Tim Lee brought the Braves to Cobb. Now he’s out of a job

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Tim Lee on a happier day. (J. Scott Trubey/AJC photo)

Even at 34-66, the Atlanta Braves remain a major-league franchise. There are but 30 of those in these United States. As of April 2017, Cobb County will house one of them. As you roll south on I-75 out out of Cherokee County or north from Fulton across the Chattahoochee, that’ll be your new welcome sign: “Welcome to Cobb, home of the Braves.”

Think of it this way: Gwinnett has a Braves’ farm team; Cobb will have the real thing.

Even if you’re a Cobb Countian (I am) concerned about the traffic SunTrust Park will bring to the Galleria/Cumberland/Windy Hill area (I’m that, too), you still must admit: One of the 30 major-league teams setting up housekeeping in your neck of the woods is a huge deal. It mightn’t be quite the financial windfall that some envision — economists insists that promises of revenue streams from sports teams/stadiums are always overcooked — but the advent of a major-league team isn’t to be confused with the opening of a trendy restaurant that, two years hence, will have trended out of existence.

The Braves are contractually obliged to play in SunTrust through 2047, by which time Dansby Swanson or Kevin Maitan might (or might not) have a plaque in Cooperstown. Say what you will about the Braves’ move, but this is, pun semi-intended, a game-changer for Cobb in the way that nothing — not Cumberland Mall, not Town Center, not the flowering of Kennesaw State — has ever been.

You’d think the individual most responsible for luring the Atlanta Braves from downtown Atlanta would be having a statue cast to sit outside SunTrust alongside the new monument to Hank Aaron. And maybe someday that will indeed happen. Tuesday, however, was not a day for commemoration. It was a day of dismissal.

Cobb Commission chairman Tim Lee lost his bid for re-election to Mike Boyce, who drew 49 percent of the vote in May’s primary and a 64 percent mandate in Tuesday’s run-off. It’s significant that Boyce didn’t campaign against the Braves per se — just against the way in which the Braves were wooed.

“Cobb County is a very conservative county,” Boyce told the AJC, “and people simply want the respect shown to them that if you’re going to use their money, you have to ask them.”

We know the Braves were desperate to get out of downtown. (They were miffed that the city of Atlanta appeared to have picked the Falcons’ new stadium to champion.) We know Cobb and Lee sniffed a once-in-a-millennium opportunity. That rush and its accompanying secrecy served to make a marriage. Old saying, though: Marry in haste, repent in leisure.

The perception that Lee didn’t consult his constituency was conceded by Lee himself. “I think voters are expressing a dissatisfaction with what they believe to be true,” he said. And it’s entirely possible that, 10 years on, Lee will be viewed more kindly than on July 26, 2016. For now, though, we’re left to ponder this massive incongruity: The man who brought the big-league Braves to his county won’t be in office when they arrive.

Reader Comments 0

91 comments
Val Wed
Val Wed

Good for him. Perfect for the people.

Sheila Shelnutt
Sheila Shelnutt

Bet he's not out of money. He's probably laughing all the way to the Bank.

CTATTER
CTATTER

Hey Mark, will you fork over the $650 million that this piece of crap stadium will really cost Cobb county taxpayers.

MiltonD
MiltonD

Guy should have been tarred and feathered.  Taxpayers got fleeced.

youngfarm
youngfarm

Mr Bradley:  If you bothered to read the wording in the bond documents related to the Braves deal, you may just have a better understanding of how the Cobb taxpayers were abused.  And the attorneys who handled the sale of these bonds profited tremendously.


Lee is not acceptable to 63.9 percent of those voting Tuesday.

Daniel Knode
Daniel Knode

I am sure one of his buddies that he helped make millions with this deal owe him enough to get him a job. All he cared about were his friends with money. They tend to take care of their own.

Will Dou Jones Boswell
Will Dou Jones Boswell

The braves could have moved to old GM plant location, you have a MARTA station right next door.

Bob Dillen
Bob Dillen

He should be glad It's going to be a cluster $&@/

Jack Beavers
Jack Beavers

We did NOT want the braves or the falcons in Cobb County. Glad this dumbass was voted out. Cobb will regret this stadium

Shel Ash
Shel Ash

Bye, Felicia! Too bad traffic will already be a tragic mess come next season. :(

Ponder this!
Ponder this!

After living in Cobb now for 29 years and seeing a multitude of county officials come and go, I believe Mr. Lee was voted out of office twice (overwhelmingly) by smart taxpayers, because of HIS style of governance. It was aloof, stubborn, and distant from my perspective. He did not strike me as an "our team man" but more as a cold distant manager.

His less than "sunshine laden" actions/positions, over time on issues such as rapid bus lines, 16% property tax increase proposal in 2012, sales tax increases proposed for other state and local transportation projects, unprofessional treatment of fellow Commissioners over disputed issues; his well financed but negative election campaign were finally judged unacceptable by his constituancy. This stadium financial structuring was his final step in a pattern of widely questionable behavior which even Cobb Braves fans called "strike three, you're OUT!"

The future of Cobb County I believe is bright, particularly now that power of "grass root involvement" exceeded that of the "pocketbook". Hopefully, other incumbent political leaders now will include taxpayers on team decisions. We are the ones paying for the hotdogs, hamburgers, beers and popcorn besides all the salaries.

John P. Thomas
John P. Thomas

He probably has one helluva bank account somewhere.

Michele Cottrell
Michele Cottrell

I think the Atlanta Braves should not be allowed to maintain the name Atlanta in their name. The Cobb Braves or some other traitor name, but not Atlanta. You are not Atlanta. I also think we should have another professional baseball team. Let's get another team.

Kevin Kitchen
Kevin Kitchen

Sun Trust park is in Atlanta. Just not in Fulton County Atlanta. Much like Home Depot HQ

DrArt03
DrArt03

I voted against Lee for his being so gullible and believing the incompetent Cobb DOT would be able to develop a viable traffic plan. They can't manage Barrett Pkwy.

Winston Yarde
Winston Yarde

He's not out of a job. I'm almost certain he will resurface as a corporate lobbyist. Once you help big money do that big of a favor they almost always scratch back.

Jim Ingram
Jim Ingram

He said he was going to go follow God's plan now. Apparently God's plan was to steamroll over any potential "no" voters. Now God's plan is for him to be jobless. But I bet he's got himself one heck of a golden parachute...

Steve Dolphyn
Steve Dolphyn

Just as Hillary Clinton hired Debbie Wasserman Schultz, I expect an announcement any day now that Tim Lee has been hired by the Atlanta Braves.

Matthew Thome
Matthew Thome

FYI: Give someone an honorary position is not that same hiring them...but I'm sure Tim will be okay come January.

Steve Dolphyn
Steve Dolphyn

The AJC/Facebook removed my reply from last evening...probably because it contained a link to a different, competitive news source...but it basically explained how DWS's so-called "honorary" position is much more than that. The descriptor was added to keep the uproar to a minimum.

Matthew Thome
Matthew Thome

Steve Dolphyn I'm not sure how much time she'll have to help initially seeing as how she is in a primary reelection battle.

Caricell
Caricell

Lee was not voted out only because of his lack of transparency in the Braves deal. Lee is an arrogant, defiant man, who has chosen in favor of developers over community concerns and even over his zoning committee recommendations. Lee sees only dollars, not concerns that new developments of townhomes in a single-family home community will jam traffic and overburden local resources. He's just not for conserving community values.That's the *other* reason Tim Lee is gone. 

Steve Morris
Steve Morris

He got what he deserves now he will work for the Braves

Greg Waddle
Greg Waddle

Truth be told most Cobb County citizens would not have voted for the Braves relocation or the tax bill for it.

General Concern
General Concern

"You’d think the individual most responsible for luring the Atlanta Braves from downtown Atlanta would be having a statue cast to sit outside SunTrust alongside the new monument to Hank Aaron. And maybe someday that will indeed happen. Tuesday, however, was not a day for commemoration. It was a day of dismissal."


Sometimes both are justified, and sometimes the second lends more willingness to the first. 


I have no idea how you folks will deal with that traffic. 

Boscaverde
Boscaverde

@44F 3FCE0C 11A2 We don't know how we're going to deal with that traffic either...and neither did Lee, and that's a big part of the reason why I voted against him.

spencerville
spencerville

I hope I'm not supposed to feel sorry for him. I just wonder if the Braves even gave a damn when he lost.

tinala
tinala

Tim, I hear the Braves will be hiring bat boys at the new stadium that you got during that secret deal and didn't tell Cobb residences about.

demaz
demaz

I respected Mark's columns in the past, but this spin on how it is a big, once-in-a-millennium opportunity to have one of the 30 teams in your backyard is off base (and prime for a Teheran pick-off move).  In short, it is NOT a big deal, with all respect to Mark's assertion that it is.  Mr. Lee can wait for Mark's decade to get his appreciation statute next to Mr. Aaron's, but my bet is his name will trigger the same kind of rejection as he suffered in yesterday's election ten years hence.  There is nothing endearing about sitting in traffic to attend a game along with all those regular commuters who will be alongside to resent the extra cars on the road 1,2, and maybe 3 hours before game time.   

SouthernHope5
SouthernHope5

Another victim of Liberty Media...who are still whistling their way to the bank.... 

tomhouck
tomhouck

The voters of Cobb realized that Lee was a back room dealer and left them out of the pie. Your quote "Marry in haste, repent in leisure" sums it up. Lee thought he was Mayor Richard J Daily, but he was really a wet behind the ears "Trump" wannabee. No, his butt is gone and the Braves destroyed his public career, although Mike Plant will probably give dumpy Tim a lucrative job for making Liberty Media's real estate portfolio a half billion dollars greater thanks to Tim's using the bank of Cobb taxpayers.

Allyn84
Allyn84

 I'm glad the jack@$$ that stole the Braves out of the city is out of a job. Good Riddance. I hope the people that advocated the Braves to move to Cobb so they wouldn't have to see a black face down in Summer Hill Neighborhood sit in 4 hour traffic to and from braves games. YOU PEOPLE deserve it. 

Kathleen684
Kathleen684

Hey, @allyn84, you forget that we Cobb residents got rid of Tim Lee BECAUSE of the stadium. He and the other commissioners (except for Lisa Cupid) used our parks and recreation money to build the stadium. Most of us would rather have beautiful parks. So please only wish bad on Lee & Friends, not the Cobb residents. And, yes, we going to suffer from their rotten decision.

mar1049
mar1049

Who cares if he is out or about any sports team here in the metro area. Not one of these teams could beat a good high school team.

Sacagawea
Sacagawea

@mar1049 Obviously, the taxpayers of Cobb County care a great deal about his being removed from office for making us pay taxes for something without the opportunity to vote on it.  Who gives a crapola about high school sports?  This is about real issues.

Pat_Pending
Pat_Pending

The Braves had just as much right to leave downtown Atlanta as the AJC did. We still have a newspaper - it's just published in Gwinnett. We still have a baseball team - they play in Cobb.