News 12 First at Five / Tuesday, June 4, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Augusta commissioners are considering extending their contract with Heery International.
The company has managed projects for the city for 10 years, but some are questioning the company's relationship with city leaders, specifically when it comes to entertainment.
Enjoying exclusive top-notch seats at the Georgia Dome is just something Butch Gallop calls business development.
"At times, other commissioners from around the state were there. It was not just Augusta-Richmond County," said Gallop, community liaison for Heery International.
Gallop does all the planning, research and development on SPLOST projects for Heery International.
"If we are foolish enough to replace Heery, that's going to set us back. It's going to cost us a lot more money," said Commissioner Bill Lockett.
Gallop says his company invites commissioners, school board members and city leaders across Georgia to the skybox they own.
"It's making our relationships better in the business community," Gallop said.
His company's relationships with commissioners are raising eyebrows. Leaders will question their dealings and pricing for the city. Commissioners Alvin Mason, Corey Johnson and Joe Jackson have received tickets to Braves or Falcons games.
Lockett says just about everyone has received some kind of campaign contribution from a local vendor or business.
"I accepted $1,000 campaign contributions. I accepted more, and it was all to pay off campaign debt," Lockett said.
"I don't know of anyone running a campaign since Abraham Lincoln that has tried to finance it theirself. You have to rely on others," Lockett said.
"It's good business sense that we would do that. It's something that's done all across the U.S. We only support the incumbent," Gallop said.