This week on Behind The Legislator

He’s a State Representative, from Toccoa, Georgia, he sells house plans he downloaded off the internet for free, or maybe this week it is waste management? Doesn’t ring a bell? How about dropping a bill requiring random drug screening for people on unemployment?

He says he is the son of Doc Harden, a wealthy businessman, who ran Harden’s Georgia Amusements until his death a few years ago, leaving a valuable estate. Doc Harden did have one son, according to those in the know, but he died about the same time.

Then another son mysteriously appeared. Mysterious because his one recorded son died. Mysterious also because there is no record of a name change* but sources say that a man named Michael Holland became Michael Harden and did so for profit.

Known as “The Dalmatian” in High School for his fondness for firefighters, Michael Holland is a name you don’t know.

Much like The Talented Mr. Ripley, Michael Holland became “Michael Harden”, and it is alleged, became the wrongful heir to Doc Harden’s estate.

*Georgia requires a one month publication of all name changes, but sources indicate the legal organ for Stephens County (where Michael X is from) contains no reference to a name change. As part of any name change, he would have to swear he was not depriving another of a legal right…like, say, an inheritance?


50 Responses to Do you know Michael Harden?

  1. JerryT says:

    I’m not sure I see the scandal. The question seems to be who is his father, and that can probably only be answered with a DNA test, which ain’t gonna happen. IF Doc is his father, I can imagine him wanting to change his name to reflect that. I am not sure how one would look into the estate claims.

    I am more curious about his business career.
    The MySpace page says he owned a company called “Waste Authority” but the SoS has no record of that company.
    His congressional bio says he is a log home builder but the SoS has no record of that company either.
    Project VoteSmart says he is a farmer.

  2. Jules says:

    Isn’t anyone else dying to know why he changed his name? I know I am. Holland seems like a pretty nice name to have.

  3. Jason says:

    You are correct that there is a legal record of Mr. Harden’s name change and it is actually very simple to locate. I can assure that this “story” has not and will not have the effect it was intended to have because the “facts” of these accusations are very easy to locate for anyone who is really looking for them. Mr. Irvin’s campaign clearly has no interest in these facts. Their interest seems to only be in a smear campaign. Oh well…as I stated earlier this has only hurt Mr. Irvin’s campaign and the polls on election day will speak for themselves.

  4. JMPrince says:

    Jason, If he changed his name? It’s a matter of public record, and must be. Even if it was 10 or 40 & 50 years ago. So the ‘full’ story here is relevant. If the Harden campaign has the ‘full story’ or wants to make it better known? There are very simple ways of doing so. At the moment, all we’ve got are accusations & confusion. Again not uncommon here & elsewhere, but somewhere there must be a public record of this change, and some simple stated reason behind it. JMP

  5. Jason says:

    Are you referring to Mr. Harden’s name change that took place over 10 years ago? It is really very funny that the question is even being posed in this way. I live in the 28th House district and I will tell you that most people in this district are very familiar with Mr. Harden’s family history and this is especially true of the people in his hometown of Toccoa. It is a small community and not much gets by here. I was not one of those that were familiar with his history but it only took me asking a couple of individuals before hearing the whole of it. I then asked Mr. Harden himself and was given the same history and Mr. Harden assured me he was an open book where his family is concerned. I found that to be the case with my inquiry as well. After hearing his history I am disappointed with the lack of research done by the gentleman who posted this story especially after finding out (in doing my own research) that he is no stranger to journalism. Turns out good research is not that hard to do. This can only lead me to one conclusion which is that Mr. Irvin is behind the lies and innuendos in this blog.

    I have never been a straight Democrat or Republican voter but generally look at the individual candidates before making my decision. Mr. Irvin has lost a vote in me because of his negative campaigning and the kind of lies he is telling in such outlets as these hoping it will trickle down to the folks of his district. I can also tell you that this blog has been seen by some in his district but it did not have the desired effect Mr. Irvin was hoping for. Those who have seen it that I have spoken with have made a firm decision to vote against Mr. Irvin in this election because of stories such as these and his effort at a “whisper campaign” which is not helping him as he clearly hoped either. He would have done better to stick to talking about issues and what his plan for doing things better than Mr. Harden was. This smear campaign he is running is hurting more than helping him which is unfortunate because I am a firm believer that people need real choices when it comes to their elected officials.

    I it also worth mentioning that Mr. Irvin has many incriminating situations to his history (which were not that difficult to find either but I don’t see any of that mentioned here). I know Mr. Harden has access to the same information I do and has chosen not to make this campaign personal but to run on the issues which concern the people of the 28th district. I commend him for taking the “high rode” but am now wishing that he wouldn’t.

  6. JerryT says:

    OK, Michael claims to be the son of Carolyn, but Evelyn Harden appears as the CFO of the amusement company, W. H. Harden Shows. So maybe “Doc” remarried and had a son with each of his wives?

    In any case, Michael’s MySpace page says he owns “Waste Authority”, but the only corporation registered with the state with those words in it is a defunct non-profit from Murray County.

    Also, he says his mother runs “Carolyn’s Kitchen”, but there is no corporation with that name registered in the state either.

    And I hope he doesn’t have a Christine McDonnell problem. His lists his religion as
    “Christian – other” !

  7. For information on what Chris Irvin stands for, please visit:

    But just to make it easy, here is what Chris believes in – from the man himself:

    Respect for the People
    As the proud grandson of Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin, I have had the opportunity to meet business and political leaders from throughout Georgia. These leaders included Gov. Joe Frank Harris, Gov. Zell Miller, Gov. Roy Barnes, Congressman Nathan Deal, and longtime friend Gov. Lester Maddox. I have learned much from exposure to and relationships with leaders such as these.

    You can imagine my pride in having a grandfather like Commissioner Irvin. And you can imagine my anger and understand my disappointment upon learning that our “Representative” had opposed a resolution recognizing my grandfather and giving him an opportunity to bid farewell to the 2010 Session of the Georgia House. After all, 2010 is Commissioner Irvin’s final year in public office, following some fifty plus years of public service. This action reflects such small character in Michael Harden.

    How sad that Michael Harden’s mind dwells on such matters, rather than fighting to restore the Homeowner’s Tax Credit. After all he voted eliminate this tax break, and as a result raised property taxes for every homeowner in the 28th House district $250.00.

    Honesty and Integrity
    My opponent has consistently put politics and special interest ahead of our people of the 28th District. He repeatedly cast his vote in favor of a budget that furloughed our teachers and kicked our kids off school lunches.

    My opponent supports a leadership that passed the largest TAX increase ever on Georgia consumers. Under HB 1055 Georgians have had 88 tax increases levied upon them, ranging from court filing taxes, licensing taxes, permit taxes, numerous agricultural taxes, and hospital taxes, equaling almost $200 million in new taxes.

    Trauma Care
    Citizens in our area at times find themselves in need of trauma care. Currently we use centers located at Grady and Augusta. Stephens County is the furthest away from trauma care of all Georgia counties. Yet my opponent Michael Harden voted against legislation that would provide closer burn and trauma facilities for our district.

    Citizens and leaders of our community have known for several decades that our Hwy 17 project is critical in attracting industry and jobs back to our area. Anyone who lives here, works here, and owns a business here understands that access to I-85 must be provided to compete for industry.

    My opponent voted for SB 200: this destructive Senate bill diverts funds and allocations by taking away authority from an elected DOT board and gives the final decision to the Governor. It is no wonder that the widening and extensions of Hwy 17 have once again been put on the back burner, while our governor is widening and extending a highway in his hometown of Bonaire. This highway indeed passes through the middle of property owned by Governor Perdue. Your current “Representative” should be screaming with indignation but we hear nothing from him!

    A Strong Voice for You
    My opponent has no vested interest in our community. In the past two years he has sold his home, sold off his business, and sold us out in Atlanta. We can no longer put our faith and our future in one who is living out of a post office box. I encourage the voters of the 28th District to send a strong voice to Atlanta this November. Vote for strength, leadership, and courage. It will be an honor and privilege to serve and protect the interests of my fellow friends and neighbors of the 28th District as your next Representative to the Georgia State House.

    • Sara says:

      Well, the ball’s in your court now, DeeDee.

      By the way, in addition to potential monetary gain, there is also the possibility that he assumed the Harden name in order to take on the good will that certain voters might associate with Doc Harden’s name and that of his business. While not criminal, this would certainly be unethical. I should not be able to go change my last name to that of a well known business owning family like Blank, or Gates, or Hilton and pretend to be part of that family when campaigning to voters. Even if not perhaps strictly illegal (and I could make a case for fraud on those facts), it’s still highly unethical.

    • Dee Dee Arrowood says:

      Thank you thank you. I just want to hear what Irvin can and will do. Now I can read and think and make a decision. The mud slinging just muddles it for me. End of my time here guys. Good luck to all.
      I will anxiously await the results of this election which should prove very intersting. I can only hope mud slinging will stop so Irvin and Harden can focus on issues to help us all.

  8. JR says:

    It seems like if I had been sent to a blog by a candidate/campaign to act as a respondent to a negative story about said candidate/campaign, I would come prepared with some information on WHY a name change occurred.

    When the second new poster pops up to defend Harden, can they please provide some insight, or will poster number one be doing that?

    Or, will poster number one come back to pivot to a marginal piece of information that’s been posted by me or someone else and not actually address the central question at hand.

    If you’ve been sent here to defend Harden, then do it with some substance instead of platitudes about your knowledge of politics or what you want to hear from Irvin.

    But, I’m sure you’re just a normal voter with no ties to Harden or his campaign.

    • Dee Dee Arrowood says:

      I do have ties to him. I however, have not determined who I will vote for. I have not proclaimed to be a world scholar on politics. i simply stated my age and said i had a grasp of politics. Never said I was an expert. I will work on the info you request. I will ask about the central issue which is Michael’s parents. Will you please tell me about Irvin’s platform. No one has addressed that.
      I think poster #1 asked for a birth certificate and #2 a LIfetime movie. I just want correct and relevant information.

      • MouthoftheSouth says:

        The central issue is not Michael’s parents, it is Michael. You keep talking about Irvin’s platform, but this isn’t about Irvin, it’s about Michael and his behavior. While you are at it, you should inform someone up there that whenever a law enforcement officer does a full GCIC search it logs the search and the user. Additionally, the user must certify that he is doing it for official business, not say, for extortion purposes.

        • Dee Dee says:

          I only focus on Irvin’s platform because he needs to state it. I never even said I was against the guy. (I am a Democrat in case you didn’t catch that. Never voted for a Bush in my life.) I have known his family for years also. I can still hear my grandmother talking about his grandad for years.
          While I am at what? Asking a candidate to tell me what he stands for? Asking that all sides refrain from nasty politics and focus in the issues? Thats not a bad thing is it? It seems simple. Tell us what you can do to help our area. We will listen to both side and vote. The end.

  9. Dee Dee Arrowood says:

    Mel, Get away with what? IF any of this has merit, and I do say IF, Michael was not born. What did he get away with?

    • Dee Dee Arrowood says:

      I would agree if we knew this were true and if it were true , which we do not know, the assumption is made he did this for some gain. Harden has nothing to hide here. He has been known as Harden for years. He did not change his name for monetary gain or to hide from something. This is more of a character assassination than anything. I think we all know that. We all seem to have some grasp of Georgia politics and the candidates. Do we really think the blogger started this to help the citizens of Georgia? What was his motive? No one stirred this mess up to make our state a better place.

    • “and I do say IF, Michael was not born”

      The mystery gets deeper!

  10. Mel says:

    Even in an Republican district, how does someone get away with something like this in a town of less than 10,000?

  11. Jules says:

    @Dee must be kinda new to GA politics to think that these elections aren’t 10th grade popularity contests..they almost always certainly are. From who gives you money and who yor friends and supporters are all the way to what legislation you sign onto.

    Seems to me that Irvin is a worthly opponent and Harden is finally getting the vetting he ought to have had esrlier, which is unheard of in strong R districts.

    • Dee Dee Arrowood says:

      I’m 44. Kinda new to politics doesn’t fit me.

      I realize that this is the way it is. Does that make it right? Irvin’s family has no doubt made a great impact on the state. I just need to hear about HIM not granddad, not daddy, not Michael. Then can see who the best candidate is.

  12. Dee Dee Arrowood says:

    Yes! I know Michael Harden. I could care less who adopted him. What I care about is what he stands for. He is a great guy who has worked hard for us. He comes to all events, big or small. He is not deceptive. He is up front. Ask people who really know him.

    The negative information is all coming from his opponent. Hello? Has anyone heard what Irvin stands for? I have only heard mud slinging. I need to hear some positives. I need to hear his platform. Gossip, innuendo…please this is not a 10th grade class election.

    • Stefan says:

      Wait, are you saying now that he was adopted by Doc Harden? That would change everything! Can you please post a link to the adoption documents? Or maybe a link to Michael saying he was adopted and when? Because it does not appear that Michael ever referred to himself as the biological (which you argued above) or adopted (which you argue here) son of Doc Harden until well after high school.

  13. PaulaG says:

    His MySpace page (who the heck has a MySpace page anymore?) notes that his hero is “My mom for raising me by herself. There are many more but there in a distant second.” (sic)

  14. I love that one of his “Issues” is promoting stronger ethics legislation.

    So, is he the product of an extra-marital affair? It’s all so odd.

    • Sara says:

      That is my guess. The myspace page says he is the child of Doc Harden and a woman with the last name Holland, so he will probably argue that at some point in time he took his biological father’s last name. Query whether a) he did it legally and officially and b) there is any actual evidence of paternity.

    • Dee Dee Arrowood says:

      So if hie mother had an affair..which we do not know…is that Michael’s fault?

      • Stefan says:

        Are you suggesting his mother had an affair with this guy? That’s kind of sordid. That’s not the information I have. My understanding and belief is that there is no biological connection between Michael and Doc Harden.

        • Dee Dee Arrowood says:

          Can you please read more carefully. I never said he was the product of an affair. Real trustworthy guy you are. “Sorid” is the term I would use for this dribble of a blog.

          • Stefan says:

            What does “sorid” (your word) mean? I assume it means “educational”.

            • Dee Dee Arrowood says:

              Uh no. I left out an d. You used the word “sordid” so I assumed you knew what it meant. And if you read so closely that you caught my typo I am surprised still at your inability to comprehend my words.
              Sordid means baseless, soiled, dirty. This blog. I am still waiting for someone to tell me about Irvin’s platform. That would be educational. This is not.
              You guys are missing it. I vote Democrat when possible. I would love to have a Democrat in the House I could have faith in. This blog has given me no reason to have faith in Irvin. It, coupled with his negative campaign ads, have done the opposite.

              • Stefan says:

                1) The Toccoa Symphony is not very good.
                2) “sorid” was your word, “sordid” was mine, you are welcome to use it. I think it better describes your intimation that Michael X was the product of an affair than anything on this blog.
                3) Chris Irvin has nothing to do with it and was not mentioned at all until you did. I would say if that’s his real name he has a leg up on the competition though.
                4) Do you find it interesting that when started in 2005 or so and up until today, that it talks extensively about his bio, “accomplishments”, and family and there is no mention of the man he now claims was his father? In fact, it goes on and on about how his mother raised him by herself?
                5) Have a good day.

                • Dee Dee says:

                  1. Dude…what does the Symphony have to do with this. By the way, it is good, have you ever heard them? Guess you been on my FB. You’ve got some time on your hands don’t you?

                  2. Did you read my response? Obviously not. I corrected my left out “d” and never said in any shape he was the product of anything. Where do you get this stuff? Do you start typing before you read?

                  3. Leg up? Maybe, but not because of this blog. It is insulting to all of us to think we would believe you didn’t do this to hurt the opponent. Come on and at least be honest.

                  4. I do find that interesting but unlike you I will ask Michael X not publish trash.

                  Again, I vote Democrat. Come from a long line of Democrats. I am not against him. I wanted valid information about Irvin. You seem to know who I am. If you are up this way we will have a cup of coffee, discuss politics and I will take you to meet some orchestra members so you can critique their music.

                  • Steve Golden says:

                    I’ll join in that convo. I’m Principal Timpanist of Emory Symphony. Haven’t heard Toccoa, so no comment on that one.

                    But I’ll look into Chris’ platform for you. From what I know, he’s good people, and has great ideas.

                    Michael Whosits…not so much

  15. Jules says:

    This is like the start of a bad “Lifetime” Original movie script..

    Alvin Greene is looking like a stand up guy compared to some of our characters lately.

  16. Mel says:

    Between Stefan and Amy, we’ve got an I-Team.

  17. JerryT says:

    Stefan, is this your work? Impressive!

  18. Jen says:

    Ha. Love this.

  19. Mel says:

    This is South Carolina style crazy.

  20. JMPrince says:

    Another day, another probable GOP fraud. When it rains it pours.

  21. Bernita says:

    What the HELL?? sounds like a Lifetime move –

  22. Truthseeker says:

    Wow. He needs to produce his birth certificate. Why didn’t he have to show that to get the money?