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Morgan official target of probe

By Sheryl Marsh
smarsh@decaturdaily.com 340-2437

Morgan County Community Corrections Director Alison Nix is the target of an investigation into thousands of dollars allegedly missing from a youth sports organization, an attorney said.

Paula Bassham, attorney for Hatton Youth Sports Inc., said the investigation could lead to criminal prosecution.

But Nix took and passed a polygraph test Thursday on the advice of attorney John Mays, whom she has retained. The test was administered by a private firm in Birmingham.

Bassham says Nix has come under scrutiny as secretary/treasurer of the sports organization in Lawrence County. Bassham said a probe into the organization's bank account shows between $10,000 and $30,000 missing.

"Based on bank statements, it appears that there may have been some inappropriate activity on the account," Bassham said. "I went to the Lawrence County district attorney's office and on their advice we met with the Alabama Bureau of Investigation this morning (Thursday). An investigation targeting forgery and misappropriation of funds is under way."

Bassham said the sports board gave her permission to release details about the matter.

She said a bounced check started the probe.

"Last Thursday a check was written by one of the board members for baseball equipment and it was returned for insufficient funds," Bassham said. "A quorum of board members contacted me, and I advised them to have an emergency meeting and to compel the treasurer to be there."

Bassham said the meeting was Sunday.

"She (Nix) stated that she had taken several thousands of dollars out of the account and was holding it at her house because she thought it would be safer there," Bassham said. "After they contacted her about the missing funds, she went Friday and put over $3,000 back into the account and produced a statement to the board showing that she had done so."

During an interview Thursday, Nix said she kept the money at her home, something other members did all the time.

She explained that baseball, football and basketball divisions each had a member in charge and they kept their own financial records.

Bassham said Nix has not admitted to taking any money, but she made a statement to her.

"She gave a statement Sunday to a quorum of the board and to me on Tuesday that if there was money missing, she would mortgage her house to return whatever missing money there was," Bassham said.

"Those statements are absolutely lies," said Mays. "Alison would sign checks and they (division leaders) would put in the amounts. The only way to describe the way this group kept records is abortion."

Bassham delivered a letter to Nix on Thursday telling her that the board had passed a resolution removing her from the position, and instructed her to turn in everything, such as bank books, that she had belonging to the organization.

Nix said she did not write checks or make deposits, and she only made the deposit June 22 because a member asked her to do so.

Mays said Nix retained him to clear her name of rumors that were spreading.

"Not that she has done anything wrong, but that there were rumors that there would be questions about her honesty, and she wanted to see that this is fully and quickly resolved. My client is not a thief," Mays said.

He said he had Nix take a polygraph Thursday to help abate the allegations and that she plans to cooperate with investigating authorities.

The questions on the polygraph were about the alleged theft. The test concluded that Nix had told the truth, according to results shown to The Daily.

Bassham said charges could be forthcoming.

"We all anticipate criminal charges coming from the investigation" Bassham said.

An ABI agent who met with Bassham and Lawrence authorities referred questions to the agency's spokesman who is out of town.

Bassham said Nix was secretary for two years.

Nix said she has been doing the duties of the treasurer for less than a year.

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