It has been a very busy year. We have worked very hard to ensure the public is aware of the controversies our sheriff has gotten herself involved in since taking office January 2011. One thing is for sure the past few years has not been boring with our first female sheriff in Morgan County, Alabama.
Sheriff Franklin started her first term off with demoting four employees that the outgoing sheriff Greg Bartlett promoted just before leaving office.
Sheriff Franklin continued to the road of decisively forcing out as many employees under ousted Greg Bartlett as possible. Franklin's goal was to surround herself with people she could trust reputable people such as Ron Livingston whom she made a campaign promise to hire. A man who put many out of work with no prior warning as he closed his gas stations. Sheriff Franklin quickly hired her daughter Erika Franklin, Turner, Sheats and forced Duree Cooper out of her position as well as Chris Cooper. Things begin to shape up for Franklin as she quickly hired her first cousin as a contractor to work in the jail as contract labor.
Franklin is working hard to get her highly qualified staff in order. Franklin quickly hires her common-law son-in-law as a corrections officer. Franklin seemed to forget there were a few little things about her pick that may quickly show its dirty little head. Jonathan Stebbins quickly joined that ranks as highly qualified and skilled corrections officer. No high school diploma, no experience with exception of being in jail for arrests such as 1st-degree burglary, several misdemeanors, two or three 3rd degree burglaries, and host of contempt of court charges. What a guy. He would have made corrections office of the year if not for several arrests during his six weeks of employment with the sheriff's office starting around December 13, 2012, through January 31, 2013, when he was arrested for his final 3rd-degree burglary charge and contempt of court charge.
During this same time frame, Sheriff Franklin locked up and found her sidekick Larry (Cowboy) Berzett who helped Sheriff Franklin mold and form a very productive posse with the financial support of the Morgan County Sheriff's Office personnel resources and the reserve deputy funds. Sheriff Franklin successfully poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into the posse purchasing horse trailers, county trucks to pull the trailers, horses, gear, saddles, pageant gowns, embroidered hats, blouses, skirts, boots, and more. Franklin was spending taxpayer dollars as if the well would never run dry. Wonder how much the tax-free exemptions were used and on what items? The thrill of the posse, and the money pouring made for some very greedy people. Travel & hotel expenses for the Sheriff and her chosen family and other guests to the beach as well as all over the country were staggering.
Then along comes family woes that must be addressed. Dearest Erika's new husband has a family problem and needs help from the sheriff. It seems that Poor son-in-law Derek has a 1st cousin that has gotten himself in just a little bit of trouble. Seems Timothy Alan Hall killed a man during a drunken drug-filled stupor in Limestone County, Alabama and was headed to prison for a few years. Our good sheriff was there to save the day. Franklin placed an In-House Hold on poor Timothy Alan Hall and had the poor fellow moved to the Morgan County Jail so that the poor thing would never see prison walls. Timothy Alan Hall is now on work release most days and nights and uses his Morgan County Jail Cell as if it was a dorm room.
Ana has certainly been busy. And then along comes Greg Steenson a friend and family member with a plan to get rich quick. All he has to do is talk an elderly wealthy man into believing he is a changed man and his stint in Federal Prison was the best thing that ever happened to him. Steenson wants to train Mr. Jeffreys son how to be a hard-working businessman like himself in the used car business. Uh oh! Greg Steenson went to the Federal Prison for his part in the 8.5 million theft of funds from local banks. Unfortunately, Mr. Jefferys believe in Steenson and the rest is history. Steenson son reverted back to his sorry ways and the next thing you know Sheriff Ana Franklin, Drug Task Force Officer Bones Wilson, Alabama Law Enforcement Agent Steven Ziaja, Alabama Law Enforcement Agent John Venegoni, and Billy Bad Ass Blake Robinson are all up to their eyeballs in the Title Mart corruption scandal. This is the place that we add one last participant in the pile. Billable Barney Lovelace allows Sheriff Ana Franklin to hand deliver over $28,000.00 in cash to pay a widow lady off along with checks from Steven Ziaja to keep Greg Steenson out of jail. Hows that working out for ya Barney?
Moving right along. The Title Mart scheme fell apart, Jeffreys was forced to file for bankruptcy, Steenson has been arrested and charged with multiple criminal activities, Ana's a wreck, Ziaja's out, Charlie is in, Bones is worried, Billy Bad Ass Robinson spewing out battle cry against the FBI on the steps of the Sheriff's Office, Venegoni is quite and all is good with the world. Or is it?
The Title Mart Bankruptcy proceedings are moving along, stories are told, people are trying to prove their investments, Billable Barney is obsessed with finding out who the whistleblowers and demanding to be told. And then...
Franklin has a plan. Sheriff Franklin, Barney Lovelace, Bones Wilson, and Billy Bad Ass Robinson set out to catch the whistleblower. They manipulate an informant by pulling him into the sheriff's office to tell him they need his help. They have a bad man within the department that needs to be stopped. The only way to stop him is through the informant's grandmother. They pick and they probe to collect information, then all of a sudden Sheriff Franklin says what if we pay the informant to go into the business to collect some data so that we can later obtain a legal warrant. But wait! The last thing Ana decides to do is that the informant place keylogger software on the office computers with a promise that the software will only capture passwords. Billable Barney agrees with the plan and in the blink of an eye and a promise of cash, the deal is made. So out in the night, the informant goes and quick as a flash he copies collect documents and installs keylogger software. The High Sheriff is happy and with much glee, she pays the informant and dreams of her next reelection campaign free of the warden and no whistleblower to speak of. But then.....
Out in a flash, the troubles arise and the whistleblowers fight back. What looks like a Very Merry Christmas for Ana and Thugs is another big battle for another day.
Then along comes knowledge of a blast from the past where Franklin is rushing home from her baby's arms and has an accident that injures two innocent hard working people. Franklin worked hard to cover her mess but along comes Alacourt and blows the secret apart.
We would like to say our story is fiction that we'll all wake up to just a bad dream. The story is true and far worse than our reports. We must wait longer for the curtain to fall. While we are waiting we want to remember the innocent victims such as the Hall's, the men and women who lost their jobs while fighting the cause, the innocent hard working men and women who struggle each day to keep the Morgan County Sheriff's Office together while we wait for the final curtain call.
The media has taken notice and will report the facts. The movement of hardworking dedicated citizens can and has made a difference. And those we know in power who can truly make a difference soon will.