The Cobb County Braves stadium deal is safe. The Georgia Supreme Court on Monday unanimously upheld the bond issue for up to $397 million to finance the deal, affirming a ruling by Cobb County Superior Court Judge Robert Leonard.
But the high court also underscored some of the concerns brought up by the three plaintiffs who challenged the deal. In the opinion, written by Justice David Nahmias, the justices said, “We do not discount the concerns” raised in the three appeals “about the wisdom of the stadium project and the commitments Cobb County has made to entice the Braves to move there.”
Cobb County surprised Atlanta in November 2013 with a deal to lure the Braves away from downtown and into a suburban site near Interstates 285 and 75 off Cobb Parkway. Construction is underway on the new SunTrust Park, which will supplant Turner Field.
The court said the residents’ objections to Cobb’s financial incentives “lie predominantly in the realm of public policy entrusted to the county’s elected officials for decision, not in the realm of constitutional or statutory law. And to the extent the concerns affect whether the bond proposal is sound, feasible and reasonable, we defer to the trial court’s findings on those factors, which were supported by evidence in the record.”
The court concluded with a warning. “If the stadium deal does not fulfill the high expectations that have been set for it, there may be a significant political price to pay for those who negotiated and signed onto it,” Nahmias wrote. “But under the law of Georgia as construed in the precedents of this court, we cannot say that the trial court erred in validating the bonds or that the validation process was deficient. Accordingly, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.” … Read More