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Defendants agree to testify in Buie case

Photo by Avan Clark

Photo by Avan Clark

ALBANY -- Tim Washington and Nicole Brown have entered guilty pleas as a part of a plea agreement that calls for them to testify against former downtown manager Don Buie, court documents show.

On Wednesday, the Dougherty Grand Jury re-indicted Don and Shanon Buie, Washington and Brown in connection with a series of financial transactions, false statements and alleged fraudulent deals stemming from Don Buie's role as CEO of the Albany-Dougherty Inner City Authority.

That indictment contained several new counts against Don Buie, including making false statements and concealment of facts within a political subdivision, which were not handed down in the Oct. 14 indictments, court records show.

Washington was also indicted for theft by conversion for allegedly converting $40,000 in facade grants to his own personal use, the indictment states.

According to court documents filed Thursday with the Dougherty County Clerk of Superior Court, Washington and Brown have each agreed to plead guilty and to testify during Buie's trial in exchange for a sentencing recommendation of five years on probation from the District Attorney's office.

Washington, who pleaded guilty to making false statements, must also repay the facade grant as spelled out in his promissory note with ADICA. His probation, the court documents show, will terminate as soon as he pays his restitution.

Brown, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud a political subdivision and theft by taking, must pay $1,000 in restitution to ADICA and a $500 fine, court records show.

The plea recommendation also includes first-offender status for both Washington and Brown, which means that once they successfully complete their probation periods, their records will be wiped clean and they will not be considered convicted felons.

The developments in the case come just a day after Superior Court Judge Denise Marshall denied Don Buie's request to move his trial outside Dougherty County based on pretrial publicity. His trial is set to start Dec. 14 at 9 a.m. at the Dougherty County Courthouse.

Shanon Buie has yet to be extradited from her home in Fayetteville, N.C., but the District Attorney's Office has obtained a governor's warrant that will urge North Carolina authorities to place her under arrest until she can be transported to Albany.

Lt. John Knight of the Cumberland County (N.C.) Sheriff's Office Fugitive and Extradition Division, said that office had received notice from Dougherty County that a governor's warrant had been sent and that once officials receive verification from the office of the North Carolina governor, it would be served.

Knight said typically a governor's warrant from another state comes to the North Carolina department of Extradition and is given to the governor's office for verification before being sent to the appropriate county, where it is then executed.

Shanon Buie was indicted on Oct. 14 and has fought extradition to Georgia.