The Post’s report quoted experts who said the timing of the deal raised legal and ethical concerns. Georgetown University law professor Julie O’Sullivan, a former federal prosecutor, told the publication the deal “stinks to high heaven” and should result in an investigation.
“Only a prosecutor with the powers of the grand jury can find out, in fact, whether there was a quid pro quo that existed at the time of the deal,” she said.
Several members of the Regents, which oversees Georgia’s higher education system, declined to comment on the report.
Perdue has faced questions about his land deals before. In 2005, he signed into law a measure that allowed Georgia residents to avoid taxes on property sold in Georgia if they purchased similar land in another state.
The AJC reported at the time the provision was sponsored by a state legislator who had also served as Perdue’s personal attorney, and came shortly after Perdue faced a hefty tax bill for buying 20 acres of land near Florida’s Walt Disney World. The changes saved him an estimated $100,000 in taxes.
Perdue’s critics say the report is the latest indication the Regents should steer clear of appointing him as chancellor.
State Sen. Jen Jordan, a Democratic candidate for attorney general, invoked a letter from a major accrediting agency that has questioned the Regents’ selection process. She said the Post’s report, combined with the scrutiny he already faced, makes Perdue’s candidacy a “recipe for disaster.”
“The accreditation of our entire university system could be at stake if Perdue is appointed,” she said. “This is a gamble we cannot take.”