Tony Adams' former players speak out - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Tony Adams' former players speak out

By Curtis McCloud -   bio | email

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The removal of former Parks and Recreation director Tony Adams affected more than just council members at Tuesday night's meeting.

Young men who Adams taught and coached say they know the man behind the mug shot.

"Who doesn't know Tony, he touched not only me but a lot more lives on the southside of town," Travis said.

Travis first met Tony Adams when he was on his little league football team. He says Adams taught him the ins and outs of the game.

Steven Peterson a member of the Blazers youth basketball player said that Adams did the same for him. He now plays for Columbus State.

"He made sure I did my work, made sure I played hard, what more can you ask from a coach," Peterson said.

During Tuesday night's council meeting Columbus Mayor Jim Wetherington explained that good people often make mistakes and bad decisions.  In a heated argument with NAACP President Edward Dubose, Wetherington said that a dishonest employee has always been grounds for removal.

"I have fired a number of people for being dishonest when I was a police chief go back and check my records and see how many people I fired for being dishonest and not telling the truth and I'm too old to turn my back now," Wetherington said.

Six members of the council agreed with the mayor Tuesday night, voting to remove Adams from his position as director of Parks and Recreation. 

Gary Whitfield who was also on the Blazers team coached by Adams says he does not understand what's going on with the case pending against his former coach.

"I can't speak on everybody else, they don't know him as well as some of us do," Whitfield 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 to decide Tony Adams' future with Columbus Parks and Recreation

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