December 20, 2014

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Former head of LCCAA wants record sealed

Anna Taylor Carter listens to her attorney Lynn Loritts during a 2004 hearing.

Anna Taylor Carter listens to her attorney Lynn Loritts during a 2004 hearing. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

ELYRIA — Former Lorain County Community Action Agency President Anna Taylor-Carter is seeking to seal the record of her conviction on charges she stole from the poverty-fighting agency and then covered it up.

Taylor-Carter, 54, was convicted in March 2004 of falsification, tampering with evidence, theft and theft in office. She was sentenced to probation and ordered to repay the agency $5,681. She was released from probation in 2006.

In her application to have her case file sealed from public view, filed without the help of an attorney, Taylor-Carter wrote that she hasn’t gotten into legal trouble since her conviction.

Taylor-Carter, who listed a Columbus address on the form, also wrote that she has worked in the ministry, volunteered with non-profit groups, mentored young adults and served as a tutor.

“Having paid her debt to society, defendant would like to close this chapter of her life and move on to pursue employment (opportunities) for which she is skilled and qualified,” the application said.

A jury concluded that Taylor-Carter had used an agency credit card to buy $86 worth of make-up at a Columbus department store as well as for $900 worth of meals on business trips for which she had already been paid for expenses.

She also created a bogus contract to cover up the actual costs of services provided by Red Ball Catering, a catering service operated by LCCAA, for her November 2001 wedding. The jury cleared her of seven other charges she had faced.

Taylor-Carter could not be reached for comment Friday, but during a June 2004 sentencing hearing, she apologized for her actions.

“It seems that saying I’m sorry or saying I’m remorseful does not really capture, do not really express what I’ve gone through,” she told Visiting Judge Judith Cross.

Her attorney at the time said during the same hearing that Taylor-Carter was having trouble finding work because of the publicity surrounding the case.

Taylor’s tenure with LCCAA was fraught with controversy, including her firing of a maintenance worker for talking to a reporter about setting up a church service at one of the agency’s facilities while he was on the clock. The worker was later reinstated by a mediator.

She also faced allegations she used agency funds to pay for a plane ticket to Florida for her husband, although that bill was paid the same day The Chronicle-Telegram published a story about the matter.

The Chronicle-Telegram also sued the agency after LCCAA refused to turn over public records requested by the newspaper.

Even after Taylor-Carter was first indicted in December 2002, she continued to work for the agency until she was fired in January 2003. The next month, a portion of the board rehired her, which led another faction of board members to sue the agency. She was finally fired by a vote of 14-0 in March 2003.

Later that year a consultant to the agency insisted that the entire board resign because of the rift over Taylor-Carter.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.