COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Tuesday night Columbus Mayor Jim Wetherington, who called for the initial investigation into the city's Parks and Recreation Department, spoke to the city council and community on his thoughts of the investigation. He says he stands firmly behind his decisions.
Meanwhile, Stacey Jackson who is the attorney representing Herman Porter, says both Herman and Tony Adams are innocent, they're ready for trial, and they're ready to fight.
Mayor Wetherington told council members, "The revelation that our local tax money has been spent on those who don't even live in our city. This is not acceptable to me, nor the citizens of our community."
Mayor Wetherington said he is most upset that the children in the community have been robbed of opportunities.
His comments come after charges were filed against Tony Adams and Herman Porter. [Click here to read: City parks director and specialist arrested]
They stem from an internal audit and police investigation that all centered around the Park's department's Innovative Sports Program.
"The Parks and Rec has an annual budget of approximately $9 million. That money can, and should be used to touch, and positively change so many young lives in our city," said Wetherington.
Former Columbus Mayor, Frank Martin, says he completely agrees with the mayor. "It's a sad, unfortunate situation because no matter how the facts ultimately come out there is no question that the children who live in this county who should have been served were short changed," said Martin.
The alleged results of the investigation were not just a shock to Columbus tax payers whose money apparently went elsewhere, but to friends of Tony Adam, who say he is a reputable man.
"I trusted him implicitly he cares about the city, he cares about Parks and Rec, very much concerned about young people to try to give them a leg up," said Bob Poydasheff, former Columbus mayor.
In the meantime, the city has asked deputy city manager Lisa Goodwin to oversee daily operations at the Columbus Parks and Recreation Department until further notice.
Mayor Wetherington told the public Tuesday night one of his main priorities is to rehabilitate the parks department before he leaves as mayor.
News Leader 9 is following this story. We'll have the latest developments in this case as soon as it becomes available.
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