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Contracts emerge in Buie trial testimony

ALBANY -- As Nicole Brown was testifying Thursday, a fact that might otherwise go unnoticed as a mere footnote to the controversy surrounding the operations of the downtown manager's office has surfaced involving another controversial figure in city politics -- the South Georgia Wildcats.

During her testimony, the ex-girlfriend of former downtown manager Don Buie, told jurors that on the day that her romantic relationship with Buie unraveled, he reportedly texted her saying that he was at Magic City, a notorious Atlanta strip club with the owner of a downtown business and the owners of the South Georgia Wildcats.

While, according to Brown's testimony, the trip was conducted on Buie's personal time, it did come at a time when Buie was involved in negotiations with the principal figures of the Arena 2 football league team, hammering out a deal that would try and keep them in Albany.

When an audit of Buie's accounts was demanded by City Manager Alfred Lott, city officials said they had found no evidence that any of what Lott had called at the time "gross mismanagement" of resources had spread to the Wildcats negotiations.

Within weeks, the AF2 folded, and the city dissolved its contract with the Wildcats and found a new league and team.

Additionally, the downtown business owner, who Brown told jurors was Chanissa Sibley -- the owner of Sweet Pea Boutique -- also received a facade grant from Buie for the business that had left ADICA in a lurch for more than $5,000.

During the board's last meeting, interim CEO James Taylor explained that Buie had reportedly reached an agreement with Sibley and the landlord to provide a total of $8,000 in assistance for the business with ADICA, Sibley and the owner of the building each paying a little more than $2,000. But since a written agreement could only be found showing that a consensus had been reached among two of the parties, ADICA -- after Buie's termination -- agreed to pay two thirds of the deal to end their obligation and avoid litigation.

In her testimony, Brown said that she later went to confront Sibley about her time with Buie, despite already having ended the relationship.