Had enough Gilbert Manor talk? Several commissioners haven't

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Augusta commissioners approved a plan last week to give $10 million to the Medical College of Georgia to buy the Gilbert Manor property so the school can expand, but not everybody was happy about it. Not even some of the commissioners who voted for it.

Commissioners Alvin Mason , J.R. Hatney , Calvin Holland and Corey Johnson , the only one to vote no, complained they needed to know more about it before having it come up for a vote. Mr. Hatney called it back-door politics as usual and "insulting."

Well, gee. They've only been talking about it since December when the Department of Housing and Urban Development agreed to allow the Augusta Housing Authority to sell Gilbert Manor.

Super District commissioners Mr. Hatney and Don Grantham meet with Mayor Deke Copenhaver , Mayor Pro Tem Betty Beard and City Administrator Fred Russell every Monday morning to talk about important issues, and the financial plan has been discussed more than once. So you could have lit a match on Mr. Grantham when he heard Mr. Hatney's complaints. He said he kept the other commissioners in Super District 10 informed about the plan, so maybe Mr. Hatney should have done the same with his colleagues.

And while many people, such as Commissioner Joe Bowles , think the Gilbert Manor deal is a great investment in Augusta's future that will mean $240 million in improvements on the property, others think it's a travesty for city taxpayers to be footing the bill for MCG, which they think is rolling in dough.

CLASH OF THE TITANS: Meanwhile, the MCG Foundation Board's denial of MCG President Dan Rahn's request for $5 million for the new dental school not only upset Dr. Rahn, it also made for in-fighting on the board and a rift between MCG and the foundation.

So much so, we're told, there's talk of a separation between MCG and the foundation, similar to the one University of Georgia President Michael Adams created between the college and the UGA Foundation a few years ago because of controversy over Dr. Adams' decision not to renew athletic director Vince Dooley's contract.

Though he's not the one who told us that, Julian Osbon , a member of the foundation board and the MCG Research Institute Board, confirmed that MCG and the foundation are at odds and said he believes "there will be some things to come to a head soon."

Mr. Osbon said the foundation has "a considerable amount of resources" and is there to support the institution, and some board members thought they should have granted Dr. Rahn's request, but "the leadership" thought the money should come from the state.

RINGS AND THINGS: Mr. Bowles asked me to clarify that Commissioner Jerry Brigham wasn't the only commissioner to vote against donating $2,000 to help buy rings and jackets for the Academy of Richmond County's golf team, which won the Georgia State Golf AAAA championship.

He and Commissioners Joe Jackson and Mr. Johnson also voted no. Mr. Bowles, Mr. Brigham and Mr. Jackson also voted against a $2,000 donation for rings for the Glenn Hills High championship basketball team, but Mr. Johnson voted for it.

Mr. Brigham and Mr. Bowles contend giving away taxpayer money is a misappropriation of funds.

Isn't that the same thing as illegal?

TAKE IT BACK: Coliseum authority member Willie Law has received a letter from Robert Mullins , the attorney for Julie Huggins , who was fired as facilities director by the authority after a week on the job in March.

The letter demands Mr. Law publicly retract "false and malicious defamation" of his client.

He enclosed a draft of the suit they intend to file if the retraction is not forthcoming.

Former authority Chairman Harry Moore , who put Mrs. Huggins to work over the objections of other board members who questioned her resume, contends she was fired in retaliation for Manager Robert "Flash" Gordon's similar departure.

Meanwhile, Mr. Jackson has appointed Donnie Thompson of Windsor Jewelers fame to the authority.

That was a smart move. Now maybe the commission can start buying rings wholesale.

NOT EVERYBODY IN THE LIBRARY KEEPS QUIET: Gary Swint , the director of the East Central Georgia Regional Library, was so angry when commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to approve sales-tax program manager Heery International's request for a $450,000 fee increase at the expense of the library's construction budget, he plans to retire.

"I've been depressed, and I was as mad as hell, but now I'm to a point I don't give a damn," he said. "For years, I kept thinking Augusta's government would improve, and I'm just very disappointed at what happened. To me, it's a very moral issue."

EXPLORING HIS OPTIONS: Jimmie Lee Sullivan -- who planned to challenge Sheriff Ronnie Strength but couldn't qualify because he showed up without a certified copy of his high-school diploma -- said he did have all of the proper paperwork but that Richmond County Democratic party Chairman Lowell Greenbaum made a bad call.

As to previous statements in City Ink about his personnel files from the Augusta Police Department and Richmond County Sheriff's Office making interesting reading, Mr. Sullivan wrote to say that that Jimmy Lee Sullivan is dead, according to Galatians 2:20, and that he would love to tell me his story. So I called him, and he said it was all true.

"I was fired from the sheriff's department because I was a sinner," he said. "I took an oath to protect and serve, but I was running after women all over the county. So I'm not in denial. My lifestyle destroyed two marriages to two fine ladies."

Then he went to God and asked for forgiveness, and now he wants Augusta to forgive him.

"I'm still in the running for sheriff," he said.


Morning sickness, waistline thickness

Varicose veins, labor pains

Total joy, girl or boy

Up all night, lots of fright

Training wheels, doctor bills

Cuts and scratches, soccer matches

Teen rebellion, saint or hellion

Fears you blew it, you live through it

Empty nest, your biggest test

Graduations, wedding invitations

They grow up fast, you hope it lasts

It starts again, where you have been

Total joy, girl or boy.

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karmakills123 05/11/08 - 06:47 am
If you closed your eyes and

If you closed your eyes and listened to cory johnson at the comm. meeting it was like mush mouthed marion williams was back........................it was down right scary!

jackrabbit5491 05/11/08 - 12:03 pm
The principled objection by

The principled objection by the MCG Foundation Board to funding the new dental school is justified. The Foundation must have some independence from MCG and the state of Georgia to be legitimate. Looming, are questions concerning the ambiguous relationship ("partnership") between UGA and MCG concerning the new medical school ("branch") in Athens, for which money has already been taken from the UGA Foundation (Why not utilize MCG Foundation assets, since the new medical entity is only a "branch" of MCG?). Dr Rahn has been appointed Chancellor of all Georgia medical/health educational "branches," thus, his views are not necessarily those of someone who is President of MCG (Augusta), only. Dr Adams has already co-opted the UGA foundation for his own purposes (see above). I am thankful for the enlightened MCG Foundation Board stewardship, which is trying to preserve and protect ("firewall") the Foundation assets, which could be used to fund other state medical/health entities, which are certain to siphon funds from MCG in Augusta.

gcap 05/11/08 - 01:22 pm
Hats off to Gary Swint. He's

Hats off to Gary Swint. He's a dedicated, hard working guy who did everything possible to improve a library system in a county where too many people can't read. I know Gary and his dedication goes far beyond that of 99.9 percent of Richmond County employees and elected officials. Enjoy your retirement, Gary. And to hell with them. P.S. -- You might consider coming to Columbia County where even our elected officials can read.

apex24 05/12/08 - 09:19 pm
The jury is still out on

The jury is still out on Alvin Mason but Cory Johnson, Hatney and Calvin Holland will hold Augusta, Ga. hostage in the name of COLOR!!!!

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