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Our Thoughts: Transparency and vetting
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After information on Green Hill P3 and East Georgia Land and Development, Inc. came out this week it seems that the Newton County Board of Commissioners still needs to improve on transparency and vetting.

The fact that James Baker, the CEO of East Georgia Land and Development, is also the CEO of National Management Company Inc., the sole general partner in Green Hill limited liability limited partnership, should come as no surprise.
But it caused a bit of an uproar

Had this connection been disclosed early on, it would not have even constituted a scandal. This has, from the beginning, as Mr. Baker pointed out, been a TRI-partite agreement—between three parties. With hundreds of millions of dollars on the line, it makes sense that there would be a direct connection between East Georgia and Green Hill.

The similarities coming out after the fact brings up nothing but questions.

Then why not say so up front? Why use National Management Company Inc. instead of East Georgia as the general partner, and why would neither name appear in any of the promotional literature distributed by Green Hill? Why did Green Hill fail to disclose that East Georgia would receive cash and equity in the company until its spokesman was asked directly by our paper several months ago?

And come to think of it, where did Green Hill come from? Were they really recommended by Robert Stein of RLS Consulting and Investments? How could he recommend a company that didn’t exist yet?

County Attorney Tommy Craig has said he was “unaware of the internal structure” of Green Hill.

This is not a “gentleman’s agreement.” The county should never even consider signing a multimillion dollar deal with such far reaching implications without knowing exactly who they are dealing with. And we mean EXACTLY. All of Newton County’s commissioners would have good reason to be angry at not knowing this sooner.

We ask that Newton County always knows who it is doing business with, and that it knows everything about who it is doing business with. This is not a technicality; it is indicative of a much deeper problem, and simply put, doesn’t pass the smell test.