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County financial records seized as part of investigation of former county administrator

Officials from the Alabama Attorney General's office seized financial records from the Franklin County Commission dating back to 2009 as part of an investigation that involves former Franklin County Administrator Crista Madden, the Franklin Free Press has learned.

The records were picked up from the commission office on Friday, March 2, pursuant to a subpoena, according to a source familiar with the investigation. The records date back to 2009, the source said. Madden was appointed as county administrator by Franklin County Probate Judge Barry Moore on October 1, 2009. Madden is the daughter of Franklin County Commissioner Rayburn Massey.

Madden resigned from her county administrator position in Franklin County August 31, 2017. She was hired as the county administrator for Chilton County and began that new position October 1, 2017.

The Chilton County Commission placed Madden on administrative leave Friday afternoon after an executive session at an emergency meeting. According to an article in the Clanton Advertiser, Madden was removed from all county bank accounts and assistant administrator Denise Hafer was added as the new authorized signature on those accounts. Hafer was appointed as interim county administrator Friday.

Madden did not answer phone calls Monday and did not return a message.

The commission held a special-called meeting Monday afternoon. That special meeting had only one agenda item, which dealt with a quitclaim deed for a right-of-way in the Mike Green Industrial Park. That matter dealt with an industrial access grant the county applied for and was unrelated to the Madden investigation.

During the meeting, Miller requested the commission go into executive session and asked that a roll call vote be taken on his request. Moore told Miller that Alabama law stipulates that no additional agenda items could be added to a special called meeting agenda.

Miller said he recalled past meetings where agenda items had been added and questioned why Monday's meeting would be any different. The meeting went forward with only the one agenda item and no executive session.

Miller said he and other commissioners were notified Friday by Moore about the subpoena and the records that were picked up. Miller said he did not know specifics about the investigation.

The attorney general's office subpoenaed financial records and we cooperated fully. That's about all I know. Anything else would be innuendo,” Miller said.

County attorney Roger Bedford confirmed Monday that records were subpoenaed from the commission office last week.

We have been contacted by the attorney general's office requesting some documents. The (probate) judge and commission fully complied with the request. At this point it's just a subpoena for records. We have no details on the investigation,” Bedford said.

The Free Press also attempted to contact Massey and Moore Monday morning. Messages were left with both men.

Chilton County Commission Chairman Allen Caton released a statement following Friday's meeting: “The Chilton County Commission was made aware of an ongoing investigation of Crista Madden by the attorney general's office. At this time the investigation is unrelated to Chilton County. Pending the outcome of this investigation, Mrs. Madden has been placed on administrative leave from her duties as county administrator.”

Madden began working for Franklin County on September 1, 1992, when she was hired as county accountant. She became assistant county administrator on October 1, 2005.

At the time she stepped down from her Franklin County position, Madden said she would always consider Franklin County home.

This is my home. Being away from my family will be a challenge. Another challenge is leaving the girls and staff here. They're like family to me. I'm not running from anything here. I have a great job and work with some wonderful people. I have great relationships with the department heads and elected officials. It's just an opportunity I felt I couldn't pass by, and it's a good time in my life and career to do this,” Madden said.

Commissioner Chris Wallace said he was made aware of the records being subpoenaed Friday, but Wallace said he had no specific information about the investigation.

I don't know anything excepts the records were subpoenaed and I know there is an investigation involving Crista Madden but I don't yet know the specifics of that investigation,” Wallace said.

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