'Squid pro quo?'

Ticket deal between mayor, commissioner smells fishy

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Unseemly. Petty. Spiteful.

Those are just a few ways to describe Mayor Deke Copenhaver’s offer – and subsequent withdrawal – of Get On Up premiere tickets to Augusta Commissioner Bill Fennoy during and after hiring deliberations for the next city administrator.

Clearly, Copenhaver’s offer of tickets to the James Brown biopic and after-party were contingent on Fennoy’s support of Oscar Rodriguez, the mayor’s pick to fill the vacant administrator position. When Fennoy’s support for Rodriguez vanished, so did the offer of tickets the mayor obtained through his personal co-sponsorship of the July 24 gala.

Though Copenhaver chalks up some of the controversy to a miscommunication between him and Fennoy, he acknowledges he initially rescinded his offer based on his “frustration with the commission for not making a decision.”

If that’s not quid pro quo, it sure smells like it.

“Squid pro quo,” perhaps?

Though the mayor apologized to Fennoy personally during a dust up at this week’s Augusta Commission meeting, he owes the city an apology as well. This is not simply a matter between two private individuals. This was a back-room machination by a public official – the top elected official in Augusta, no less – that is tantamount to vote-buying. Some people would even call that “bribery.”

This ticket-for-vote controversy may not rise to that level, but we do know the actions reflect poorly on the office of the mayor. This episode is a sad bookend to an otherwise favorable term in office.

Copenhaver swept into office during a tumultuous political time in the city. He quickly proved himself capable of dealing with the city’s frustrations and obstructions in an almost monastic manner. Calm, rational and almost unnaturally upbeat was this guy’s brand.

That’s what makes this ticket controversy so unbecoming and completely uncharacteristic – we expected a little better from our mayor.

This is an unflinching reminder that even leaders in a growing, mid-sized city such as Augusta can appear small.

Unseemly, petty and spiteful are all apt descriptions of this affair. But none sum it up better than this word: disappointing.

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Riverman1
83735
Points
Riverman1 08/08/14 - 05:03 am
6
2
Time For Automatic Car Starter To Activate

When Copenhaver loses the Chronicle respect, there's not much left. The way the elections are set, a lame duck period that's almost half a year is way too long. It's time for Deke's automatic car starter, that turns on at the first sign of trouble to take him to the beach, activates.

myfather15
55706
Points
myfather15 08/08/14 - 06:24 am
3
2
After this controversy, he

After this controversy, he should do the right thing and resign; but I wouldn't hold my breathe if I were you!! This certainly isn't uncommon in politics and honor usually isn't on the list of a politicians priorities!!

Bodhisattva
6167
Points
Bodhisattva 08/08/14 - 06:26 am
3
3
I got mine!

He has served his purpose, along with Matt Aitken.$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Bizkit
31306
Points
Bizkit 08/08/14 - 09:18 am
4
3
The President of the US does

The President of the US does worse buying votes so going with progressive relativism no wrong was committed.

shamrock
506
Points
shamrock 08/08/14 - 10:18 am
5
0
He Was A Sponsor

While it doesn't look good for the Mayor, he did receive those tickets as part of a personal sponsorship of the movie premier. What he did with them was really his business and as a government official with little time left in office, don't expect him to worry about someone's hurt feelings. Fennoy could have bought his own tickets, just like the Mayor.

dichotomy
32858
Points
dichotomy 08/08/14 - 10:43 am
5
0
The history of our commission

The history of our commission has demonstrated that the best way to gather votes is through blackmail, and bribery for vote trading. The TEE and Laney Walker Redevelopment proved it is a viable tactic.

What's more despicable than offering the skybox...err....James Brown tickets is agreeing to the "trade" and then backing out of the bargain and publicly whining because you didn't get "paid".

"Disappointing" is my description for the entire "city" of Augusta government since Consolidation. In the grand scheme of the amount of money blackmail, bribery, and vote trading has cost the Richmond County taxpayer, this does not even make a blip on the ethics radar. It is simply the way of doing business with certain elements on the commission and Mayor Deke finally succumbed to a pretty pathetic attempt at dabbling in "the system". At least this was Deke's money. He probably got the idea that Fennoy was subject to being persuaded when Fennoy sold his vote on the SPLOST package for the $5 million line for Paine. Like I said, it's historically the way of doing business with certain elements of the commission.

PrayN4U
342
Points
PrayN4U 08/08/14 - 10:54 am
2
0
New governing bodies

New mayor, some new commissioners and better decision making, hopefuly we are moving in a more positive direction. We elected them into office and it's our responsibility to make sure they stay above the law. Not just above or on the rim. Dirty poilitics has always been the norm but that's not they way it should be. Every candidate runnung screamed honesty and integrity and that is what I demand to see. No more "good old boys", black or white or any color in between. I am fed up with our governing bodies not living up to standard and being an embarrassment.
"IF RICHMOND COUNTY OFFICIAL NEED TO HANDLE THE BUSINESS RIGHT, PULL YOUR PANTS UP AND GET OFF THE POT", because the sugar honey iced tea has hit the fan too many times.

faithson
5157
Points
faithson 08/08/14 - 10:54 am
3
2
quid pro quo

maybe, maybe not. We only have one side of the story, and that side from a gentleman who if like his mentor (Charles), would not get out of bed unless there was something in it for himself. Only Deke knows the real story and I don't blame him one bit for keeping it to himself. Making the affair public though does smack of 'get back' for a spurning that seems personal in nature. Maybe Deke just spoke off handed about the availability of the tickets and Fennoy took it as a done deal. There definitely is more to it, and working off of Fennoy's side without knowing the other is not the way I am going to look at the incident.

Truth Matters
6815
Points
Truth Matters 08/08/14 - 11:45 am
0
2
"Sue" him and then "impeach"

"Sue" him and then "impeach" him.

The mayor, that is.

Little Lamb
45870
Points
Little Lamb 08/08/14 - 02:03 pm
2
0
Insight

Dichotomy's comment above is very insightful. It is Fennoy who is the despicable one for reneging on his promised vote for Oscar Rodriguez. The Cabal had already demonstrated that Fennoy could be bought off in the SPLOST vote. (He voted yes because the Cabal put the Paine College HEAL Center on the list.)

This reneging on the administrator vote has now put him in no man's land.

Conservative Man
5564
Points
Conservative Man 08/08/14 - 03:07 pm
3
0
People are surprised by this????

….This sort of thing has been going on in Augusta for eons!!..I know we are only talking about movie tickets but if I had a dollar for every time an Augusta "blueblood" used a promise of Masters tickets to achieve a desired outcome, I'd be able to retire…comfortably!..

What's different in this case is that the one "stood up" made it public…

Typical "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours"…In Augusta this is is not the exception, but the rule...

Riverman1
83735
Points
Riverman1 08/08/14 - 03:53 pm
2
1
Heck, Just Give Them Cash

Instead of tickets or any other thing, why not just lay cash in the hands of the Commissioners to get them to vote the way you want?

itsanotherday1
42933
Points
itsanotherday1 08/08/14 - 04:07 pm
2
1
Exactly faithson. Nothing in

Exactly faithson. Nothing in the story says quid pro quo. The two situations may be totally unrelated beyond the mayor being angry and withdrawing a favor in spite.

corgimom
32248
Points
corgimom 08/08/14 - 06:06 pm
1
2
Faithson, I read both sides

Faithson, I read both sides of the story, please read the story again. Deke admits it.

It was despicable.

Maybe now people will believe those of us who have been trying to tell people about Deke all along.

And I don't think for one minute that was the first time that Deke has done something like that.

He can't leave office soon enough for me.

noxiousfumes
449
Points
noxiousfumes 08/08/14 - 06:33 pm
0
1
Augusta could teach Chicago a

Augusta could teach Chicago a few tricks. . .

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