By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Thursday, July 28, Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange (R) announced that two employees of the Alabama Licensing Board for General Contractors were indicted on charges of ethics violations and possession of forged instruments.
Nancy C. Saffo, age 51, of Pike Road, and Christy Easterling, age 47, of Prattville were arrested on July 27 and July 26, respectively, by the Attorney General’s Special Prosecutions Division. Both were booked at the Montgomery County jail and released on bond.
The AG’s Special Prosecutions Division presented evidence to a Montgomery County Grand Jury on July 22, resulting in indictments* against Saffo and Easterling.
Nancy Saffo was charged with seven counts of using her position for personal gain and 24 counts of second-degree possession of a forged instrument.
Christy Easterling was charged her with four counts of using her position for personal gain and 11 counts of second-degree possession of a forged instrument.
Specifically, the indictment charges that Saffo and Easterling used their positions with the Alabama Licensing Board for General Contractors to obtain checks or currency, and knowingly possessed forged instruments required or authorized to be filed, or officially issued or created by a public office (the State Licensing Board for General Contractors) with intent to defraud.
No further information about the investigation or about the defendants’ alleged crimes other than that stated in the indictment was released at this time.
State Auditor Jim Zeigler said after the announcement: “This should have a preventive effect, discouraging others from breaking our ethics laws.”
The penalty for violating the state’s ethics law by using one’s public position for personal gain is punishable by two to 20 years for each count. Second-degree possession of a forged instrument is punishable by one year and one day to 10 years for each count.
An indictment merely means that a grand jury, who heard just one side of the case, has voted that an accusation of a crime is warranted. The defendant is entitled to defend themselves before a jury and is presumed innocent until proven guilty by 12 jurors beyond a reasonable doubt.
Matt M. Hart is the Chief of the Attorney General’s Special Prosecutions Division.
Disgraced Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) was convicted on June 10 of 12 counts of public corruption in a courtroom in Lee County in a very high profile case for the Special Prosecutions Division. Also this week the Special Prosecutions Division won an impeachment case before the Alabama Supreme Court of Sumter County Sheriff Tyrone Clark Sr.
According to their website, the State Licensing Board for General Contractors was created through legislation enacted in 1935. The Board licenses and regulates commercial/industrial contractors in the major and specialty classifications that constitute the industry. Currently, there are more than 10,000 general contractors licensed to work in the State. The Board maintains a staff of license specialists who are trained to answer inquiries concerning the licensing process and the current status of licensed general contractors.
Christy Easterling is listed as one of seven licensing specialists on the Board’s website in the Licensing/Renewal Division. Nancy Corbitt-Saffo also has the title of licensing specialist on the board’s website.
A five-member board, appointed by the Governor, directs administrative policy for the agency’s operations. Alex Whaley is the Chairman of the board which includes representatives of each major classification of license. Regular quarterly meetings are held in January, April, July and October. Joseph C. Rogers Jr. is the Executive Secretary of the Board.
The Board’s offices are located in Montgomery, Alabama. The office receives and processes applications for new contractor’s licenses, for additional classifications, for changes of license records, and for license renewals. The agency reviews and maintains records of disciplinary actions and provides support services. The office also provides the verified certificates of licensure or on non-licensed status to be used in court or other actions. The compliance/regulatory section of the agency investigates all consumer complaints concerning general contractors. All disciplinary actions resulting from these investigations are initiated by the board. The board’s special investigators also focus on the unlicensed contractor.