I-TEAM: More on a case that vanished under Burke County Sheriff Alfonzo Williams’ watch
WAYNESBORO, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Burke County resident and businessman Gary Flakes Jr., says an investigation by the Waynesboro Police Department that led to his arrest was flawed.
Attorney Edward Tarver, now representing Flakes, has sent a formal complaint to Waynesboro’s police chief requesting an internal affairs Investigation.
Flakes and his then former co-defendant Daniel Nunn were both arrested by Waynesboro police in November 2022 under warrants they exploited an elderly woman in the sale of her home.
Both Flakes and Nunn have seen had their warrants dismissed.
A tale of two arrests once Burke County Sheriff Alfonzo Williams intervenes
Last month, the I-TEAM reported how the two men – connected to the very same felony case – had two very different experiences following their arrests.
Daniel Nunn has a mug shot and sat in jail for weeks before he was allowed to bond out.
Meanwhile, Flakes spent no time behind bars. He doesn’t have a mug shot or even a record of his arrest in the system.
The only difference the I-TEAM found is that Burke County Sheriff Alfonzo Williams got involved.
Williams, when questioned about what appeared to be one suspect receiving special treatment, told our I-TEAM the then-suspect is a prominent businessman who’s been in the community for decades.
Our I-TEAM found he’s also donated to Williams’ campaign.
Waynesboro police bodycam is one of the only records of Flakes getting arrested. The I-TEAM was able to get it through an open records request because it’s public record.
He believes he never should have been arrested in the first place.
On the night Flakes was arrested, Flakes can be heard on bodycam video dropping several names as he’s sitting in the back of the Waynesboro police patrol car.
One of those names is “Alfonzo.”
He tells officers he had been talking to Alfonzo in an attempt to get to the bottom of this “bulls---t.”
Alfonzo – as in Burke County Sheriff Alfonzo Williams.
The officers arresting Flakes are not Williams’ deputies because they do not work for the sheriff’s office. They’re Waynesboro Police Officers, so Sheriff Williams has no jurisdiction in this case.
Flakes: “Am I staying at the city tonight or the county?”
Waynesboro officer: “No, you’ll go to the county. We don’t have a jail.”
Williams does oversee the jail, and this is where the I-TEAM uncovered Williams intervened.
Bodycam captures the Waynesboro officer dropping Flakes off that night at the Burke County Detention Center.
Burke County jail employees should then take a mug shot and fingerprints, but when the Waynesboro officer left that night, none of that ever happened.
Gary Flakes says investigation was flawed
Flakes’ attorney writes in the complaint, “Waynesboro City Investigators Emerald Hambrick and Angela Collins provided the Court with incomplete information that distorted facts” and led to the Flakes being arrested.
The complaint adds the I-TEAM aired that “incomplete information” that “distorted the facts” on WRDW News 12 and WAGT NBC 26.
Some of what the complaint challenges is Flakes’ relationship to his former co-defendant, Nunn.
Felony warrants had accused Nunn and Flakes of working together to cheat an elderly woman out of her home. Nunn was living at that home with 78-year-old Aluan Bryant when Waynesboro police arrested him. Flakes claims Nunn lived there with her “off and on for 5 years.”
Body cam video of Nunn’s arrest shows him telling officers his relationship with Flakes.
Daniel Nunn: “I work for Gary Flakes.”
Waynesboro officer: “Gary Flakes?”
Daniel Nunn: “Can I call him?”
Waynesboro officer: “No. Just wait.”
According to Flakes’ complaint, Nunn would “occasionally perform tasks for spending money around Mr. Flakes business, but he was not an employee of Mr. Flakes, Air Now Inc, or Air Now Investments.”
Gary Flakes Jr. owns Air Now, a heating and air company. Nunn was wearing an Air Now shirt on Waynesboro Police bodycam when he was taken into custody.
Before police leave, Bryant pleads with officers to let Nunn move his car out of the driveway first.
Aluan “Ms. Mona” Bryant: “We have to move the car a little bit, probably. Because I have a nurse, doctor coming to see me.”
There are a number of references in the case file to Bryant’s possible diminished mental capacity. During a conversation with a Waynesboro Investigator, you can hear the elderly woman say, “My doctor told me I got a little bit of Alzheimer’s.”
There’s also a recorded phone call where a family friend describes a call with the woman’s daughter.
“I did tell her, I said, ‘Baby, your momma’s going downhill. She’s got dementia real bad.”
Medical records might not be public record, but court orders are. Waynesboro police sent Ms. Mona’s doctors an order for records “pertaining to a dementia diagnosis.”
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Flakes claims “there is no medical diagnosis or court order” finding she has “diminished capacity or “suffers from dementia.”
As for the sale of the home – the I-Team searched property records and found G-3 Investments bought the home in question. According to the Secretary of State’s office – Flakes owns G3 Investments.
In his complaint, he says the home was sold to Air Now Investments.
He says Bryant contacted him about wanting to sell because she needed money to “help a relative with a legal matter.”
He also claims the home was appraised for $55,000, but the amount paid to her was “reduced by a federal subsidy” she received to buy the house.
Property records show the sale price was $28,467. That means it’s the price before that reduction. The county notes on its website, the price is “not fair market value.”
After settling up with the federal subsidy, the case file shows Bryant received a check for less than $10,000 for her house. Gary Flakes has since sold the home for $50,000, almost doubling his investment.
When the warrants were dismissed against Flakes and Nunn, the Augusta District Attorney’s Office noted there was probable cause for the warrant, but not sufficient evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Waynesboro’s police chief says the department has since contracted with an investigation company from outside the area, and that he has supplied the investigator with the case file.
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