Columbus Parks & Rec Director Removed - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Columbus Parks & Rec Director Removed

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By Curtis McCloud -   bio | email

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - City manager Isaiah Hugley got his wish Tuesday night, after a six to three vote by Columbus city council to remove Tony Adams as the director of Columbus parks and Recreation. "

It was apparent to me that Adams failed to respond to his immediate supervisor deputy city manager Lisa Goodwin honestly and accurately regarding questions that he had executed contracts with Nike," Hugley said.  

During the initial Parks and Recreation investigation, Isaiah Hugley says he and a deputy city manager questioned Adams about contracts made with Nike, himself, and the elite basketball team the Blazers.

Hugley says Adams responded "No" to all of their questions. At Tuesday night's meeting, the city manager presented a contract signed by Adams and asked for his removal. Adams' attorney Shevon Thomas was at the council meeting claiming his client was misled in the investigation.

"When Tony Adams said I did not bound the city to any contractual obligations, he spoke the truth," Thomas said.  

Citizens also came to Adams' defense in the meeting, but only three councilors voted to leave him suspended without pay.

"I must respect the process I think it was fair, I think I had more than an ample opportunity, a couple of citizens came up and spoke, and there were city council members there who said what they said. This process was about the only fair thing with the entire Tony Adams thing,"  Thomas said.

Timeline

May 17A 27-page audit was completed by the city's internal auditor John Redmond. In question was $150,000 to fund a traveling Innovative Sports Program, which fields about 470 athletes in boys and girls basketball, boxing and track and field. The Georgia Blazers under-17 elite basketball team operated under the program and was coached by Parks and Recreation director Tony Adams. In the breakdown of the Innovative Sports Program, the auditor recommended that the city stop funding the travel teams and they be funded or sponsored by a non-governmental source.

May 25 - Out-of-town travel funded by the city was suspended and temporarily placed on hold by the Parks and Recreation Department.

May 28 - Columbus Mayor Jim Wetherington called for a police investigation into the city's parks department after an audit questioned its spending.

June 2 - Tony Adams hires defense attorney Stacey Jackson, who calls a news conference to say that "Mr. Adams never had a chance to respond to the audit."

June 8 - Tony Adams had until June 8th to respond to the findings in the audit during Columbus Council. Although Adams did not appear before council, with the support of City Manager Isaiah Hugley, Adams suggested breaking the team away from city funding and seeking private investment to continue the teams.

June 21- Attorney Stacey Jackson is now representing a total of nine parks employees. All of them except Adams work in the Recreational Services Division, which manages the city's recreation centers and operates the Innovative Sports Program.

Five of the nine full-time employees in Recreational Services — Margaret Brown, Shelley Stephens, Herman Porter, Gary Freeman and Tim Marshall — are being represented by Jackson.

June 22 - News leader 9 reports that Tony Adams and Herman Porter have hired a second attorney, Don Jackson of The Sports Group in Montgomery, AL.

July 3- A $500,000 pilot program to help at-risk youths was placed on hold by Mayor Jim Wetherington amid the Columbus Parks and Recreation audit and police investigation.

July 13 - Assistant city attorney Jaimie DeLoach said a city computer e-mail search for keywords "Nike" and "contract" produced an e-mail from August 16, 2006 from former Nike basketball marketing manager Don Crenshaw.

Attorney Stacey Jackson, who represents both Adams and Porter, claims that there was never a contract between the parks and recreation department and Nike.

July 14 - Parks and Recreation Director Tony Adams and Program Specialist Herman Porter were placed on administrative leave with pay pending the results of the investigation. Deputy City Manager Lisa Goodwin took over the day-to-day operations of the department.

July 15 - The investigation officially became "criminal" in nature.

July 30 - Herman Porter and Tony Adams had their coaching privileges revoked by the city manager's office.

August 24 - Tony Adams and Herman Porter were arrested and face felony charges stemming from the police probe. They are suspended without pay.

August 24 - Stacey Jackson tells News Leader 9 he no longer represents Tony Adams.

September 14 - William Fox, the director of Basketball Operations at East Marietta Basketball Inc. turned himself in. 

September 28 - City fires Tony Adams

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