Eyewitness News at 6, 6-27-12

6:08 PM, Jun 27, 2012   |    comments
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THANKS FOR JOINING US FOR EYEWITNESS NEWS AT SIX. I'M FRANK MALLOY.

AND I'M LEAH JOHNSON.

FIRST THIS AFTERNOON...MACON AND BIBB COUNTY MOURN THE LOSS OF A LONG-TIME LEADER.

TOMMY OLMSTEAD DIED THIS AFTERNOON OF COMPLICATIONS FROM A RECENT SURGERY.. HE WAS 83-YEARS OLD.

HE STARTED AS A BIBB COUNTY COMMISSIONER.. IN 19-77....THEN BECAME A STATE SENATOR....

AND THEN MACON'S MAYOR.

OLMSTEAD RESIGNED AS MAYOR IN 19-94 TO BECOME COMMISSIONER OF GEORGIA'S LARGEST STATE AGENCY...THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES..

HE THEN CAME BACK TO BIBB COUNTY...AND SERVED ONE TERM AS COUNTY COMMISSION CHAIRMAN.

BARBARA WOOD.. SERVED AS OLMSTEAD'S ASSISTANT WHEN HE WAS MAYOR.. AND AS COMMISSION CHAIRMAN.. SHE SPOKE WITH RANDALL SAVAGE.

Barbara Wood, Former Olmstead Assistant: "We had so many things to happen in the mayor's office - we had the flood of '94, that was big issue and I believe we had the blizzard, wasn't that in '93? We had a lot of - Randall: a lot of bad weather - Barbara: they were really catastrophes for the citizens and I mean those were things that imapcted the citizens of Macon.

WE ALSO SPOKE WITH C.JACK. ELLIS..HE WAS MACON'S MAYOR WHILE OLMSTEAD SERVED AS COUNTY COMMISSION CHAIRMAN.

HE SAID SOMETIMES THEY WORKED TOGETHER ON THE ISSUES... AND SOMETIMES THEY WERE ON OPPOSITE SIDES...BUT OLMSTEAD EARNED HIS RESPECT.

AFTER MORE THAN A YEAR... A COMPANY CO-OWNED BY STATE SENATOR CECIL STATON'S FAMILY...AND GEORGIA SOUTHERN... STILL DISAGREE OVER MONEY.

THE UNIVERSITY SAYS IT SENT THEIR 50 THOUSAND DOLLAR DISPUTE TO A COLLECTION AGENCY... BUT THE COMPANY'S LAWYER SAYS THEY MAY SEND IT TO COURT.

STATON IS MAJORITY WHIP OF THE GEORGIA SENATE.

HE IS ALSO PRESIDENT AND C-E-O OF A COMPANY CALLED GEORGIA EAGLE MEDIA.

ONE YEAR AGO THIS WEEK... WE FIRST REPORTED THAT GEORGIA SOUTHERN CLAIMS THE COMPANY OWES THEM MORE THAN 50 THOUSAND DOLLARS.

THE SCHOOL ENDED ITS RELATIONSHIP WITH GEORGIA EAGLE... OVER WHAT THEY CALL A BREACH OF CONTRACT.

GEORGIA EAGLE MEDIA RAN THEIR SPORTS RADIO NETWORK AND SHARED ADVERTISING REVENUE.

LORRA LYNCH JONES EXPLAINS WHERE THE CASE STANDS NOW.

<<LORRA

(show e-mails) A STACK OF LETTERS AND E-MAILS SHOW THAT GEORGIA SOUTHERN'S ATHLETICS DIRECTOR....AND GEORGIA EAGLE MEDIA... COULDN'T REACH AN AGREEMENT.

- BULLET POINT ($53,239.55 OWED TO GSU)

THE SCHOOL SAID THE COMPANY OWED IT $53,239.55.

- (DOCUMENT FLY-IN... SHOWING STATON SIGNATURE)

WE OBTAINED LETTERS THROUGH OPEN RECORDS REQUESTS TO GEORGIA SOUTHERN THAT SHOWED... STATON NEVER DIRECTLY ACKNOWLEDGED THE DEBT.

BUT HE ARGUED THAT HIS BUSINESS WAS FACING A BAD ECONOMY.... AND ASKED THE UNIVERSITY TO EXTEND THE CONTRACT

- (BULLET) - GSU DENIED CONTRACT EXTENSION

BUT GEORGIA SOUTHERN ENDED THEIR CONTRACT JULY 1ST 2011.

- (BULLET) - (PARTIAL PAYMENT REJECTED)

THE UNIVERSITY SAID GEORGIA EAGLE MEDIA LATER TRIED TO MAKE A PARTIAL PAYMENT OF $24,804... BUT THE UNVERSITY SENT THEIR CHECK BACK.

- (BULLET - DEBT TURNED OVER TO COLLECTIONS)

UNIVERSITY SPOKESMAN CHRISTIAN FLATHMAN SAYS THAT WAS THEIR LAST COMMUNICATION WITH GEORGIA EAGLE MEDIA... AND THEY TURNED THE DEBT OVER TO A COLLECTIONS AGENCY.

IN AN E-MAIL TO 13WMAZ THIS WEEK...FLATHMAN WROTE...

"ONCE IT IS SUBMITTED TO COLLECTIONS... THERE IS A PROCESS AND IT IS OUTSIDE OF GEORGIA SOUTHERN'S CONTROL. IF THE COLLECTION AGENCY DOES NOT COLLECT THE FUNDS,

PER UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA BOARD OF REGENTS' POLICY, THE UNVERSITY'S NEXT STEP IS TO SUBMIT TO THE STATE ACCOUNTING OFFICE

FOR APPROVAL TO RESERVE THE DEBT."

ESSENTIALLY....THAT MEANS THE STATE COULD COLLECT THE DEBT OR GIVE THE UNIVERSITY PERMISSION TO WRITE IT OFF AS A NONCOLLECTABLE DEBT.

FLATHMAN SAYS THERE IS NOT TIMETABLE FOR WHEN THAT COULD HAPPEN.

 

(ROLL VIDEO- file )

LAST YEAR...STATON DID NOT RESPOND TO OUR REQUESTS FOR AN INTERVIEW ON THIS.

WE TRIED AGAIN THIS WEEK.

Lorra Lynch Jones: EWN: "We tried to reach Sen. Staton by phone, email and at his place of business, asking for an interview to get his side of the story. We were told he was not available, and would e-mail us a statement."

(VIDEO WITH PULLOUTS)

HIS COMPANY'S STATEMENT SAYS STATON'S FAMILY "OWNS 50-PERCENT OF THE COMPANY, BUT NOT A CONTROLLING INTEREST.

THAT MAY BE TRUE... BUT... (remove entire line)

(VIDEO WITH PULLOUTS)

THE GEORGIA SECRETARY OF STATE LISTS CECIL STATON AS THE REGISTERED AGENT FOR GEORGIA EAGLE MEDIA INCORPORATED.

HE IS LISTED AS THE C-E-O... HIS WIFE AS THE C-F-O... AND MACON DOCTOR... JOE SAM ROBINSON AS THE SECRETARY.

(VIDEO WITH PULLOUTS)

STATON'S MOST RECENT STATE FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE ... LISTS HIMSELF AS THE COMPANY'S PRESIDENT AND BOARD MEMBER ... AND UNDER THE SECTION WHERE ELECTED OFFICIALS MUST LIST PAYMENTS FROM THE STATE OF GEORGIA... STATON REPORTED THAT GEORGIA EAGLE MEDIA RECIEVED $38,500 FROM ADVERTISERS ON THE GEORGIA SOUTHERN RADIO NETWORK."

ALL THE CORRESPONDENCE FROM GEORGIA EAGLE MEDIA TO GEORGIA SOUTHERN ABOUT THIS DISPUTE... HAS COME FROM STATON.

GEORGIA EAGLE'S STATEMENT CALLS THE DISAGREEMENT ACONTRACT DISPUTE WITH GEORGIA SOUTHERN ATHLETICS...."NOT CONNECTED PERSONALLY OR INDIVIDUALLY WITH CECIL STATON."

THE COMPANY ADDS....."WERE IT NOT THE CASE THAT MR. STATON IS STATE SENATOR AND IN A CONTESTED PRIMARY ELECTION IN FIVE WEEKS....WE ARE CONFIDENT THIS LEGAL DISPUTE BETWEEN TWO BUSINESS ENTITIES

WOULD NOT WARRANT THE ATTENTION OF GEORGIA EAGLE MEDIA, INC'S MEDIA COMPETITORS."

THAT LAST PHRASE... REFERS TO GEORGIA EAGLE MEDIA'S TV... AND RADIO OPERATION...W-R-W-R.. IN WARNER ROBINS.

THE STATEMENT REFERRED QUESTIONS TO MACON ATTORNEY WENDELL HORNE.

HE TOLD US GEORGIA EAGLE MEDIA MAY GO TO COURT TO LET A JURY DECIDE HOW MUCH THE COMPANY OWES.

HORNE SAID THE COMPANY IS CONFIDENT THAT THEY WILL PREVAIL.>>

AN UPSON COUNTY DOCTOR....SPENCER PRICE...IS CHALLENGING STATON IN THE JULY 31ST PRIMARY... FOR THE 18TH DISTRICT STATE SENATE SEAT.

RECORDS FROM THE GEORGIA GOVERNMENT TRANSPARENCY AND CAMPAIGN FINANCE COMMISSION SHOW PRICE.. OWES 125 DOLLARS TO THE STATE.

HE FILED A CAMPAIGN FINANCE DISCLOSURE FORM LATE.

THE FILMING OF "42" BROUGHT CELEBRITIES TO MACON.... MASSIVE CAMERA CREWS... AND LOTS OF HOLLYWOOD BUZZ.

BUT THE MACON FILM COMMISSION SAYS IT ALSO BROUGHT ABOUT A MILLION DOLLARS OR MORE TO THE ECONOMY.

13-W-M-A-Z'S JENNIFER MOULLIET IS AT THE COX CAPITOL THEATER ON SECOND STREET.

THAT WAS ONE OF THE FILM SETS.

JENNIFER?

The Macon Film Commission announced that the recent filming of the feature film "42" generated expenditures of an estimated $800,000 to $1.3 million during the 18 days of production at locations in and around Macon and Bibb County. According to the Event Impact Calculator that was developed for the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the impact of the film on the local economy is estimated at between $1.4 and $2 million.

The production included 300 - 400 crew members and more than 1,000 extras, a 50-50 split between Macon and the Atlanta area to work on the scenes shot in and around historic downtown Macon. Scenes were filmed in Central City Park at Luther Williams Field and Field 7, and in the Terminal Station. One major scene was filmed in Jones County, several private homes in the Macon's Historic district and an abandoned service station on Plum Street.

GOOD NEWS TODAY, JENNIFER. THANKS.

MUCH MORE NEWS AHEAD.

BUT FIRST... A STEAMING LOOK AT YOUR FIRST FORECAST.

SHAR'BORA DANIELS...THE BIBB COUNTY TEEN WHO WAS KILLED BY A STRAY BULLET ...WAS LAID TO REST TODAY.

ABOUT 600 PEOPLE..... FAMILY... FRIENDS AND CLASSMATES.....FILLED THE CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL AUDITORIUM.

BUT...FOR MANY...THE TEARS CAME AS THEY REMEMBERED THE 2012 CENTRAL HIGH GRADUATE.

SOME SAY DANIELS' DEATH HITS PARTICULARLY ..... BECAUSE IT'S UNSOLVED.

HER MOTHER...SHIRLEY PONDER... SAYS THEY DONATED SHAR'BORA'S ORGANS...BECAUSE SHE WOULD HAVE WANTED THAT.

DANIELS' FAMILY IS ASKING PEOPLE WHO KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THEIR DAUGHTER'S KILLING TO CALL CRIMESTOPPERS.

THAT NUMBER IS 1-877-68-CRIME...AGAIN THAT NUMBER IS 1-877-68-CRIME.

CITY OF MILLEDGEVILLE OFFICALS SAY THE COUNTY OWES THEM MORE THAN ONE MILLION DOLLARS IN BACK PAYMENTS FROM THE 2005 SPLOST.

AS BRITTINY BARBER EXPLAINS THE DISPUTE OVER THE MONEY COULD LEAD TO A LAWSUIT.

HERE'S WHY...

ON JUNE 14TH MILLEDGEVILLE MAYOR RICHARD BENTLEY SENT A LETTER TO COUNTY COMMISSIONERS THREATENING LEGAL ACTION.... *IF THEY CAN'T REACH AN AGREEMENT BY JULY FIRST... TO PAY BACK THE MONEY.

HE CALLS A LAWSUIT ... THE LAST RESORT.

IN THIS LETTER.. HE SAYS THE CITY HAD OFFERED TO WORK OUT A PAYMENT PLAN IN MAY... BUT BALDWIN OFFICIALS DID NOT RESPOND.

BENTLEY SAID IN THE LETTER QUOTE... "IT WOULD APPEAR TO ME THAT THE COUNTY HAS DECIDED TO LAY CLAIM AND CONVERT THE CITY'S PORTION OF SPLOST FUNDS FOR ITS OWN USES AND PURPOSES."

HE SAID ATTORNEY'S FROM BOTH GOVERNMENTS HAVE ALREADY BEEN IN TALKS... AND HE HAS NO ILL FEELINGS.

Richard Bentley: " I think there was anything intentional there. I think it was a matter of necessity because the money was just not there at the time. I don't sense nor do I believe anything devious or deliberate about it."

COUNTY MANAGER RALPH MCMULLEN SAYS THEY HAVE *NOT KEPT THE MONEY FOR THEMSELVES.

HE SAYS THE PROBLEM IS.... THAT THE SPLOST DIDN'T RAISE AS MUCH MONEY AS EXPECTED.

THEY PROJECTED 45-MILLION DOLLARS HE SAYS... BUT IT FELL 6-MILLION SHORT OF THAT AT 39-MILLION,

AND THAT'S LEFT THE COUNTY TO ABSORB THE REST OF THE PROJECTS AND FUNDING.. SAID MCMULLEN.

THE CITY OF MILLEDGEVILLE HAS RECEIVED MORE THAN 9-MILLION DOLLARS IN SPLOST PAYMENTS SO FAR.

FRANK.. LEAH..

BOTH BENTLEY AND MCMULLEN SAY THEY HAVE TOTAL FAITH THAT AN AGREEMENT WILL BE REACHED BY THIS SUNDAY... WHICH IS THE DEADLINE THE CITY SET FOR LEGAL ACTION.

DON'T LET THOSE HOT TEMPERATURES KEEP YOUR KIDS DOWN.

THE BIBB COUNTY LIBRARIES WANT YOU TO KEEP YOUR BRAINS ACTIVE... DREAM BIG AND READ!

2 seconds natsound

THEY'RE HOSTING A SUMMER READING PROGRAM... THAT OFFERS A PUPPET SHOW... READING... AND A SURPRISE GUEST EVERY WEDNESDAY.

KIDS ARE ENCOURAGED TO TALLY UP THEIR READING TIMES TO EARN PRIZES.

AND SANDRA FRENCH SAYS THE BEST PART... IT'S FREE.

Sandra French, Children Services Librarian: "We have been doing a lot of puppet shows, reading lots and lots of books we have two more weeks of summer reading coming up Biscuit is coming and we're doing a puppet show about the boy who cried alien."

 

THE LIBRARY IS CLOSED NEXT WEDNESDAY... FOR INDEPENDENCE DAY... BUT WILL PICK BACK UP THE FOLLOWING WEEK WITH THEIR SUMMER READING PROGRAM.

FRENCH SAYS THEY'RE EXPECTING CURIOUS GEORGE TO STOP BY.

 

 

 

THE SUPREME COURT COULD MAKE A RULING ON ONE OF THE MOST SIGNIFICANT ISSUES IN DECADES AS EARLY AS TOMORROW...

THE HEALTHCARE REFORM ACT HAS BEEN AT THE CENTER OF DEBATE SINCE PRESIDENT OBAMA FIRST PROPOSED IT...

TONIGHT AT 11...WE'LL TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT THE KEY ELEMENTS OF THE LAW AND HOW IT AFFECTS YOUR FAMILY...

TONIGHT'S 13WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL ASKS... HOW DO YOU THINK THE U-S SUPREME COURT WILL RULE ON PRESIDENT OBAMA'S HEALTH CARE LAW?

SO FAR 51 PERCENT OF YOU BELIEVE THEY WILL OVERTURN PARTS OF IT..

38 PERCENT SAY THE COURT WILL COMPLETELY THROW IT OUT.

11 PERCENT SAY THE COURT WILL UPHOLD IT...

VOTE NOW... VISIT 13WMAZ DOT COM AND LOOK FOR THE QUESTION ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE HOMEPAGE.

 

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