August 29, 2014

Elyria
Clear
53°F
test

Judge to decide whether to seal ex-LCCAA head’s theft record

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 — Prosecutors are opposing former Lorain County Community Action Agency President Anna Taylor-Carter’s bid to have her criminal conviction for stealing from the agency sealed from public view.

Taylor-Carter, 54, is due in court today before county Common Pleas Judge James Burge, who will have the final say on whether her 2004 convictions for falsification, tampering with evidence, theft and theft in office should be expunged from her record.

In documents requesting the record be sealed, Taylor-Carter wrote that she had “paid her debt to society” and wanted to “close this chapter of her life and move on to pursue employment (opportunities) for which she is skilled and qualified.”

Taylor-Carter, who now lives in Columbus, was convicted of using an agency credit card to buy $86 worth of makeup and for $900 worth of meals on business trips for which she had already been paid expenses.

She also created a fake contract to cover up how much Red Ball Catering, a service operated by LCCAA, spent to provide food for her November 2001 wedding. She was cleared by a jury of seven additional charges.

Assistant County Prosecutor Jennifer Riedthaler wrote in court documents opposing Taylor-Carter’s expungement request that the former director of the poverty-fighting agency broke the public trust when she committed her crimes.

“When (Taylor-Carter) selfishly and illegally used those public funds for personal items such as makeup, this meant that these funds were not going to the intended individuals and group recipients,” Riedthaler wrote. “This theft and deceit had a significantly negative impact that affected the whole community and those that depended on receiving those funds.”

Riedthaler also argued that potential future employers should be aware of Taylor-Carter’s crimes “in order to protect themselves, their potential clients and the community as a whole.”

Taylor-Carter’s leadership of LCCAA was often controversial, including improperly firing workers, refusing to release public records and allegations she used agency funds to pay for a plane ticket to Florida for her husband. That bill was paid the same day The Chronicle-Telegram, which had sued LCCAA over public records access, published a story about the trip.

Even Taylor-Carter’s departure from the agency was steeped in debate. She continued to work after being indicted in December 2002 until she was fired in January 2003. She was brought back a month later by one faction of the board, before finally being fired in March 2003.

The infighting by the board ultimately led a consultant to insist that the entire board resign.

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

  • Bonnie Pickett

    The taxpayers should get a vote on this because she stole “our” money. If she gets her records sealed then taxpayers should vote the judge out of office. I’m tired of public officials using money that doesn’t belong to them. Her salary was more than most people live on and greed made her think she deserved more. Her debt to society wasn’t enough, let everyone know she is a thief. If she had been a poor person stealing food to feed her family, she would have probably gotten more jail time.

    • stilitz

      Same page Bonnie, employer’s knowledge of prospective employee’s past is important to know. $100,000 plus salary as reported (bing search), nice income, assume also maybe benefits were just as good but not good enough, which lead to the theft and then thinking “I can hide it” – Nobody will know = “dumb”! Today, wanting to “seal” records is the same back then when the conviction included “falsification and tampering” with evidence for misusing agency funds.

  • Bonnie Pickett

    I missed seeing it was Judge Burge making this decision, she will probably get her “good name” back.

  • stilitz

    Would she also be able to remove her name from such search engines as google, bing etc… ?

  • Ex_Subscriber

    Well, the prosecution can forget their chances of not having this record sealed. With “Advocate of the Downtrodden” Burge on the case, she’ll not only get the the record sealed, the honorable Mr. Burge might even decide to vacate the conviction and order that she be given her job back with back pay. It’s not like he hasn’t overstepped his authority before…

  • grannyof6

    Absolutely not, why should she have her record expunged. If Judge Burge allows this it gives her a free ticket to go do it somewhere else. As if she wasn’t paid enough for a job not very well done in the first place. She stole the funds that were earmarked to help those who needed it. NO, NO, NO she did the crime now let her live with it. Get a job a McDonald’s they hire “ex” criminals!

  • Sarah Boesger

    Just another disgusting example of how white-collar crime is OK and the crimes of the poor are handled with a rusty ax.

  • Didi Pizaza

    Being a former employee and Union Official (bargaining member) it just makes me sick to know she is trying to clear her name, and this might be a possibility. If Judge Burge allows this to happen, to the taxpayers of Lorain County, then perhaps it is time to vote him out of office completely. People don’t forget, and I definitely won’t….Anna Taylor-Clarke did the agency alot of damage, and they are still paying for it today. So, why is she any different?

  • Joe Sandor

    She is a convicted felon.
    The record should stand.
    Why seal the record?
    So she can go to another agency or company with no past criminal record?
    And possibly steal more?

  • GreatRedeemer

    That’s how we roll in Lorain county. She is just the latest
    Lorain county politico criminal clearing their name.

  • levtrotsky

    Didn’t our former Auditor, Mr. Stewart help-himself to ‘our’ money, got caught & returned it? Where is the prosecution?

  • Don Grantzki

    Look for this fine public servant to wind up employed by Obummer’s health insurance monopoly once the demmunists find a way to put private insurance companies out to pasture. One only need consider party affiliation of the judge who elected to seal her criminal case files to see the handwriting on the wall.

  • Jimmy Hogjowels

    Why should her crimes be hidden? They SHOULD BE a matter of public record.

    Criminals that commit fraud, embezzlement, and conversion, should be exposed and the public should be warned of those that commit repeated deceitful crime.

    This was no youth crime. This was a greedy middle aged criminal fraudster.