Pro Macon-Bibb consolidation group draws $169,000 in donations

A pro-consolidation group has raised and spent about $1 for each Bibb County resident.

A disclosure report filed Monday shows Macon-Bibb Wins Again spent about $143,000 in cash, while getting $147,881 in cash donations and $21,345 worth of in-kind donations.

Voters in Bibb County, which has about 156,000 residents, will decide the consolidation referendum July 31.

Those sums mean the pro-consolidation campaign is one of the most expensive recent ballot pushes locally. For comparison, Macon Mayor Robert Reichert spent about $222,000 last year during his re-election campaign.

Macon-Bibb Wins Again had some relatively smaller donations but was buoyed by five-figure donations that gave it a majority of its cash. The biggest donations, of $20,000 each, came from real estate investor Benjy Griffith; State Bank and Trust Co.; and Altamaha Investments Holdings Inc., which is controlled by Macon businessman Ronnie Rollins, whose companies are buying Mid Georgia Ambulance Service.

Other five-figure donations were NewTown Macon’s $18,500 contribution and WP Thompson Jr. Architect Inc.’s $10,000.

Notable donors include real estate developer Roy Fickling, former Mercer University President Kirby Godsey, banker Bob Hatcher and builder David Thompson.

In-kind donations included $12,735 by the James Bates law firms for radio and television spots, guest appearances and signs; $2,910 for accounting by the Howard, Moore & McDuffie firm; and donated office space of $3,600 by Poplar Development.

More than two-thirds of the money, more than $105,000, was donated in May alone.

Most of the expenditures were with a single company, Third Wave of Macon, which arranged advertising for more than $77,000. Other significant expenses included $13,200 to Middle Georgia Black Pages, listed as consultant fees, promotional materials and office supplies, and $8,850 to staff member Ruth Sykes, a communication consultant.

The expenditure report also shows $6,540 paid to CREEG Inc., which is the company that runs Grant’s Lounge. Macon-Bibb Wins Again’s chairman, Ed Grant Jr., is the brother of Cheryl Grant Louder, who runs CREEG.

To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.