Sunday, March 10, 2013

Augusta Lawyer Jailed, Commissioners Laughing

Alexia Dawn Davis, 31, surrendered herself at the Columbia County Detention Center Tuesday morning on a felony charge of theft of lost or mislaid property, according to a Columbia County Sheriff's report. Davis was booked into the jail Tuesday morning and was released after posting a $2,500 bond. Davis, an attorney with the Office of the Public Defender in Augusta, is accused of not returning a diamond ring she found in the parking lot of Cracker Barrel restaurant on Feb. 7". On the other side, three Richmond County Commissioners were only censured for violating ethics codes.

A Thomson woman reported the ring missing on Feb. 12. She told deputies that she lost the ring, worth about $10,500, in the parking lot at about 7 p.m. on Feb. 7. A server at the restaurant said a woman who was with Davis came inside and asked what to do if she found a ring.

"(The) woman opted not to leave it with Cracker Barrel, with the manager in control of lost and found and made a comment that it would be reported to the Richmond County Sheriff's Office," according to the report.

It was published a surveillance video from the restaurant through local media in hopes of identifying the woman on Feb. 19. The same day, nearly two weeks after the ring was lost, Davis brought the ring to Richmond County authorities.

A warrant was issued for Davis for theft of lost or mislaid property. The charge is a felony because the ring is worth more than $1,500, said Columbia County Sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris. He also said that by law, when "a person comes into control of property that they know to be lost or mislaid, they must take reasonable measures to restore the property to its owner."

Tanya Jeffords, one of four attorneys representing Davis released a statement Tuesday.

In the statement, Jeffords wrote: "No matter what shadow the Sheriff and the District Attorney's office tries to cast upon Ms. Davis' impeccable reputation and her motives, the legal fact is that she did not appropriate the ring for her own use, which is the crime this statute is intending to cover. When she learned who the owner was through the postings online from the Sheriff's office, she promptly turned it in. She knew it was valuable but she had neither sold it nor wore the ring as if it was hers."


Censure was the only punishment the code authorized commissioners to give – censure or reprimand, censure being “a more formal action of a reprimand,” according to the city’s General Counsel Andrew MacKenzie. He came in for some reprimanding himself at the almost two-hour trial, during which the accused trio confessed and apologized for doing business with the city.

Commissioner Grady Smith, who admitted doing business under city contracts more than once, including an ongoing subcontract Smith Brothers Mechanical has on an Augusta Utilities construction project at Fort Gordon, insisted Friday that his company was doing business with Tetra Tech, the general contractor on the $33.8 million city water and sewer project.

Subcontract in hand, Smith argued at a Friday meeting with General Counsel Andrew MacKenzie about what it said: Listed as “owner” of the project is Tetra Tech, while Smith Brothers’ subcontract is shown as being with Tetra Tech subcontractor Larry Pittman & Associates. Smith dismissed the "indirect" part of the ethic violation intentionally or maybe he just can't understand.

The censure of Smith and Commissioners Joe Jackson and Wayne Guilfoyle, a move that Guilfoyle and Jackson said later in the week they were glad to have behind them, probably, is not going to be over soon. There is a group of Richmond County digging the Georgia Codes.

The great confusion for many in Richmond is that a lawyer who is seems not having an intent to commit a crime landed in jail, meanwhile the trio of commissioners admitting of wrong doing all they get was a slap on the wrist.

O.C.G.A. 36-1-14 (2010)
36-1-14. Interested transactions prohibited; removal from office for violation

(a) No county governing authority, any member thereof, or any other county officer authorized by law to use public or county funds for the purchase of goods or property of any kind for public or county purposes shall purchase such goods or property from any store in which such county governing authority, any member thereof, or other county officer is an employee, or in which he is directly or indirectly interested, or from any person or partnership of which he is a member or by whom he is employed, unless by sanction of the majority of the members of the county governing authority or unless it is made clearly to appear that such individual, partnership, or owner of the store offers and will sell the goods or property as cheaply as or cheaper than the same can be bought elsewhere.

(b) Any county governing authority, any member thereof, or any county officer violating subsection (a) of this Code section shall be removed from office upon proper proceedings instituted by any taxpayer in the county. Any contract made in violation of subsection (a) of this Code section shall be illegal.


David Fry was sentenced to five years’ probation, a year ago, on allegations that he tried to bribe two Augusta Commission members in 2009. The Augusta lawyer also was sentenced to write letters of apology to the commissioners and the mayor and perform 250 hours of community service.

An indictment charged Fry, 59, with two counts of bribery after he offered Alvin Mason and Corey Johnson a 3 percent cut of profits from a management company. The profits were to be in exchange for the commissioners voting in favor of the downtown parking deck for the Trade, Exhibit and Event Center on Reynolds Street.

The district attorney’s office has said from the outset that there were evidentiary issues with the case because Fry had no contract to offer. Still, it maintained that in the strictest sense of the law, Fry was trying to influence a vote.

What is behind the arrest of Alexia Dawn Davis? Why Alexia Dawn Davis is targeted? Why the three Commissioners are protected? Why the DA is not dismissing the case against Davis? What, why, why?

How much will cost to taxpayers a case that is not a case at all?


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