Back in July we wrote about Alpharetta Councilman DC Aiken and his business relationship with homebuilder Sharp Residential. We hinted at the time of another similar business relationship. This time it’s with a spouse.
The wife of Councilman Chris Owens is in the concrete business. Approximately a year ago Mrs. Owens was hired by Marietta-based Hemma Concrete to be a senior estimator. Her responsibilities include being awarded commercial concrete projects.
For many years Hemma’s business consisted of mainly small residential projects such as driveway improvements, fancy sidewalks and other decorative hardscapes. In recent years the company has branched out to include large commercial and municipal projects.
On their website the firm touts three large projects in Alpharetta with very high profile and high visibility construction projects. We’ve been able to confirm a fourth of similar profile. The projects are…
Avalon – Hemma was awarded a $2 million contract by North American Properties and their general contractor Hoar Construction. Their work includes building site walls, hardscapes, the water fountain and all the decorative sidewalks you’ll walk on in the 86 acre project.
TopGolf – Hemma teed off the construction by pouring the foundation, walls and composite concrete slabs for the metal building frame.
Haynes Bridge Road realignment – Hemma was selected by contractor CW Matthews to work on the new road, traffic circle and sidewalks.
City Center – Not mentioned in Hemma’s portfolio online, we’ve been able to confirm that the company is performing work downtown. They were selected to perform hardscape and other concrete work on the project by City Center’s construction manager, Choat Construction.
Mrs. Owens’ employment with Hemma started after these projects were awarded. She’s not a principal or equity holder with the company but rather a employee.
Councilman Owens said the relationships would not cause him to recuse from future votes relating to North American Properties or City Center. He would only recuse in the scenario where the city contracted directly with Hemma for work.
So why write about this relationship at all? The expanding economy in Alpharetta will create opportunities for the lawyers, engineers and real estate professionals sitting on Council. It’s important to understand and be aware of the business and professional relationships your elected officials have. It’s of particular interest when the relationships involve firms with past or potential future matters before Council. Both are the case here.