It’s a back-and-forth argument over who owns the small piece of property at the former Coca-Cola bottling plant on Roswell Street that seems simple at the first glance but is inundated with technicalities and legalese.
Goldstein says an error on a deed — which the city calls a scrivener’s error — means he still owns the property a company he bought out of bankruptcy, Emerson LLC, purchased before he owned it.
The error listed the owner of the property as Emerson Development LLC instead of Emerson LLC, which are two separate companies.
“All I’m trying to do is get to where it’s properly deeded to the city,” Goldstein said.
But Tumlin says it’s already the city’s property.
City Council voted Wednesday night to deny Goldstein’s quitclaim deed that would have transferred ownership of the property to the city.
Goldstein said he didn’t see any harm in the city accepting the deed when he addressed the council during its public comment period.
Tumlin maintains accepting the deed would open the city up to conflicts in the future.
“It was listed as if it was a gift, and we disagree with that,” Tumlin said.
It “won’t be the last scrivener’s error,” Tumlin said, and the city should not treat a councilman any differently than it would treat a resident.
The issue was brought forward about six months ago, Tumlin said, and came back “out of nowhere.”
Goldstein received a property tax bill for the property, but when he brought up the donation earlier this year before the City Council, Goldstein said City Attorney Doug Haynie told the Cobb Board of Tax Assessors to remove Goldstein’s LLC as the owner of the property.
Initially, it was done, but Goldstein said it was placed back in the LLC’s name.
Goldstein received a refund check for the property taxes and returned that to the city, he said, claiming he is still the rightful owner and owed the taxes.
Property taxes are part of the donation. If Goldstein gets the property off his hands, he won’t be liable for the taxes. He could also claim the donation as a deduction on his property taxes. Tumlin told the MDJ earlier this month that deduction could be $400,000.
Goldstein says he’s agreed not to take any deductions.
“The 400 and some odd thousand is not a figure that’s ever been out there from this side. That’s what you call — what’s a good word for that — political grandstanding on the mayor’s part. Let me rephrase that. That’s theatrics,” Goldstein said. “I specifically stated that I would agree not to take a deduction.”
He maintains it’s just about clearing up an error.