Jim Galloway provides a play by play on this week's news on Deal & Wilder finances, & leaves with this concluding line: 'This drama is far from over.'
Jim Galloway writes in the ajc's Political Insider:
On Wednesday, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Deal and his wife have a $2.3 million loan that will come due one month after the gubernatorial inauguration. He’ll have to sell his Gainesville home.
The loan, and $2 million more in cash besides, went to Wilder Outdoors, an upscale store for hunters and sportsmen in Habersham County started by Clint and Carrie Deal Wilder.
A day later, The Associated Press reported that Deal had neglected to disclose $2.85 million in outstanding loans on his auto salvage business — the one that the Congressional Office of Ethics accused Deal of attempting to protect by applying pressure to state officials.
The reports sparked both worry and anger among Georgia Republicans who privately weighed in with me. They had assumed that a bitter, sometimes cruel summer primary had produced a well-vetted candidate whose foibles had been aired — and was ready to do battle against that dreaded Democrat, Roy Barnes.
Hence the Friday conference call.
Unmentioned in that conference call — the documents didn’t appear on my computer screen until two hours later — was the fact that Deal’s son-in-law, Clint Wilder, had filed for an earlier bankruptcy in 2001. That’s just four years before the first dollar was borrowed for that outdoorsman store in North Georgia.
The first loan to Wilder Outdoors in 2005 was for $506,000 backed by Gainesville Bank & Trust, an institution held by GB&T Bancshares.
Sitting on the board of directors of GB&T Bancshares was state Sen. Casey Cagle, R-Gainesville, who is now lieutenant governor.
“[Cagle] was not involved in nor aware of the independent loan decisions at the local bank level,” Cagle spokesman Ben Fry said.
But it is Cagle’s second cameo in the Nathan Deal saga. Some of those meetings that Deal held with state officials about the congressman’s auto salvage business were held in Cagle’s state Capitol office, in the presence of the lieutenant governor.
This drama is far from over.