Case involving regent sealed

LAWRENCEVILLE - An ethics watchdog wants a court case against a prominent Gwinnett businessman unsealed.

The suit between United Community Bank and Richard Tucker, who is chairman of the Georgia Board of Regents and a former head of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce and the Gwinnett Convention and Visitors Bureau, was sealed last year because it contained allegations that are "defamatory" and "untrue."

Judge Ronnie Batchelor's order said that if the allegations are disclosed to the public, Tucker "will suffer from embarrassment and annoyance."

The order said Tucker filed affidavits stating the allegations are "factually unfounded and untrue."

The Supreme Court upheld Batchelor's decision earlier this year, but George Anderson from the Ethics in Government Group filed Monday to have the seal lifted and admonished Batchelor in a complaint with the Judicial Qualifications Commission.

Anderson, who successfully petitioned for records of House Speaker Glenn Richardson's divorce proceedings to be unsealed, said the court proceedings are of "paramount interest to the public-at-large."

Last week, Anderson filed a complaint with the grand jury regarding Tucker's role with the visitor's bureau in its negotiations to bring the Gwinnett Braves AAA baseball team to a stadium under construction outside Lawrenceville.

Both Tucker and a lawyer for United Community Bank declined to comment. In 2007 the north Georgia bank merged with First Bank of the South, in which Tucker was involved.