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L’JUAS CLOSED: WOODS SADDLED WITH DEBT, YET OPTIMISTIC

By   /   January 26, 2011  /   Comments

By Kevin Hogencamp

Lajuana Woods faces numerous court liens, is three months behind on a federal $100,000 loan, and has lost money every day of 2011 because her business has been closed since Dec. 30

But Woods says she  is optimistic that after renovations are complete, perhaps by Super Bowl Sunday in early February, that L’ Jua’s restaurant and lounge on Radium Springs Road will transform into a primary destination for music lovers and fun seekers.

“I’ve seen what’s working and not working … and have gotten a lot of customer feedback – a lot of feedback,” Woods said.

The result, Woods said, will be a transition from a primarily fine-dining establishment to a more casual restaurant that features live entertainment, touring comedy shows and large-projection  televisions for sports fans.

Specifically, dining space is being replaced so that accommodations can be made for band performances and touring comedy shows.

In an interview, Woods would not answer questions  about her debt, which includes liens and other delinquencies, or other business interests she has, except to say, “I cannot let it bother me when I am managing finances not just at L’ Jua’s but of several businesses.  In this economy, this is difficult for most small businesses until things get better for all.”

She  says, though, that it seems that all of Albany is watching her.

“I’m a very low key person …. for whatever reason this town is interested in what goes on at that spot, she said.

She says that in addition to hosting quality bands and hosting the only regular comedy night in town, L’ Jua’s will continue with a college theme on Wednesdays. There’s more in store, she said, but, “I just don’t want to spill my beans right now.”

Woods is a recent Michigan transplant who gained notoriety when she made a $2,500 campaign contribution to City Commissioner Tommie Postell shortly before the commission  appointed Woods to the Albany-Dougherty Inner City Authority (ADICA) and changed its alcohol license proximity rules to accommodate L’ Jua’s, which is directly across Radium Springs Road from Albany State University. Instead of measuring the distance between a school and an on-premises alcohol establishment as a crow flies, the commission changed its laws – after breaking its law in the case of Club Fahrenheit, which never opened – to enable Woods to obtain a license.

Woods won’t answer questions about the license issue or about receiving a $50,000 grant from ADICA through City Manager Alfred Lott and then-Director Don Buie, who was subsequently convicted of public corruption charges. After the grant was publicly revealed, Woods struck a deal with District Attorney Greg Edwards to repay the $50,000, without interest, by August 2010 in exchange for immunity from prosecution. She made scheduled payments monthly and has cleared the debt.

Among her outstanding debts, according to public records:

  • Woods was ordered by a state court judge in June 2010 to repay $8,745 to her food supplier, Performance Food Group.
  • Woods is $821 in arrears for 2009 Dougherty County taxes, which she said Tuesday that she wasn’t aware of.
  • Woods is $2,024 in arrears on a $100,000 federal loan that she obtained through Albany Community Together. Her monthly payments are $937; she still owes $93,275.

Woods received a $50,000 check in 2009 under the pretense that it was a “grant” for façade improvements; however, her restaurant is outside the boundaries of the grant program, which had a grant award limit of $5,000. Woods’ pact with Buie was revealed after reporters uncovered that Buie schemed to give Dollar Square owner Tim Washington taxpayer funds and free rent, and that Lott was covering the pact up by not responding to public records requests.

Woods was not charged with theft, then-Assistant District Attorney Chris Cohilas said, because Buie’s authority wasn’t specifically defined by his boss, Alfred Lott, who was ultimately responsible for the funds. Lott also was not charged; instead, he testified against Buie during Buie’s trial.

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  • Published: 1314 days ago on January 26, 2011
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  • Last Modified: January 26, 2011 @ 6:09 am
  • Filed Under: Business
  • Tagged With: featured
 

Comments

  1. It just shows you it does come down to a black and white issue… Mr. Rowe was white and would corrupt the black students of ASU.. but a black female even closer to the campus is good for the students to have a place to go for entertainment.

  2. Truth B Known says:

    And i forgot something,they would not let Jax get that close to Albany State.So whats the deal there.And while on that subject,i had read that when Jax was trying to get his place going over there,they were concerned about the people who hang around outside,City Officlas call them lottering.Let me tell you,i use to go there every week and get my check cashed from the cotton mill.We all did just about that wroked our shift.And the people lottering as you call it outside never bother any of us.And i bet some of you Officlas did nt think about this,but some of those lottering people may have helped from Jax being robbed.If you have enough people around,a theif will think twice atleast.Not saying someone would not try it.But i think i would rather have some people hanging around outside.You never know,they could be undercover protection for the store.I dont know that im just saying.
    And excuse me,but you all act like all the people at Albany State,would not have been able to restrain there selfs from going to Jax,and getting in trouble.The Students there,know there own minds,and have worked hard to get where they are at there.They are not going to mess it up.Now there are a few bad apples in every bushel.But Albany State Students are old enough to make there own choices.And all of us have made mistakes in our life.Just look at Ms. Woods,and Al Loot,and the Mayor,and Don,should i go on?

  3. Truth B Known says:

    Now this goes to show alot to Albany.Crime Does Pay.If you are with the GOBS.Maybe she can get Laurence Cargile to come help her redecorate.This is not the only town i know of where crooks can make good money.But it is one of the ones that the Govt. and crooks together make money off taxpayers.Then maybe with his camera in hand he can get some good pictures of her place,and just maybe then they will get another investagtion going.If she owes all these taxes,why are you all(Officlas not taking that nice place) And if she owes so much taxes,why and how,and where is she comming up with money to redo the place.Seems if she has that kind of money she could pay the taxes,and other loans back.I have to admit,she is a very beautifull lady.But sometimes beauty is only skin deep.Where s the heart?If she really cared would she not try and pay what she owes? And just how are our Officlas going to handle this one?

About the author

Owner / Editor / Writer

Tom Knighton is the publisher of The Albany Journal. In November, 2011, he became the first blogger to take over a newspaper anywhere in the world. In August of 2012, he made the difficult decision to take the Journal out of print circulation and become an online news agency, a first for the Albany area.

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