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Deal alters financial forms again

GOP nominee to use IRA to pay down debt

POSTED: September 23, 2010 11:30 p.m.

Nathan Deal has amended his financial disclosure for a second time this week, offering a much rosier outlook on his financial situation this time around.

Deal’s camp edited the disclosure after an accountant went through the former congressman’s finances to make sure everything was properly recorded.

“We wanted an expert accountant who had dealt with state disclosures to come in and talk to Nathan’s accountants, talk to his businesses’ accountants, talk to bankers, talk to every professional connected to Nathan Deal’s finances to paint the most comprehensive picture of Nathan Deal’s financial health for Georgia’s voters,” said Deal spokesman Brian Robinson.

“It required a lot of time and research, but the report was compiled and what it shows is Nathan Deal has assets, that he is far from insolvency.”

Deal has been under pressure about his financial situation after revelations last week that he failed to disclose $2.85 million in business loans. He is facing a Feb. 1 deadline to make good on a $2.3 million loan he guaranteed for his daughter and son-in-law’s sporting goods business.

By amending his financial disclosure, the Deal campaign is hoping to quiet concerns that the Republican nominee is insolvent.

“The underlying issue here is that Nathan said last week that he and his family faced financial sacrifices because of a bad investment; his family was going to be OK, they were going to meet their obligations,” Robinson said. “Now we have backed up those claims with proof and we would like to move on.”

The new disclosure boosted Deal’s reported net worth for 2009 to $2.8 million. That would decline as he sells off assets to pay his debt.

The biggest boost in Deal’s asset column came when he added in $2.5 million in land for Gainesville Salvage and Disposal.

That is half the $5 million value the property is appraised for by banks making the company loans. Deal is half owner of the property, so was he given half the value of the property.

Robinson said Deal was planning to liquidate his IRA as early as next week to help pay off the looming debt. The IRA was valued at $576,000 in Deal’s 2009 disclosure, but the value has grown since then to about $750,000, said Jimmy Allen, the accountant who looked over his papers and is a Deal campaign supporter.

“Nathan is taking positive steps to rid himself of a substantial portion of his obligations, and after those obligations are met, he and his wife will still have assets to live on,” Robinson said.

Deal’s business partner Kenneth Cronan provided a new explanation on Thursday about the $2.85 million in loans their company, Gainesville Salvage Disposal, took out in 2009.

Last week, when The Associated Press reported the loans had not been disclosed on the form Deal filed with the state Ethics Commission, Deal’s campaign said they were used to expand the company’s Gainesville headquarters and a separate site in Metter, Ga.

But Cronan said Thursday that they were not only for business expansion but for continued day-to-day operations.

Cronan said loans were used to refinance and add on to some $1.7 million in existing loans.

“GSD is a viable company that has been in business 20 years. We have business assets that more than offset any loans that Nathan and I have,” Cronan said in a Thursday interview arranged by Deal’s campaign.

While Deal initially said the Metter land was worth between $100,000 and $200,000, his filings on Thursday suddenly put its worth at $600,000. Local tax officials have assessed it at nearly $304,000. Deal’s camp said the land in Metter, about 60 miles west of Savannah, is zoned for salvage operations, making it more valuable than it might otherwise appear.

Deal and Cronan, bought the land in 2004 for $145,141.

Cronan said he had spent about $400,000 on the property but declined to provide specifics, saying it was proprietary business information he did not want to share with competitors.

Hall County officials did approve a 2009 application for a “heavy equipment garage” at the company’s headquarters in Gainesville, which was to include a 4,800-square foot building and a parking area.

The new report filed with the state Ethics Commission on Thursday also notes that Deal’s campaign manager and former congressional Chief of Staff Chris Riley owes Deal $120,000 for the purchase of 14 acres of land adjoining Deal’s property. Riley purchased the property from his boss in two separate transactions in 2003 and 2008. Instead of taking out a loan for the $175,000 cost, Riley said he is paying Deal back directly with 6 percent interest. Riley said he paid fair market value for the land — $15,000 an acre — which he said used to be his family’s old farm.

Allen also acknowledged that Deal — as an investor in his daughter and son-in-law’s failed sporting goods business — should have been listed in the bankruptcy filing. Deal did not appear anywhere in the filing as a creditor or debtor. Allen called it an oversight by Clint Wilder, Deal’s son-in law. Wilder Outdoors filed for bankruptcy in 2009.

The Associated Press contributed to this report



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