The Dougherty County district attorney gave downtown businessman Tim Washington a choice in December: Either sign a note to pay the city $40,000 that was stolen from taxpayers to equip his Dollar Square store on North Jackson Street — or be convicted of fraud.
Jefferson chose to pay up.
But Washington isn’t paying the note back; consequently, Assistant City Manager Wes Smith said Tuesday that he has informed Washington’s probation officer and prosecutors of Washington‘s scofflaw status.
Washington opened Dollar Square last year after Washington and then-downtown manager Don Buie made a secret pact that Washington would only have to pay the city $1-a-month in rent. The City of Albany was leasing the space from Dougherty County for more than $2,000 a month.
As a jury deliberated his fate in December, Buie pleaded guilty to public corruption crimes including the illicit lease deal with Washington and using taxpayer funds to equip the store under the auspices that Washington had received a façade grant. Washington agreed to repay $500 a month; he’s missed the last two payments, Smith said.
Meanwhile, Smith said that ousted Albany-Dougherty Inner City Authority member Lajuana Woods was behind on her $5,000-a-month payments to the city until making two $2,500 payments on Tuesday. In lieu of being prosecuted, Woods resigned from the authority board and agreed to repay $50,000 that she took from the city in a separate secret pact with Buie. Woods says she used the funds to help build her new Radium Springs restaurant, Lajua’s. She also received a $100,000 loan from the city.
Buie, who also was convicted of his wife and his girlfriend ADICA funds, is serving a one-year jail term and upon released is banished from Dougherty County.
By Kevin Hogencamp