(Friday morning update) The Summerville City Council is scheduled to hold a secret discussion on another "real estate transaction" during its regular council meeting 5 p.m. Monday at city hall. The mayor and council are still violating Georgia law by failing to release details of a recent property purchase done in secret.
* * * *
While Summerville officials are keeping a land purchase a secret from the public, The News has learned the transaction may be improper and not binding, according to Georgia law.
A secretive land deal was approved by the Summerville City Council during a meeting on Feb. 9. Councilmen and even Mayor Harry Harvey would not comment on the deal. They would not tell the property's address, purchase price or intended use.
A Georgia Press Attorney said the city's method of purchasing the property was not a "legal means" to properly purchase the property.
"The Open Meetings Act provides at O.C.G.A § 50-14-3(b)(E) that while real estate acquisitions can be discussed and voted on preliminarily in closed session, no vote in the executive session 'shall be binding on an agency until a subsequent vote is taken in an open meeting where the identity of the property and the terms of the acquisition…are disclosed before the vote…,'" according to a press attorney.
The council never gave a location, price or intended use for the property.
The News has asked the council and mayor for more details but they are being tightlipped.
"Not at this time," Mayor Harvey said. "We do not want to disclose at this time what it is going to be used for. Once everything is settled and all that, we will be happy to disclose anything or everything, but not at this point."