Group considers lawsuit to stop new Braves stadium - CBS46 News

Group considers lawsuit to stop new Braves stadium

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COBB COUNTY, GA (CBS46) -

A citizens' group in Cobb County said it is planning to pursue legal action to stop construction of the new Braves stadium in Smyrna.

Citizens for Governmental Transparency said the county's borrowing of nearly $400 million may not be legal. 

"We're going to work strongly with our ethics oversight board here to examine all the bits and pieces that really equal, in our eyes, corruption," said Rich Pellegrino, the group's director.

Pellegrino said his research found Georgia law prohibits raising taxes to pay back bonds.

"It's not fair for the county taxpayers, when we're in austerity mode, to have to cough up 35 to 36 percent of the deal," said Pellegrino.

His organization and others who oppose the new stadium at I-285 and I-75 were not allowed to speak at Tuesday night's meeting before commissioners gave the project final approval. Only 12 residents were allowed to speak and the first to sign up were all supporters of the stadium.

"We need to delay the project in order for the people to have an opportunity to weigh in."

Legal expert Ray Giudice said opponents may not have a strong legal leg to stand on.

"They're (county leaders) well counseled by excellent lawyers, who know how to get bond funding done," Giudice told CBS46 News. "So the thought that they screwed that up and didn't cross their "T's" and dot their "I's" is hard to believe but it's possible." 

Giudice said given the massive scope of the project, it is likely a judge would speed along any legal challenge but it is difficult to say how long a court battle could take.

"I think eventually the protestors are going to have a lengthy and expensive time in court and are not going to be satisfied with the outcome," said Giudice.

Pellegrino said his group is gaining support and is aware that a legal fight might be costly.

"I think eventually the protestors are going to have a lengthy and expensive time in court and are not going to be satisfied with the outcome," said Pellegrino.

A county spokesman said leaders are confident that decisions associated with the stadium were done legally.

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