VALDOSTA -- Jurors heard testimony that centered around payments for renovations done to the home of the ex-director of the Valdosta-Lowndes County YMCA during the fourth day of his trial Thursday.
Nicky Tampas is charged with embezzling almost $1 million, conspiracy to embezzle, misleading conduct and making false statements.
As part of the conspiracy, the prosecution said Tampas awarded contracts to landscaper Wayman Lee Patrick Jr., who then kicked back a portion of the money to Tampas.
Patrick owned Exterior Design. Patrick, along with employees of his company, performed several renovations to Tampas' home such as building an addition and a screened-in porch.
FBI Special Agent Jim Grady said Tampas was supposed to provide documentation to the FBI that he paid for the renovations.
Tampas told Special Agent Tim Davis he had all receipts and invoices to prove he paid for the renovations.
Grady said Tampas didn't have any receipts or other documents to support payments, and Tampas said he paid Patrick in cash.
The FBI saw documentation that Tampas had signed over salary checks to Patrick and had invoices from Southern Tile and Valdosta Lighting.
Grady said he and other agents questioned why "someone who had a profitable job as a chief executive officer at a non-profit organization" didn't have more of a paper trail.
"I think a prudent person involved in a non-profit entity should not only avoid an impropriety but the appearance of an impropriety," Grady said.
Grady testified that Tampas told him all records of payment were kept by Patrick.
During Patrick's trial in August, in which he was convicted of embezzlement and conspiracy charges, testimony revealed Patrick's records went missing.
Jim Walzak, Patrick's bookkeeper for about one year, said he never received cash payments from Tampas or saw any records that Tampas paid for the renovations to his house.
Walzak quit Exterior Design when Patrick changed his job duties, saying he was not performing.
When Walzak returned all documents to Patrick's house, he said he saw a Corvette in the garage.
Prior to his leaving Exterior Design, Walzak had moved.
Defense attorney Converse Bright asked him if he threw any documents away when he moved and asked if he told Ronda Langdale, Patrick's part-time employee, that he threw documents away.
Langdale worked for Patrick organizing the records Walzak kept.
One of her responsibilities was to assure materials were being charged to the correct accounts, which wasn't always done properly, she said. Patrick was aggravated about this fact, she said. They all tried and failed to reach a resolution.
When she quit Exterior Design, she ran into Walzak at her other job. Walzak, Langdale said, said Patrick owed him some money, and he was going to get Patrick.
Langdale also said Walzak told her he threw files out during his move because the files were in garbage bags.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Crane said Langdale never mentioned during her testimony in Patrick's trial that Walzak told her that he threw files away.
Langdale said she did, but Crane "moved right over her answer."
Crane pulled the transcript from Patrick's trial. According to the transcript, Crane said, Langdale never directly said "Jim told me" he threw files away.
Bright asked Langdale if she was asked during the trial by either attorney how she knew he threw files out.
"No," she replied.
"You are not what they refer to as a shrinking violet, are you, Ms. Langdale?" Crane asked. "You would challenge me if I didn't ask the right question?"
Tampas' family members frequently looked at each other, shook their heads, sighed and whispered in response to witnesses' testimonies.
Patrick's family was also present.
Tampas sat back in his leather chair, watching witnesses and appearing to listen attentively.
Jurors also heard testimony from Ellen Stevens, who teaches economics and accounting at Georgia Military College. Stevens was hired by Tampas to examine the YMCA books after the financial director Toni Fillyaw was fired.
Tampas, Stevens said, gave her complete access to all the records and instructed her to report her findings to the FBI.
Fillyaw was convicted and sentenced in January to 42 months in prison on charges of embezzling about $1.3 million in YMCA funds, mail fraud and mailing fraudulent statements.
Bright asked the judge to dismiss Tampas on all counts due to lack of evidence after prosecution completed its case.
Crane contested, saying the evidence was sufficient to go to the jury on all counts. Judge Hugh Lawson agreed with Crane.
The trial will break today due to Veteran's Day and reconvene at 9 a.m. Monday.
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