Buie's wife testifies, she never rented equipment - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Buie's wife testifies, she never rented equipment

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  Prosecution witnesses in the Don Buie trial testified Thursday that an audit showed the former Albany downtown manager misused tax money.

They also said Buie should have known he couldn't hire his wife to do work for the Albany Dougherty Inner City Authority. Shanon Buie was the last to testify late Thursday.

She told jurors the couple is still married, although Buie's had two other girlfriends. She testified she had done some work for Don, developing a website, but she told jurors she never rented any equipment. Shanon Buie said she learned Buie's car was about to be reposed, and when she questioned him about it he said it was taken care of but wouldn't say where he got the money to make the payment.

"He said that he was stressed out that basically some repo people showed up at his office, but that they were being discrete they met him in a conference room told him that he had until the end of the day or the next morning to get together the money or they were going to tow his vehicle," testified Shanon Buie.

Albany's City Finance Director testified there were specific items that stuck out right away when they began looking at ADICA Executive Director and Downtown Manager Don Buie's finances.

"I think I was about $9,000 that we found where we had been billed, some times the check had been written and then later voided from ADICA to the vendor but then billed to use and we reimbursed it thinking it had been paid," said Kris Newton, Albany Finance Director.

No tax ID numbers on invoices was just one hallmark of fraud.

"The amounts being improbably large for what they said they were doing. The fact that we had two full time staff members in that department already, we just couldn't figure out why you would need to pay somebody that sum of money to do that kind of work," said Newton.

Two members of the Georgia Cities Foundation testified Buie attended a class that would have explained ethics and conflicts of interest. Earlier in the morning Nicole Brown remained composed as she was questioned why in sworn statements to two investigators did she say she'd kept all of the $2,200. She explained she was simply trying to protect a man she cared for.

"I felt like if my statement would make it go away than I would do that for him," said Nicole Brown.

Brown later explained she tried to change inconsistencies about the money graham she believed was being sent to Walmart to help support Buie's daughter.

"I did contact Mr. Cannon by phone and advised him that some of the information that was in the document was incorrect," said Brown.

Attorney Phil Cannon explained he was not representing Brown and felt his duty was to ADICA and the taxpayers.

"I did not document it I did not make a note of it. I didn't do anything with it other than explain to Nicole it is where it is, the investigation is going to reveal what the investigation is going to reveal," said Attorney Phil Cannon.

Jurors will hear more about that investigation as the GBI agent that handled this case is expected to testify Friday. Thursday, Judge Denise Marshall warned jurors not to talk about what's going on in the courtroom and she told people in the audience to keep quiet during testimony.

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