A Georgia hotline for arson complaints is offering up to $10,000 as a reward for information about a fire last week at the home of a woman who criticized the county’s role in the deal to bring the Braves stadium to Cobb County.
The reward is funded by insurance companies based in Georgia who donate to the Georgia Arson Control Hotline, and it is only given to people who can give information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of someone responsible for the arson, said Sam Heaton, Cobb’s public safety director.
Heaton said fire investigators declared the fire at the home of Susan McCoy, an east Cobb attorney, was arson this week.
“The (Georgia Arson Control Hotline) comes from a group of insurance companies that invest funds into this group.
If there is an arrest and conviction, the person that turns it in can be awarded up to $10,000,” Heaton said. “They have a board that oversees those cases.”
McCoy said if a person provides information about the case but doesn’t receive the full $10,000 reward, she personally guarantees the remainder.
The fire, which destroyed a portion of McCoy’s plastic white picket fence, as well as plants and grass in her front yard, took place about a week after she blasted the commissioners for favoring the interests of the Braves’ ownership over those of the county at a Board of Commissioners meeting.
At the meeting, McCoy criticized the board’s approval of using county money to finance the construction of SunTrust Park, the new Braves stadium to be built near Cumberland Mall.
McCoy said she has filed a complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission asking the federal agency to investigate the bond issuance for “fraud or material misstatements.”
Since the fire, McCoy has said she believes it was an act of retaliation against her statements.
Although Tim Lee, chairman of the Cobb County Board of Commissioners, had previously agreed to meet with McCoy to discuss her complaints, he canceled the meeting after the fire.
Lee said he didn’t want to meet with McCoy until the investigation into the fire was resolved.
McCoy said a person can be seen pouring fuel on her yard and lighting it before running away early in the morning of Sept. 18 in video taken by cameras attached to her home.
“I handed over 24 hours of surveillance video (of that day) from the cameras that are installed all around my house to the investigators to examine what they could find,” McCoy said.
In the meantime, McCoy said she has been increasing the security around her home and practicing at the shooting range in case she should need to protect her husband and two boys, ages 11 and 13, in the future.
“I went to the shooting range this past weekend and brushed up on my shooting skills, so hopefully no one will think about coming back,” McCoy said.
McCoy said she hasn’t tried to fix the fence or plants that were burned in her yard yet because she’s been too busy. She said she doesn’t know how much the repairs will cost, but she won’t get any help from her insurance company to pay for the damage.
“I had a fire in 2009 for my house, and it was a huge fire with an air conditioning unit,” McCoy said.
“When we tried to make those claims it placed us into another category of risk (on the insurance policy). So, I am not capable of making another claim of a fire without it jeopardizing my home insurance.”
McCoy said her family had to leave their home for nine months while the previous damage was repaired. The experience scared her children, McCoy said.
“(The arsonist) just re-aggravated some older issues with my children,” McCoy said.