Parks & Rec defendants arrested on new charges

Three men charged with conspiracy in the Columbus Parks and Recreation scandal were re-arrested today on additional charges handed down this week by a Muscogee County grand jury.

The defendants, Tony Adams, Herman Porter and William H. Fox, turned themselves in to authorities and were released from the Muscogee County Jail.

Adams, the former director of the Parks and Recreation department, and Porter, a recreation program specialist, were charged with three counts of conspiring to defraud the city and two counts each of theft and forgery. Adams, 48, posted $10,500 bond, while Porter posted a $9,000 bond, jail officials said.

Fox — the director of basketball operations at East Marietta Basketball Inc. who was charged with two counts of conspiracy and one count of theft — posted $11,000 bond after his arrest last month. He was to be released today on his own recognizance, defense attorney Frank Martin said.

“It was really the same song, second verse,” Martin said. “It was a mere formality. They had to just go down and re-sign the bonds.”

Authorities have said Adams and Porter funneled more than $200,000 to a private bank account that should have gone to the city. A police investigation focused primarily on an elite city-owned basketball team called the Georgia Blazers, through which East Marietta Basketball got money and equipment from sports-gear giant Nike Inc.

The indictment alleges that Adams, Porter and Fox misrepresented the relationship between East Marietta Basketball and the Blazers in order to secure Nike contracts providing money and sports gear over which Adams and Porter gained control in their city jobs. They allegedly claimed that East Marietta Basketball was playing games as the Georgia Blazers, that Adams was the director of East Marietta Basketball, and that East Marietta Basketball’s address was 107 41st St., which is Columbus’ Comer Gym, the Parks and Rec headquarters.

They used East Marietta’s tax-exempt ID number for those agreements, the indictment states.

The men also are accused of engaging in a “kickback scheme” in which Adams and Porter allegedly arranged for the city to host basketball tournaments that Fox sanctioned as president of “Youth Basketball Organization of America-Georgia” and as director of East Marietta Basketball.

The city fired Adams on Sept. 28. Porter has been on administrative leave without pay since his arrest.

All three defendants are expected to be arraigned Feb. 25, Assistant District Attorney Alonza Whitaker said.