Ethics charges against Lee dropped

The ethics case against Cobb County Chairman Tim Lee has been dismissed.

Lee faced ethics charges over his handling of records and negotiations related to the stadium deal Cobb struck a year ago with the Atlanta Braves. Cobb taxpayers will pay more than half of the $622 million cost to build the Braves a new home in time for the start of the 2017 season.

Lee was charged with an “appearance of impropriety” stemming from allegations Lee exceeded his authority as commission chairman by hiring an outside attorney to negotiate with the Braves. The complaint further alleged Lee used private email accounts in Braves discussions to dodge the state’s open records law, which shielded portions of the discussion between the county and the Braves from public view. Lee has said consistently that he did nothing wrong in handling the Braves deal.

Lee’s attorney argued that the allegations surrounding the emails and possible violations of the state’s Open Records Act should be handled in court and not by the county’s ethics board. The board agreed and dropped the complaint. Then Tom Cheek, the Cobb citizen who filed the ethics complaint, decided to drop the complaints related to Lee possibly exceeding his authority in hiring an outside attorney to engage in secret talks with the Braves.

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