Graham: Buie arrest a 'witch hunt' - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Graham: Buie arrest a 'witch hunt'

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Attorney Johnnie Graham Attorney Johnnie Graham
Shanon Buie (Source: Cumberland  Co. NC Jail) Shanon Buie (Source: Cumberland Co. NC Jail)
Don Buie Don Buie

By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -  The lawyer for former Albany downtown manager Don Buie says the charges against her client are a political witch hunt.

Johnnie Graham says the case is an effort to cover up poor leadership in city government. Buie is accused of stealing city tax money.

Johnnie Graham said Don Buie was arrested to quench a political "blood thirst growing in Albany" from taxpayers wanting to know why so much money has been poured into downtown Albany improvements with no results.

She says the arrests of Buie and three of his associates are a ploy to distract from bad leadership in the city.

Don Buie will sit in the Dougherty County Jail until Monday, when he has a bond hearing. His attorney Johnnie Graham said she hopes to get him released on bond, and then move for a change of venue, saying he could not get anything but a political show trial in Albany.

"The excessive, misinformed pretrial information that has been floated out there with regard to this gentleman would make it extremely hard I think, to find a fair and balanced jury in Dougherty County," Graham said.

Buie was indicted October 14th on theft and conspiracy to defraud charges, for writing about $2,600 in checks on ADICA accounts to his wife and girlfriend, and cutting phony deals with a store owner.

His attorney said the charges appear to her to be political, to cover up bigger problems in city goverment.

"Albany suffers from an acute lack of leadership. No vision, no cohesive policy about what drives this city, who drives the city, to where."

Graham said that Buie is stunned that he is being held in Jail without bond. She says he was working as a salesman in the Carolinas when he was indicted, and returned voluntarily, and that the theft charges against him don't merit that punishment.

"The political posturing. The now we have him as if he is some kind of serial killer. Feeding into this frenzy that he is somehow some dangerous person who is not going to be. That we need to lock up our homes and our families away from, that's a little bit over the top maybe."

Graham said it just seems strange that Buie came to work in Albany, and was let loose with no supervision or checks and balances, and that his arrest points out an acute lack of city leadership.

Johnnie Graham said she agrees with Prosecutors as the GBI Investigation continues, that more people could face indictment for theft of tax money. We contacted Prosecutors and City Manager Officials about Graham's statements, both declined comment.

Don Buie's bond hearing will be at 10:30 Monday.  Shanon Buie is fighting extradition to Georgia to face theft by receiving charges.

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