Cobb county commissioner defensive, full of crap regarding details about the Braves new ballpark deal

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Tim Lee is he chairman of the Cobb County, Georgia County Commission. He’s the guy who was in charge of the effort to give the Atlanta Braves hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer money to move to a new ballpark up in his county. He’s also the guy who made a point to limit public debate on the matter.

In other words, pretty par for the course as far as these things go.

Also par for the course? He is insulted — ABSOLUTELY INSULTED — that a newspaper would have the temerity to ask him about all of this or to be critical of the whole affair. From the Marietta Daily Journal:

COBB Commission Chair Tim Lee apparently has decided to balk rather than be interviewed again by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about the Atlanta Braves’ move to Cobb County.

Lee pointedly turned down an interview request Thursday from AJC investigative reporter Dan Klepal, saying he was fed up with the AJC’s relentlessly negative coverage of the move, according to an email leaked to Around Town.

He did agree to answer email questions. One of the questions involves the work a private attorney did on behalf of the Braves-to-Cobb deal. An attorney Lee allegedly hired without the knowledge of his fellow Cobb Commissioners, let alone the public, and which said hiring would have been against the law. There is a good bit of controversy about this, as Lee had previously denied that he had hired this attorney. Then, uh-oh, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution found an email confirming that Lee did, in fact hire the guy. Here’s Lee’s defense, again, in his own words:

“As explained in some detail and repeatedly, Dan McRae provided legal advice about bond, financing and other legal issues that I needed during the initial, confidential discussions with the Braves,” Lee wrote. “He was not paid, nor was it promised he would be paid for the services he provided. Whether you call him project counsel, bond counsel, economic development counsel or some other description, he was performing legal work during the pre-public announcement time period, with no expectation of payment. He has never been paid nor has he requested to be paid, which further shows he did the work for free with no expectation of payment. I don’t know how many times I can say that to your satisfaction — he did the work for free, period. If you suggest otherwise, you are making a false allegation.”

It’s been five years since I’ve practiced law, so I guess I’m just out of the loop. Back in my day, however, lawyers tended not to do free work like this. They tended to, you know, like being paid either in cash or in the form of retainers or promises of additional work. But I guess in the past five years things have changed and now lawyers are just freely giving away their time on near-billion dollar projects.  Good for my former profession!

In other news: is anyone really surprised about any of this crap?