Governor OKs $4.5 million for Lake Lanier resort run by campaign donor

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Governor OKs $4.5 million for Lake Lanier resort run by campaign donor

With a golf course, a water park and an elegant lodge that promises visitors “the welcoming embrace of luxury,” the Lake Lanier Islands Resort exudes abundance, not need.

So some were surprised when Gov. Nathan Deal agreed last month to spend $4.5 million to buy and rehabilitate a well to primarily serve the North Georgia resort, which is operated by a multimillionaire businessman.

The project was one of only two approved for a direct investment of state funds, rather than loans, in the first round of awards from the Governor’s Water Supply Program. The people or firms pushing those two projects had donated upwards of $10,000 to Deal’s campaign.

By the state’s own evaluation, the two projects aren’t really needed. Documents reviewed by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution show the Lake Lanier Islands well won just five points out of a possible 100 in the category of need. The southwest Georgia aquifer tallied zero.

Subscribers can read our full report on the questionable water projects and the governor’s involvement in Saturday’s AJC or on our subscription tablet app.

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