SGA senators present on Turner Field sale

Sen. Maxwell Turner addresses the SGA meeting about what he learned from the Turner Field Benefits Coalition and the signing of the CBA isn’t just Georgia State’s responsibility.
Photo by Jade Johnson | The Signal

The Student Government Association (SGA) kicked off their March 2 meeting with a presentation on the purchase of Turner Field, and the Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) that students and Turner Field residents have been vouching for.

Sen. Maxwell Turner who spearheaded the conversation was at the Turner Field Forum held by residents and students on March 1, which answered questions on both the sale of the former-Braves field and the CBA through a panel of speakers.

The panelists were Turner Field Community Benefits Coalition (TFCBC) member Sherise Brown, student and United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) member Patricio Rojas, ECO-Action executive director Dr. Yomi Noibi, Peoplestown resident Alison Johnson and resident Columbus Ward.

“What USAS and the TFCBC are pushing [for] is that Georgia State sign a CBA, but responsibilities in CBA are not solely Georgia State’s,” he said, citing a stormwater requirement and saying, “there are many other programs we don’t have a responsibility to act on.”

Turner said it’s a “great misconception” that Panther Holdings LLC has “some sort of connection to Georgia State.”

“Outside of this sales agreement these organizations do not work together. Section 16 of the sales agreement separates these two entities [Georgia State and Carter Development]. We [Georgia State] are not distancing ourselves from Carter, but we’re granting them assigned properties.”

Georgia State, Turner said, is only assigning different sections to the Panther Holdings LLC’s different entities, which are “Georgia State University, Board of Regents, and Carter Real Estate.”

SGA Sen. Markessa Walker added that even though USAS claimed that Panther Holdings LLC sited their address in Centennial Hall, in President Mark Becker’s office, that claim is false she said, as the address is Dale Palmer’s, the assistant treasurer and chief financial officer of the Georgia State University Foundation and assistant VP for development at Georgia State.

In fact, in the sales agreement, Panther Holdings LLC site their office address as 100 Auburn Avenue, Suite 315 – which corresponds to Georgia State’s Legal Affairs department.

But the problem might just be that USAS’ proposed CBA might not work after all, according to Sen. Markessa Walker, who partnered with Sen. Turner on the research.

“One of the big comparisons USAS made is to Columbia University and what we found is that Columbia is still in lawsuits now over the CBA they signed, so we don’t know if a CBA really works,” Walker said referring to the 2009 agreement Columbia signed over the Manhattanville expansion project.

“So really, what’s the point of a CBA since even someone who signed it can’t uphold it?” she said, adding that Columbia has yet to pay the full amount that they signed for on their CBA.

Turner said the committee that SGA has created to work with USAS has not met yet because every time they reached out to USAS, the group said they were unavailable.

“My concern is that so far we’ve offered them a lot, [and] when they don’t hear exactly what they want to hear, you guys see what happens,” Turner said.

The association also discussed Sen. Corey Gray’s “microwave bill,” discussing funding, branding and the possible partnership between the company that already provides Auxiliary Services with the microwaves.