Wed. May 18th, 2022

A modern civil war in Atlanta is led by a carpet bag with deep roots in the Big Apple.

Bill White, 54, drives the growing movement from the affluent, mostly white suburb of Buckhead to secede from the city of Atlanta — even though he is a born and bred Yankee from New York City who only moved south three years ago.

Before taking on the role of detachment, White was a New York businessman and former head of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, whose family launched the Upper East Side staple Beach Cafe in the late 1960s.

“We love New York, always have, always will do,” White said of himself and husband Bryan Eure. “We miss all the friends and lives we had there, but we do not miss the policies or policies that are destroying New York City.”

The Long Island native carries his affiliation with NYC for all to see: a 1977 Yankees Championship ring, given to him by George Steinbrenner.

Yard signs support the grassroots initiative to incorporate Buckhead, a neighborhood in Atlanta plagued by a recent wave of crime, as a separate city.
Yard signs support the grassroots initiative to incorporate Buckhead, a neighborhood in Atlanta, as a separate city.
Jenni Girtman / AP Photos for the Buckhead City Committee

Like New York City, Atlanta has seen a sharp rise in violent crime during the pandemic. Murders, shootings and assaults are all up this year in the city, according to police data compiled by the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Witnessing the increased lawlessness drove White to continue efforts to make Buckhead, where the average listed house price is close to $ 600.00, his own city, with its own police and judicial system, he said.

“We got a guy to come up to our driveway and try to steal our car. My sister’s home was stolen, and her neighbor’s home was stolen. Our friends have been carjacked. They have had their cars broken into, ”White recalled.

Buckhead City would triple the number of officers in the area and pay them better than the Atlanta Police Department, which he believes is being subdued by Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. Buckhead courts, he argued, would not be lenient with offenders.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms
“Any effort to separate Atlanta along racial, economic, and party lines is an insult to who we are as a city,” said Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.
EPA

In May, White became chairman and CEO of the Buckhead City Committee. He was chosen, he says, by community activists eager to take advantage of his personal network and leadership skills. He raised more than $ 400,000 in his first fundraiser that month.

The process of annexing Buckhead from Atlanta has gone fast. A bill on permission to vote is currently moving through the state legislature. If signed by Governor Kemp, a Republican known to be close to White, the law would go to a vote. However, the referendum would controversially only be among members of the proposed new city, except for residents of greater Atlanta. White said he has so far been happy with the internal poll.

“It’s pretty wild what we’ve been doing for the last 12 months. We are creating a city from scratch, ”White told The Post, full of confidence.

The separation plan has proved extraordinarily divisive in Atlanta, where it has been opposed by the city’s established democratic leaders. The loss of Buckhead tax revenue would be a significant blow to the city’s economy, and accusations of racism have swirled.

Bill White
Bill White

“As we continue our efforts to increase public safety in Buckhead and beyond, it is our sincere hope that the Atlantans will remain united in their efforts to address the challenges,” a spokeswoman for Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms told The Post. “Any effort to separate Atlanta along racial, economic and party lines is an insult to who we are as a city.”

Long before he became a political engine and shaker, Fordham University and the French Culinary Institute worked hard at the family restaurant on 70th Street and Second Avenue.

“I cleaned the toilet, I was a busboy, I was a dishwasher, I was a manager. I did it all, ”White recalled.

He also did stints as a volunteer firefighter and booze cruise captain. During his summer at Fordham, he delivered two babies in The Bronx while working as an emergency medical technician.

White avoided the military during the Gulf War, but wanted to find a way to help – so he created a foundation to support the United Service Organization, making him aware of real estate baron and philanthropist Zachary Fisher. Fisher later installed him on Intrepid, which White was widely credited with reviving over the next 18 years. Today, he runs Constellations Group, a business consulting firm.

Aretha Franklin performed at White’s wedding in 2011 with her husband Bryan Eure, a ceremony presided over by power attorney David Boies.

Once upon a time there was a prominent Democratic donor who even held a dinner of $ 25,000 per. The plate for President Obama in 2014, White changed sides dramatically in 2016 after President Trump’s victory and went on to become a mega GOP collection.

After his parents died, White decided to move to Atlanta with Eure, an insurance manager who has been with White for more than two decades. They sold a Chelsea loft as well as a spot in the Hamptons.

“[He] is my husband for 21 years and it’s like 140 in the LGBT world, ”laughed White.

His opponents in Atlanta have resurfaced a $ 1 million settlement between White and New York in 2010 over an alleged illegal fundraising scheme involving the state pension scheme. White admitted no wrongdoing at the time and maintains his innocence today, saying he regrets ever having settled with then-State Attorney Andrew Cuomo.

“The resolution was purely monetary, and Andrew Cuomo tried to get a kilo of meat because I supported David Paterson,” White said.

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