Former major league pitcher Kevin Brown’s months-long property dispute with Georgia Power came to a head Monday, drawing Bibb County deputies to his north Macon estate.
Brown had erected a fence and planted lines of shrubs across a utility easement that runs along his property near Rivoli Club Drive.
Georgia Power contractors, armed with tools and a chainsaw, started taking the fence apart before Brown apparently objected.
“The sheriff’s office involvement is it’s a court order that Georgia Power had and unfortunately we have to enforce the law, and we have a judge’s orders to allow Georgia Power on this property,” said Bibb County Chief Deputy Mike Scarbary, who arrived at Brown’s property midmorning.
A lawsuit was filed in Bibb Superior Court on Feb. 9 and a judge granted a judgment April 4 for the utility to access its right-of-way and property, according to a statement from Georgia Power.
Four deputies already were on the scene to make sure Georgia Power could gain access to their easement along transmission lines that cross Northside Drive.
Georgia Power spokesman John O’Brien said the utility is required by state and federal law to “maintain our right of way and access to our facilities to ensure reliable service for customers and safety for our employees working on the equipment. A judge has confirmed our right of way and access in this case.”
About 8 a.m., crews began removing sections of Brown’s iron fence that leads to a security gate.
Brown, who played for the Rangers, Orioles, Marlins, Padres, Dodgers and Yankees during his career, first emerged in bare feet, shorts and a T-shirt as he talked with deputies and shared pieces of paper with the officers. He waved his arms and pointed down his property line as he talked.
Brown and two Georgia Power representatives paced the property, talking on cellphones as the workers halted their fence dismantling operation.
“Give me 30 minutes,” Brown said before riding off with another man through another electric gate toward his sprawling home.
Brown returned and had several more conversations with utility representatives, deputies — and eventually Scarbary.
“The disagreement is between their attorneys,” Scarbary said.
At one point, Brown told one of the company representatives that he’d been “in and out of town.”
“Next thing I know, hell, I’m being served,” he said.
Asked to comment on the dispute, Brown laughed as he sat on the curb around an island of crape myrtles in a concrete, circular entranceway that cuts across the easement. At one point the men were pointing to those flowering shrubs as if they might have to be removed.
Before leaving, Scarbary said the issue had been resolved.
The fence and shrubs would be removed, and Brown agreed to give Georgia Power access through his gate, Scarbary said.
Deputies lingered as crews fired up a chain saw and started cutting down shrubs on the left side of Brown’s driveway and began removing the last two sections of fence that cut across the easement.
As they headed toward another line of shrubs on the right side of the driveway, Brown tried to intervene.
“Hold on a second, hold on a second,” he yelled over the drone of the saw.
As Brown made another phone call, the crew continued to chop down the hedge.
By noon, the utility workers and sheriff’s deputies had left the property — about four hours after they arrived.
It was not immediately clear whether Georgia Power or Brown were satisfied with the outcome or whether more legal maneuvering would be necessary.
According to Georgia Power: “We will continue with work needed to ensure reliable service for customers and maintain our right-of-way.”
Liz Fabian: 478-744-4303, @liz_lines