“The essence of the story is going to be that I worked with Dan McRae, who is the attorney for the Cobb County Development Authority. I worked with him at no cost to the county to help figure out what financial opportunities were available to the county as far as the Braves deal.”
Lee said McRae is “renowned” for his expertise on financing bonds, so in July 2013, he asked McRae to help him with the Braves deal. When the deal was officially announced in November, the county
government’s staff took over, Lee said, and he had no further involvement with McRae.
However, according to a pay invoice dated February 19, 2014, obtained by the MDJ, McRae was eventually contracted to work with the county on issues related to the stadium deal, such as “revenue sources and legal structure for hotel/motel fees and Special Cumberland millage” on December 12, 2013, and “drafting documentation for revenue sources” on December 4, 2013. The fees on the invoice total more than $7,000 for work performed from November 22, 2013, to December 27, 2013.
Lee said the choice to hire an outside attorney is within the purview of the county’s attorney, Deborah Dance, and he had no involvement in McRae receiving funds to work on the deal. There is no connection between McRae’s hiring and his earlier work in July, Lee added.
“It’s two different word problems that shouldn’t be added together. I worked with him up to a certain point to help get the finances flushed out to see if it was even a feasible project. Once we determined it was a feasible project, I turned it over to my staff to execute,” he said.
Commissioner Bob Ott, who represents the area where the stadium will be built, said he has no knowledge of the work McRae did in July. Still, he said there is a perception there could have been a “quid pro quo.”
“I guess the only thing I would say is that there (are) county policies and procedures as to how contracts are given or people are paid,” Ott said. “And I would be concerned if they weren’t followed.”