After re-vote, City Leaders will not move forward with the JBA at Regency Mall

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - It's been a huge decision weighing heavy on the Richmond County Commission for weeks. 
Tuesday's vote turned out not to be a simply yea or nay. There was confusion among commissioners that could have switch a decision unintentionally.

"This is politics. This is Augusta Politics and it's strange," says Commissioner Marion Williams.

A strange day no one in the Augusta Commission Chambers anticipated. The big item on the agenda today placed by Commissioner Sammie Sias, to vote on whether to move the James Brown Arena to Regency Mall.

"I'm very disappointed in Commissioner Hassan and Commissioner Sias for driving this train backwards so to speak and trying to change it," says Commissioner Williams.

There was a vote for a separate deal which was split 5-5 with Mayor Hardie Davis breaking the tie by voting Yes. What was on the table was to accept the mall as the site for the JBA, continue to negotiate a deal with the mall owners within 45 days, work on a subcommittee and identify costs.

But after the large crowd left and 10 minutes before the meeting was finished, 1 Commissioner requested to change his vote.

"It was an honest mistake on my part. I never intended to support the substitute motion. I made a mistake, I take full responsibility of that," says Commissioner Ben Hassan.

Commissioner Hassan says he thought he was voting on the first deal. "I didn't realize it. I realized it only 30 minutes later, I did not realize. Over the course of dialogue that's when I actually realized at that point."

In turn, Commissioners had to re-vote. That re-vote killed the mall site deal. 7 Commissioners voted No to the offer making the future destination of the James Brown Arena a question mark.

"It did not speak to the issue of choosing Regency as the site. As far as I'm concerned, it's still on the table," says Mayor Davis.

Some Commissioners think it's time to move forward with a different site, some don't.

One thing is for certain, there are more questions today than there are answers about the future of the JBA and Regency Mall. The mayor says he feels the Regency Mall is still an option, Some Commissioners are split.

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