ATLANTA - The man at the center of the controversy over a hidden Atlanta dump site dating back to the '60s believes the city punished him for exposing the covered over waste.
Jerry Brow says he felt boxed in by the city and ultimately agreed to sell four investment properties located near the dumpsite, now known as Baby Gun Club. City officials say they needed Jerry Brow's land to monitor waste from the now-closed Gun Club Landfill and Baby Gun Club dumpsite. Brow says he would never have bought the properties if he had known about the decades-old dump site that sat, hidden, near his land.
“I would have to apologize to him for the way his property was handled. That was inexcusable. And, that should not have happened,” said City councilman Michael Bond.
In December, Atlanta City councilman Michael Bond offered a public apology to Brow
Brow was out of the country when Michael Bond's apology aired on TV. Jerry Brow returned to Atlanta this past week and he wants to set the record straight.
“That apology is a joke. You are looking at a house right here. They stole this from me. What other choice did I have when your attorney said one way or another they are going to take your property,” said Brow.
A FOX 5 I-team investigation discovered the existence of Baby Gun Club Landfill buried deep in internal city memos, letters, engineering reports, and in two lawsuits that were quietly filed and then settled.
Eyewitnesses told us they saw the dumping, aerial photographs from the '60s and '70s showed the cleared off dump site, and internal records documented how - who knows what - was dumped on the land for years before strict environmental laws were in place.
“You don’t know what is there. That's the big concern to everybody,” former EPD director Bert Langley told us.
Jerry Brow bought multiple properties in Northwest Atlanta with an eye toward the future. All in walking distance of the Beltline's Quarry Park. He didn't know about Baby Gun Club Landfill. And he definitely didn't know BGC waste was buried under one of the properties he bought.
According to city records, the city began operating an unpermitted landfill on the site in the late 60s. At the time there were no state laws governing dump sites.
Ultimately, the city began the process to negotiate and potentially condemn four of Jerry Brow's properties. One ordinance said the land was needed to monitor waste from the closed Gun Club Landfill and the "open dumpsite known as Baby gun Club Landfill."
Brow sued and accused the city of maintaining a "non-compliant landfill" and "illegal dumping on private property." In a settlement, the city gave Brow $267,500 for his properties and for "damages" and "business losses."
The property appraiser wrote just one of Jerry's parcels would have been worth $92,200 but due to "reported municipal waste deposited on-site", they set the value at only $1.
“We are talking about government in place to protect people it did just the opposite, they've done something to harm the people,” said Brow.
A city spokesperson said the city did not condemn Mr. Brow's property just purchased it as part of a settlement to his lawsuit.
In a statement to FOX 5, the EPD said it "found no evidence of an environmental hazard" at the Baby Gun Club landfill" and the EPD continues to monitor the city's methane gas readings and water samples.