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Company not linked to loss of defendants
State error blamed for connection to forfeiture of $800,000 in bonds

By Sheryl Marsh · 340-2437

Alabama Home Detention, owned by Chris Putnam, is not the company that ceased doing business in Morgan County after two Mexican defendants fled, resulting in the forfeiture of $800,000 in bonds.

Putnam of Decatur said he is sole owner of Alabama Home Detention Inc., Cheaper Bail Bond Inc. and Cheapest Bail Bond Inc.

His attorney, Michael Seibert, said he is getting the up-to-date corporate information for Putnam’s companies reflected in records at the secretary of state’s office. He blamed sloppy clerical work at the state level.

Putnam said there is no connection with his businesses and the former officers or agents of Jail Busters of Morgan County Inc. or Jail Busters Inc., which is in Madison County. He said he once worked for and remains friends with the people who owned those businesses.

He said an agent for Morgan County Jail Busters posted $400,000 bonds for two Hispanic defendants, who fled.

Seibert said the bonds are only paper.

Out only 2 defendants

“All the county is out is two defendants,” Seibert said, emphasizing that the county lost no money.

Once the bonds are forfeited, the bond amounts are due the county and state, said Circuit Clerk John Pat Orr. He said he is taking steps to collect the money.

Alabama Home Detention Inc. provides electronic monitoring for the county’s juvenile program and community corrections operation. A 2007 annual report in the secretary of state’s office shows a Huntsville address for that business .

It also lists two former Jail Busters affiliates as officers and agent of AHD. James McGiboney is listed as president and James Butler Jr. is listed as registered agent.

Trying to correct record

Putnam said he will try again to get records on AHD, Cheaper Bail Bond Inc. and Cheapest Bail Bond Inc. corrected in the secretary of state’s office.

He showed two letters he sent to the secretary of state asking for removal of former Jail Busters representatives from the corporate records.

One is dated Sept. 12, 2006, in which Putnam asks for James Butler Jr. and James Butler Sr. to be removed “from connection” with AHD. The other letter, dated April 4, 2007, asks for removal of McGiboney. He said McGiboney’s name shouldn’t have been on the document because he was never affiliated with AHD.

Tamara Cofield, a spokeswoman for the secretary of state’s office, said the office does not remove names of officers. She said that is done in the Revenue Department. Cofield said someone from the secretary of state’s office would have called Putnam and told him that they could not process the letter regarding McGiboney.

Cofield said her office may change the names of registered agents, but the agent who is listed on a corporation document would have to make the request, not Putnam.

No call received

She said the secretary of state’s office would have called Putnam concerning the proper procedure.

Putnam said no one called him.

Putnam said he operates Cheaper Bail Bonds out of the former building that Jail Busters of Morgan County rented on Sixth Avenue Northeast. He said his Cheapest Bail Bonds is in Madison County.

Incorporation records in the secretary of state’s office list 110-A Sixth Ave. as the address for both bonding companies.

AHD and the bail bonding companies are all separate corporations.

Judge’s order

Seibert said a Madison County circuit judge’s order issued when Putman got Cheapest Bail Bonds certified prohibits him from business dealings with the Butlers and McGiboney in Madison County only. He said the judge made that clear in his verbal ruling.

It is not in the written order.

Bills of sale

Putnam showed bills of sale of AHD between him and Butler Jr., Butler Sr., Crystal Butler and McGiboney. He said he did that to make sure that no questions would be raised about ownership of his companies.

Putnam said Butler Sr. was his silent partner in 2005 when AHD was in the formation stage.

He said the AHD Web site showing himself as state coordinator and listing district agents reflects the conception stage of the business.

He said the original plan was to contract with the Department of Corrections for monitoring.

He said that plan did not materialize.

The bill of sale shows Butler Sr. sold Putnam his interest in AHD on Sept. 12, 2006. Putnam said AHD is located at Cheaper Bail Bond Inc. in Decatur, not the Huntsville address on the Web site and on the secretary of state records.

He said all monitoring is from the Decatur site. He said AHD operates only in Morgan County because the statewide vision never materialized.

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