We felt like it is time to recap some of our blogs. What we have found throughout our blogs is that everything we have reported on comes back to a few simple basic traits of greed, cronyism, corruption, illegal, unethical, and immoral behavior that seems to be so commonplace in the Morgan County Sheriff's Office.
Upon taking office Franklin's first and foremost goal was to ensure that her office maintained transparency. To ensure her style of transparency she hired her cronies, her family, her eldest daughter, Ron Livingston, a campaign supporter, and began the process of forcing those who did not like her style of transparency out. Franklin's method of paying her eldest daughter is still questionable. We have been told she was paid with gift certificates and other means.
Franklin had a lot of help while campaigning if you recall the name Steven Ziaja, Franklin's boyfriend, Alabama Law Enforcement Officer, entrepreneur, and,based on his own admission, of being part owner in Performance Auto, AKA Title Marts in Hoover, Hartselle, Chelsea, Decatur, Moulton, and almost Oxford, Alabama. Also on Franklin's side was Her Honor, Jennifer Howell. Franklin had a lot of support the people wanted change.
Folks, if there is one thing I think we can all spell since Franklin took office it is CHANGE.
Ziaja by his own admission had some wealth and property. No mortgages and approximately 400,000 in cash during the sheriff's election 2010. Ziaja was always there to support Franklin, hang signs, campaign. They worked the campaign trail. It certainly paid off big time. Ziaja tooted his own horn. He left his old life behind and he and Ana began their big adventure to change Morgan County. Out with the old and in with the new.
One of our first blogs in regards to Franklin hiring her common-law son-in-law as a corrections officer who at the time he worked for the sheriff was vacationing in the Limestone County jail. Multiple arrests, multiple contempt of court charges, and burglary charges. Alas,his arrest for burglary January 31, 2013, was his downfall. Forced to resign without proper notice.
Franklin wanted to ensure that she kept her office all in the family so she established a contract labor staff which included one of her first cousins.
Franklin's first four years was controversial with hiring practices, demotions, terminations, dog killings, lawsuits, sheriff's office budgets, morale, training, and more. Franklin brought in Bones to head the drug task force. Bones is worth a blog of his own. More on Bones later.
Franklin has had more airtime than any other elected official in the State of Alabama. Somehow the media always seemed to be at whatever drug bust or METH busts that were carried out surreptitiously. So much so that Franklin was successful in making the citizens believe that she and her drug task force had busted over a thousand METH labs in a year. Of course, that was an election year. Election year is the year we noticed Franklin's nose seemed to extend each time there was a press release. The number of drug busts for the entire state of Alabama was several hundred less than Franklin counted for our county alone.
We requested multiple times to gain access to all of the MCSO financial records. A fair thing to do since Franklin promised transparency. We were able to obtain three of the ledgers. We received the jail store ledger, the sheriff's office general ledger, and the inmate housing account ledger. Initially, we were denied the ledgers. According to Franklin's independent accountant's reports, the disclosure was omitted because they might influence the user's conclusions about the Morgan County sheriff's account's. The financial statement is not designed for those who are not informed about such matters.
We may not be subject matter experts on the interpretation of the ledgers but it sure as heck looks like something stinks in Ana's ledger land. The compilation reports, the ledgers, and the state's audit bear a very little resemblance to each other. It's all about money.
From Franklin's swearing-in ceremony to date questions have surrounded the sheriff's budget. Franklin initially said she was going to set up a clothesline to save money by drying the laundry on the line. How did that go, Ana?
Franklin's contract labor included Larry Berzett, who came with a history from the Rogersville police department. Berzett quickly went from contract labor to contract labor on salary, to Jail Administrator. The jail administrator was required to be APOST certified or equivalent? We still do not know what the equivalent means. Apparently, Warden Bradley with all of his many years of experience as a warden was not considered to have the "equivalent". Isn't Warden Bradley a black man, over the age of 50, now a paper pusher for Berzett. If you ask any person within the sheriff's office who is over the jail they will tell you Larry Berzett. There is a catch to that scenario. Another case in point when it comes is corrections officer Hayes. When Hayes was being disciplined guess who's name showed up on the personnel actions? It wasn't Berzett. You guessed it, Bradley. Hayes is black and Bradley is black. We suspect Bradley is there as a scapegoat for the MCSO.
We hear from some of the previous corrections officers that Berzett is proud of being firm, a tough stance on the inmates and that Bradley is too soft. Perhaps, Bradley does not believe that it is fair to beat the shit out of an inmate who is handcuffed to a jail cell, or that tazing a woman three times who is in the drunk tank is acceptable behavior, or that the same corrections officer tazes another inmate three times within a three month time frame. Did I mention that the female and male inmate that was tazed by the same corrections officer was both black and that the corrections officer is white? Did I mention that the white corrections officer was allowed to resign? Coincidence? We don't think so.
Jail is an inmate's punishment. Inmates are caged they cannot fend for themselves. They cannot keep a corrupt corrections officer from tazing them, they cannot defend themselves against corrections officers that have them cuffed. Jail is the punishment.
This concluded Recap number 1.
Recap 2. Inmates Collecting Evidence