“The fact that I was hired as talent on a sports show 14 years ago clearly has no impact on the life of any Georgian,” Rogers told the Tribune on Tuesday. “I realize my opponents do not wish to debate my record of cutting taxes, reforming Georgia’s property tax system, shrinking the size of government or helping create jobs here in Cherokee County. It is unfortunate that they would be given a platform for dragging political debate to this level.”
According to report aired Friday on Fox 5 News, the Tribune’s media partner, Rogers appeared on cable television broadcasts as Will “The Winner” Rogers and other monikers to predict the outcomes of upcoming football games to help sports bettors before he became state Senate majority leader.
And a piece by Atlanta Unfiltered’s Jim Walls paints a vivid picture of Rogers as a football handicapper in the early 1990s and as recently as 2000.
On one cable TV show, Rogers allegedly urged bettors to dial a pay-per-call number for his predictions, which he claimed had an 80 percent success rate.
Rogers said he would give the Atlanta Unfiltered report “no credence” and “would be surprised that anyone would take such a clearly biased political blog site seriously.”
Rogers maintains he was merely an actor.
“Some 14 years ago, my company had a contract to perform broadcasting duties on a nationally televised show which was aired on the USA Network. … I was reading from a predetermined script on a national sports television show that has been in production for 35 years,” he said.
Rogers, who at one time owned a radio station in Bartow County, said he still does some broadcasting, including a business show on Dish Network.
The recent news reports go on to claim that Rogers worked for and later shared offices with John Edens, a gambling industry entrepreneur who in 1992 lost an $800,000 judgment for fraudulent misrepresentation.
Rogers said he has cut ties with Edens.
“I have known him since I was in college, but there have been many years in which I did not see him or speak with him,” Rogers said.
However, the Cherokee Tribune reported in 2010 that Rogers signed over to Edens the deed for a Calhoun hotel for which he took out a $2.2 million loan to buy in 2009 with Congressman Tom Graves.
The “Methamphetamine 6,” as it was called at the time, was signed over to Edens’ company after the partners defaulted on the loan with Bartow County Bank. The bank eventually sued the two legislators to get its money back.
The bank later failed.