although Deal listed himself in congressional disclosure forms as a partner or as a 50 percent investor in Wilder Outdoors, Deal’s name did not appear on the 2009 bankruptcy filing.

Deal’s campaign accountant says the omission was a mistake by Deal’s son-in-law, who filed the bankruptcy. The bankruptcy reopening, first reported by The Fulton Daily Report, could leave Deal on the hook for more debt.

bettyboop
8
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bettyboop 09/29/10 - 01:14 pm
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"However, republicans should

"However, republicans should at least be honest with themselves (because they're not fooling anyone else) about why they vote for Deal. It's not that he is better than Barnes or even no worse than Barnes, it's because they are just not capable of independent thought. They have to vote the way their "party" tells them to vote."....now thats Funny! Pot calling the kettle black...LOL

Taylor B
5
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Taylor B 09/29/10 - 02:07 pm
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Democrats fall in love,

Democrats fall in love, Repubs fall in line. This may change, looking forward to see what happens on November 2nd. The polls are already getting twisted into making John look bad (Rasmussen, have you no shame?)

Ushouldnthave
0
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Ushouldnthave 10/01/10 - 03:57 pm
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Roy sounds like the type of

Roy sounds like the type of lawyer Deal may like to hire, someday.

humbleopinion
1
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humbleopinion 10/02/10 - 08:39 am
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Nerthus, you are soooo far

Nerthus, you are soooo far off. The worst governor in history is also the worst President in history.....Although THAT distinctive honor is about to change. Carter was disastrous in both offices and continues to be an embarrassment to America.

humbleopinion
1
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humbleopinion 10/02/10 - 09:27 pm
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BettyBoop has her "facts"

BettyBoop has her "facts" completely wrong......It's the Democrats who are lemmings and are following Nancy, Harry and Barry to their demise! LOL It's not that liberal Democrats are stupid, they just know so much that isn't true!

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