ADICA wants to get rolling again - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

ADICA wants to get rolling again

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Don Buie, in the good times Don Buie, in the good times

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  Where does the Albany Dougherty Inner City Authority go from here now that the Don Buie fiasco is behind them?

Tuesday night, the former ADICA director and downtown manager pleaded guilty to nine charges and will spend a year in jail.

City leaders hope to hire a replacement soon and get downtown revitalization back on track.

There's been much development in the last five years from the hotel to Ray Charles Plaza, to the Bridge House, and the Riverquarium, but here across the street, well it needs work to say the least. They plan to make this the goal for 2010 and a new ADICA CEO and downtown manager.

Prosecutors found out after they reached a plea agreement with Don Buie that jurors voted to convict him on two charges. They remained far apart on a majority of the 19 counts.

"The other 17 counts they were in complete disagreement and what it would have required if we had not gotten a verdict on anything was a costly retrial," said District Attorney Greg Edwards.

When prosecutors agreed last night to send Buie to jail for no more than a year, the former downtown manager took the deal. Prosecutors will honor their agreements with co-defendants Nicole Brown and Shanon Buie's who pleaded to conspiracy to defraud and theft by taking charges.

"They've done what they were to do and the jury heard them," said Edwards.

They won't go to jail if they successfully complete pretrial intervention programs. Buie's acknowledgement of guilt also allows ADICA to move forward with replacing him, something they'll do early in 2010.

"We have put in the controls to make sure the things that occurred before are unlikely to occur again and we're still working on putting in even more controls and when we're finished it's going to be a better organized and structured relationship and I think it will work," said ADICA Interim Director  Col. James Taylor.

In some ways the agency has already moved forward by creating a redevelopment team that will soon start work.

"A group of citizens and bankers and developers together and sit down and try to decide what we can do, what they are willing to invest in, and what we want to do first," said Taylor.

District Attorney Greg Edwards says if nothing else the case sends a message to the community, government corruption won't be tolerated. "I don't think we're going to have to worry about the notion that no lesson has been learned by our government officials about their roles as trustees as fiduciaries in this community."

Moving forward ADICA interim CEO James Taylor told me they're already working on a three day festival for this area in October a type of Riverfest that would include gospel music and jazz, so they want a new director in place as soon as possible.

The case against business owner Tim Washington was actually separated from the Buie indictment. He's currently paying back rent he owes on the former Dollar Square store.

Shanon Buie and Nicole Brown must also repay money they accepted from Buie.

ADICA Board member Lajuana Woods was never charged criminally, but she agreed to repay a questionable $50,000 facade grant she got for a new restaurant.


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