Posted by: The Last Liberal Gwinnettian | September 28, 2010

Why No One in Georgia Should Vote for Nathan Deal

I’ve been largely silent for a very long time regarding politics, and I have rarely been interested in state politics in the past. However, I watched with bated breath as our gubernatorial battle it out for a chance at the Governor’s mansion. It’s time to share my thoughts.

The most recent story in a very long string of stories about Republican candidate Nathan Deal is from the Augusta Chronicle and is titled, “Deal disclosure again faces questions”. Nathan Deal released an amended financial disclosure form last week. In this amendment, Deal’s net worth seemed to increase substantially. I’ll get to that issue in a moment.

I can only assume that Deal is amending his financial disclosure forms in order to make it appear as though he will not be rendered financially insolvent come February 2011. The Deal campaign seems to believe that if they can only prove that Deal won’t go bankrupt, the whole big mess will just blow over. It seems to me that they’re missing the entire point. Personally, I couldn’t care less how much money Nathan Deal does or doesn’t have – that has little to no bearing on my vote. The issue at hand is not whether or not Nathan Deal is about to become broke. The issue is this: Nathan Deal made several very poor financial decisions over the course of several years, and then he lied to the voters about it. And then, just to make matters worse, he continued lying about it. And then he said that this was a nonissue because it’s a family matter. THAT I am not okay with.

In case you’ve somehow missed the scandals that have been following our Republican candidate, allow me to recap.

The first scandal to break involved his family-owned auto salvage business in Gainesville. This business has enjoyed a no-bid contract with the state of Georgia – this contract ensures that all salvaged vehicles are inspected at Deal’s auto salvage plant. When this contract came under investigation and the new commissioner overseeing the department questioned its value to the people of this state, Deal shamelessly used his position in Congress to bully government officials into keeping the contract in place – this, by the way, is where Casey Cagle enters the picture for the FIRST time. Cagle, our current Lt. Gov., arranged meetings on behalf of Deal so that Deal could save his contract. A perfect example of how little Nathan Deal values the wellbeing of Georgians. He would have us believe that he was merely protecting the inspection program in order to ensure that Georgians purchase safe cars. Yet the reason that contract was going to be dropped was because the contract awarded Deal’s business more money than was reasonable. At the very least, this is reason to be skeptical of Deal’s concern for Georgia – the Congressional Ethics Committee agreed. At the time when Deal left Congress, he was under investigation for ethics violations concerning his auto salvage business. He left just in time to avoid any consequences.

Once Deal won the run-off, more scandals arose, including one surrounding another family business. In 2005, Nathan Deal loaned his daughter and son-in-law $2 million to start up a sporting goods store. One would think that $2 million would be more than enough seed money to get a small business up and running – but it wasn’t. Within 2 years of opening, the store had run out of money and Nathan Deal agreed to cosign a business loan for roughly half a million dollars. That still wasn’t enough. By the time the store finally went under in 2009, Deal had cosigned a series of loans totaling $2.3 million. Translation: In the span of four years, Deal dumped $4.3 million into a business that ultimately failed anyway. Any businessman in the world will tell you that there comes a time when you have to cut your losses, salvage what you can, and toss in your hand. This is a lesson that Deal evidently did not learn. I would really rather not have a governor who shows a tendency to pour money into failing initiatives.

Now Nathan Deal would have us believe that he was simply helping his child, something every parent should do. Handing roughly half of your considerable net worth to your child so that he can go off to start a business isn’t a very smart or responsible thing to do, but it’s at least understandable. But when that business begins to fail, cosigning loan after loan until you are buried under an insurmountable mountain of debt is not good parenting: it is stupid, irresponsible, and very bad business. It shows a lack of common sense, and moreover, it doesn’t help your child one bit. In fact, all that this sort of parenting does is reinforce an unrealistic sense of entitlement, creating adult children who are incapable making intelligent, well thought out, RESPONSIBLE decisions.

That scandal wasn’t quite finished unfolding, though. Shortly after Deal’s financial struggles broke into the media, we learned that when Deal’s daughter and son-in-law filed for bankruptcy, they didn’t include Nathan Deal’s name, instead claiming 100% ownership of the failed Wilder Outdoors sporting goods store. This despite the fact that Deal had listed himself as a partner in the business on Congressional financial disclosure forms. As if that wasn’t enough, we were then informed that Deal’s son-in-law broke the law. Clinton Wilder had already filed for bankruptcy once before; he had already had his debts discharged once. When Wilder and Deal’s daughter filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and had their debts discharged, they did so illegally. First of all, they perjured themselves by lying on the application. Secondly, you cannot have your debts discharged twice.

Nathan Deal’s campaign quickly stated that Deal knew about the prior bankruptcy but would not state when Deal learned this information. This tells me one of two things: Either Deal knew about the bankruptcy prior to 2009 in which case he was complicit in his daughter and son-in-law’s lawbreaking; or, worse yet, Deal knew even earlier and still invested money into a business run by a man who had already gone belly up once. I believe that Deal’s campaign has since released statements implying that Deal did not know about the prior bankruptcy until later on, thereby clearing him from any accusations of wrongdoing. I’m willing to buy that story – but then that implies that this “family man” who is so dedicated to his daughter that he will put himself in hock for her…had no idea who her husband really was. Some great family man.

The Wilder’s questionable bankruptcy case has since been reopened, as it should be. Some have suggested that this may result in even greater debts for Nathan Deal. That, however, is completely beside the point. What is interesting, however, is the fact that Deal first said that the omission of his name was a simple error, but then backtracked to say that his name should never have been listed to begin with. Which is it, Mr. Deal? You cannot have it both ways. Either you were a partner and your name should have been brought up in this bankruptcy case, or your weren’t a partner and you lied about being a partner on Congressional financial disclosure forms. Pick your poison.

Ah, but the fun still wasn’t over for Nathan Deal. On the heels of the story about the $2.3 million in loans, it was revealed that Deal also has an additional $2.85 million in outstanding business loans for his Gainesville auto salvage business. These loans were not listed on his financial disclosure forms, a fact which Deal deemed an “oversight.” An oversight? A $2.85 million oversight? Another lovely tid-bit: Casey Cagle, the same Lt. Gov. who helped Deal arrange meetings to protect this same auto salvage business, was on the board of directors at the bank that gave out these loans. He claims that his role on the board of directors did not involve overseeing loans, and that’s probably true. But when your name comes up twice in two separate scandals involving the same business, one has to at least wonder if something fishy is going on. (For more on the “bromance” between Cagle and Deal, check out this post over at Georgia Politico.)

For the record, Nathan Deal owes more money in business loans than a full time minimum wage worker in this state would earn in 340 years. Check the math if you don’t believe it. (And those are just the loans we KNOW about!)

But back to the original point. In an ongoing effort to minimize his financial ineptitude, Deal has amended his financial disclosure forms — AGAIN. The latest amendment was filed after Deal paid accountant Jimmy Allen to go over his financial records again. The new numbers show a net worth that is 38% higher than the original disclosure forms indicated. That’s a pretty huge leap – one has to wonder: Did Deal have completely incompetent accountants before now, or did this newest accountant massage the numbers? Either situation doesn’t speak very highly for Nathan Deal. Oh, and let’s not forget to mention that Jimmy Allen is hardly an unbiased party: He’s a Deal “supporter” (which, in this campaign, seems to be code for “donor”).

Deal’s donors seem to pop up a lot. When the scandal about Nathan Deal’s plane/helicopter broke, Deal’s major donors surfaced again. Nathan Deal’s campaign has thus far spent $135,000 to maintain a plane and a helicopter. That is 10 times more than any other candidate. It’s not as though Deal is having to travel the entire country – he’s running for Governor, not President. Georgia’s a good-sized state, but it’s hardly so large that you need to spend roughly three times the average annual income in Georgia on nothing more than air travel. Turns out that Deal even owns the plane and helicopter in part. Through a complex web of partnerships and co-ownerships, it seems that Deal owns part of a company that owns part of a company that owns part of a company that owns the plane. He also owns part of a company that owns part of a company that owns part of a company that owns the helicopter. The other co-owners in the company that owns the plane are major donors to the Deal campaign. In other words, it would appeal that Deal is using campaign funds to rent a plane that Deal already owns part of. This does not show transparency, full disclosure, or, more importantly, financial sense.

Our state is in trouble. Our economy is doing worse than the already struggling national economy. Our unemployment rate is higher. People are fleeing the state like rats from a ship: for the first time in decades, our tax base is shrinking. We are so broke that we have had to fire thousands of teachers and raise the average class size just to make ends meet. We can’t afford anything that we need: mass transportation, decent schools, or water reservoirs. Given the circumstances, the trait that I care about the most when electing a Governor to lead this state is financial responsibility. I shudder to imagine the state of our economy in four years if a man like Nathan Deal takes office. He has a proven record of financial back door dealings, lying about his finances, and repeated poor financial decisions. Whether he faces bankruptcy in February or not is not the issue at hand; whether he is capable of handling the finances of a struggling state is.

No Deal, Georgia.

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Responses

  1. While I am a card carrying conservative Republican I couldn’t agree with your post more. I am pretty certain many Democrats voted Republican in the primary as a technique to get Deal in the race against Barnes. While I’d like to think Republican’s out number Democrat voters I don’t believe for a second that it is really a 2 to 1 and that’s the #’s we saw in the primary. I think in reality come November there are many Republican’s like myself that would rather vote democrat knowing Barnes would go into a Repbulican run legislative body then send a crook to the Dome. Barne’s and I see eye to eye on very few matters but from where I’m sitting it doesn’t appear that he entered the race for personal gain… afterall he could stay working in his law firm making MUCH more money. I hope there are many Republican’s like me that are Principle over party. I think in the long run most Karen Handel supporters care much more about ethics then voting for Deal because he has an “R” next to his name. He supporters were firm beliievers in ethics reform and transparency and all know they can’t get that from Deal. They may not vote Barnes they’ll likely throw away their vote with a write in but at least it’s one less vote for Deal.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Stephanie Wilson, No Deal Georgia, PerimeterProgressive, PerimeterProgressive, No Deal Georgia and others. No Deal Georgia said: Why No One in Georgia Should Vote for Nathan Deal. Good scandal summary by Perimeter Progressive http://bit.ly/cd28RP #gagov #gapolitics #fb […]

  3. Like Just Peachy, I’m also a Republican who finds this guy extremely sketchy… And what scares me the most is the idea that uninformed voters are going to choose him because his name (Nathan Deal) is phonetically reminiscent of a famous American attempt at resurrecting a dying economy: FDR’s “New Deal.” A stupid reason to be scared, I know, but Last Liberal Gwinettian kinda already covered the smart reasons.

  4. […] Scandal has more twists and turns than Chutes and Ladders.  There’s a great summary up over at The Perimeter Progressive, but saying that Deal has some personal financial issues at this point would be putting it […]

  5. […] Nathan Deal’s Bankruptcy Voting Record Republican Gubernatorial candidate Nathan Deal has been linked to the issue of bankruptcy numerous times thus far. First, there was the story about Nathan Deal’s daughter and son-in-law filing for bankruptcy in 2009 in order to have their various debts discharged; then there was the revelation that Deal himself may well be facing bankruptcy come February 2011; finally, the wonderful tale of son-in-law Clinton Wilder’s previous bankruptcy, which rendered the 2009 bankruptcy illegal. This bankruptcy case has since been reopened, and it will be interesting to see what happens next. Feel free to peruse our past coverage of these events here. […]

  6. […] much support — as possible for why no one in this state should vote for Nathan Deal. I did a post early in the race that outlined some of Deal’s more egregious offenses, but more has come out and been […]


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