The Chronicle's editorial department recently had a conference call with a Deal spokesman. He told us the $2.85 million in business loans that the Republican gubernatorial nominee for Georgia failed to disclose earlier -- an oversight, Deal said -- was for expansion of his auto salvage business and the creation of new jobs.
Oops. Another oversight?
Turns out the newly disclosed loan was largely a refinancing of existing debt for past expansion and day-to-day operations -- not for some new expansion or hiring of 10 jobs, as both we and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution were told.
Well, yeah, the campaign is saying now, we meant that it was for past expansion.
Of course! Why would we have thought otherwise?
Maybe because they didn't say so?
And maybe because the Atlanta paper reports that Gainesville Salvage and Disposal didn't hire any new full-time workers.
In short, the campaign led both our newspapers to believe the previously undisclosed loans were for new expansion -- presenting a misleadingly dynamic picture of the company, while claiming to be creating jobs and helping the economy.
Meanwhile, the Atlanta paper also reported recently that Deal's daughter and son-in-law failed to report a previous bankruptcy in their more recent one -- in which they left Deal holding $2.3 million in obligations for a failed sporting goods store. They also reportedly failed to list him as a creditor.
Reports indicate Deal must come up with that payment by February.
Deal's people say he won't file for bankruptcy, and that the salvage company he co-owns is in good shape. That begs the question: Why misrepresent the true nature of the business loans?
And why is it so difficult to get straight answers from a campaign that is so close to putting someone in the governor's seat?