Jasper and JYSA unsure of parks future

News

JASPER, Ga. – Concerns arose within the city council meetings regarding an item on the agenda to sublet property.

As the city considers leases on the parks and its continuing relationship with JYSA, more confusion is mounting around what the city can and cannot do with the property. One idea is to sublease the property in favor of having an entity control and manage it for the city. 

City Attorney Bill Pickett said, “My gut reaction is no. I don’t know if we have the authority to do that. Cities of population of more than 300,000 people have specific statutory authority in order to lease parks… These are the taxpayers of the City of Jasper that own this. This would alienate the property and take us out of the loop and not have control of our own destination. It will violate the insurance and it could waive sovereign immunity.”

Much of the issue seems to revolve around scheduling events and public use with citizens wishing to use the fields with the options now pointing to continuing with JYSA or having the city take over for planning and scheduling of these events. This was noted as Jasper City Mayor John Weaver summarized the issue saying that years ago, the parks were an effort to provide inexpensive recreation for local citizens. This included a league of local counties. Now, however, the league is not around anymore, but no effort has been made to create travel teams. However, other travel teams around the area are wanting to use the park facilities.

Weaver went on to say, “At this point, JYSA may have run its course with the City of Jasper. And it needs to be brought back under the umbrella of the city council and our staff to decide who gets to use the facilities instead of having people that we don’t know schedule our fields. We have the potential to do that.”

Weaver said he thought the travel teams would come under JYSA, but now the coaches and teams are not controlled by that organization. As independent teams, Weaver suggested the city needs to control those teams scheduled uses of the fields.

Councilmember Sonny Proctor questioned if the city could charge teams to use the fields as part of the city hosting tournaments.

Weaver said they probably could but may need some more insurance or similar needs.

The need to control scheduling comes so that citizens who may wish to use the fields as they meet up with friends could access the field when no events were scheduled. A governing body to control that schedule would provide that singular schedule to be abided and to have the fields vacated for those events.

The City Council ultimately decided to table the issue this month as they continue looking deeper into JYSA, the parks, and the city’s next steps.

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Pickens BOC approves Sunday Sales

News

JASPER, Ga. – A Special Called Meeting saw the Pickens County Board of Commissioners approve a resolution to officially adhere to election results from November.

The Sunday Sales question on Novembers ballot resulted in 63.55% approval, that’s 8,205 votes. Though election results showed the county’s wishes, it still had to be approved by the Board. Though almost a formality, the election results were followed with a 3-0 vote by the Commissioners to approve the resolution.

Effective immediately after the vote, Chairman Rob Jones clarified with County Attorney Philip Landrum that this allows the sell of spirits on Sundays with a few notable exceptions including holidays like Easter Sunday and Christmas. This will be allowed from 11 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.  on Sundays.

Though the county already has resolutions for beer and wine, this resolution allows for the sales of distilled spirits.

 

Author

Following Guilty Plea Miller Attempts To Make Prison Sentence Favorable

News

Attorney Mark Miller plead guilty Wednesday, July 19, to multiple counts of theft and financial fraud. The day after Miller received his sentence, he phoned his wife from the Pickens County Adult Detention Center. The call took a turn when Miller asked his wife for a specific favor in relation to his time being served,

It is a very political animal so I need you to make a very concerted effort to contact and make an appointment to go see David Ralston.

He then continued the conversation by giving her specific details,

What we want David to do is write a letter, to the Department of Corrections and the Parole Board, saying I’m interested in Mark Miller, as a professional colleague of mine, etc. if you would keep me informed of what’s going on with him. That will flag me in DOC jargon and I will get better treatment and better placement and better parole opportunities and everything else because it is so political. The speaker of the House of Representatives writing a letter will go a huge way.

FYN contacted David Ralston’s office and we are currently awaiting more information.

Officers at the jail are baffled by his attempt believing it is just another bad decision on his part.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

Attorney Mark Miller Pleads Guilty

News

JASPER, GA – Former attorney Mark Miller was active in many groups and causes around Pickens County. He was the chairman of the Lion’s Club Council of Governors, among several other roles. Citizens say it came as a shock to the community last year when he was arrested for fraud against former clients.

On Wednesday, July 19,  Miller pleaded guilty in Pickens Superior Court to multiple counts of theft and financial fraud, foregoing a trial which would have begun in August.

The plea settlement negotiated back and forth all day Wednesday. Miller has been sentenced to 40 years, though he will serve 5 years. The remaining 35 years will be served on probation. He has been jailed since June of 2016 and will be granted credit for that year.

Miller will be required to make restitution of $1.3 million to former clients who he pleaded guilty to taking funds from their accounts.

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

Fannin’s Troubles, Who lit the candle? Pt 4

GMFTO

Part 4 of our series on Fannin County, Brenda Weavers Resignation from the JQC, and the litigation of Mark Thomason.

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Ads in Fannin Focus do not show up correctly in Sheriff Candidates Campaign Financial Reports

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Mark Thomason, the publisher of the Fannin Focus has been in the news a lot lately. This is an unrelated story to Thomason’s arrest, “Journalist Jailed”. It does, however go with the big picture of Thomason’s publication the Fannin Focus, “Intent on Integrity”. Read the story and you decide.

FYN has a copy of every Fannin Focus issue since primary election qualifying. We have reviewed each page for all campaign advertising. We also have a copy of the Fannin Focus advertising rate sheet. We have cross referenced the ads with the rate sheet. We have all the documents to support this article. FYN files the following report on three Fannin County Sheriff Republican Party Candidates, Johnny Scearce, Jack Taylor and Larry Bennett.

Fannin Sheriff Candidates Political Ad Reporting in Fannin Focus

#FanninCartel Defined

“A coalition or cooperative arrangement between political parties intended to promote a mutual interest”. Did this happen in the Fannin County Sheriff’s race?

Larry Bennett, Republican Candidate for Sheriff placed ads in issues of the Fannin Focus on 3/31, 4/7, 4/14 and 4/28. According to the Fannin Focus advertising rate sheet, the number of ads and the size of the ads Bennett placed should have totalled $1,142.78 in advertising with the Fannin Focus. According to Bennett’s Campaign Contribution Disclosure Report he spent $0 in advertising with the Fannin Focus. Bennett is the former police chief of McCaysville GA.

Jack Taylor Republican Candidate for Sheriff placed ads in issues of the Fannin Focus on 3/3, 3/10, 3/17, 3/24, 3/31, 4/14, 4/21, 4/28, 5/5, 5/12 and 5/19. According to the Fannin Focus advertising rate sheet, number of ads and size of the ads Taylor should have totaled $7,970.63 in advertising with the Fannin Focus. According to Taylor’s Campaign Contribution Disclosure Report he spent $600 in advertising with the Fannin Focus. This left $7,370.63 of unreported spending with the Fannin Focus. Remember all those full page ads Taylor ran in the paper?

Remember the marquee at the Swan Drive-In, “Vote Jack Taylor for Sheriff”? What did Taylor pay Steve Setser, the owner of the Drive-In, for the advertising? Taylor listed Setser on his Campaign Contribution Disclosure, but in the space where a candidate has to give the amount of the contribution, Taylor wrote “Setser“ but would not give a price or “no charge” (You can legally donate goods or services to a candidate {In-Kind} but the candidate must describe the donation and place a value on their campaign disclosure). In-Kind contribution values must comply with campaign finance laws. Setser is required to place a value on his contribution. Steve Setser also donated $463 for T-Shirts and $300 for flyers to the Taylor campaign.

Jack Taylor Swan

Now, that brings us to Johnny Scearce. Scearce is currently the Blue Ridge City Police Chief. Scearce has run for Fannin County Sheriff several times and is used to filling out a “Campaign Contribution Disclosure Report”. One would assume that Scearce would understand he has to list everyone who contributes to his campaign and show all outlets where he has spent money.  According to Scearce’s Campaign Contribution Disclosure Report filed on 6/30, he showed $0 left in his campaign account.

Johnny Scearce Republican Candidate for Sheriff placed ads in issues of the Fannin Focus on 3/17, 3/31, 4/7, 4/14, 4/21, 4/28, 5/5, 5/12 and 5/19. According to the Fannin Focus advertising rate sheet, the number of ads and size of ads Scearce placed should have cost $4,946.89 in advertising with the Fannin Focus. According to Scearce’s Campaign Contribution Disclosure Report he spent $0 in advertising with the Fannin Focus.

johnny brenda 3johnny full page 3

Scearce hired  Kendell Goss as Campaign Marketing Manager. Scearce paid Goss $3,369.00 and listed it as advertising. Sources tell FYN, Goss handled the campaign website, prepared speeches, and campaign video along with other marketing materials.

Let’s just suppose Goss used some of the money to place ads in the Fannin Focus…it still would have to be disclosed! Scearce disclosed that he spent money directly three times with The News Observer and once with WPPI – FM so why wouldn’t he disclose any money paid to the Fannin Focus or place the ad directly himself?

There is no disclosure on who paid for the ads. We could not find one Johnny Scearce or Larry Bennett ad in the Fannin Focus that discloses “Paid for By.” One could understand if the publisher missed one ad but it seems he missed them all! Why not show who is paying for the campaign ads, it’s a campaign finance rule?

Sheriff Dane Kirby spent $0 with the Fannin Focus and placed no ads in its paper.

The publisher of the Fannin Focus is Mark Thomason. If Thomason decided to give the advertising to the candidates for free, the Fannin Focus would still have to be listed on the candidates campaign finance reports with an “In-Kind” amount. If an “In-Kind” was the desired result to benefit the above listed candidates by Thomason, the amounts have far exceeded the campaign contribution limits.

Some questions…Did Mark Thomason extend $13,460.30 of free advertising to three Fannin County Sheriff candidates? Why just the Sheriff candidates? Could they have been in cahoots (colluding or conspiring together secretly)? Wonder how the other candidates who paid for their ads must feel? Wonder what the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission will think?

Click to read campaign finance reports.

Johnny Scearce 6302016

Jack Taylor 6302016

Larry Bennett 6302016

 

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Related story: Fannin Focus Mark Thomason Arrested, Journalist or Vendetta

 

 

 

Morning Monologue 6/27/16

GMFTO

Arrests and Headlines, Fraud and Conspiracy.

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Fannin Focus Publisher Mark Thomason Indicted along with attorney Russell Stookey, 1 Count Making False Statement, 2 counts Identity Fraud

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A Pickens County Grand Jury returned true bills on Friday, June 24th and indicted Fannin Focus Publisher, Mark Brannon Thomason for 1 count of Identity Fraud, 1 count of Attempt to Commit Identity Fraud, and 1 count of Making a False Statement.  Thomason’s Attorney, Russell Stookey of Hiawassee Georgia was also indicted for 1 count of Identity Fraud and 1 count of Attempt to Commit Identity Fraud.  FetchYourNews.com has confirmed with Authorities that Mark Brannon Thomason was arrested Friday evening, June 24th.  FYN will have a full report Monday Morning.

Below you can read the indictment – FYN is working on the complete story.  Tune in Monday Morning at 8 am to Good Morning from the Office – go to FetchYourNews.com and click on FYN TV and watch the full report from BKP.

#FanninCartal  #GMFTO  #BKP

1mr800

 

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