The sharp statement from Porter came one day before a Senate committee is expected to take up legislation au-thored by Chapman that would restrict efforts to redevelop Jekyll Island.
"Mr. Chapman's repeated attempts to derail the revitaliza-tion of Jekyll Island have failed," Porter said. "Now, he has resorted to false claims to further his effort."
Chapman released numbers from state audit reports Tues-day that he said showed the authority low-balled its earn-ings by $11 million over the last 11 years and overstated a drop in visitation to the island, making the situation on Jekyll seem more urgent than it actually is.
Not so, Porter said in a written statement issued Wednes-day.
"Statements contained in a news release issued yesterday by State Senator Jeff Chapman are false and are intentionally misleading," Porter said. "Mr. Chapman's news release grossly and deliberately misrepresented facts and implied impropriety regarding the financial reporting practices of the Jekyll Island State Park Authority."
Chapman said Wednesday the authority has so far been unresponsive to his questions about Jekyll and he stood by his numbers.
"I've taken the time to triple-check and validate all of the comments that were made, and they're accurate," he said.
The authority's chairman seemed to take particular excep-tion to Chapman's charge that revenues for the island were understated.
"The Authority has not 'withheld financial information from the public,'" Porter said. "There is no 'unreported fund of eleven million dollars.' No money received by the Authority has been 'hidden from public view.' All Authority financial information is reported on a regular basis and is a matter of public record."
Chapman has been critical of the authority's plans to revitalize Jekyll. He and the grass-roots Initiative to Protect Jekyll Island say a $352 million development planned by Linger Longer Communities, developer of the posh Rey-nolds Plantation resort on Lake Oconee, threatens Jekyll's tradition as an affordable destination for all Georgians.
Instead, Chapman and his supporters have called for rede-velopment to focus solely on replacing battered hotels in-stead of Linger Longer's more expansive ideas.
While rejecting most of Chapman's claims, the statement by Porter didn't contain specific information to show the sena-tor's numbers were wrong. Porter did promise that the au-thority would give more details to House and Senate com-mittees hearing Jekyll-related bills today. (Thursday)
"The Jekyll Island Authority will revitalize Jekyll Island, as directed by the Governor and The Georgia Legislature, for the benefit of nine million Georgians," Porter said.
Brandon Larrabee can be reached at email@example.com or (678) 977-3709.