Lanier authority wants cash back

ATLANTA - For nearly eight years, the state has been getting something for nothing from the Lake Lanier Islands Development Authority.

Last week, the authority sent a letter to Gov. Sonny Perdue asking to stop making $1.3 million annual payments on a loan it paid off in 1997. The agency continued to pay because they wanted to help the state, authority chairman Frank Turk said.

''We really didn't know that we needed money,'' Turk told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Now, the authority does need the money to make infrastructure improvements like widening roads and upgrading the sewer system. The improvements are part of a deal struck with Gwinnett County businessman Virgil Willliams, who has bought the lease from the state to operate the Emerald Pointe Resort and its gold course, marina and other facilities at Lake Lanier Islands.

Williams wants to turn the $14.5 million property into a luxury resort.

The loan originated in 1987 as part of a state effort to make parks and recreation areas more financially independent. The Lake Lanier Islands Development Authority received about $25.7 million from general obligation state bonds issued through the Department of Natural Resources, which was used to build facilities like Emerald Pointe.

Third Columbus officer arrested

COLUMBUS - A Columbus police officer was charged with sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl, the third Columbus officer arrested this year.

Bruce Anthony Johnson, 41, was charged with aggravated child molestation, aggravated sodomy, statutory rape, enticing a child for indecent purposes and two counts of furnishing alcohol to a minor.

Johnson, who was hired in 2004, is being held in the Muscogee County Jail.

In July, Officer Gregory Diltz, 45, was charged with pointing a gun at another person. Also in July, Officer Philip Matteo was charged with forgery and illegally obtaining an addictive painkiller with falsified prescriptions.

- From wire reports