EXCLUSIVE: FBI, State A.G. Investigating Public Corruption Case In Office Of Former Madison Co. Commissioner
HUNTSVILLE, Ala.(WHNT) – The FBI and Alabama Attorney General’s office are reviewing allegations of financial misconduct and corruption by an ex-employee of former Madison County Commissioner Jerry Craig, sources tell WHNT News 19.
Multiple sources familiar with the investigation have told WHNT News 19 that the employee was terminated earlier this year after being confronted about several financial irregularities in a county bank account.
According to those sources, the checking account used for Madison County’s annual Fishing Rodeo was used as a cover for large deposits and subsequent withdrawals by the terminated employee. Sheriff Blake Dorning said his office was alerted about the problems earlier this year and conducted an investigation. The sheriff said the findings of his probe have been turned over to the FBI.
Madison County Chairman Dale Strong said his office alerted the Alabama Ethics Commission, who handed the case over to the State Attorney General’s office this week. Strong said current District Three Commissioner Eddie Sisk noticed the financial irregularities after succeeding Craig in late 2012.
“There were irregularities that were uncovered here at the Madison County Commission,” said Strong. “We gathered information, consulted our legal counsel, and at that point notifications were made to law enforcement, the Alabama Ethics commission, and the State of Alabama… it’s been a process that we have methodically gone through.”
Sources said monies from various District Three work projects went into the Fishing Rodeo account, with the terminated employee withdrawing those funds via debit card later on. The exact amount of money that was allegedly misappropriated has yet to be determined, but Alabama Ethics Commission Director Jim Sumner said the amount was substantial.
“The underlying facts show she was using public funds for her own benefit, and it amounted to tens of thousands of dollars.”
Sumner said the case covered a span of several years, and referred all other questions to the State Attorney General’s office.
Sisk declined to comment on the investigation, and referred our questions to County Commission Attorney Jeff Rich. Jerry Craig was not available for comment. Family members said he was out of town on a deer hunting trip.
Huntsville attorney Robert Patterson confirmed he is representing the former employee now under review, and issued a brief statement on behalf of his client.
“She wants to remedy any problems her mistakes may have caused,” said Patterson. “We will cooperate, and wherever that leads is up to the Attorney General.”
FBI spokesman Paul Daymond said his office could not confirm or deny they were investigating the case, and would not comment on any potentially active investigation.