Newsletter: Greene’s security needs behind high-priced SUV, six-digit protection costs, campaign says. Rome’s Gretchen Corbin on lottery’s 30th anniversary. Updates on sushi — and craft beer. A packed Peaks & Valleys.

Newsletter: Greene’s security needs behind high-priced SUV, six-digit protection costs, campaign says. Rome’s Gretchen Corbin on lottery’s 30th anniversary. Updates on sushi — and craft beer. A packed Peaks & Valleys.

POPCORN & POLITICS: It’s not easy being Greene.

Marjorie Taylor Greene’s congressional opponents are turning wheels with a copy of a $92,679.60 vehicle purchase for a “campaign vehicle” in November. But, according to her team, there’s more to it than tax, tag and title — as well as much more about her overall security.

A search of Federal Election Commission files shows Greene’s campaign purchased the vehicle from Riverside Buick GMC in Cartersville. The actual image shows $96,694.50 but does not include the make or model. View the report here. The expenditure was dug up by Peach Pundit from public records and it quickly spread across Twitter’s political landscape (pre-Musk)  as well.

We asked her staff for a comment and got this quote attributed to the campaign:

“Due to the massive amount of death and security threats directed toward Congresswoman Greene, it was determined a dedicated campaign vehicle with a supplemental security package was warranted for travel.”

Which brings up another section of Greene’s financial reports, focusing only on Jan. 1-March 31 of this year. Greene is paying more than $45,000 a month for “executive protection.” FEC records show payouts of $41,420 to The KaJor Group of Knoxville on Jan. 14; $49,551.04 on Feb. 1; and $44,727.51 on March 7. That’s $135,698 to KaJor alone. There’s also a $2,000 payment for logistics and security consulting on Feb. 1 to Gavin Thompson. Plus add a $311 on insurance paid Jan. 10 on the “campaign vehicle.”

KaJor’s website states the group “offers 25-plus years of global management experience ground rooted in the company’s fabric: To address the increasing demands of private security, emergency preparedness, tactical training and information technology …” Services include personal drivers, cleaning, sensitive document and currency transport, pet care, massage therapists and athletic/fitness trainers, preparedness travel planning and more.

Anyone who has been around the Greene campaign, or lives near her in Rome, can attest to the deployment of security around her.

We asked about those costs as well. From the campaign:

“Congresswoman Greene gets multiple death threats a week from deranged leftists. Her safety and the safety of her family are paramount. We will no be commenting further on her security.”

As for the impact of all these expenditures: Greene still had just over $3 million in the campaign bank account as of March 31.

As for the vehicle itself: At least she bought local.

  • About the campaign trail: With 11 days to go to the primary day itself, the trail has been mostly quiet. There are two ethics complaints filed in legislative races so far (see Rome News-Tribune) but the only voting “irregularity” to surface has been an early voting system crash last week — one that sent a frequent Rome voter home in disgust.

Rome’s Gretchen Corbin on the Georgia Lottery’s 30th anniversary: The May issue of Georgia Trend features a Q & A with Gretchen Corbin, the president and chief executive office of the state’s now-three-decade-old lottery. Some interesting out takes: Georgia has produced 1,200 millionaires over the years and issued $54.5 billion in prizes. The lottery boomed during the pandemic as it was a form of entertainment for many, she says, and was “still available” while other things weren’t. And this caveat: “Every Georgian who is playing the lottery understands that hopefully they’ll win when they play but every time they play, a student wins.”  You can read it in full by clicking Trend.

  • A Darlington trustee, Corbin will speak at the school’s commencement at 9:30 a.m. this Saturday.

From Downtown Rome’s Facebook page.

 

It’s only Rock ‘n’ Roll (but you like it): We figured this “opening soon” sign at 208 Broad St. for Rock N Roll Sushi was needed given the back-to-back closing announcements of Sumo and China City in recent weeks. Charity Perez says the opening goal remains late August or September. Previous update / Menu.

A four-month-old exclusive! Remember the commissary kitchen Kevin Dillmon and crew were building off Fifth Avenue, adjoining his Aventine and Blossom Hill hot spots? We saw a little activity over there while dining last week and decided to do some drive-by journalism on its progress. Our timely investigation shows it opened Jan. 17 and has been serving the restaurants as well as Honeymoon Bakery on Broad Street since then. Yet another big investment paying dividends in the rising River District.

Hometown hops: Congratulations to the brew crew at Drowned Valley Brewing Co. in Cartersville. The site-brewed OS Express took silver at the World Beer Cup in the Oatmeal Stout category. Says the post: “The World Beer Cup is the most prestigious beer competition in the world, held every two years in conjunction with the Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America. This year, there were 10,542 beers judged from 57 countries.”
  • About OS Express:  6.5% ABV (alcohol by volume): “Starting with a roasted coffee-chocolate aroma and finishing with a smooth-creamy goodness, this Oatmeal stout destined to leave you wanting more.”
  • For hours, what’s on tap and the latest food trucks and entertainment on site, please click Drowned Valley

‘The check is in the mail.’ The conveniently timed election year “special, one-time tax refunds” are in the mail this week. It rose from a House bill later signed by the governor. Depending on your filing status, the amount ranges from $250 to $500. And there’s this caveat: “The Department (of Revenue) anticipates issuing substantially all the refunds by early August for returns filed by April 18, 2022. Your H.B. 1302 refund will not be issued until your 2021 tax return has been processed.” Whatever you get, keep it handy: That state gas tax break ends on May 31 — and overall prices aren’t dropping. For more


PEAKS & VALLEYS: The highs and lows of Northwest Georgia.

Valley to the stealthiness behind the $130 million extra-penny education tax: Here’s a challenge — check any posting for the May 24 vote on the education extra-penny sales tax and see if you find these numbers: 1-3-0. That’s $130 million as in the revenue the five-year penny-on-the-dollar tax is projected to collect for Rome City and Floyd County public schools. The number is on sample, advance and absentee ballots because it has to be. But see where else you find — if you even do. We asked a few politically active friends about the vote this week and even they didn’t know the number. We know this is a tough campaign but better to inform now than when people open up the question on the ballot and suffer sticker shock.

Peak to the Summerville Park Neighborhood Association: Ever professional, members of the 109-year-old community once again appeared before Rome City commissioners with realistic concerns about what could be coming to a rezoned 132.5 acres at the former regional hospital site. Their concerns about “heavy industrial” rezoning are valid. So was a compromise voiced to perhaps divide the acres into a zone to allow two existing industries to expand and a “softer” zoning for the remainder. But the City Commission was in too big of a hurry to consider that and all but one voted to approve the bid with a few stipulations. Will they be enforced?  As the rezoning was being discussed, some yahoo sped down Broad Street outside commission chambers, making all the noise the city has banned. Maybe the driver was in a hurry, too.

 

Peak to Justus Edwards: The Berry Vikings’ football player not only battled back from a horrific spine injury suffered in a game in 2018 but earned his exercise science degree — and managed to walk across the stage (yes, with a walker) last Saturday. Great job, no. 14.

North Broad Street approaching Callahan Street in North Rome. Photo: Olivia Morley/RNT

Peak to the push for a deserved tax break for North Rome redevelopment: During a meeting this week discussing proposed tax allocation districts — which help developers recover some costs, the boundaries of a North Rome “TAD” were discussed. Charles Love, an advocate for the North Rome community, said the area is closer to meeting the TAD standards than any other district in the city. “This feels like the first opportunity for North Rome to really be excited about something,” Love said. He’s right across the board, including the part about truly meeting the standards for the intent of the tax break. (source: Rome News-Tribune)

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