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Postell questioning WGL deal

Tax records show that the Suntrust building sold for $3.1 million in 2008, but is currently assessed at $2.9 million — more than $1,109,800 less than WG&L's proposed purchase price.

The SunTrust office building is now home to the bank’s main branch offices, Jacobs Defense Contracting and the U.S. Secret Service.

The SunTrust office building is now home to the bank’s main branch offices, Jacobs Defense Contracting and the U.S. Secret Service.

— An Albany City Commissioner is requesting city officials shine the light on proposed real estate transaction involving the Albany Water, Gas and Light Commission that he says may have been done to skirt scrutiny from the city commission.

Ward VI Commissioner Tommie Postell said Tuesday that he would like a discussion to be put on the city commission's next agenda to determine why WG&L General Manager Lemuel Edwards and board member Andrew Reid authorized up to $4 million to be spent on a acquiring a piece of downtown property to relocate the utility's headquarters, when then Albany Mayor Willie Adams wasn't present.

"I want to know why they waited to sign off on this when Mayor Adams wasn't there," Postell said. "I think they're deliberately trying to keep us in the dark, and I won't stand for it."

Real estate transactions involving local governments are exempt from public disclosure and discussion under Georgia's Open Records and Open Meetings Acts until after closing or once the deal falls through, City Attorney Nathan Davis said, which is why the city denied the Herald's request for the document that Reid and Edwards reportedly signed.

Edwards said Thursday that the commission has been kept abreast of the discussions, which were first made public by the Albany Herald in January.

And while Edwards said that Adams, who retired as mayor in December, Thursday that he would honor a commitment made with bank officials to keep the terms of the deal confidential, but denied any intent to keep the commission in the dark.

"I wouldn't want to do it, because we've promised the bank that we would keep the negotiations confidential until the deal was done," Edwards said. "But we went to the commission, in executive session, and told them what was going on and what we wanted to do. I don't know where he's coming from on this."

"And besides, if a deal is reached, it can't be completed until the city commission votes on it," Edwards said.

Map

Suntrust Bank Building

Suntrust Bank Building

Edwards said that Adams "knew fully," about the resolution but that if the board had waited on Adams' return to sign the document, it would have risked violating a deadline that could've thrown the deal into jeopardy.

It was an executive session in January between the city commission and the executive staff of WG&L, that tipped off a Herald reporter that WG&L was in talks to acquire real estate. Two independent, yet anonymous sources confirmed the next day that WG&L was eying the Suntrust Office building at 400 West Broad Avenue as its new headquarters.

According to the resolution that was signed by Edwards and Reid on October 4, 2011, WG&L has offered to purchase the building for $4,075,000 and was seeking "that the matter be placed upon th agenda for the earliest possible City Commission meeting in order that final approval of the proposed sale may be obtained on or before November 18, 2011."

The matter hasn't been formally presented the city commission in open session for consideration and there has been no word that the deal is off, which would trigger the Herald's open records request, so presumably, the closing deadline has been extended.

As for the property itself, tax records show that it sold for $3.1 million in 2008, but is currently assessed at $2.9 million — more than $1,109,800 less than WG&L's proposed purchase price.

Comments

observer1 2 years ago

Postell would have been better served by first calling Mr. Edwards who has a reputation for being a stand up man of integrity with nothing to hide.

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Melissa 2 years ago

Why exactly are we purchasing a building that is assessed at $1,109,800.00 less that what we are paying for it? Another injustice to the citizens of Albany. Who is getting a kickback on this?

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dingleberry 2 years ago

The city is hell bent on getting downtown apartments and it seems will go to any length to make it happen even if it is costly and makes no sense. If the deal goes through, we will spend money to renovate the "new" HQ for WG&L use and much more money to do the conversion of the old HQ building to apartments that then will sit and not sell. In the process, we will build an expensive new parking deck we don't need near the apartments.

For starters, let's replace the WG&L Board then move to the ADICA Board and do the same. And from reading the article, maybe we need to turn on the spigot and "water board" all those involved to see who is telling the truth and what the truth really means.

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Amazed2 2 years ago

Well, I think it makes a lot of sense to have downtown City of Albany apartments. After all NO Private Developers have risked their own money to try it so Heck lets use some of the Free Tax Dollars. Besides just think of the gas the crack dealers will save when they have court dates and likewise the police department can just about walk over and arrest them. Again the City saves Gas. In the not too far off future the crack heads can ride a bus to the new Multi-Model Transportation Center and get some crack. YEs lets spend over $4million for a new WGL Building and then spend a couple more million to renovate and furnish it. Then we can spend another few million to convert the old WGL Building into Low Rent Apartment. I bet you we can break even in maybe a lifetime or two. Heck if the City owns them we won't even need to collect taxes. Just think of how much we can save on his gas too..

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dingleberry 2 years ago

Darn! Have you been reading my playbook again? I am getting real excited about living downtown in a loft near the Multi-Modal and the prospect of high speed rail from downtown to K-Mart in west, Wal-mart in the east, and the House of Crack in the south, the last stop on the line before the Johnson International Air Terminal and Wig Shop. Movin' on up!

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VietVet1 2 years ago

Albany - the "Good Life City" - LOL this is just too funny - but so sad

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Justice4Moma 2 years ago

First,you can not count on Willie to be anywhere.And why does he matter so much.He is one of the reasons Albany is in the shape it is now.And All of our so called leaders are responseable as well.Our so called leaders are worried about one thing,there pockets,not ours as tax payers.They are all a bunch of people who care only about what they can get from the taxpayers.Untill we get them all out of office and start over this town will keep going down.Its simple,they just dont care.It is up to us,the voters,the taxpayers,to make our City become something other than BAD NEWS. And i can say this and feel good about it because i have seen who they care about.When my Mother died in 2007,everyone of them took up for each other,and lied to protect one of there friends.That my Friends is when i gave up on Albany. But i do not Hate anyone,yet i am ashamed of you all.I forgive you all,but i will not forget it.

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