The Pro-Marta group that has received the most press is called Go Gwinnett (www.gogwinnett.org) and is run by Marlon Allen (who runs the Rotary Club of Gwinnett) and real estate agent Greg Cantrell. On March 11 they filed a Campaign Contribution Disclosure Report stating that they had raised $463,029.
They have spent $309,062 as of that date. This leaves them over $150,000 which they will certainly try to spend before the vote on the 19th.
By far the largest contribution came from a company called HNTB Corporation, which contributed $150,000. The report lists the address of their Missouri home office but, to be fair, they also have offices in Atlanta. HNTB is an “infrastructure solutions firm,” and in 2018 MARTA hired a Vice President of HNTB, Jeffrey Parke, to be their next CEO and general manager. So the largest single donation came from the MARTA CEO’s former company.
Most of the money came from outside Georgia
Way more than half of the money funding GoGwinnett (almost 70%) came from companies and people outside Gwinnett County. How do they claim that this takeover of our transportation system will benefit Gwinnett when they had to go outside of the County for 70 percent of the funding?
Chuck Warbington, the City Manager of Lawrenceville, only chipped in one hundred bucks, while Marsha Croom (of Gainsville, FL) sprung for $15,000. Marsha is an accountant for Infinite Energy and is apparently doing pretty well for herself. Gwinnett County Chairman Charlotte Nash contributed $5,000 from her campaign account toward the effort.
Most of the donations are in the $5,000 to $10,000 range.
You almost feel sad looking through the list of folks giving $10,000 and up when you see some very small local businesses who thought they could get their name in the pot with much smaller contributions. SKH Enterprise, Inc. probably felt pretty good about their $250 contribution until they saw it sandwiched between $10,000 from Brand Properties and $5,000 from Wolverton & Associates on the final report. And I hope that American Painting and Renovations wasn’t expecting to get much from their $100. A bunch of the contributing companies are members of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce.
There were other groups who spent money on pro-MARTA campaigns. One that we could not find financial data on was a group called “Yes to Marta.” This was the Sierra Club and they were responsible for the Marta For Gwinnett website (marta4gwinnett.org, in case the site has been taken down). They only took in about $20,000 total as of the filing date of 3/8/2019.
Other groups that we have not yet been able to run down financials for include Stacy Abrams “New Georgia Project Action Fund.” Their workers (volunteers?) were out campaigning and knocking on doors.
For reference, here are links to the two groups actual financial disclosure reports: