BEAR CREEK RESERVOIR SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN A FRAUD FROM THE BEGINNING

NEWTON COUNTY FORENSIC AUDIT VINDICATES ALL THOSE OPPOSED TO BEAR CREEK RESERVOIR

Audit Report

How exciting can it be to know that when you stand up for something, you might eventually make a difference?!  It took 13 years, but TWG, Mary Patrick, and all those that stood and opposed the Bear Creek Reservoir have been vindicated!!

“The taxpayers could be paying several millions of dollars for a reservoir that doesn’t exist and might not ever exist.” —Mary Patrick, 3/14/2004

Folks, I’ve been thinking for days what to write and how to write it.  There is so much—so much that was said back in late 2003 when TWG first found out about the Bear Creek Reservoir (BCR) contract that had been done in secret (Yep! Secret! There’s that word again!).  So much more done in 2004 when the project was continuing to be pushed by JCWSA, Linda Jordan, Steve Jordan, Don Kelly, Ray Gardner, and others that said those that didn’t agree with the BCR were not open minded.  They defended the project and Tommy Craig at every turn; they said we couldn’t miss this chance at a water source for Jasper County.

JCWSA, Frank Sherrill-engineer working with Tommy Craig on several projects (including BCR & JDA), Tommy Craig, W.Dan Roberts—attorney for both JCWSA and JCBOC, and finally the JCBOC worked on a contract totally against the interests of Jasper County and its citizens during 2003.  The proposal was presented by Tommy Craig and Frank Sherrill to a packed courtroom in late 2003, with the board members of JCWSA being the main cheerleaders.

Tommy Craig No BCR

We all owe a big debt of gratitude to the Newton County CITIZENS that protested, pushed, called, and complained about Tommy Craig and his outrageous legal bills they were paying, and the Newton County BOC kept approving and paying.  For years Tommy Craig billed Newton County over $1,000,000 a year.  Part of his bill was for his “legal fees” and part was for his role as “water consultant.”  The Newton County BOC finally authorized a FORENSIC AUDIT to be done, and the parts released list, in minute detail, the fraud perpetuated on the Newton County taxpayers under what was called Bear Creek Reservoir.

Here is a copy of the entire audit:

http://www.taxdogs.com/2016-NC%20Forensic%20Audit.pdf

Anyone that remembers BCR and all the letters to the editor, such as the one reproduced below from 3/14/2004, will find this report a real page turner, very eye opening, and something that shows you that just because the “leaders” of the county push something doesn’t mean that the citizens that fight it are wrong.

Here’s a few highlights of the forensic audit concerning BCR:

  • Tommy Craig knew since March 2008 that BCR was not viable and was not going to be approved. Yet he continued to push it, charge for it, and tell Newton County leaders that it was going to happen (repeatedly). Page 27
  • Eco-Tech & Eco-South were interlocking companies with Tommy Craig and they were involved in BCR, the Newton County landfill, and most likely JDA. The bills were sent to Craig’s office.
  • Page 24 lists Tommy Craig’s role, how he benefitted, and how financially detrimental to the taxpayer’s of Newton County BCR was –in excess of $25M
  • BCR was all perpetuated and supervised by Tommy Craig bringing money in for himself and business associates and some relatives
  • Tommy Craig “used insider information to influence county leaders”
  • Tommy Craig was intent to continue & prolong the BCR project to his financial benefit and to the financial harm of the taxpayers
  • Tommy Craig knew years in advance the reservoir would not be approved.
  • Page 41- BCR was “disguised as a water supply, but was really an amenity lake to benefit realtors” (and we add to benefit “developers” and land speculators)

Page.55  of the audit shows the BCR Financial damage summary and Page 57 shows the payments that directly benefited TC or close associates &/or relatives. Page 82 shows the summary observations.  The audit details of the land acquistions for the BCR are particularly interesting.

You can also read other articles about the report here and see a WSB-TV report:

Forensic Audit: Actions ‘caused financial harm and damage to the taxpayers of Newton County’

FBI, GBI and Newton County District Attorney have received the document—Covington News

 Audit: Tommy Craig misled Newton County commissioners on reservoir project—Rockdate Citizen

Audit cites ‘financial damages’ to Newton County taxpayers—Covington News

Newton County forensic audit says millions in damage to taxpayers -AJC

Mismanagement costs Newton County taxpayers $29M, audit claims .—WSB-TV

TWG will also have more information on this audit, and how many of the players in the BCR project are the same as the Newton County Landfill project and the Joint Development Authority (4 County Development Authority).

” Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” -Aldous Huxley ….or because they are considered “negative” by those that don’t like the facts or try to cover them up!

letter-to-the-editor

The Monticello News —-3/14/04 LETTERS

Dear Editor:

At their March 1, 2004 meeting, I presented some information to the Commissioners concerning the cost of the proposed reservoir.

I am a little surprised that none of them have contacted me to request further information or to ask questions. One Commissioner had told me previously that all he wanted to do was get the letter back from the attorney that is reviewing the contract, modify the contract, and sign it. Here are my concerns both as a citizen in this county and as chairman of the TWG. (The Watchdog Group)

First, I don’t think anyone realizes what the real cost of Bear Creek Reservoir (BCR) will be. We have been told that we will pay $2 million or $35,000 per quarter to pay for what Newton County has already done. Over 25 years this $2 million will become $3.5 million.

Second, when (if) the reservoir is built, Newton County tells us it will cost approximately $23 million (including a 15% contingency). 

Our 25% will be around $6 million. That means Jasper County property owners will be paying $8 million, not $2 million. If Newton County only charges us 5% interest, this $8 million will become $14 million. We will be paying NewtonCounty almost as much in interest as we are in principal. Newton County needs this money to pay for the revenue bonds that they have already floated on BCR. There is no revenue from BCR because there is no reservoir; however there will be revenue when Jasper County starts making these payments.

Third, I gave the Commissioners a chart showing what the cost would be just to continue to purchase water from Newton County on the contract that the JCWSA already has with Newton County. This chart shows our population and water usage increasing for 50 years to match the figures Newton County has presented. If you start with the cost of water that JCWSA is now paying to buy water and you increase it every year by 1.5%, the total cost of water will be $5.5 million over 50 years.

Another huge concern is real cost of the reservoir. After doing research on many reservoirs, it seems they all cost at least 3 times more than originally estimated. Some examples to back this statement up are RockdaleCounty’s reservoir was estimated to cost $3.25 million–”it ended up costing $23 million (almost 8 times more). Yahoola Creek Reservoir in Lumpkin County was estimated to cost $3-4 million; so far it has cost $14 million and isn’t finished yet. If the same holds true with BCR, it will cost $70 million or more. 

Reservoirs also take years to complete. The 2/18/04 issue of the Newton Citizen quoted Newton County officials as saying that the BCR and treatment plant would be constructed in 2017. That’s 13 more years. (Costs will go up in 13 years–how much is only a guess.) Rockdale’s reservoir took 8 years longer than expected to complete. The West Georgia Regional Reservoir project over near Bremen has been ongoing for 12 years, has cost the taxpayers $12 million, has not yet been approved by the Federal agencies, and has now been put on hold and is very likely not going to be built. [Note: WGRR was never built, but GA DNR paid Tommy Craig $2M.)

This exact same thing can happen with Bear Creek Reservoir. The taxpayers could be paying several millions of dollars for a reservoir that doesn’t exist and might not ever exist. There are many citizens in this county that have done research such as this, written letters, and will become more mobilized if and when the BCR permit is again applied for. It seems that alternative sources of water may be available that would be much cheaper in the long run and Jasper County would be in control of it’s own water.

It is up to all the people in Jasper County to ask the Commissioners to look at the real cost (there are many other issues I could go into), the time table, the open ended contract, etc. Some have said that those of us who object to rushing into signing this contract are “hard-headed obstructionist.” These are the very people that have done no research on their own. The Commissioners should sit down and go over the information with an open mind. A 50-year contract will burden many future generations, and it is up to those of us that will pay for it to make sure it is a good deal for Jasper County.

Mary Patrick

 

TWG

Citizens, be informed and stay informed!  Only by being informed, can the citizens understand what is being done and talked about, and then press our officials to make good decisions for everyone in Jasper County.  That is our goal with the Taxdogs blog.

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7 Responses to BEAR CREEK RESERVOIR SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN A FRAUD FROM THE BEGINNING

  1. cheryl nowetner says:

    great news after a long hard fight

  2. The Truth Always Triumphs says:

    Thanks Mary, for all the (((NEGATIVE))) revenue scarfing scams, money wasting wish lists and blatant lies you confront on a weekly basis so the taxpayers,including the useful idiots, can count on a POSITIVE future for the fiscal stability of Jasper County.

    It’s been said that you’ll know the character of the person by the company they keep. And, Tommy Craig had a lot of COMPANY helping him run his Bear Creek Reservoir scam. And, what a low down and dirty scam it was. I feel nothing but pain for the poor taxpayers of Newton County who will be paying for this worthless Board of Commissioners supported farce for decades to come.
    But, HEY, at least Tommy Craig acting as attorney for JDA didn’t mislead any of the four county officials on the Stanton Springs land development project….did he?

    “The report says that Craig, on behalf of the county, paid excessive prices for properties associated with the reservoir and generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in consulting and legal fees.” Meris Lutz The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    Bear Creek Reservoir was nothing but lies layered upon more layers of lies and all supported by a network of low life, money grubbing, greasy vermin who deserve to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

    Ga. gives Bear Creek reservoir $21M loan
    August 4, 2012 7:21 p.m.
    Gabriel Khouli gkhouli@covnews.com

    “The state will not offer you a loan unless they have assurances that you are going to cross the finish line,” said County Attorney Tommy Craig, who is considered a reservoir expert and has handled the 1,242-acre Bear Creek Reservoir project from its initial application in 1999.

    Craig said the county is finally on the verge of getting the permits it needs to withdraw water from the Alcovy River and build the dam and reservoir. He said the state told him it plans to issue the 401 water withdrawal permit this month, while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has a target date of October or November to hand out the 404 permit.

  3. How dare you be negative says:

    Shame, shame on Mary Patrick. By being so negative and a “hard headed obstructionist” she saved the taxpayers millions but cost a special group of people big money they were hoping to get. The leaders in our county talk incessantly about being positive. Maybe they too ought to delve into some problems and do some research before believing the pitch they are given by those seeking taxpayer funding for their projects. They might find that everything isn’t as it appears.

  4. TWG rocks says:

    Please keep up the good work and exposing those who make deals behind closed doors.

    TWG has saved the Jasper County taxpayers millions of dollars over the years. Bear Creek reservoir is just one of them. Jasper county could have easily marred in a landfill deal similar to Newton County or worse.

    People are continually lied to by our county leaders. Those that speak out are denigrated.

  5. Not Shocked says:

    Wow, imagine all that!
    Thanks Mary!! We love these secrets you find out about!

    The JCBOC, JCWSA and especially the JDA
    can just get over themselves and if they would quit with the secret back room deals, they would not mind you finding out about secrets that affect the taxpayers of Jasper and also surrounding counties!!

  6. Just sayin says:

    Such great vindication for those who fought so hard for so long and against so many odds to keep Jasper County from going into enormous debt for a boondoggle reservoir sold to county officials but designed strictly to profit those in high places, i.e. lawyers, bankers and developers. Good work, as usual, for ‘ole negative Mary Patrick and TWG still fighting to save our county from stupid financial mistakes..

  7. SS GW says:

    Wonderful! Vindication feels great, doesn’t it? [😁]

    ________________________________

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