A Cobb County Commissioner learns a good lesson: don’t try to double cross a lawyer

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I hit on the theme of karma a little bit this morning. A more direct example of it can be seen in Cobb County, Georgia in connection with the Braves moving up there in 2017.

Yesterday we saw that the county commissioner, Tim Lee, was cagey and defensive when asked about the details of the negotiations which ultimately led to the Braves moving north. Specifically, how he may have broken the law when he hired a lawyer to work on the deal that moved the team to Cobb County and that now he appears to be trying to avoid any questioning about it. Turns out it’s even more delicious than that.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Lee apparently hired this bond lawyer and then tried to keep it and anything else about the Braves negotiations out of the public record by using private email addresses rather than public ones. Then, I assume because he knew that hiring the bond lawyer like this was illegal, he proceeded as if the lawyer wasn’t really hired, made it clear he wasn’t going to pay the lawyer and was not at all prepared to have the lawyer officially and properly hired once the project became public. Indeed, his statements yesterday were adamant about how the lawyer was not paid, would not be paid and had no expectation of payment.

Except the lawyer, apparently, didn’t feel that way. According to the AJC, he most certainly wanted to be paid — or, at the very least, wanted and expected to get the work that spun out of the Braves stadium project — and when Commissioner Lee kept stonewalling him, the lawyer did something that was simply elegant: he sent an email to the commissioner. To his public email address. Providing a clear paper trail that, contrary to Lee’s denials, shows that he did illegally hire the lawyer and that he is a mendacious jackwagon. The lawyer, I am certain, knew what he was doing.

The big lesson here: public officials should never break the law and should never try to hide their official acts from public scrutiny.

The second biggest lesson: publicly-financed stadium deals are almost, by definition, invitations to corruption.

The more subtle, but more useful lesson: never, ever try to double-cross a lawyer.