Watchdog group holds first town hall meeting over Braves deal - CBS46 News

Cobb watchdog group holds first town hall meeting, upset over Braves stadium deal

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A new government watchdog group planned to hold their first meeting Tuesday night in Marietta, trying to put pressure on Cobb County government leaders to be more open and transparent moving forward on the Braves' stadium construction.

The group, called Citizens for Governmental Transparency, is represented by 14 organizations. They came together soon after Cobb County Chairman Tim Lee announced a deal with the Atlanta Braves to build a new stadium for the team in 2017.

Only a handful of people knew about the deal before it was announced, and the watchdog group believes there may have been ethical violations involved in getting the deal brokered away from the public eye.

"The whole process was rushed. Two weeks to vet a proposal of this magnitude was crazy," said Richard Pellegrino, one of the leaders of the organization.

"We want a better deal, period. We want a new Cobb way. The old Cobb way was to do things behind closed doors. You know, a few people make a deal. The new Cobb way is to include the people."

Lee said he and his commissioners are being as open and transparent as they can, following the approval of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Braves and Cobb County. The stadium is expected to cost $672 million, with 55 percent being paid by the team, according to Lee.

"We've put out a communication plan on our website as to what we're going to say and release," said Lee.

"I've proposed from the get-go that we're going to be very transparent with everything we do moving forward, and we will be."

Pellegrino said he is not certain when they will hold their next town hall meeting, following the first one Tuesday evening.

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