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2-5-04 Vinnie Williams From A Different Perspective

Vinnie Williams is Public Figure Who Has Had Many Private Connections & Opinions Inconsistent With Public Positions

AVOC Article


February 4, 2004


Vinnie Williams from A Different Perspective


By Wendell Dawson, Editor, AVOC

(Another Voice Oconee County)


As a long-time public official, I have had much interaction with the media.  Most of it was pleasant and professional.  Oh, there were many young “Woodward & Bernsteins” out there looking for  “Water-Gate” under every bush.   These were young ambitious reporters who had been taught that they needed to be adversarial.   Many stories were written based on a theme different from the tone of the interview.


We held our own with most reporters and got along fine with most of them.  I used to laugh and tell them that “if they learned the area, and got too friendly, they would be shipped out!”   The Athens Newspapers, Radio and the Athens Observer had young reporters who did change often.


However, a person who stayed for the last twenty years or so just won’t go away.  Vinnie Williams bought the Oconee Enterprise in the early eighties.  As owner, she could do what she wanted and usually did.   Over time, it was obvious that many of her friendly gestures were designed to gain information suiting some agenda that she had.  We provided detailed information to her in writing and much of the time, it came out okay. It became more and more obvious that she was misunderstanding issues and activities at meetings. 


It was obvious that she had some pets or favorites as well as minions she used to “stir things up”.   A regular reader could recognize some of her media “creatures”.  She would build them up and flatter them in order to further her particular project at the time.  Such personalities have little existence outside the Oconee Enterprise world.  Other newspapers do not quote or pay much attention to her minions.  Some reporters would laugh about some of those persons when their names came up in conversation.


While much of my own activities were generally reported in a positive way, I did see many examples of  personality and mean-spiritedness interfering with any effective journalism of the Oconee Enterprise under Vinnie Williams’ ownership and reporting.   I came to believe that our county suffered from the lack of a responsible local newspaper.


I read many newspapers weekly and know there are many in other communities that I would be willing to trade “10 Vinnie Williams- Oconee Enterprises” for.


Ms. Williams is a public figure.  However, she has controlled the media in Oconee County for over 20 years.  I know many of her actions and published articles are inconsistent with her private feelings.  Some is through human error; some comes from indifference and some comes from intentional actions.


I have dozens of letters from Vinnie Williams over the length of my public career.  I intend to publish some representative letters that lets the public see the real Vinnie Williams.  This is the first installment.


The Oconee Enterprise

P. O. Box 535

Watkinsville, Georgia 30677


                                                                           Oct. 16, 1998


Dear Wendell:


Enclosed is a copy of my letter to Bishop Councilman ___ ______ regarding converting the Bishop Christian Church into a county museum.  It says, directly and indirectly, that the _________’ proposal lacks focus, quality, and professionalism.


If you ask __________ and ______, you may find that they agree, for different reasons.


The church, once a school, is a historic resource.  Since it can’t become a school again probably its second use is not an impractical one.  There are several congregations, not all steady or reliable, seeking land or a building.  _________’ _____ _____ _________ Church appears the most dedicated, growing and reliable.


Personally, I would like seeing the building become a church again.  I needn’t point out the possible advantages of shifting the burden of this old building from the county to a congregation including subsequent repairs.  A small term, renewable lease, for small rent and stipulations?


Since you are brainy, an attorney and completely dedicated to the county, you have already mentally reviewed the various implications of a museum, etc.


Again, personally I would like one at Heritage Park.  Next Week’s Forum will address the problem of a county museum.


In case you have doubted my trust, belief and affection for you, as our full-time Commission Chairman, don’t.  I will vote for you and support you until the day* both of us die.





                        Vinnie Williams


* You see that I believe the day will never come!--------When we die, I mean.