29 November 2016

[tpc] - The Forensic Audit of Newton Co. has been released

The Piedmont Chronicles   
~ est. 2010 ~
[State of GA]
[Newton Co.]

(11.29.16) - At approx. 7:30 last evening, Newton Co.'s attorney, Jarrard & Davis, released a partially redacted copy of the forensic audit performed by David Sawyer, CPA, of the firm Frazier and Deeter to several who had filed ORR's. By doing this, they stayed within the ten business day period to make this public as prescribed by state law. 

It's a 115 page document that is very encompassing and thorough. I spent over 2 hours reading this document last night a couple of times, and reading certain parts multiple times and taking notes. I'm still planning to release a full synopsis in the next day or two but did want to mention a few points right now. The following deal with Wm Thomas Craig and the Bear Creek project: 

  • a good portion of the report can only be described as a total and absolute evisceration of the practices of Wm Thomas Craig, especially as it relates to his handling of the Bear Creek project. It was really nothing short of damning and, in a clear, concise & logical manner, makes the case for financial damages to the home county in excess of $25 million. 
  • Sawyer makes major note of a fact that many  have expressed concerns about for years - the inherent conflict of interest that Craig has had for years as acting as both county attorney and a water consultant. 
  • The most impressive part of Sawyer's report is how he chronicled the exact timeline of the project going back to its inception and showing how Craig seemed to be incompetent, at best, or possibly dealing in bad faith and/or malicious intent, at worst. By researching news articles and pairing Craig's own words with the correspondence of Craig with organizations like U.S. Fish & Wildlife, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and other entities, a very clear case was made. 
  • Also, during the life of this project, it seemed that Newton Co. always would greatly overpay for real estate purchases. Major concerns were made about the inherent conflict of interest of Craig acting as agent and negotiator on these transactions. 
  • Some of the specifics and particulars are just jaw-dropping and mind-blowing. More to come on that later in the days ahead. 
The report is also pretty rough on JC Henderson. Major concerns in the report with the running of the Nelson Heights center. Concerns of mismanagement, improper accounting practices, questionable expenditures, etc. In his report, Sawyers believes that financial damages to the county in the amount of approx. $43,000 occurred  because of this.

Another major concern was the fact that Sawyer all but proved that Newton County has been systematically mismanaging and commingling SPLOST and Impact Fee funds.

Major, major issues were also brought up as well about the landfill and the convenience centers as it seems as if large portions of money were being paid to consulting firms with ties to Wm Thomas Craig - Eco South, LLC and Eco-Tech. Also, the fact that the county has been paying an insanely large amount of money to Harbin engineering to basically run our landfill. Perhaps this is why we've had such a drain in the budget with this? And concerns raised about the running of the convenience centers by Junior Hilliard as well.


I had heard some anonymous sources over the last couple of weeks who had spoken to two different folks who'd seen the report. They said neither would say a word really other than to say that it was bad. Well, folks, that's the truth. It's bad! Real bad.

As mentioned, we'll try to get a full synopsis up in the next day or two.

Several of these issues, and other issues not covered in the this audit, really need to be investigated more. The Chronicles would hope that a law enforcement agency will take this up to investigate. In our estimation, it needs to be done.

But, and I truly believe this, all of this is going to look like tinker toys compared to the results of a forensic audit of the Joint Development Authority and the Stanton Springs project. The four counties should come together to do this without delay.



27 November 2016

[TPC] - The Calm Before the Storm: On the Eve of the Public Release of the Forensic Audit

The Piedmont Chronicles   
~ est. 2010 ~
[State of GA]
[Newton Co.]

Greetings, readers.

Well, based on my count, and excluding Thursday as an official holiday, the 10-day state-sanctioned waiting period for the results of the forensic audit performed and requested by the Newton Co. Board of Commissioners passed on Friday, and the document should be public record first thing tomorrow morning.

I'll definitely be calling Ms. Jackie, esteemed Clerk of the BOC, first thing tomorrow AM to request that it be emailed to me as soon as possible.

Things sure have been quiet, haven't they? I was talking with someone the other day and we both agreed that it felt like the calm before the storm. And no one is really saying a whole lot.

And such strange goings on the past couple of weeks, no? The saber rattling of JC Henderson. And then we learn a few days ago that Junior Hilliard has filed notification of a lawsuit vs. Newton Co. in excess of $3 million.

It's all so interesting.

Remember, folks, we're here with you, and we aim to get all the particulars just as soon as we can.


24 November 2016

[TPC] - Turkey Tsunami: A write-up by Contributor Ellis Millsaps

The Piedmont Chronicles   
~ est. 2010 ~
[State of GA]
[Newton Co.]

*Ed. note - Ellis actually wrote this last year. As I understand it, this year his Landlord gave him a gift certificate to Publix. Da is hoping that Jack can take him up there today to find a fresh turkey, or maybe a hen. Enjoy!

Turkey Tsunami
A write-up by Contributing Writer Ellis Millsaps 

~ Special to The Chronicles

You know you've finally reverted to your white trash origins when your landlord brings you a frozen turkey. 

I don't buy frozen turkeys. If I'm making that once a year feast, I buy a fresh one. 

So I'm a food snob, but I have this 15 pound block of frozen poultry with which to contend. 

I don't have an oven even large enough for this bird (ed.note: he doesn't have a working oven, only a toaster oven). I spend the two days that it's thawing pondering how to cook it. 

I decide to make gumbo. The gumbo which I usually make contains crab, crawfish, shrimp, oysters and cajun sausage; the ingredients cost around $50 but it feeds a hoard. 

And if you're making something which takes all day, you might as well make a lot. 

But this is to be "econogumbo." Since the turkey is free, all said I end up spending less than ten dollars.

I cut the bird up and put the dark meat in my crock pot and turn it on low; it barely fits. 12 hours later and I have the essence of turkey. I throw the meat and bones away.

Meanwhile I've roasted the breast in the toaster oven.

I use turkey fat to make the roux (another cost saver), then add my broth, cajun sausage, vegetables and seasonings. I let this simmer about an hour and then I shred up half the baked turkey breast and add it.

It made a lot. I ended up freezing most of it. So that was Thanksgiving for me. Three weeks later and I'm still eating on it. It's not bad.

Ellis was an attorney by trade (now recovering) but has worn many hats over the years: father, bus boy, stand-up comedian, novelist, wiffle ball player, rock'n'roll band manager, and at one time wrote a popular and funny column for The Covington News. A Fannin Co. mountain boy originally, Mr. Millsaps now stays at the mill village of Porterdale by way of 20 years in Mansfield. Usually funny and at times irreverent and subversive, he leans left in his political philosophy but can always be counted on for a pretty darn good write-up. The Chronicles are proud to have him involved. 

22 November 2016

[tPc] - A Moment From Us: It's Time for a Real Discussion about SPLOST

The Piedmont Chronicles   
~ est. 2010 ~
[State of GA]
[Newton Co.]

(North C-town * 11.22.16) -

Per multiple news reports, we now know that the 2017 Newton Co. SPLOST list has been approved by that primary political subdivision's board.




Well, friends, it's definitely a damn sordid state of affairs. With that said, I'd like to take a moment to tip my hat to Baxter Bouchillon - a very good man - who was tasked with heading up a 24-person committee to perform the task of whittling down a list of absolute shit to a more manageable list of basic shit. Well done. We saw an awe-inspiring (not in a good way) and rage-inducing list of of $91 million reduced to a mere $51 million.

It's still crap, though!

I just love the tone-deafness and the whole denying of reality that the powers-that-be continue to exhibit. News flash, people, Marcello Banes just got elected Chairman of the Board! Get the memo already. Jeesh...

And this abomination that passed 4-1 by the BOC includes the following:

- $500K for "District 4 park upgrades"
- $1.35 million for the Yellow River Trail
- A cool one million to the office of Economic Development

Y'all want me to go on?

Just based on the historical data, these people should know that there's no chance in hell for this thing to pass. With each SPLOST over the last couple of decades, the vote total to pass has continued to decrease. The last one should have been the canary in the coalmine, but people - these people don't put much stock in things like reality and reading the tea leaves...

I'll tip my hat on the fact that they did try to throw a very small bone with $10.5 million for debt reduction; a very needed $1.2 million to the red-headed stepchild of Newton Co., Animal Control, and also the $500K to the other one - the Library.

Unfortunately, though, it won't be near enough, as next year's SPLOST will be voted DOWN. As well it damn should be!

And don't buy the BS they'll be trying to sell you after the first of the year. Please. Our taxes won't go up. We'll just have to do a special election down the road to pass a SPLOST that's actually worth a shit!

It's time we get it together, Newton County. It's far past time.


M.B. McCart

09 November 2016

[tpc] - The Day After Yesterday - An Election Recap

The Piedmont Chronicles   
~ est. 2010 ~
[State of GA]
[Newton Co.]

(North Covington * 11/9/16) -

Well, Nov. the 8th has come and gone and for a lot of folks this was a real shocker. On the national level, I've never seen a more striking duality of mood, with approx. half the population feeling good for things for the first time in years while the other half truly believes the world is coming to an end. It's funny how the 2-party duopoly lends itself to that sort of thing. Regardless, that's the reality of our situation now. The Chronicles would like to congratulate President-elect Trump and his team. Good luck! That wasn't the only thing that occurred yesterday, though, as many things were going on at the state level and also here in our neck of the woods in the home county. Let's proceed to some bullet points: 

  • Lost in the shuffle with the surprising (to some) results of the POTUS race was this little tidbit of info: Gary Johnson, the Libertarian, shattered - and I mean totally shattered - all previous records for the LP in a POTUS race. At last count, he was at over 4 million votes for 3% of the popular vote total, tripling the previous highs in both vote total and percentage. The fact that he did this in such a polarized & "everything on the line" election simply speaks volumes in our estimation. Congrats, Gov. Johnson, and I'm so glad I voted for you. 
  • A clear message was given to DC last night. Not only did Trump do what the political and punditry class said was impossible, but the GOP easily kept the House and Senate, made gains in the number of governorships held, and made major gains throughout the various state assemblies and legislatures. A clear message was given throughout these United States. 
  • On the state level, Isakson won reelection. No great surprise there. Allen Buckley, the Libertarian, hit 4%, a strong vote total for a 3rd party in a Senate Race, but Johnny avoided the runoff by hitting 54% to the uninspiring and non-viable Democrat's 40%. 
  • There were also four Constitutional amendments that were on the ballot that TPC had come out against. Unfortunately, only one was stopped - Amendment 1. Of grave concern was the fact that an obviously uninformed Citizenry voted to abolish the JQC in Amendment 3. This will do away with having an independent watchdog of the Judiciary of Georgia and will put this under the control of the whims and politics of the Gold Dome. Very concerning and unsettling. The takeaway of this whole thing is that you have to have money when it comes to these sort of things. It's why 1 was stopped. You have to fight fire with fire, or, out-Georgia Georgia, if you will. Lesson learned... 
  • Newton County. Congrats to Marcello Banes for becoming the first black Chairman of the Board. At the end of the day, even though he was kind of an unknown commodity, he was preferable to slightly over half of the population than the known one - Aaron Varner, former Chairman of the Board of Newton Co. When it was all said and done, I don't think Aaron could get over his ties to Wm. Thomas Craig, Bear Creek, what they did to Emmett Denby & and a whole host of other things. 
  • Tommy Davis won reelection for Coroner in a 53/47 split. 
  • Barbara Dingler won reelection for Tax Commissioner in a 54/46 split. 
For many, just the thought of having this thing behind us is a cause for celebration, and I'm one of them! Glad to be done with the 2016 election cycle, it was a real crapper! My sincere hope is that our country, and our county, can begin to heal and meld and that maybe, just maybe, our best days are yet ahead! My name is M.B. McCart and that's a moment from us...

Til next time, my friends. Be good, or at least be good at it!



06 November 2016

[tpc] - A Moment from Us - a TPC Voting Guide

The Piedmont Chronicles   
~ est. 2010 ~
[State of GA]
[Newton Co.]

(North Covington, Alcovy, GA, USA * 11.6.16) - Greetings fine readers, I hope this online communique finds you, and that it finds you well. Well...two more days until this God-forsaken, soul-decimating election season finally comes to an agonizing close, but for the Grace of the Good Lord above. That's the silver lining...

For what they're worth, here are the views of The Piedmont Chronicles and its Editor-in-Chief, M.B. McCart, concerning some of the county, state & federal elections, as well as the four constitutional amendments in Georgia (ed.note: not covering unopposed races or ones that I don't feel warrant any consideration. Thx for reading, as always, and we'll see you next time! -MBM)

Chairman of the Board of Commissioners, Newton Co. 

Aaron Varner , Republican candidate and alleged Craig sympathizer & Bear Creek proponent (and property owner?), who oversaw the great selling out of the home county when he previously served in this position from 2001 to 2008 vs. Marcello "No Show" Banes, the Democrat who doesn't really seem to have a campaign platform or much of an idea on anything.

My vote: neither.

I'm planning on writing in TPC contributor J. Ellis Millsaps, as he is planning to write in Marshall B. McCart. I know of at least one other person who have said they're going to write me in. Why not? Go for it. Vote won't count, though? I'm still not sure that is Constitutional, and I have three lawyers and at least one elected official that agrees with me. Save our county, folks - just vote for your old pal M.B., folks, you can trust me! I'm not like the others!

Tax Commissioner of Newton Co. 
This one is easy. Casey Duren. Without a doubt. The right person for the job!

Coroner of Newton County

Another very easy one. Tommy Davis, the Republican. As good as gold and as honest as the day is long. I've worked with him before. He's just great. And he does a damn fine job as the Coroner here in the home county. Also, many - including several Democrats - have been majorly unimpressed with the floundering, negative & borderline-libelous campaign that his opponent,Bailey-Butts, has ran.

Georgia PSC

Vote for Eric Hoskins, the Libertarian. His challenger,Echols, is bought and paid for by the folks he's supposed to be regulating, just like Wise and the rest of the no-account scoundrels. Do something to improve your lot in life, people! There's no Democrat running. VOTE ERIC HOSKINS FOR GA PSC! 

State Senate 43 

Another easy one. The incumbent, Ms. JaNice Van Ness. She's done some great work up there in the Gold Dome.

U.S. Senate 

I've known Allen Buckley, the Libertarian candidate, for 12 years and can tell you this: he's brilliant, hardworking & passionate about Freedom, Justice and Liberty. A no-brainer here, good folks. "Shufflin' Johnny" is only planning on serving for a few months. He's not well, you know. And Barksdale, the Dem, is non-viable in our estimation. There's only one clear choice. LIBERTARIAN ALLEN BUCKLEY FOR US SENATE! 


This is the one that's got everybody worked up, right? Well...I'll just say this - in light of the recent revelations, Hillary Clinton will never be our commander in chief. Even if she supposedly wins the vote total on Tuesday, she will never assume power. Her biggest concern at this point should be being tried with treason. Seriously, true story. Her and Bill just might need to bug on out to Qatar to keep things from getting too messy. They could think of it as their patriotic duty. Thanks for everything, Clintons, we'll take it from here!

So, with her out of the way, what's the reasoning for voting from Trump again? You just have a fondness for buffoons? You like a strong man who's going to dominate you? Well, different strokes and all, I suppose.

Again, the Libertarian, Gary Johnson, seems like the most prudent and intelligent vote; I've decided to write-in Jill Stein, the Greenie.

The Four Constitutional Amendments in Georgia 

I'm voting NO on all four. They're all pretty terrible but Amendments 1 and 3, in particular, are egregious violators of the public trust. Especially Amendment 3!