Thank you to all that contacted the Fulton County Board of Assessors regarding the tax abatement issue, including those that signed the petition and the 45 community leaders that put their name to a letter.
This update comes from Julian Bene—a retired management consultant that served on the board of Invest Atlanta, who attended the meeting. -
BOA had a knock-down drag out fight on the ramp up MOAs today. DAFC (Development Authority of Fulton County) & bond lawyers Ichter, Selby (Tilford), S-E Langford and the P9 attorney were at the meeting or on Zoom all cajoling BOA to do their bidding and pass it now, now, now. Never before has BOA dared to question and these folks can't believe it.
Board members Lee Morris and Mindy Kaplan were fantastic. (If you know them, thank them.) They made the case that our attorney John Woodham's points seemed valid and that the market evidence was hard to argue with. How can we sign off on a formula that does not reflect what's paid when these things sell? That really is the only question here.
So when the DAFC crowd had all had their say, Lee says we've heard from one side, what about the other? "Oh no," says the Board secretary, "you have to have filled out a comment card and only Mr. Bene has done so." (John had told me to submit my Ichter rebuttal as an attachment to the comment card, thank goodness. )
Some of Y'all need to do that next time to make sure the board has to listen to the public.
So, unshaven as I was on Zoom, not anticipating there would be any discussion of this at BOA today, let alone a chance to speak, I upped and harangued them along the lines of the 19 sales data points that I'd compiled and that Ichter's letter was full of crap. The Chairman shut me up after several minutes based on the 2-minute rule but I got the main points over. Ichter asks to speak since I'd mentioned him. Gets told No.
The MOAs tied 2-2, 1 absent, so again did not pass! The look on Ichter's face as he's told they've heard enough from him and as these MOAs get shot down was worth the price of admission. These boys (and girls) see their gravy train in jeopardy and boy are they pissed. They're likely not getting paid for the Tilford deal without the MOA and December is shot. Allow me some schadenfreude.
The board is now planning a work session, date tbd, where the appraisers will be expected to have done the work to look at the market evidence and verify it and to look at the lease terms and recommend how the interests should be valued. Lee Morris again tells the Chief Appraiser his staff have to review the 19 sales prices and confirm or refute my analysis and review Woodham's points and explain how the ramp up is or is not consistent with the facts. Appraiser says yes they will - but sounds pretty non-committal.