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Column: Reidsville, You’ve been bamboozled

The drama over the purchase of the Cheney Law Office for the Reidsville City Hall dates back to early September, but it was the October 13th meeting when nearly 125 people gathered to voice their opposition to the purchase. The angry mob, the outspoken majority, the taxpayers – they pleaded with the council to hold off purchasing the Cheney Law Office until other locations were considered, and for a brief moment, it seemed they were making headway. But recent open records requests obtained by AllOnGeorgia show the entire thing was a sham.

On October 13, 2015 – the council voted 4-1 (only Susan Fountain Thomas opposed) to purchase the office for $425,000.

On October 20, 2015, in a crowded room for a mayoral candidate forum former Mayor Eddie Rewis said he decided to postpone the purchase of the property.

On November 9, 2015, the city of Reidsville adjourned from a council meeting without hearing public comment, leaving an enraged audience. Eddie Rewis then said he would host a specially-called meeting on the Cheney Law office to hear alternatives.

On November 16, 2015, the council heard a series of alternatives and told the citizens they would visit each location and make a decision by November 20, 2015. (Video available in this link) The council moved forward with the Cheney Law Office purchase on November 20, 2015.

Do you know why the council moved forward with the purchase on November 20, 2015? Because they had to. The Cheney Law Office purchase was finalized on November 20, 2o15 because the paperwork was signed October 15, 2015 – two days after the initial vote on 10/13/15. The property purchase was never postponed. It was always moving forward and closed in a mere 35 days.

Reidsville, you were bamboozled. See page 3 of the contract below. Click to enlarge.

Someone should ask Councilman Virgil Duckworth, Councilman John Wingate, Councilman Curtis Colewell, and Councilwoman Carolyn Blackshear why they allowed the citizens to parade around like a bunch of fools believing they were being heard before those they elected and participating in the process when, in fact, it was all a dog and pony show and the contract had already been executed. Someone should ask them why they lied to The People of Reidsville.

Jessica Szilagyi is a Statewide Contributor for AllOnGeorgia.com. She focuses primarily on state and local politics as well as issues in law enforcement. She has a background in Political Science with a focus in local government and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia. Jessica is a "Like It Or Not" contributor for Fox5 in Atlanta and has two blogs of her own: The Perspicacious Conservative and "Hair Blowers to Lawn Mowers."

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