Crony Capitalism

The Weather Channel Demands Tax Breaks from Georgia County

Threatens to leave

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One of Cobb's high-profile corporate citizens is threatening to leave if it doesn't receive "significant" tax breaks in return for an expansion that includes 200 to 300 employees at an average salary of about $75,000.

The Weather Channel, headquartered in Cumberland and owned by NBC, has never asked for subsidies before, but it now needs a reason not to leave Cobb, said Kathy Angell, senior vice president of The Weather Channel's taxation division, in a Nov. 1 email to Brooks Mathis, executive vice president of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce.

The company opened its current offices on Interstate North Parkway at I-75 and I-285 in 1996.

Its planned expansion is valued at $90 million, Mathis said in emails obtained by the MDJ. Shirley Powell, executive vice president, said The Weather Channel would not comment and that anything the MDJ reported at this point would be "speculation." The emails were given to the MDJ by Kevin Schmidt, a former Cobb resident and an investigative analyst for Washington, D.C.-based Cause of Action, a government transparency watchdog group.

(Hat tip to Jon L.)