ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The GBI is looking into five checks, written to a Shanon Lee, believed to be the same as Shanon Buie, his estranged wife. Also, city commissioner Roger Marietta says he thinks the ADICA board should start over, and all board seats should be vacated.
We asked the city to provide us copies of checks Don Buie wrote to his wife. While they said they could not confirm Shanon Lee is the same as his wife, they provided me with five checks written to Shanon Lee for a total of $2,600.
Don Buie is on vacation this week, but over the phone, he said Shanon Lee was a vendor and that she helped put on downtown events. But he couldn't tell me where was located, and when we asked if she was his wife, he hung up the phone.
Albany city manager Al Lott says he can't comment on these checks because they are part of an active GBI investigation. The checks are all for five or six hundred dollars each.
Only one has an invoice attached and it is from Jazz n' Art After Dark, operated by Shanon Lee. There is no business by that name registered within the city of Albany.
In the memo line of the checks, there are vague references to what the payments are for- Jazz in the Park, Equipment Rental, Event Grant, Lighting Rental and one simply says March.
Two of the checks appear to be signed by ADICA chair Jane Willson, she is out of town and couldn't be reached for comment. The other three are signed by Buie himself.
While Buie wouldn't talk to me over the phone, he did send me text messages by phone after I asked if Shanon Lee was his wife. His response?
"There are no ADICA policies that determine how vendors are selected. A copy of my job description says I am soley (sic) responsible for budget development management and execution. I have selected many vendors to do events, and no one has ever question (sic) who the vendor was or where they lived."
City Commissioner Roger Marietta says he wants to clean the slate, starting with the ADICA board. "They have not done their job and they have not taken responsibility for enlightening the public to all the issues that have come up."
"We need to restore confidence in ADICA and the only way to do that, I think is with a whole new board."
This isn't the first batch of Checks Buie is under investigation for. He wrote at least five checks to vendor Nicole Brown, who he also had a romantic relationship with.
She originally said in an affidavit that she gave Buie a kickback from those checks, but has since recanted her statement.
The GBI hopes to wrap up their investigation into Buie's financial transactions in the next week or so.
City Manager Al Lott has stripped Buie of his financial authority, and has ordered a full scale audit of ADICA expenses.