Graves set to give deposition Tuesday

Graves set to give deposition Tuesday

August 23rd, 2010 by Andy Johns in Politics Regional

Newly elected congressman Tom Graves is scheduled to give his side of the story in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit filed against him by Bartow County Bank.

Graves, a Republican from Ranger, is scheduled to give a deposition in Atlanta on Tuesday as part of the lawsuit, which also names state Sen. Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock.

The suit, filed in January, alleges that a business run by Graves and Rogers defaulted on a loan for $2.25 million and that Graves moved some of his property to his wife's name to make it more difficult for the bank to collect.

Edward Hines, attorney for the bank, declined to comment on the case, saying he did not want the case to be tried in the media.

Attempts to reach Graves last week were unsuccessful, and messages left with his campaign staff were not returned. His attorney, Simon Bloom, did not return messages Friday. No one answered the phone at Rogers' state Senate office Friday.

A counterclaim filed by Graves and Rogers in March states the bank had allowed the company, Tich Hospitalities, to refinance the loan in November. They say the bank then reneged on the agreement.

Graves won a special election runoff in June to fill former U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal's unexpired term, then won the Republican primary for the full term in a runoff Aug. 10.

During the races, Graves' top opponent, Lee Hawkins, hammered his rival about the lawsuit.

The deposition originally was scheduled for June 30, but it was moved until after the election in a maneuver Hawkins called the "Potomac two-step," which he said allowed Graves to keep the lawsuit out of the news during the campaign.