Why Did Georgia Stop Counting on Election Night? “Burst Pipe” Excuse Turns Out Bogus

Tiny leak paralyzes State Farm Arena, Atlanta

Officials in Georgia have not been able to produce any invoices or work orders related to a “burst pipe” at Atlanta’s State Farm Arena that was blamed for an abrupt pause in vote counting on election night.

The only evidence for the burst pipe, released under freedom-of-information laws, was a text message exchange in which one senior employee at the stadium described it as “highly exaggerated … a slow leak that caused about an hour and a half delay” and that “we contained it quickly – it did not spread”.

“Beyond the lack of documentary evidence of the inspection or repair of a ruptured pipe, we are being asked to believe that there is not one single picture of this allegedly ruptured pipe, at a time and in a place where virtually everything is recorded and documented,” Georgia lawyer Paul Dzikowski, who obtained the text messages, told news.com.au in an email on Wednesday night.

The right-wing Gateway Pundit website first reported the story on Wednesday.

President Donald Trump mentioned the burst pipe in his speech last Friday, where he claimed key battleground states where he was leading Mr Biden suspiciously stopped counting on Tuesday night.

“In Georgia, a pipe burst in a far away location, totally unrelated to the location of what was happening and they stopped counting for four hours,” he said, in a claim that was disputed by fact checkers.

On Monday, Mr Dzikowski sent an open records request concerning the burst pipe to the Atlanta-Fulton County Recreation Authority – the state authority that owns State Farm Arena.

“Please produce … all ‘public records’ related to the burst pipe at State Farm Arena that occurred on or about November 3, 2020, which impacted the counting of ballots by Fulton County authorities, including and not limited to internal and external communications with any person(s), communications with Fulton County Board of Registrations and Elections, memoranda, notes, work orders, requisitions, invoices, repair records, and all other public records,” Mr Dzikowski wrote.

AFCRA executive director Kerry Stewart responded less than half an hour later attaching “the only document responsive to your request” – a text message exchange between an unidentified person and Geoffrey Stiles, vice president of facilities for the Atlanta Hawks NBA team.

“I just heard a water pipe burst at SFA that will cause vote count delay. Has this affected the AFCRA office? I think they were counting votes next door,” the sender, believed by Mr Dzikowski to be Mr Stewart, wrote at 7.42pm.

“No sir – it was highly exaggerated – it was a slow leak that caused about an hour and a half delay,” Mr Stiles replied at 7.43pm. “We contained it quickly – it did not spread – we just wanted to protect the equipment.”

Mr Dzikowski submitted a similar request to Fulton County, which also came up empty.

“The Fulton County attorney’s office responded on behalf of the County and concluded there are ‘no responsive records’ related to the alleged burst pipe or water main break – which are two completely different things, by the way,” he said.

“‘Water main’ refers to high-volume transmission pipes running underground along road rights-of-way and outside the buildings, and a ‘pipe’ would refer to the distribution piping within the structure. Either way, I would expect there to be a host of records generated (texts, emails, work orders, interdepartmental pay requisitions, etc.) if there had been a serious water leak in a major sports arena.”

Mr Dzikowski, who spent “the better part of 10 years” as outside counsel to five different county and municipal governments, said he submitted the open records request “simply because I believed it would be the easiest way to either confirm or refute the Fulton County Board of Elections’ proffered reason for halting the counting of ballots”.

“Please understand that the Board’s decision to stop counting was unprecedented,” he said.

“There are many residents of Georgia, and Fulton County in particular, who doubt the official story. I simply wanted to know the answer for my own edification. I am a concerned citizen who is worried about the level of corruption that has taken hold at the local, state, and national levels in my country.”

Fulton Commission Chairman Robb Pitts told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday evening that the pipe burst just after 6am and was repaired within two hours.

The newspaper noted that the burst pipe wasn’t mentioned by any county officials during a 10am press conference.

“As of 5pm, Fulton had scanned 86,191 of the 130,517 absentee-by-mail ballots received, which doesn’t include the ballots received in today’s mail,” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote at the time.

“They planned to stop scanning absentee ballots at 10.30pm and pick it up back in the morning. No official could explain before press time why Fulton was stopping its count of absentee ballots at that time, only saying that was the procedure.”

Source: news.com.au

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