This Tuesday, December 4th at 9:00 a.m. the lame duck Henry County Board of Commissioners will vote to lock in nearly $6 million in funding along with an engineering contract that will shove the expansion of Tara Field Airport down our throats once and for all.
Of course, this flies in the face of the opposition the citizen’s voiced on the matter when they replaced three of the elected officials, including Chairman BJ Mathis, who voted to buy the airport without our consent in the first place . To be clear, this 1000’ runway extension will suck the taxpayers dry and disrupt the lives of everyone who lives north and east of the airport. In fact, the only ones who stand to benefit are the individuals who own land adjacent to the airport.
I have maintained from the very beginning that the only reason Henry County purchased Tara Field Airport was so that BJ Mathis could finally grant Big 5 Enterprises their long sought after Through The Fence (TTF) agreement so they could gain access to the airport from their property. Clayton County and the FAA had both denied that access to Big 5 who even took the matter to court and lost… twice.
You’ll remember it was Congressman Lynn Westmoreland who was instrumental in getting the FAA to cough up $15 million toward the purchase of the airport from Clayton County. It wasn’t until the Georgia Department of Transportation recently posted on their website the long term plan for the airport expansion that it became clear that Westmoreland was just as guilty for saddling this fiscal burden on to the backs of the Henry County taxpayers as a reward to his own donors.
Of significance in this document are these two items:
“LAND ACQUISITION FOR NORTHTERMINAL AREA DEVELOPMENT (66 ACRES)” for $5,154,000.00
“LAND ACQUISITION FOR THROUGH THE FENCE PARCELS (13 ACRES)” for $6,940,000.00
Before we go on, I think it’s worth noting the GDOT cost per acre estimates for these tracts. The 66 acre tract ends up being about $78K per acre, which is insane for Henry County, I don’t care who you are. And the second one is absolutely criminal if they are expecting to spend nearly $7 million for a 13 acres. Seriously? Is that a typo?
As it turns out, the only one who owns a 66 acre tract adjacent to the airport is Tara Field Development, LLC which happens to be owned by William Douglas Walker formerly of Walker Concrete.
And the only people seeking a Through The Fence agreement is Big 5 Enterprises, LLC owned in part by Dr. Jeffery Curtis, owner of The Doctor’s Office medical practice; and Danny Wisner, owner of Atlanta Arms & Ammo. And of course, accused child molester Billy Abbate is a former owner and managing partner of Big 5 Enterprises.
BJ Mathis has taken $8,150 in campaign contributions from the owners of these two properties and their immediate families:
- $850 from The Doctor’s Office and Big 5 owner Jeffrey V. Curtis
- $3,000 from Big 5 former managing partner Billy Abbate’s In-Law’s (at the time) Clyde and Sherry Harrison (she was also VP of Abbate’s business Quality Physicians Services)
- $2300 from Atlanta Arms & Ammo and Big 5 owner Danny Wisner
- $2000 from William Douglas Walker owner of Tara Field Developments, LLC
- Mathis also rented office space from Abbate for her campaign headquarters.
Congressman Lynn Westmoreland has taken at least
$46,050 $71,050 in campaign Contributions from the owners of these two properties and their immediate families:
So, here’s how I predict this is going to play out. The resolutions that will be voted on this Tuesday deal strictly with contracting and funding for the runway and taxiway extensions. But there is also an Executive Session on the meeting agenda, as well.
Because we’ve seen over and over again how The Most Corrupt Chairman Eveh™ operates, Mathis will come out of Executive Session and hold a vote to purchase the 66 acre tract from William Douglas Walker. This will satisfy, not only her own crony payback, but Lynn Westmoreland’s, too.
Then, she will hold another vote that will either purchase whatever property is necessary to issue a Through The Fence agreement with Big 5, or it will issue them some sort of lease agreement that will grant them the TTF access. This action would then complete the crony donor payback to the Big 5 owners, again for both Mathis and Westmoreland.
Mark. My. Words.
Big 5 will go on to finally develop their property and makes millions and millions of dollars all because you and I bought them a shiny new airport for them to exploit.
Doug Walker will have gotten a tidy little return on his campaign investment to Lynn Westmoreland and will probably go on to make another handsome donation to his campaign.
Here’s hoping he’ll need it.