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Dacula couple sues over county cell tower

Staff Photo: Jason Braverman Steve Pennington and his wife, Brenda, were surprised to find the county was constructing a cell tower on the other side of their property line after they had a contract for three years to get it on their land. The the county tabled it for three years before denying it just a few months ago.

Staff Photo: Jason Braverman Steve Pennington and his wife, Brenda, were surprised to find the county was constructing a cell tower on the other side of their property line after they had a contract for three years to get it on their land. The the county tabled it for three years before denying it just a few months ago.

LAWRENCEVILLE -- A Dacula couple has sued Gwinnett County for denying a cell phone tower on their property, instead placing it 100 yards away on county parkland.

Steve and Brenda Pennington are seeking the more than $570,000 they would have received from a contract with T-Mobile, that would have paid $1,000 a month for up to 30 years.

Commissioner Mike Beaudreau did not return a message Wednesday, but told the Daily Post last month that the cell tower on Rabbit Hill Park would bring relief to taxpayers.

The Penningtons' lawyer Larry Stewart referenced the article in the lawsuit, alleging that Gwinnett County "acted in bad faith, improperly and without privilege when it secretly negotiated a contract with T-Mobile that destroyed the Plaintiffs' Contract with T-Mobile."

Comments

jack 2 years, 7 months ago

The "sour grapes" of wrath?

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CitizenX 2 years, 7 months ago

Good for them. I hope the County pays for their dishonest behavior. Nothing like repeated tabling of a simple zoning issue because the County wants the deal. The County tabled the issue until the contract expired, then jumped on it and took the "revenue" from a taxpayer. Shame on you BOC.

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Jan 2 years, 7 months ago

If the county were a private business, profits only benefiting share holders, this type of practice would not only be condoned but even applauded by some as clever business dealing. If you condemn this by the county, then you must approve more regulation on companies to insure ethical behavior and levy heavy fines when they don't, such as the case of the gulf oil spill and the lending companies misrepresentation of mortgages. Republicans have convinced to many that public operations are inherently bad while corporate policies must be good since they are making a profit. Under current laws, I see no way they have a legitimate claim against Gwinnett County but they may have action against T-Mobile if they can show that T-Mobile used their contract as a leverage point with county negotiations and never pushed the county to approve the zoning. It should also be noted that the tower on their land would have decreased the value of the surrounding property for future development.

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Max 2 years, 7 months ago

I might agree with that except for one point. The county wasn't competing with this citizen for the T-mobile contract. The county used the power of government to sabatoge the permit process, ( which a "private business doesn't have the ability to do). Your argument about decreased value of surounding land because of this tower is crap too. It will not decrease any more for the surrounding proporties than it does in the park 100 yds away.

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Jan 2 years, 7 months ago

So consider: A chain store with great resources, moves into a small town and lowers prices below wholesale, forcing other businesses to close, then raises prices above the former competition. Some suppliers to retailers have also been known to refuse to allow their merchandise to be carried by stores that carry certain small competitor products. These are the types of things to which I refer which has the same effect - small guy gets the short end of the deal.

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BufordGuy 2 years, 7 months ago

On the contrary, in private business you are competing one with another based on the benefits you can provide to the customer. Here the County used the power of the gun to prevent these folks from capitalizing. That is an unfair advantage. Us as taxpayers should have to pay them for what we allowed our elected representatives to do to them. Perhaps we will wake up and quit sending total idiots like Beaudreau over there to represent us.

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citized 2 years, 7 months ago

Why don't they invest in a jammer?

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WantingFacts 2 years, 7 months ago

Jan: You missed one important fact. If two private businesses were competing for the opportunity to get the contract with T-Mobile, one would not have the authority to prevent the other from getting county approval to have the cell tower constructed. Gwinnett County prevented the Penningtons from getting the needed approvals to enter into a contract with T-Mobile and then negotiated a contract at a higher cost to T-Mobile than what was being discussed with the Penningtons. T-Mobile stated that they were willing to pay more to have access to other government properties. A private business would not have this negotiating "edge". I'm not sure what point you were trying to make about Republicans. All Gwinnett County commissioners are Republicans.

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R 2 years, 7 months ago

To state that all county representatives are Republican is really an insult to Republicans at large. Perhaps a more accurate description would be” apparently all county representatives are RINOs, if they believed this was in the best interest of the county overall.” Run the government like a business yes - but NOT in the manner of MicroSoft’s Anti Trust fouling past, ENRON, MCI, Wachovia, Arthur Anderson or Lehman Brothers. Even Wayne Hill himself just has to chuckling a bit on this one. But on the bright side, the county could share the revenue from this site with the couple as a concession, save the friggin court cost and still be AHEAD. Knock, Knock Mr. Porter, is it time to fire up a Grand Jury yet? Sadly, it appears some folks didn’t retain the knowledge from the first experience and need a refresher course. Perhaps we residents would LOVE to see legal expenses line item broken out as a standalone percentage within EACH budget group segment as displayed on the new county website pie chart showing where our tax dollars go.

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BufordGuy 2 years, 7 months ago

This is no different than the deal with the Catholic school that Suwanee officials torpedoed. The City lost that case, and the county will lose this case.

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Rocket1300 2 years, 7 months ago

I hope no one is surprised. Good for this couple. Let's see; $1000 per month, $12,000 a year, $360,000 total. That's a chunk of change they got ripped off by the county.

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bill4 2 years, 7 months ago

Don't see why anyone is surprised about this. Bannister's Bandits still ride in Gwinnett. The airport is probably a done deal and we will not know it until the annoucement. Let's not forget the staduim, the trash deal, Beaudreau getting upset when the tennis venue deal "leaked out" early.

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