Latest Reports

Tyler Perry’s campaign contributions to Gov. Nathan Deal raises eyebrows

By Maria Saporta and Dave Williams

Shortly after going on a tour of Fort McPherson with former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, movie and entertainment mogul Tyler Perry became a first-time contributor to Gov. Nathan Deal.

At about the same time, the governor was helping pave the way for a tentative development deal, unveiled in mid-June, for Tyler Perry Studios to acquire more than 300 acres of Fort McPherson for just more than $30 million.

On May 1, Perry personally made a $6,300 contribution to Deal designated for the May 20 Republican gubernatorial primary — the maximum donation permissible under state law.

On the same day, Tyler Perry Studios made two donations to Deal’s re-election campaign — one for $6,300 designated for the primary and another for $100 designated for the general election this fall.
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Steve Koonin hopes more Atlanta companies will sponsor Hawks

By Maria Saporta

Just about everything that Steve Koonin has touched has turned to the corporate equivalent of gold – whether it was at National Distributing, the Coca-Cola Co. or Turner Broadcasting System.

Now Koonin hopes to create some of the marketing magic at the Atlanta Hawks where he has been working for the past eight weeks as the team’s new CEO.

Koonin was the speaker at the Rotary Club of Atlanta Monday where he shared some of the lessons of business that he has learned along the way.
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Tensions mount on both sides of federal lawsuit opposing Tyler Perry’s studio plans at Fort McPherson

By Maria Saporta

A war of words has escalated between opposing sides of a federal lawsuit over Tyler Perry’s plans to build a major movie studio complex on 330 acres of what used to be Fort McPherson.

As Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Tyler Perry announced on Friday, Aug. 8 that they had reached an agreement for the film-maker to buy 330 acres for about $30 million, the mayor reacted aggressively when he was asked about the federal legal proceedings objecting to the deal.
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Ron Allen, 72, to retire as CEO of Aaron’s at the end of August

By Maria Saporta

After serving 30 months as CEO of Atlanta-based Aaron’s, Ronald W. Allen will retire from the lease-to-own retailer on Aug. 31, the company announced Wednesday morning.

Allen, 72, an Aaron’s board member since 1997, had first been named interim CEO in November 2011 during a change of leadership when Robin Loudermilk, the son of the company’s founder Charlie Loudermilk, abruptly left the company as president and CEO.
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NPU-E delays vote for Music Midtown special event permit until September

By Maria Saporta

The 2014 Music Midtown special events application, scheduled to go before Neighborhood Planning Unit-E Tuesday evening, was deferred until the group’s Sept. 2 meeting – only 17 days before the two-day concert will take place in Piedmont Park.

The Midtown Neighbors Association, one of the communities that is part of the NPU-E planning area, voted against the Music Midtown application at its monthly meeting on July 31.

The application was deferred so Music Midtown promoters could continue working with the City of Atlanta and the community to address issues of concerns, according to NPU-E leaders.
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ULI-Atlanta selects members of its 2015 Center for Leadership class

The Urban Land Institute of Atlanta on Tuesday announced the members of its “Center for Leadership Class of 2015” – the largest class since the program was launched in 2009.

The mission of the Center is to “cultivate leadership and life-strategy skills by teaching emerging leaders in the real estate and land use industries how the Atlanta region gets built.”

The program helps professionals collaborate with their peers as well as gain insights and life management skills.
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Beau Allen, preservationist and son of former Atlanta mayor, passes away

By Maria Saporta

The youngest son of former Atlanta Mayor Ivan Allen Jr. – Beaumont Allen – passed away on Saturday afternoon at his home after losing a battle with cancer.

Allen, 63, was actively involved in preservation and environmental issues, and he played an active part in the restoration of Oakland Cemetery serving as chairman of the board of trustees of the Historic Oakland Foundation.
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Midtown Neighbors Association votes down 2014 Music Midtown application

By Maria Saporta

The Midtown Neighbors Association, the community most impacted by major events in Piedmont Park, has voted down the Music Midtown 2014 event plan and application.

The neighborhood association voted down the application at its board meeting on July 31 “due to safety, logistics, Piedmont Park wear/tear, and noise issues,” according to MNA board member Dana Persons, who wrote a post in the Next Door – Midtown East online network.

The neighborhood had been in discussions with the promoters of Music Midtown to try to come up with solutions to address some of its concerns.
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Mayor Kasim Reed: City is not moving too fast in selling its real estate

By Maria Saporta

For those who feel he is moving too fast or recklessly in selling the city’s real estate assets, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said Tuesday that they should set their minds at ease.

“I’m very confident we have the expertise – my team has the expertise of doing this,” Reed said, listing a number of projects that the city has worked on – Buckhead Atlanta, Ponce City Market and EUE Screen Gems at Lakewood. “We did all of these things with the help of the private sector and the Atlanta Committee for Progress,”
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Less parking, more walking and cycling creates healthier cities

By Maria Saporta

In its weekly “Look Up Atlanta” email, Sustainable Atlanta asked its followers whether the metro area is moving in the right direction when it comes to its parking policy as well as a policies encouraging more people walking and cycling in their communities.

It is an ever-changing question with ever-changing answers.

Sustainable Atlanta’s headline seemed to answer its own question “We’re moving in the right direction.”
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