Posted: 6:00 am Thursday, July 31st, 2014

On the timing of a Sam Olens charter flight 

By Greg Bluestein

062913 brooks HS06

Attorney General Sam Olens was in Savannah for meetings in May 2011 when he took a charter flight back to Atlanta for a meeting with Gov. Nathan Deal.

That wouldn’t be all that noteworthy if not for the timing of the May 4, 2011 trip. It took place a day after the then-head of the ethics commission, Stacey Kalberman, presented commissioners with draft subpoenas seeking records related to complaints into his 2010 complaints.

A document obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution lists the reason for the flight, which cost about $1,295, as a “mandatory meeting called by Gov. Deal.”

Olens’ staff, when asked about the trip, indicated they saw this inquiry coming.  They sent my colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin a document showing that the charter flight had been planned for at least a week, and was not a last-minute summons.

Olens spokeswoman Lauren Kane said it was a “meeting with the U.S. Department of Defense relating to anti-terrorism” – and nothing to do with the ethics case.

That flight, Kane said, is the only flight Olens has ever taken on a state plane in more than three years in the job. The one-way hop helped him stick to a series of long-scheduled meetings from Brunswick to Savannah that day, she said.

Said Kane:

“When the DoD called a couple of weeks in advance and needed to set the meeting for the afternoon of May 4, the only way Sam could attend the meeting while still keeping his commitments was to take a state plane from Brunswick.  That flight was one-way, and Sam took a regular Delta flight back to Savannah after the meeting.”

Olens, who faces Democrat Greg Hecht in his re-election bid, is facing scrutiny over his role in the ethics probe and has issued a lengthy explanation seeking to explain his decisions in the case, including why an explosive memo written by Kalberman’s successor in 2012 was never sent to Kalberman and other whistleblowers suing the state.

Hecht, meanwhile, claims Olens is simply trying to “protect” the governor, a charge Olens has denied. Look for the Democrat to try to keep ethics at the center of his campaign.

113 comments
QuestionMan
QuestionMan

While Olens may survive this problem, isn't he toast within GA? Won't Olens have a very serious challenger in his next election for AG?

notagain
notagain

AJC do not forget Ralston...

notagain
notagain

Ethics should be kept at center of all elections.

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

Hecht will have no worry about ethics as Nunn and Carter have proven that the top of the Dems ticket has no ethics

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

Of course, as Deal inimated, we don't know when the document was REALLY written.  That's how they came up with idea so quickly.


They saw the inquiry coming...unlike the need to give the memo to the defense in the discovery deal.


Who believes this?

dreluv
dreluv

Vote Sam Olen out of office he is another Nathan Deal

Point
Point

i can't help but think that a younger, tech savvy administration would have handled this meeting by Skype or teleconferencing thereby eliminating the need for a costly charter.


And being reminded in another poster's comments about Georgia putting all the mortgage money into economic development and taking all these trip is another slap in the face to struggling Georgia citizens.  Welcome to the serfdom of Deal.

FirstDerivative
FirstDerivative

That is all it was; a protection racket for Nathan.  I continue to be amazed, because I read Sam Olens as one of the few clean Republicans that my perception has even beholden. 

Sad. If Sam Olens is corruptible we are not safe from any politician.

SomebodySaid
SomebodySaid

It's hard to respect the Conservative/Republican outrage over the AJC's reporting of this story. Just what part of it do you object to? Are the facts wrong? Of course not. It appears you just don't like what the facts represent.

This is a significant story. Georgia has been reduced to a one party state. For those of you that need a remedial course in politics, that causes the state to be very vunerable to political ethics abuse. Here, we have a Governor, who came to office with a spotty ethical record, attempting to abuse the power of his office to quash an investigation of his unethical, possibly illegal campaign activities. He is fully supoorted by a motley crew of lackeys, some elected, some on state time, none doing anything close to their job description, and all telling one lie after another to cover up or amend the last lie they told.

The AJC is doing exactly what it is supposed to do. If a Democrat were abusing its favor with an ignorant and tunnel visioned electorate in the same manner, they'd report it just the same. If you don't believe me, ask Vernon Jones and Cynthia McKinney.

Jefferson1776
Jefferson1776

Another pawn to Deal. Vote for him if you are a mindless pawn too.

longmemories
longmemories

The truth is neither Eric Holder or Sam Olens are doing their job.  And we have political hacks on both sides defending them.  We need a few people with principal to hold all public officials accountable.

anothercomment
anothercomment

I will be voting for Hecht. How can anyone vote for an attorney general who can not follow basic rules of discovery. Has spent his time wasting money suing the federal government to prevent 600,000 Georgians from getting Insurance. Has conspired with Deal to not provide any individuals harmed by the Mortgage settlement funds, as happened in other states. Instead they were all put in the Deal kitty for Economic Development aka corporate welfare to the 1%.

LHardingDawg
LHardingDawg

Dang, how old is this story getting. No smoke and certainly no fire. AJC go on to something else that someone gives a dang about.

Eustis
Eustis

Keep digging AJC. It's obvious Deal and Olens have no ethics and are crooked.

Bernie31
Bernie31

This Batch of  Republican Political Players All over America are the most ethically challenged, performers of questionable acts, corrupt, sleazy, irresponsible, Tone Death, Stubborn, Mean Spirited, Back sliding, Yella, Cowardly, not smart, not good people, selfish, vicious, angry,deceitful, unpatriotic, Racist, Bigoted, without charity or compassion, evil, Liars,Hypocrites, Abusers,Deviants,Money grubbers, Greedy, Hatred of others unlike them, not well educated, have no vision, Haters of the Old, POOR & Needy, Haters of Sick People, Haters of Children, Self righteous, know it All, unwilling to compromise, My way or the Highway people, seek personal gain first, imposter, Jekyll and Hyde, Drunks, chain Smokers, Bad health, Bad Breath, LOSERS....I could go on for days and I would never Finish!

SmartAleck
SmartAleck

Oh there you go again, AJC--carrying the water for the democRats. Your daily claptrap becomes so monotonous it becomes just....noise. 

Curiously, I wonder how many more newspapers you would sell if you weren't such a left wing hack? 

DS
DS

Sam Olens refused Jason Carter's latest request to conduct a proper ethics investigation of Nathan Deal. Carter had made a compelling case that it is the attorney general's responsibility to conduct such an investigation, or to appoint an investigator:

https://cmgajcpolitics.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/carter-letter-3.pdf

By refusing to do his job, Olens has made it clear that he is providing political protection for Deal. With Olens, political favors trump law and order.

coj
coj

Republicans talk about reducing government spending but it seems the reductions are only when democrats control the purse strings. When republicans are in control they spend, spend, spend on the tax payer's expense. Would be nice if goobers would quit electing these grifters.

Bernie31
Bernie31

Thank GOD Govnor Yella Teeth was not in ISRAEL at the time of the event. Lying and Begging to the Jewish Corporate Business. Y'all come on down here an do BIZNESS wit US.. I Promise You, we no longer wear SHEETS and HOODS. We now wear SUITS with Silk Ties along with a BIG OLE GRIN!

Do not worry about the NAZI Organizations scattered ALL across North Georgia of course with our Support...ya know what mean...Wink! Wink!

You can make a Lot of Money.....but I will let Larry talk abot that.

Bill OrvisWhite
Bill OrvisWhite

There's no there, there, folks. Atty. Gen Olens is a fine man who has never done anything wrong. Let's concentrate on Mrs. Nunn and Jimmah's grand-kid and their questionable, ethically-challenged backgrounds. Tell the story, AJC! Amen, Bill 

Bernie31
Bernie31

@longmemories I suppose that Clown from Texas under George W. BUSH was doing a wonderful JOB? and let us not forget the worst AG ever during a crisis JOHN ASHCROFT!  The only senate candidate that LOSS to a DEAD MAN. The people in Missouri Chose a DEAD MAN over John Ashcroft.  A DEAD MAN...not moving over John Ashcroft.

Then your beloved Village Idiot "W" went and made John Ashcroft Attorney General of the USA!  Before you look around the 4th amendment disappears from the Constitution Now making it only MERE WORDS without meaning!

Three weeks later the STATUES at the DOJ were covered with DRAPES! Naked statues made John Ashcroft FEEL FUNNY!  STONE statues!  A Clear sign we have a FOOL on our Hands!

Meanwhile you and your ilk said NOTHING! but uh...huh...OK! If that is what you want us to do cause WE SKERRED!

You have some Gall to speak about the failure of Eric Holder...when the last (3) Three were Republican appointees and the most CORRUPT, CROOKED and Un-American People America has ever had since the BIRTH of this NATION!

Step away from the METH PIPE please....I know it feels good to ya, but it ROTS yer Brain and yer Yella Teeth.

JAWJA
JAWJA

@anothercomment Olens and our insurance commissioner turning over our state revenue dept. to Copart, the company that bailed Nathan out, and owes the revenue department $74Mil. The revenue departments "clearing house." 

honested
honested

@LHardingDawg 

You better get back to the radio.

herman cain is probably in mid-lie and you don't want to miss a second.

Charles50
Charles50

@SmartAleck How about this, why doesn't the GOP start their own paper.  Then you guys can have a lovefest 365 days a year and tell "the truth" about things.  

honested
honested

@SmartAleck 

Yep it's monotonous.

The governor violates the law and ethical canon, attempts to cover it up, enlists the aid of the AG and his personal attorney, gets caught, fires the investigators and starts the circle over.

We taxpayers get to pay the hush money.

I'd say it's monotonous!!!

DannyX
DannyX

@SmartAleck, and yet here you are, with each click on this website you support the AJC.  Why don't you boycott this website?  Practice what you preach.

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@DS The exact sentiment of lawyers across the country he is suppose to uphold the law not wade into politics because he is not a politician.  

Charles50
Charles50

@coj The interesting thing is, when this was pointed out to them (especially in Washington during the President's first two years in office) all they would say is, well yes that is true, but we've learned and it has to stop now.  Such BS.  

HueyMahl
HueyMahl

@EdUktr Yes, but most of the polls shown are old.  Three of the last four show Carter in the lead.

DannyX
DannyX

@EdUktr, hey if this is the only way for you to get attention, go for it!

Charles50
Charles50

@Bill OrvisWhite Olens WAS a fine man before he left Cobb County for the glitter and glamour of Atlanta and the State Capitol.  Now I don't even recognize the man I voted for.  But he won't get my vote again.

LookbeforeIleap
LookbeforeIleap

@BusinessMan 

The AJC is secretly conducting a poll to see how many cons think Olen's choice to charter a plane at a 300% premium over commercial travel was a bad idea.


So far the tally is ZERO.

longmemories
longmemories

@Bernie31 I was talking about people currently in office and I called out both sides.  You on the other hand are one of those political hacks I was referring to. Now I need to hear from your counterpoint hack on the other side.

falconfever
falconfever

@Bernie31 Always fun to read the posts of the leader of the unlucky gene pool. keep it up

JAWJA
JAWJA

@Charles50 @SmartAleck Yeah, you already got your faux news.  Entertainment news for those who have graduated from cartoons. 

td1234
td1234

@StraightNoChaser And as soon as Eric Holder does the proper job and upholds the law in the IRS scandal then you would have a legitimate point. 

Bernie31
Bernie31

@falconfever @Bernie31 - Falcon Fever you can forget any Future Wins of your Dirty Birds. The tearing down of two Historic places of worship for your Heathenism, with Lies ad Betrayal of The People.  Well lets say you All will be surrounded with unlucky spirits every game.

You may want to change that name to UN-Lucky Falcon Fever...

Fighting at practice games already! The fun and games have already started. uh...huh.

honested
honested

@td1234 @StraightNoChaser 

Made-up, bs nonsense.

Has absolutely nothing to do with clear ethical lapses and violations of the law in the State of Georgia.

Is absurdity all you guys can perform?

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@td1234 @StraightNoChaser IRS does not have precedence over the prosecution of Nathan Deal and Sam Olsen, he is doing his job he's signing indictments.

LookbeforeIleap
LookbeforeIleap

@td1234 @StraightNoChaser 

I am beginning to believe that the "td" in your moniker stands for "trifling deflector"


To quote St. Ronnie"

"Well, there you go again!"

LookbeforeIleap
LookbeforeIleap

@td1234 @LookbeforeIleap @BusinessMan 

I did not say that.  But unlike you, my comments have been about the topic of the article.

So once again, I ask you, do you not think that Olens had more cost effective options availlable to him for his return to ATL to meet with Deal?

Yes or no - it really is that simple.

td1234
td1234

@LookbeforeIleap Politics so not work in a vacuum. When you talk about subjects like this then you have to look at the whole spectrum of what is happening and not just one individual. 

LookbeforeIleap
LookbeforeIleap

@td1234 @LookbeforeIleap 

Didn't think I'd get an answer.

I find it amazing that you don't see just how silly you look when you prevaricate like that.

By the way, you REALLY need to crack an 8th grade grammar book.