After 20 years on the job, and without a vote by his bosses, Jay Reynolds has been fired by the city as attorney for the Albany-Dougherty Inner City Authority. City Attorney Nathan Davis now provides legal services to the authority, which serves as the city’s redevelopment agency.
The decision to terminate the services of Reynolds and his firm, Perry & Walters, occurred without a vote of the lawyers’ bosses – the ADICA board of directors, whose members are community volunteers appointed by the City Commission.
Rather, the city manager’s office terminated Perry & Walters’ service by withdrawing funding for the position without discussing it with Reynolds, notifying the firm of the decision, or consulting with the ADICA board.
In the city’s organizational chart, the city manager does not have authority over the ADICA board members. Still, having the city attorney serving as ADICA’s legal counsel, Reynolds noted in a letter to board members, “effectively results in the termination of our firm serving as your regular attorney going forward.”
Assistant City Manager James Taylor, who has directed the authority since Don Buie’s firing last summer as downtown manager, said the authority no longer has the money to retain outside counsel. A convicted felon hired by City Manager Alfred Lott, Buie pleaded guilty last month to public corruption charges stemming from his role as downtown manager.
Under Lott, Buie stole and misspent taxpayer funds, including money intended for façade grants and for purchasing downtown property. Lott has not been sanctioned by the City Commission for his role in the scandal, which also resulted in ADICA board member Lajuana Woods resigning because she received $50,000 from Buie to pay off a restaurant loan.
Reynolds said in the letter to his bosses that he did not bring public focus “to the effect of the city’s decision because I did not wish to make it a point of emphasis to the media.” He also thanked the ADICA members for allowing him to represent the board and said the firm is available for future representation.
“If it develops that at some future time it is determined that ADICA requires special or separate counsel to represent its interest, such as in connection with an intergovernmental agreement with the city, a bond issue or the like, or if ADICA is acquiring real property and it requires outside counsel for title insurance purposes, we would certainly be very pleased to be considered for service in that limited role,” Reynolds said. “I have every confidence that we will be able to work with Mr. Davis to the extent necessary in any transition. Nathan and I have worked easily together throughout our years of practice, and we have been friends for a very long time.
“Be assured also that my wife, Pam, and I are and have been personally very supportive of all efforts to renovate and improve our downtown, and we encourage you in your continued efforts.”
Former Albany Mayor Tommy Coleman is a Perry & Walters partner and has served as ADICA counsel in Reynolds’ absence. Coleman and Davis are related through the marriage of their children.
By Kevin Hogencamp