“Preston admits extramarital affair – Nichols may testify”

In a videotaped deposition admitted into evidence by Judge Roger Couch over the vigorous objections of Team Preston, confirmation of what so many have presumed for years was produced. Joey Preston, former Anderson County administrator conceded under oath that he had conducted an eight year extramarital affair with Kelly Nichols.

Nichols, who may appear on the witness stand to offer her testimony, was a subordinate employee of Preston’s during the affair. The admission will certainly raise questions, at least among the public, as to whether Preston’s conduct violated the terms of his employment contract, which contains a moral turpitude clause.

Under questioning by Troy Tessier, one of the attorneys from the Wyche Law Firm, who represent the County in this matter, Preston acknowledged the affair, and also conceded that such conduct could cause problems for the County. However, when asked if such conduct would justify the termination of the offending employee, Preston simply answered “No.”

In related testimony about the events at Cater’s Lake in February 2006, Preston said that the reports that he and Nichols were sent to the park as part of an undercover operation were false.” Kelly and I were at dinner at Sullivan’s that night. Kelly had real issues with a woman named Jena Trammel. One of our dinner companions started talking about how wonderful Jena was and Kelly got very angry. She said some things to the woman and stormed out.”

Preston said that he and Nichols had been followed by people “trying to catch us doing something to prove we were having an affair”, and that Nichols called him soon after leaving Sullivan’s to say she was being followed once again. “She was very emotional and almost delirious. I got in my car and went after her and I also called Chief Deputy Tim Busha. He seemed very busy – I think something had happened in the county that night. He told me us to go to a well lighted area for safety. I hung up and called Kelly and we turned left into Cater’s Lake park. “

Preston testified that after several minutes, he and Nichols walked down to the lake, which was where they were when the Anderson City police arrived, with blue lights flashing.

Preston, under Tessier’s questioning, also provided an explanation for his decisions to “amend” Alison Schaum’s consulting contract related to sustainable agriculture to a three year contract with a major termination provision. He said her program was so successful and so respected around the state that he wanted to provide an incentive for her to stay associated with the county and continue to develop the program.

Tessier established that when Schaum, at Preston’s urging, submitted a proposal for the amended contract, she asked for the equivalent of 20 hours worth of pay for each week of three years, and that Preston offered 30 hours worth of pay instead, in the event of termination of the contract.

Tessier earlier established that Scahum’s original rate of pay under her first contract, which was a month by month agreement, was twenty dollars an hour; a figure Preston increased to sixty five dollars an hour. Preston testified that he wanted additional elements of the program’s development included, which drove up the rate, as well as the fact that the County did not provide health insurance to contractors.

Preston had similarly adept explanations for the backdating of documents related to Heather Jones and her county vehicle and proposed trip to Germany. “We had agreed in 2006 that she would have a county vehicle. When the original document was misplaced, we simply memorialized the original agreement with a replacement document.” He explained that when Bill McAbee and Amy Plummer spent more than $30,000 on travel and attending various rail conferences and other industrial events, he had no choice but to approve them. At least $5000 of that amount was spent after McAbee had lost his primary race for reelection.

“The County attorney and the auditors told me that I had no authority to refuse the elected Council members. It was my ministerial duty to approve their travel” said Preston.

Preston also testified that he had agreed to employ the chairman of the 2008 Council, Michael Thompson, as soon as his term of office ended on December 31, 2008. “I promised to hire Mr. Thompson in March of 2008, after he had approached me about employment. The week after my severance agreement was approved, I honored that obligation.” Previous testimony by Michael Cunningham reflected Cunningham’s subsequent refusal to employ Thompson.

Preston also stated that he had no authority to deny Thompson the opportunity to take classes in preparation for employment in the assessor’s office. But according to Preston, he hired Thompson to be a Buyer, either level I or II, in the purchasing department. He said what he termed a “transfer” from the County Council to the buyer’s position took place in late November, 2008. “He was already on the payroll as a member of Council. I just transferred him to the purchasing department.”

Tessier, in the deposition process, strove to tie the various agreements and accommodations to the severance agreement awarded Preston in November of 2008, at least in terms of the time frame. For example, Schaum’s contract was “amended” on November 1, while her father, Ron Wilson, was negotiating Preston’s buyout. Thompson was reportedly hired just days after the severance agreement was approved. McAbee, along with Amy Plummer, continued to travel at County expense deep into October of 2008, while those same  negotiations were underway; and the documents backdated in relation to Heather Jones were all executed in that same time frame.

24 Responses to “Preston admits extramarital affair – Nichols may testify”

  1. Amazing. Thank you for this report. It gives quite a different viewpoint than I had heard in the past.

  2. Where is lying Tim Busha…

  3. Well, Queen, as is often the case, common knowledge and the truth are once again found to be quite different.

  4. good question, freebird. Right now, I think he and Michael Thompson might be sharing the same spider hole. Neither has been sighted in some time. But if the Judge allows Nichols to testify in court; and she claims, as the County’s attorneys say she will, that the Cater’s Lake story was concocted to cover up her public tryst with Preston, Mr. Busha may have some more serious legal problems to deal with.The argument could certainly be made that such a cover-up could be a conspiracy to obstruct justice.

  5. Wow! Preston really threw Busha under the bus. Where’s the loyalty here? Lol

    JP admitted there was no real sting—just something he and Busha made up on the spot and then called in SLED for a distraction. JP was carrying on an affair with another man’s wife but painted himself a stalking victim. Who among us will ever forget his tearful performance at the council meeting when Busha revealed the Big Sting Operation. I still think the so-called “stalker” was Barbara Preston’s private investigator.

  6. Thanks for the enlightenment. No wonder crenshaw fired bushy.

  7. I hope the folks down in Bamberg are keeping up with this trial so they can understand more about their new administrator.
    Poor Joey, he has my deepest sympathy. Seems like he is always the victim, even after realizing ‘only’ a $400,000 profit in the Ron/Joey silver scam. If they had been left alone in their business he might have realized several million dollars by now in profit. I wonder how much another victim, an attorney I think, actually profited as a victim just like Joey?

    The trial is proving something ‘we’ already knew:
    Joey Preston is a liar. Michael Cunningham is a liar.
    Ron Wilson, Gracie Floyd, Bill McAbee, Michael Thompson, Larry Greer..all of them are liars.
    Tim Busha and the late Sheriff are liars.
    All Prestonites are liars.

    Hope the Storm Water Queen takes the stand today. WOW!!

  8. Oh what a tangled web we weave,
    When first we practise to deceive!

  9. Oh how swiftly the web will fall
    Once the truth comes out about them all.

  10. Again, too many comments to answer individually. I skipped the afternoon session because I have to do a couple other things. One of them is take a long walk and clear my head, before writing up the testimony of Ms. Kelly Nichols ( that’s right) and Larry Greer. Will post the latest in a few hours.

  11. HURRY UP STAN, HAVE A COLD ONE AND START THE TOPIC. We read a little on a news site but that paper tends to leave out 90% of the good stuff. Did Larry Greer’s sealed deposition get ripped open?

    Oh, got to mention this too. We all know that Art Kaldas worshipped at Preston’s feet for the entire term of Preston. Kaldas is still on his knees and pleading that we all should love Joey as he and ALL his previous council still do. ATZ site, page 6 of Anderson County vs JP. Poor Art, an old confused man that needs to be in a nursing home with Gracie as his room mate.

  12. Bubba Said: “… Poor Art, an old confused man that needs to be in a nursing home with Gracie as his room mate.”

    Bubba: Surely Art has not done anything to anyone to deserve such a sentence, er, uh, fate.

  13. n them ARP peeps ain’t saying sitz bout thowing David under tha bus over that backdoor deal Joey n Bussa made? see how gud ya dun? Mebe traded 1 affair fer n’ther, LOL Dumb azzes missed ol’ Bussa n Prestns deal to git timmy the sherifz office in 2012? C how gud that un wurked?

  14. Bubba – just posted the latest on Kelly’s testimony. Laaate tonight or in the morning, will post the Larry Greer story. I had to miss this afternoon’s session, and will miss tomorrow morning. But I’ll be there for the week’s ending session tomorrow afternoon.

  15. yeah Bubba, the Greer depo got opened – and he got tangled in it a bit. But you know Greer – ten minutes into the session, he was correcting the lawyers. What a dork he is.

  16. lol@Dodgerfan – well, if anybody has, it’s Art!

  17. “The week after my severance agreement was approved, I honored that obligation.” So there was Thompsons’ conflict and the reason he should have recused himself from the vote, personal gain? I do not believe for a moment that Ron Wilson did not know about the contract amendment made for his daughter and had he not known he could have chosen not to plead the 5th, I would like to see the lawyer tie this up in a tidy package for the judge to rule on. Not being there, it is difficult to figure out if he is missing the obvious ties he needs to establish or they have not been considered highly relevant in the daily exposee, or you just don’t have enough hours and ink in the day. .

  18. And the trial continues

  19. Well, I’m a reporter, not a court recorder, so I write stories covering what my 30 years of experience tell me are the high lights and most salient points. I don’t transcribe, I observe and report. On each day so far I have taken a minimum of 25 pages of notes. It’s hard to regurgitate all that. But this judge is very imptressive and seems quite focused. As a special referee he uses a little different technique than he would with a jury, I think. He likes to hear and see it all, while assuring both sides that when the time comes, he will weigh only the proper evidence.
    We’ll see.

  20. I read that Tom Allen says a document attributed to him is a forgery, that although the email showed his email address he did not send it. How is that possible? (New article in AIM) I believe Mr. Allen so did someone forge the email?

  21. Bubba, I work with IT folks who say it’s not that hard to hack an email account.

  22. It has happened to me a number of times

  23. I hope they can find out who sent the email. I have several scumbags in mind that would do that in the Preston camp.
    Wonder if the trial is continuing past today? Stan will probably have an update later tonight.

  24. Bubba, the trial will indeed continue next week. Team Preston, after Team Anderson rested their case yesterday afternoon, asked for a directed verdict from the judge. He declined, and today, Team Preston began their defense.

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