Around Town: Cobb EMC: Prosecution On; Chair Out
by Joe Kirby, Otis A. Brumby III and Lee B. Garrett, - Around Town Columnists
September 21, 2013 02:57 AM | 3946 views | 0 0 comments | 48 48 recommendations | email to a friend | print
COBB District Attorney Vic Reynolds has put to rest any rumors that he might bring a premature end to the long-drawn-out case against former Cobb EMC head Dwight Brown.

“Let me assure you, this prosecution will continue,” he told Around Town on Friday.

Brown is accused of using the EMC as a piggybank to subsidize corporate spinoff Cobb Energy.

AT had reported Tuesday that courthouse watchers were speculating Reynolds would look for an out if and when the state Supreme Court upholds the indictment against Brown.

That court earlier this month upheld a decision to throw out the original, 31-count indictment against Brown on fraud, racketeering and theft charges. Cobb Superior Court Judge Robert Flournoy had ruled (and was upheld on appeal) that the first indictment against Brown was flawed because the brand-new Cobb Courthouse was not yet easily open to the public when the indictment was handed down.

A different grand jury then re-indicted Brown, with both indictments coming during the tenure of D.A. Pat Head.



REYNOLDS told AT on Friday that, “Upon taking office on Jan. 1, I asked several experienced white-collar prosecutors to review the evidence, the law and all other aspects of this case from top to bottom. I had an occasion, in private practice, to briefly consult with an EMC director, Frank Boone. This is why I asked other prosecutors to review the case independently.”

Added Reynolds, “Here’s where the case stands now: The defense has asked the Georgia Supreme Court to review the July 2011 indictment. The court may yet take six months or more before announcing whether it will grant that review, and if it does, an actual decision from the Supreme Court would follow many months later.

“There is little that can be done in the interim. However, we stand ready to try this case as soon as possible.”



TODAY’S EMC annual members’ meeting will be the last for Ed Crowell as chair. He told Around Town on Friday that he would not seek another term when new officers are selected at Tuesday’s board meeting. Crowell was one of the reformers who took control of the board in the wake of the Brown/Cobb Energy affair and is finishing his second term as chairman.

“I decided a few months ago that, though the bylaws allow it, I would not seek election as chair again. It’s never been about an ego-trip for me, but about helping set Cobb EMC right and set it on the right path. There’s a lot of talent and ability on our board and it just makes sense to let others step up. The board, management and employees have worked together to create massive positive change building on what the members began. We’ve been able to deliver; reducing rates, improving efficiency and creating better governance. That’s a great situation to hand to the next chair.”



CROWELL, whose “real” job is as president and CEO of the Georgia Motor Trucking Association, said he plans to stay on the board, just not as chairman.

Tuesday’s meeting will be at the EMC headquarters on Church Street Extension and is not open to the media and public, although EMC members are allowed to attend. Board members will vote by secret ballot. Crowell adds he is not endorsing a particular successor.



AS FOR today’s members’ meeting, it will take place for the first time at the North Georgia State Fair, with registration from 8 a.m.-9:30 p.m.

Among the items on the agenda is passage of a “members’ bill of rights” proposed by the EMC’s board. But critics, chief among them former Congressman Fletcher Thompson of east Cobb, say the proposal might better be called a “management bill of rights.” He and others complain that if it passes, directors “can refuse to permit inspection of any record they want to keep secret by claiming the member wants to see the record out of curiosity or because the record is privileged, confidential or proprietary.” It also would allow the board to deny access if the member refused to provide an affidavit that he wants to see the records for a purpose “reasonably related to the business of the cooperative.”

Moreover, the press would not be granted the right to inspect the co-op’s records either, Thompson argues.



ATTENDANCE today might be heavy. Crowell told Around Town that more than 12,000 members have already voted by Internet and mail, with in-person voting yet to come today. Results will be announced at today’s meeting.

----

POLITICS: 11th District congressional hopeful Tricia Pridemore has two fundraisers planned this week. First up is an end-of-summer pool party from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday at 769 Barrett Village Lane. That will be followed by a major event from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at The Whitlock Inn.

Among those topping the donor list at $2,600 each are Debbie and Dr. Bill Farrar, Spain and Scott Gregory, Kim Gresh and George Hartzog, Jeanine and Skip Harper, Rachel and former Cobb Commission Chairman Earl Smith, Mel Stowers, and Jean Alice and Marietta Mayor Steve Tumlin. Others at lower donor levels include Dot and former Mayor Bill Dunaway, retired Sheriff Bill Hutson, Steve Imler, Diane Vaughan, Susan and Doug Haynie, Patsy and Reynold Jennings and Carolyn and Bob Meadows.

Pridemore is running for the seat being vacated by Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta), who has chosen to run for Senate.



MORE POLITICS: Meanwhile, fellow 11th District hopeful and former state Sen. Barry Loudermilk (R-Cassville) picked up the endorsement of state Rep. Ed Setzler (R-Acworth, Kennesaw).

“There is no greater advocate for America’s Founding principles than Barry Loudermilk,” Setzler said. “Barry’s record of leadership proves that there truly are effective, principled leaders in politics. Other candidates promote themselves; Barry Loudermilk promotes the principles that built this country.”



AND 11th District hopeful Bob Barr of Smyrna picked up the endorsement of David Keene, immediate past president of the National Rifle Association and founder and past chairman of the American Conservative Union. Barr serves on the national board of the NRA. Cobb Taxpayers Association head Lance Lamberton of Austell also has endorsed Barr.



COBB Solicitor General Barry Morgan announced this week that he has been endorsed by former Cobb District Attorney Tom Charron and Ben Smith. Retired DA Pat Head had earlier endorsed Morgan, who is being challenged by Cindi Yeager, who ran a strong but unsuccessful race last summer against Vic Reynolds for district attorney.



MARIETTA mayoral candidate Charles Levinson will hold a fundraiser from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at the Delkwood Grill. Call (404) 626-0608 or email charley4mayor@gmail.com for info.

----

PENNANT RACES are heating up in Major League Baseball — and so is talk that the Atlanta Braves are about to be purchased by someone with strong ties to Cobb County who made his fortune via the Internet.

That news would be big for Braves fans to get ownership of the team back in Atlanta. The Braves were sold by Time-Warner in 2005 to Colorado-based Liberty Media. Time-Warner inherited the team when they purchased TBS from Ted Turner. The Braves have the 19th largest payroll out of 30 major league teams at roughly $90 million, compared to the first-ranked New York Yankees at $230 million. New ownership may be welcomed by Atlanta fans if the purse strings are loosened, allowing for some additional marquee additions to the current roster.



THE 24TH ANNUAL “Bell Center Reunion” of the kids who grew up in Marietta Place, Pine Forest, Clay Homes and nearby and hung out at the Larry Bell Center (now site of the Cobb Civic Center) will start at noon Sept. 28 at The American Legion Post 29 on Gresham Ave.





Comments
(0)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides