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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Did you know that the majority of counties in Alabama tip their sheriff?

This article is not an original blog that was written by the morgancountywhistleblower.  It was simply compiled and consolidated from the following previously published news articles:
The May/June 2010 edition of the Southern Family Magazine
A Birmingham News/ article by Lee Roop on July 26, 2010
A Decatur Daily article by Sheryl Marsh on January 30, 2011
A Decatur Daily article by Sheryl Marsh on March 22, 2011
A Decatur Daily article by Sheryl Marsh on January 15, 2012
A WHNT/Channel 19 News article by Christine Killimayer on May 31, 2012

How Well Do We All Know Ana Maria Woodard Franklin?

A distinguished career in law enforcement led Ana Franklin to run as a candidate for Sheriff of Morgan County, Alabama.

Raised in Morgan County, and a graduate of Austin High School, Franklin studied accounting at Jacksonville State University and was running two businesses in the 1990s when she decided to take her love of breeding and training German Shepherd dogs to the next level.

She became a certified canine trainer and began working with area law enforcement agencies.

Franklin’s career in law enforcement began as a reserve officer in Limestone County working for Sheriff Mike Blakely. She handled the K-9 narcotics, explosives and search and rescue dogs. She graduated from the Jefferson County Law Enforcement Academy with the Academic Achievement Award and was vice president of her class. Returning to Morgan County, Franklin worked with the late Sheriff John McBride as an undercover narcotics and vice agent and K-9 handler. Franklin was assigned to the Morgan County Drug Task Force and worked with state, local and federal agencies as an undercover drug agent, investigating and infiltrating narcotics trafficking organizations.

She hit the streets in 2003 as an undercover drug investigator and "came out from under cover" in 2004 as a Morgan County sheriff's investigator.

It was her work in narcotics, though, that found her on the other side of the law. While undercover during a prostitution sting, an outside agency accidentally arrested her.

"I mean, I was truly undercover," said Franklin. "Yeah, I never got to work the thousand-dollar a night prostitution deals. They put me down at the 20 dollar a night prostitution deals, those were the kind I worked."

She was named Morgan County Law Enforcement Officer of the Year for 2007. In 2008, the DEA presented her with the Agent Appreciation Award for work in a federal drug trafficking case for the U.S. Northern District.

She stayed in the department until 2008, when she left to open a gym and consider a run for sheriff.

Franklin received the endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), the organization including officers serving at the federal, state and local levels and retired officers from various agencies.

“I’m very honored and excited that FOP has endorsed me as their choice for Morgan County’s Sheriff,” Franklin said. “I understand that this is the first time the sitting sheriff has not been endorsed by FOP. It’s a huge vote of confidence for me and my ability to serve as sheriff.”

Franklin had a plan to upgrade almost every area of the sheriff's department, but knew voters were especially interested in one area the sheriff controls - the jail.

Incumbent at the time, Sheriff Greg Bartlett, spent a night in federal custody himself in 2009 after a federal judge found he was underfeeding inmates. Bartlett was taking advantage of an Alabama law that lets sheriffs keep money left over after feeding prisoners. He admitted keeping $212,000 over three years.

"Many of our clients lost weight and went hungry because the portions were so small," said the attorney for prisoners who sued.

"I won't be keeping leftover jail money," Franklin said. 

Two months before she took office, Franklin got an opinion from the county’s attorney about whether a federal court order prohibiting the sheriff from keeping inmate food money applied to her.

A bill from attorney Bill Shinn’s office showed that the County Commission paid $132 for legal advice Shinn gave Franklin in November. She took office in January of 2011.

Officials said Franklin had no authority to request the opinion because Sheriff Greg Bartlett was still in office.

County Commission Chairman Ray Long said he asked Shinn to reimburse the county, and Shinn said he has done so.

“The county shouldn’t have been billed for it. Of course, when I asked Mr. Shinn to reimburse it, he was more than willing to do so,” Long said.

Shinn’s charge was on the firm’s December bill to the county, and District 1 Commissioner Jeff Clark said he plans to pay closer attention to future bills.

“I glanced over it, but I didn’t catch that,” Clark said. “She’ll have to pay for that out of her pocket.”

Shinn said Franklin didn’t know he had billed the county for the opinion. He said Barney Lovelace, his law partner and Franklin’s attorney in another matter, asked him to give the opinion for her.

“There was no formal opinion given,” Shinn said when The Decatur Daily asked for a copy of the opinion. “She (Franklin) was interested in what her obligations were going to be. She was the sheriff-elect and I think she was legitimately trying to understand what the duties of her office are and this is one of the aspects of it.”

“The order refers to county defendants saying they shall do this or that, so the county has an interest in this, although most of what has to be done is by the sheriff,” Shinn said.

Mary Pons, attorney for the Association of County Commissions of Alabama, said she doesn’t know of any law that clearly addresses the opinion Franklin sought.

“I can’t think of anything I’ve ever seen for or against that,” Pons said. “If it were me, I would have gone through the County Commission and asked them to get the opinion for me.”

The inmate food fund is under watch by attorneys who filed the lawsuit for inmates.

The federal court order allows for Atlanta-based Southern Center for Human Rights attorneys to conduct random checks of the jail and financial records. Attorney Melanie Velez said they do the random audits twice a year and will continue to do so.

Velez said the judge’s order is clear: “The federal consent order and subsequent revisions were binding on the former sheriff and must be followed by the current Morgan County sheriff.”

The balance in the inmate food account is $102,000, according to a clerk. The state pays $1.75 per inmate for each day, and the federal government pays about $3 per meal for each federal inmate housed there.

County Attorney Bill Shinn rendered an opinion about whether Morgan County Sheriff Ana Franklin is bound by a federal court order that prohibits the sheriff from keeping leftover inmate food money for personal use.

Shinn said he gave an informal opinion to Franklin’s attorney and his law partner, Barney Lovelace, that the court order applied to Franklin.

A note Shinn attached to case law he gave Lovelace to back his opinion read: “Barney, the attached FR CiVP 25 (d) (1) answers your question to Sheriff Franklin’s liability in the (Sheriff Greg) Bartlett jail case.”

Franklin was sheriff-elect when Shinn gave the opinion in November. She defeated Bartlett in a Republican primary runoff in July and a Democratic contender in the general election.

U.S. District Judge U.W. Clemon’s 2009 order states:

“The sheriff of Morgan County shall immediately establish and implement a procedure whereby all funds provided by any source for the feeding of inmates, including funds from the state of Alabama, any municipality, and the federal government will be used exclusively for the feeding of said inmates incarcerated in the Morgan County Detention Facility.”

The state pays $1.75 per inmate each day and the federal government pays about $3 per day for each federal inmate.

Franklin created controversy from the moment she took office a year ago.

She immediately demoted and later fired the commander of the department’s drug task force. Subsequent issues arose, one involving Franklin hiring a campaign supporter and placing him in a lead position that other deputies were not offered.

A day after she took office on Jan. 18, 2011, Franklin demoted Doug Key, commander of the Drug Task Force, from lieutenant to sergeant and fired him on Feb. 11, citing insubordination.

“Restructuring the task force is the best thing I’ve done,” she said. “We’ve been able to mend relationships with other agencies, which gives us added resources and more committed involvement to do what it takes to make a dent in our drug problem.”

Under Key’s leadership, Morgan County was ranked No. 1 in the state in busting meth labs, according to testimony given by Bartlett at Key’s personnel hearing in April.

Another issue of controversy came when Franklin hired Ron Livingston, 72, one of her campaign workers, as a captain.

Initially, Livingston failed agility tests to become a certified officer, but Franklin said he passed them recently.

She said Livingston is doing what she needs him to do.

Sheriff Franklin was dissatisfied, however, with the $180,000 left in her department’s discretionary fund when she took office, but her predecessor says she should be thankful.

Former Sheriff, Greg Bartlett, said before leaving office that he was leaving $800,000 in discretionary money.

Franklin said that was before bills were paid.

“I’m sure at some point he may have had $800,000 before he paid for cars and other bills, but it’s not that now,” said Franklin, who was sworn into office Jan. 18. “It’s definitely going to put us in a bind to do some of the things we need to do because it’s just about all spent.”

The money is separate from the Sheriff’s Department’s budgets and from the county’s general fund.

Discretionary funds come from pistol permit fees, background checks, civil fees, monetary seizures in criminal cases, booking fees, the jail commissary and housing federal inmates. The sheriff may use the money to make purchases or finance projects for law enforcement.

Franklin had records that showed Bartlett’s spending included 23 new vehicles that cost $540,054.16 and computer software for $288,218.23. Bartlett said all the purchases were made during 2010 and the vehicles were purchased because the County Commission didn’t allocate funds for them. He said some of the bills were paid before he left office and some were paid after he left office.

Bobby Timmons, Director of the Alabama Sheriffs Association, said sheriffs can use all the discretionary money before leaving office, but they have to justify the spending.

“You don’t sit there and spend it because you lost a race,” Timmons said. “There is no place for political spoils. Way back down the line, we’ve seen them purchase stuff that the department needed, but while they were in office they didn’t want to use the money. When they’re leaving office, they’ve been known to buy things like bulletproof vests or automobiles that they didn’t buy while in office.”

“Deputies and investigators needed equipment, and I made sure they had it before I left,” he said. “My goal was to take care of the sheriff’s office, and I did. I wish her (Franklin) and the department well. I want the county to be protected, and I hope she does a good job.”

Franklin said she appreciated the vehicle purchases.

“The good thing is that we won’t have to buy new vehicles,” she said.

The County Commission provides the sheriff’s budgets for the office and jail. The money is given at the beginning of each fiscal year, and the current budget for the sheriff’s office is $3.7 million.

The jail budget is $4.5 million. Since Oct. 1, Bartlett has used 33 percent each of the office and jail budgets, according to commission office records.

Bartlett said Franklin’s discretionary funds will be restored quickly.

“She makes about $200,000 on federal inmate housing and the jail store brings about $100,000 a year,” he said.

The sheriff gets $40 for each inmate per day, and $3 of the amount is for feeding each inmate every day.

Half of the federal inmate money goes to the commission for payment on the jail that was built in 2006.

County Commission Chairman Ray Long said the sheriff’s office and jail budgets are sufficient for operating costs.

“I don’t think we’ll have to give her more money,” Long said. “The discretionary money is for things they purchase outside of the budget. She appears to be in good shape with the budgets.”


  1. So what's the purpose of this article? Do you think we are all so dumb that we need you to re say the same things over and over?

    1. I am a new reader of this blog but if even half of the stuff I read is true I can't understand why the sheriff is still walking around free. It appears that it isn't just the sheriff but people within her staff. Why has the government allowed these people to destroy some many others without recourse. The sheriff has walked all over county citizens civil rights and it looks like she has conducted several crimes as well. Why are these people still allowed to operate. It seems that the purpose of the article is that the people should fight for what is right and get rid of the corruption in your county. Maybe the reason they say the same thing over and over is because you don't get it.

    2. I think the real issue is that not 1/4 of the crap on here is true, much less 1/2. The blogger thinks her audience is stupid, I have news for her, most are not.

    3. Please enlighten us then. Which 1/2 of this "crap" is not true? After all, none of the information in this article is original content. All of it has been previously printed and/or posted by either the Decatur Daily, on Channel 19 News or in Southern Family Magazine.

    4. What's the purpose? Well it goes to show that the rest of the state doesn't approve of Anas antics.

    5. Can you prove its not true or just say it? I have seen a great deal of proof most of it is true.

  2. No, not all of you. Just the Ana supporters.

  3. It was not included here, but the consent decree also states: "For any year in which there is a shortfall in funds to provide meals for inmates in the County Jail, the Sheriff will not be responsible for the shortfall in funds." This shows why Ana is making excuses to cover her theft of the money by saying she took the $160K to invest to make up for her loss of $21K. She does not lose money according to the court order! I wonder what she did with the return she got on her investment. Supposedly, she "returned the $160K by placing it in a Cullman bank.

  4. OMG! Ana is shopping at the Dollar Store. She had her head down. From riches to rags. Shop like the rest of us Ana.

  5. So it appears at least $460,000 has been accounted for and missing ( stolen ) from the food fund but this only covers a limited time frame! Where did the money go? Why is only $150,000 being brought up in court? Has an audit of this money been done? If it is her own personal funds as she claimed does she have to pay taxes on all this? The depputies are patrolling the county in very old vehicles in some cases the old crown vics still. How many high dollar vehicles has Ana and those close to her had? What about the fuel for all these vehicles and trips Ana has made to Mobile to see the newest guy? How can people like this hold anyone accountable for anything! No corn dogs yet but it seems much worse than ever as far as the corruption. Why would any of her staff still be behind her unless they to are guilty and will go down with her when they get her. Why would she not just walk away from it at this point? Take her money and run kind of thing since she was able to remove it obviously. How can any one person have this much power unchecked? No one ever looked into this before now?

  6. All you guys from Alabama really this bad off that something like this would even happen? An obvious embarrassment to law enforcement nation wide! California not even this bad. Is the corruption as bad or worse than the racial problems there? Why has this not made more news nationally? Is it the same stuff as always where people just look the other way and don't care? Obviously something VERY wrong if even a third of what is here is true.

  7. It is abundantly clear serious problems are going on in this North Alabama county. Reading comments here the Supporters of this Sheriff are either delusional or have something to loose. Not sure how anyone can defend these actions. I have followed this for awhile and figured I would comment. I am very curious about how many readers there are here from out of state? Can someone on this blog do a roll call sort of blog and ask people only to comment where they live maybe? Curious who all sees this and where they are from.

  8. What is so sad about the whole ordeal is Ana is continuing daily to do corrupt actions that should have put her out of office and then led to an arrest by now. With the information she has in her control all she has to do in raising money is tell the guys she is protecting running the illegal gambling ring and casino.any other criminal activity pays also.
    It's time for this to stop

  9. These folks all behind bars. ASAP before they try to destroy anyone elses lives careers or business

  10. So, I have been following this blog off and on for awhile. I have even googled some of the news reports and TV interviews of Ana Franklin. First off it is abundantly clear Ana Franklin can not keep her lies straight and nor can Barney Lovelace who it is shocking to learn, can still practice law! Both are clearly unable to be honest people. It is the case often that some of these things take a great deal of time to work themselves out and with all the civil court actions involving this it is clear there must be a criminal side in the works.
    Ana Franklin and Barney lovelace has on numerous occasions said arrest would be made of the people involved in all of this. Can anyone tell me how many times those people have been charged with anything related to this or brought to court for contempt or other civil or criminal actions. Ana has been heard talking about actions, investigations, and action against these people but nothing has happened to them. Who are they? We know Glenda Lockhart is likely one. Ana has tried very hard to blame and threaten others but she is the one that keeps getting in trouble. It is also well known that one of her old boyfriends was a partner in the same Title Marts and that he has since resigned likely for his involvement with Ana and Title Marts. Are arrest getting close? Is it Ana or those who appear to be the victims of her unlawful reign of terror and corruption she appears to have had. Can't wait to see how this turns out! I hope that there is no place in this country where this can be allowed to go on without someone holding someone accountable? Is it true the amount of money known to be taken is now $460,000 and counting? If this is the case I bet its likely Ana was just full of herself when she said others would be arrested! Seems Ana and those who have sided with her and been involved in all of this have a great deal of explaining yet to do. Keep up the good work at exposing this woman and her gang who are clearly acting criminally. Corruption at it's best!

    1. Well, put all these special things she does have often been proven to be deceitful. It's time Ana put it out and make it happen or resign because if she can not arrest these people for something, all or most must be true and she and the others mentioned in this blog should be behind bars!

  11. Does anyone know if Judge Abdul Kallon,has made a decision,as to whether or not he will discipline the sheriff? I have not seen or read anything,about a hearing date being set.It is looking like she may walk away from this unscathed.In the corrupt state of

    Alabama,a lot of crooks do.

    1. She will not walk away! It is well known that Judge Abdul Kallon and the $150,000 being looked at is the least of her worries. Another $300,000 is accounted for missing and also the civil side of this is likely the least of her worries! Tax evasion, money laundering, conspiracy, wire tapping, and so much more. Many believe the Judge has not yet responded as they are waiting and it all will come together with other agencies involved. Ana and the people within her department that assisted in and participated in all of this are in real trouble and they know it now! it's not if it will happen it is when!

    2. Steven Ziaja has obviously figured it out and was smart enough to resign. Only one of the group that is figuring it out. Others are like Bones Wilson and Blake Robinson or Larry Berzett and Ron Livingston likely to ignorant and/or arrogant to resign. They still know they are in real trouble though. How can they not? I agree and also believe the Judge is waiting so everyone can come together at once and make things happen. They would have gotten away with it all but they got to greedy. Other politicians and the Sheriff's Association can't let them continue as it might expose them also. to much exposure now.

  12. So glad to see that there is still hope.There is so much corruption in North Alabama.Maybe when the sheriff and her cronies are taken down,you might consider going after the Priceville police.Especially since officer Herman Davis has been fired.People need to know about this.He is claiming that he retired.Since your fellow Whistle blower,Rick Sherman,is friends with Priceville police chief,Billy Peebles,maybe he can get at the truth.It is my understanding,that Peebles is retiring at the end of this month.They seem to be bailing out.I have it on good authority that they will all be subpoenaed to testify in two lawsuits,one against the State of Alabama and another against the Justice Department.They are guilty of illegal phone tapping,stalking,ticketing people who were not speeding and injuring them,because of a grudge,etc.Also,I am curious as to why Steven Ziaja has resigned,but his superior,John Venegoni,of the State of Alabama Law Enforcement Agency,has not.Isn't he just as big of a crook as Ziaja? They were both involved in Title Marts with known felon,Gregg Steenson.Do you have any idea when all of these people are going to be taken down?

    1. Hi Cil Bailey! Glad you could join in.

  13. Jessie BlackburnMay 12, 2017 at 3:09 PM

    Who is Cil Bailey?

  14. Wow! I do not know who this Ceil person is but she is misinformed.I live in Priceville and have it from a good source that congratulations are in order for the new Priceville police chief,Herman Davis.I know Chief Billy well,and he is retiring at the end of this month.Maybe Chief Davis will hire Ms. Franklin as his assistant Chief since according to the Whistle Blower she will be looking for another job.I think everyone has been hearing this now for over two years.Will you still be saying it twenty years from now?I do not have a lot of time to read this garbage but it is pretty sad that someone has to write their own comments on their blog.Jessie Blackburn AKA Glenda Lockhart.Most people think that the sheriff has done a good job.You running for sheriff is a joke.

    1. It will be kinda hard for Ana to get a job if she's in jail. Additionally, if you don't have time to read this, "garbage" why are you even commenting with your own garbage?

  15. You sir or madam are full of it. Just like Anna Franklin maybe you are aka Ana

  16. I would need a sex change operation.I am a law enforcement officer and a member of the Priceville Volunteer Fire Department.I believe that I should know what I am talking about.The information about Chief Peebles,came directly from him.If you know so much then why don't you enlighten everyone?You cannot because you don't know squat.You must be afraid of being arrested,or you would not bring it up.Maybe you will go to jail.You care nothing about the Sheriff's Department or the employees.You only care about yourself and getting rid of the sheriff.Why don't you get a life?

    1. Arrested for what? You can't go to jail or get arrested for stating an opinion. If you were in law enforcement, I would think you would have knowledge of this. Your comment reminds me of a young inexperienced boy.

  17. Thank you.I am in my late forties.I read some of your earlier post,and you either need a proof reader or a dictionary.You seem to have a problem with spelling.

    1. Did it ever occur to you that it wasn't my post you were reading? If you're going to post, please do so with factual information. You're old enough to have morals and principles. All of your comments seem to contradict such.