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Thursday, December 06, 2012

The Saga of Smyrna, Georgia

In July of 1988, National Geographic published a story about Atlanta and referred to Smyrna as the redneck town on the outskirts.  This prompted a grand scheme of eminent domain takeovers and arsons of private property which were then turned over to corporate developers in order to develop Smyrna's new mayor Max Bacon's grand vision of abject corruption and graft.

Arson of business after Eminent Domain court filing.
Local Smyrna arsonist/doctor who lost his Medical License
flees country for over a decade while his lawyer/enabler
practicing law, after a brief and fruitless run for a local Cobb
magistrate  position, claiming that he "remembers nothing".

Cobb Judicial Circuit, Fire Investigators, and FBI refuse to
investigate RICO actions due to connected GOP players.

Meet the Inquisitor, an alleged prostitute/spy sent to rent an office
in Smyrna next to mine by yet another local Cobb Attorney.  When
law suits began to fly, she disappeared as quickly as she appeared.

Condemnation Court Filings After Arson

Property Destroyed by Arson, Christmas 1989

Starting with the National Geographic redneck story, and ending with the most pretentious display of abject corruption I've seen (and I've lived all over ticky-tacky Florida and the US), Smyrna and its fat crook of a mayor have plumbed the depths of dysfunctional government.  A wholly undesirable, mismanaged city of 50,000 people saddled with the costs of a grandiose government complex that dwarfs those of cities having 20 times the population - including that of the county it resides in.

While they are busy massaging their bloated egos, wasting property owner's tax money on ostentatious street lights that resemble Coney Island on acid, why don't they try paying the landowners who were robbed through eminent domain during the period of intentional arsons (and subsequent cover-ups) starting in 1989.  Property which was taken from people who served honorably the residents and schools of Smyrna for 20 years and needed their $175,000 for medical bills.  Land effectively stolen and turned over to private developers to realize this freak show of a city's monomaniacal pipe dream.

The Grandiose Pipe Dream Realized on the Backs of Taxpayers

Google Gordon Gerson and the locally infamous $300,000+/year school board attorney Richard Still to see where this all started.  You see, it pays to have crooked friends in high (and low) places.  Like Atlanta area attorney, prosecutor, magistrate, cocaine dealer, money launderer, and wife murderer, Fred Tokars.

Grossly overpaid crony Cobb school board attorney.
Cocaine dealers at an NFL hangout in NE Atlanta knew him by name.
Interestingly, the aforementioned hangout was burned down as well.
And you wonder why your kids can't get a decent education?

Gerson flees US in 1992 and reappears in Mishawaka, Indiana in 2004.
Not in 1988 as his Career Fair bio falsely claims in 2005.
1989-1992 was his period of bankruptcy, arson, and shotgun law suits.

Then there's the recent June 2012 state banking regulator and FDIC seizure of Security Exchange Bank (SEB) of Marietta.  While bank seizures are not so unusual in these days of rampant graft and corruption within the deregulated banking industry, the interesting part of this whole debacle is that most of the board members and directors were members of the Smyrna City government and, of course, Mayor Max Bacon himself.

Security Exchange Bank's members include Larry Freeman and James Freeman, SEB Chairman of the Board and head of the Smyrna Downtown Development Authority; Arthur Max Bacon, SEB director and Smyrna Mayor; Scott Cochran, SEB director and Smyrna City Attorney; David McGinnis, SEB President and Cobb EMC Board; John Smith, local car dealership; David Sitten, car salesman from Kennesaw; Steven Askea, local Ask-Kay electrical contractor.  How convenient for a city that continues to purchase and raze properties that it considers "unfit" to exist in this little redneck town to control its own piggy bank - until now.  You would expect municipal failure and possible jail terms for those involved.

But here's the curious part.  In September of 2008, SEB's Texas Ratio was over 56%.  Six months later it had grown to 145%.  At that point state regulators would normally have stepped in to halt the downward spiral.  All that happened in reality was that on March 10, 2009, the FDIC issued a Cease and Desist Order (FDIC-08-352b), alleging that the Bank had engaged in unsafe or unsound banking practices and had committed violations of state and federal banking regulations.  The FDIC concluded that the Bank had operated with management and Board of Directors oversight whose policies and procedures were not adequate for the Bank and jeopardized the safety and soundness of the Bank.

But still no yellow tape and the bank continued to operate, ostensibly under the watchful eye of state regulators.  By the end of 2010, the bank's troubled assets were 558% of capital plus loan-loss reserves.  Yet the bank remained in operation and at the end of 2011 the bank's Texas Ratio had surpassed an astounding 1000% - ten times the normal "Katy, bar the doors" condition.  This continued until June of 2012 when the Troubled Asset Ratio hit an astronomical 1209% and state regulators finally ignored ongoing political cronyism and did their jobs; shutting down the bank and turning the bank's assets over to the FDIC for disposal.  US taxpayers will now get to pay for the bank's losses and bad paper subject to a loss-sharing arrangement with the FDIC that covers 68% of the loan book.  What a country!

Also, Google the Birmingham, Alabama sewer scandal to see how corrupt Wall Street banks and greedy, ignorant southern politicos work together in three part harmony to turn a $250 million sewage plant into a $5 billion dollar fraud against taxpayers.  A financial albatross which has destroyed Jefferson county by turning human crap into billions in graft.

Other Resident's Comments

Just when you think things couldn't be any worse in that awful city something always pops up. Smyrna is in sorry shape and the city leaders are nothing but crooks.

What could really turn it around for Smyrna is a year-long celebration starting January 1st.  2013 will be the 25th anniversary of National Geographic's "Redneck Smyrna" story.  That's Smyrna's only claim to fame, so they need to put on a big party!  If you bring a rope, I will bring a General Lee pinata filled with, what else, BACON!

Want to see proof of dysfunction?  $758,000 spent on 120 streetlights erected in front of the government complex (no trees/no landscaping) - just circus lighting!  Just when you think it can't get any worse, this mayor finds a new way to hurt the homeowners again & again!

The city elected officials are completely incompetent!  Why didn't your reporter cover the $40,000 from hotel taxes being awarded to (a secret) entity, hired to study the civil war artifacts the city owns and build display cases to house them?  First, I can't think of any hotels IN Smyrna!  And certainly no TOURISM, or any reason to visit!

Welcome to Smyrna, the crooked little redneck town on the outskirts of bustling Atlanta.  Mad Max, you can pave the streets with gold and your filthy little corrupt redneck town will still emit a foul stench that reaches Lower Manhattan.  You've progressed from a corrupt little redneck speed trap town to a corrupt little redneck freak show.  Congrats!


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