15 AUG 11: Half-Court Pres
So as we said four weeks ago - are there any branches of Columbus government NOT under investigation? Now we learn a special state prosecutor is sniffing around the courtrooms. If this keeps up, someone on Columbus Council is going to ask for "confessional time" at next week's meeting.
The River City Report indicated Sunday a special state prosecutor is concentrating on two Muscogee County Judges: Frank Jordan and Doug Pullen. For longtime blog readers, one of these names probably is no surprise. But going after a Jordan is a bit like going after a Lumpkin -- and that didn't work in court recently, either.
The Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission reportedly wants to know what happened to large amounts of money from class action lawsuits. Unclaimed money can be offered to charity through what's called a "Cy Pres award." I saw this phrase and thought of Al Gore -- except he wanted to be the first Cyber Pres.
The special state prosecutor reportedly wants to see what local judges did with the Cy Pres money. The River City Report indicates Judge John Allen has come up with the documentation, while the other two judges have not. They must not have any experience as tax attorneys....
But there's online evidence Judges Frank Jordan and Doug Pullen have sent at least $600,000 in Cy Pres funds to the Mercer Law School in Macon. This shows the clear lack of a law school in Columbus - even though most residents' priority lists probably would that far below the lack of a Kroger store.
The last time a state judicial investigator showed up in Columbus, things happened quickly. Judge Robert Johnston suddenly resigned last year - first citing poor health (which sadly turned out to be accurate), then admitting he was interviewed by an investigator [21 Feb 10]. Hopefully all the other judges have had medical checkups since then....
But there are signs of change surrounding this state investigation as well. Judge Doug Pullen admitted over the weekend he's prepared retirement papers, but has yet to turn them over to the state. Hey, you know what -- maybe he'll find the Cy Pres award documents underneath the retirement form.
Doug Pullen says after 23 years as a District Attorney and 16 years as a judge, it's "vacation time." Given his involvement in the city hotel-motel tax lawsuit, Pullen obviously could NOT say the time is Expedia-nt.
Assuming Judge Doug Pullen files those retirement papers, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal will have a seat to fill. When this occurred last year, one surprising name on the list of finalists was attorney Stacey Jackson. Will Jackson offer his name for the bench again -- and this time ask Edward DuBose and Nate Sanderson to organize campaign rallies?
Along those lines: if any local judges want to keep Cy Pres money in Columbus, I hereby offer myself. I can be very charitable, usually giving ten percent of my income to church groups. And when I was a boy, the home phone even had a Cypress-9 exchange.
Let's see what else was graciously donated over the weekend, in terms of news items....
+ Fort Benning administrators admitted to the Ledger-Enquirer they're revising base realignment numbers downward. At first 28,000 new residents were expected. Now the number is down to 22,000 - and if this trend continues, apartment rents actually might come down.
(But one minister at St. Luke United Methodist Church told WRBL his church has seen about 12 new military families join in the wake of BRAC. St. Luke plans a series of radio commercials inviting new military families to attend. So which church will be the first to convert its fellowship hall into a shooting range?)
+ The Georgia General Assembly gathered in Atlanta to start a special session on redistricting today. One proposed map for the State Senate extends Ed Harbison's district into several nearby counties -- so the man who used to host "City Beat" on TV may need to add a country twang.
+ Auburn University football held its annual preseason "Fan Day." Hundreds of Tiger supporters entered Auburn Arena for autographs and photos - and as they did, many wondered what all those straight lines and paint on the wooden floor are all about.
+ The Chicago Cubs edged Atlanta 6-5, and Dan Uggla's hitting streak ended at 33 consecutive games. But many Atlanta fans spent the weekend reflecting on the death of longtime broadcaster Ernie Johnson Sr. I could imagine him saying several times during Sunday's three-hour 21-minute game, "We're just zipping right along here...."
+ Rookie Keegan Bradley won the PGA Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club in a playoff. Former Auburn star Jason Dufner had a five-stroke lead with four holes to go -- but then Dufner became a simple duffer.
+ Instant Message to Tim Pawlenty: Really now - you finish third in a "straw poll" which doesn't count, and you give up running for President? You probably also wanted the incumbent to do the same thing, after one company lowered the national credit rating.
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