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Redlight The Gulch Litigation

$13,565 of $30,000 goal

Raised by 144 people in 2 months
Created November 4, 2018
The City of Atlanta's Bucks for Billionaires Gulch Scheme that passed Council on Mon Nov 5 would short schools and public services of $1.44 Billion. Residents would end up holding the bag - yet would own no share of this huge private development.  

This really has been a fight over what sort of city Atlanta is going to be - one run for all residents or one run for a few powerful, wealthy insiders by their pawns. Six Council Members stood firm with their constituents and we should all support them.

The Gulch Scheme has several legal vulnerabilities. Now we're forced to fight it in court, we are ready to do so.  Our crack legal expert has already warned council that the sales tax exemption part of the scheme is unconstitutional. See his letter and an explainer on RedLightTheGulch.com.
Preventing this scheme from going through would save every family in the city $13,000.

Sadly, litigation is not cheap, even with attorneys working at steeply cut rates.  We'll need to raise $30,000 quickly to pay the legal team to prepare filings and object at the bond validation hearings and, if necessary, to appeal.  Since the Gulchies rushed their scheme past Invest Atlanta on Nov 8, the court date could be in the next few days.  

It's now or never. If bond validation is not challenged, the scheme is locked in.

Hundreds (perhaps thousands) of constituents have been outraged enough to protest to their council members and attend meetings to show opposition.   Many supportive people have now contributed. We're on our way! 

Please contribute what you can - and get like-minded friends to do the same - to head off a scheme that would cost every resident and every public employee of this city. Let's send another signal to today's leaders that the Atlanta game has to change.

 Any money left over will go to the Atlanta Community Food Bank.

This Gofundme Fundraiser is being run by Julian Bene of Atlanta, GA - the person interviewed by WSB's Richard Belcher in the video clip above. Julian Bene is a member of the Redlight the Gulch Coalition that has campaigned against the Gulch Scheme and its BillionDollar Plus public giveaway.  (A quick Google search on "Atlanta Gulch Julian Bene" will show several articles and op-eds in the Atlanta Journal Constitution and in other Atlanta media reports.) As stated above, the funds are being raised to pay the legal costs of objecting to Gulch bond validation. So Julian Bene has paid for a court copy of the ~1,700 page bond petitions and exhibits. And he will pay the rest of the money contributed to this Gofundme to the attorneys on the Redlight the Gulch Coalition's legal team. The Gofundme money may be supplemented by contributions to these legal fees and expenses from other allies of the Redlight the Gulch Coalition.
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Update 13
Posted by Julian Bene
3 days ago
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The Gulch fight gets national media attention.
https://www.usnews.com/news/cities/articles/2019-01-16/atlanta-divided-over-gulch-development-deal

And the court hearings continue after yesterday's marathon session. The judge will set the next date soon. Our lawyers are working like crazy. The other side has at least 10 attorneys in court each time. So do urge friends who care about blocking our bucks going to billionaires to chip in and help pay for the effort. Thank you!
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Update 12
Posted by Julian Bene
13 days ago
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The school board just rubber-stamped an horrendously bad deal for schoolchildren, families, teachers and taxpayers. They gave themselves all of a weekend to consider a complex deal with hundreds of millions of our dollars at stake. Every member of the public who spoke before the vote opposed this massive developer welfare check. But developers rule, not residents.

However, the Gulch deal overreaches governing law in many ways. We will continue to oppose bond validation on all these grounds. The courts are the only way to protect us now. Next hearing date is Jan 16.

Do please get the word out on the Gulch to all residents. It's amazing how few are aware of the deal and its impact on their schools, services and taxes.

And thank you again for your support!
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Update 11
Posted by Julian Bene
16 days ago
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As you may have seen reported in the AJC this evening,
APS board is going to vote on Monday to give away a net $500 million of school taxes on the Gulch and some other developer 'TAD' deals.*

It would be great to have a strong turnout to show our elected officials and the press how we all feel about APS throwing away school taxes Money they had no obligation to commit to developer deals.

APS board meeting 9.30 Monday Jan 7
Center for Learning and Leadership Auditorium
130 Trinity Avenue
Atlanta, Georgia 30303

* Your city,county and state taxes would also go down the Gulch drain if we are unable to block the scheme in court. Now looks like $1.7Bn in total, the way I count it.

We will be in court with many legal and constitutional objections to the Gulch deal on Jan 16. Please urge likeminded residents to contribute to the legal costs as you have kindly done. Thank you for your support!

https://www.ajc.com/news/local-govt--politics/new-details-bottoms-aps-city-have-deal-gulch-tax-impasse/Pi0S53tXYNdWmVP1Q0JaTP/
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Update 10
Posted by Julian Bene
29 days ago
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Our push to keep the City and the billionaire honest on the complex Gulch scheme by raising objections to bond validation is in full swing. We spent a day and a half in court this week. Our lawyer is outnumbered by about 10 to 1 in court by the City / CIM team. But we're giving as good as we get. The delayed hearing on the TAD piece is scheduled for Jan 16, and the judge may ask for oral argument on the sales tax piece at an additional hearing. See stories linked below . You may have heard a snippet on WABE.

Our legal team is working long hours for us to perfect the strongest case. They deserve to be paid more. 120 of us have kicked in so far. Hundreds of thousands stand to benefit if we block this boondoggle. So please reach out to others who want our public $$$ to go to public purposes. Ask them to contribute generously. Thank you!

https://saportareport.com/december-gulch-bond-validation-hearing/
https://www.ajc.com/news/opponents-make-their-case-halt-bond-issuance-for-gulch-project/dEM5J64HqRcVRs7HrJZdaI/
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Raised by 144 people in 2 months
Created November 4, 2018
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