LRA Chairman Cassius Butts thanked Hooker for his service to the agency but officials declined further comment. A request for Hooker’s separation agreement is pending. Attempts to reach Hooker were not successful.
The board named Invest Atlanta executive Alan Ferguson as interim executive director. LRA spokesman Mark Hayes said the agency “remains fully capable” of performing its mission.
It’s unclear if the leadership change might slow an already stalled process to proceed with development. Prior to this month, the board had failed to meet since February.
Fort McPherson closed in 2011 and the LRA took control of the 488-acre site from the Army in 2015. Filmmaker Tyler Perry acquired about 330 acres for $30 million that year and has since built a sprawling movie studio campus.
For the past two years, Macauley crafted a master plan and rezoned the property. But relations between parties soured since February when the sides appeared to be on the cusp of a fuller development agreement.
Macauley’s team accused the authority of needless delays coupled with impossible deadlines to meet planning and other milestones. Some of the communications included racial overtones with Macauley saying he was told he was being “coddled” because he is white.
The LRA raised questions about Macauley’s financial wherewithal and the collapse during the recession of his development business. Hooker also said the authority had misgivings about the deal’s structure.
Added to the mix is apparent interest from Perry to acquire part or all of the remaining LRA land. Talks with Perry's team occurred in secret while relations with Macauley grew strained.
The board’s next meeting is Aug. 8.