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ADICA approves payment to city

Photo by J.D. Sumner

Photo by J.D. Sumner

ALBANY -- The board of the Albany-Dougherty Inner City Authority unanimously agreed Monday during a called meeting to authorize a repayment plan that would return $500,000 to the Albany City Commission.

The debt was created when ADICA obtained a $500,000 advance on a $6 million bond issue. The advance was needed to finance downtown development while the bond funds were held up because of a legal challenge brought by a local taxpayer's group.

With that $6 million line of credit now approved and available, ADICA must repay the city immediately, Interim CEO and Assistant City Manager James Taylor said Monday.

"The language in the authorizing legislation is pretty clear that once the bond was approved that we had to immediately repay the city," Taylor said.

The problem? ADICA doesn't have the full amount. Roughly $100,000 was believed to have been used by former CEO Don Buie to fund a controversial facade grant program.

Monday night, the board unanimously approved a measure that would give $400,000 back to the city along with a $100,000 from the $6 million bond issuance to cover the full amount.

"That's done. Now we can proceed to pay off our debt," ADICA Chair Jane Willson said immediately following the vote.

Two board members, Phil Cannon and James Griffin, were not present.

Buie and one of the recipients of a facade grant, former Dollar Square Owner Tim Washington, have since been indicted by a grand jury. Buie's estranged wife and his former girlfriend have also been indicted, although their charges are not related to the facade grant program.

The $100,000, Taylor says, will mostly be repaid as Washington begins repaying his back rent and facade grant money, a total of almost $46,000, and as ADICA board member Lajuana Woods repays her $50,000 facade grant for her restaurant, L'jua's, which is now open on Radium Springs Road.

Woods is expected to pay off her grant by next August, but Washington is on an extended payment plan for five to seven years, Taylor said.