August 20, 2014

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Judge seals Anna Taylor-Carter’s criminal record

Anna Taylor Carter appears in court on Friday for a decision on her request that her conviction be sealed. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

Anna Taylor Carter appears in court on Friday for a decision on her request that her conviction be sealed. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

ELYRIA — Lorain County Common Pleas Judge James Burge on Friday sealed the criminal record of former Lorain County Community Action Agency President Anna Taylor-Carter.

The former head of the poverty-fighting agency was convicted in 2004 of falsification, tampering with evidence, theft and theft in office for stealing from LCCAA and then trying to cover up the crimes.

During a hearing Friday, Taylor-Carter, 54, argued that she didn’t realize that she was committing crimes when she used agency resources for her own personal gain. She was accused of using an agency credit card to buy $86 worth of makeup and to pay for $900 worth of meals on business trips for which she had already been reimbursed.

Taylor-Carter, who was cleared by a jury of seven additional charges, also created a fake contract to cover up how much LCCAA’s catering company, Red Ball Catering, had spent on her November 2001 wedding.

“At the time I really did not know that I was breaking any law,” she said Friday.

Assistant County Prosecutor Jennifer Riedthaler said Taylor-Carter didn’t deserve to have her criminal record sealed.

“The state finds the defendant’s actions in a position of community trust absolutely reprehensible,” Riedthaler said.

She also argued that Taylor-Carter had undermined the already fragile trust the residents of Lorain County have in public officials. She said that lack of faith in public leaders has led to the inability of the county commissioners to pass sales tax increases.

“When things like this happen, it has a huge impact on the community in addition to just bolstering that lack of trust that the community already doesn’t have for us,” Riedthaler said. “When you’re in a position of public trust, you need to earn and keep that trust. And additionally, you need to accept responsibility when you make a mistake and that has never been done in this case.”

Riedthaler also said prosecutors were worried that Taylor-Carter would commit additional crimes if she were put in a position of trust. Taylor-Carter has said she wanted her record sealed so she would be able to pursue career opportunities.

But Taylor-Carter said that she has taken responsibility for what she did, including serving her time on probation and repaying the agency $5,681.

“I apologized and admitted that I made some mistakes,” Taylor-Carter said.

She said that she has done volunteer work, including in the ministry and working for nonprofits and schools, since her conviction.

“I have done everything I could do except for go back in time and undo what I’ve done and if I could do that, I would have done that as well,” she said.

Taylor-Carter also argued that she never intentionally stole from LCCAA and had worked to improve the agency during her tenure.

Her leadership of the agency was often controversial and she drew criticism for improperly firing workers and refusing to release public records, a move that drew a lawsuit from The Chronicle-Telegram.

She also came under fire for using agency resources to pay for a plane ticket to Florida for her husband, a bill that was paid the day The Chronicle-Telegram published a story on the issue.

Taylor-Carter was fired in January 2003, a month after she was first indicted, but was brought back by a faction of the LCCAA board a month later. She was finally terminated from her job in March 2003. A consultant later insisted that the entire board resign because of the infighting over Taylor-Carter.

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

  • Michael

    she “argued that she didn’t realize that she was committing crimes when she
    used agency resources for her own personal gain. She was accused of
    using an agency credit card to buy $86 worth of makeup”

    Being stupid isn’t a crime. She takes the cake on stupidity if she thinks we believe she thought it was ok to use public money to buy her makeup. What a fool.

    Guess she can afford the lawyer her helped her get her record sealed, but not makeup.

  • Bill_Bishop

    There is only one judge in Lorain County that would even think of sealing her record, and he did……

  • DonMega

    They need to seal her ugly mouth.

  • Didi Pizaza

    Totally disgusting, and I wonder how much money he will get from her for his campaign? Ya know what they fail to mention she had a run in with an agency in Dayton when she worked there almost similar to this one before coming to LCCAA. Oh but, I bet she won’t do this AGAIN? No, let’s try a third time is a charm!! Oh snap!! I hope she rots in hell one day! Because she sure should. Minister? I know she tried that on us as workers, who was she trying to fool? We saw right through her then, and I see right through her now! Once a cheat, always a cheat, and she won’t change no matter if she is in Columbus or China..I forgot agencies in Columbus have a higher budget so she can manage it “better” Let’s see where she lands her next career at…!!! Bahahahaha!!

  • oldruss

    While Judge Burge may have “sealed” her record; whenever LCCAA is asked for a reference for Anna Taylor-Carter, let’s hope that her firing and her theft in office felony convictions are divulged to any potential employers.

    • Cassie

      Past employers aren’t actually allowed to give negative references. Instead they can refuse to comment on the former employee which still looks bad for the person.

      • oldruss

        Too bad that the editors have erased my original reply to Cassie.
        I had said, that an employer MAY state facts regarding a former employee’s termination, such as, “Joe Smith” was terminated for cause after having been convicted of felony theft in office . . . .”

        • Pablo Jones

          While it maybe facts, if the prospective employee finds out that the reason they didn’t get a job was because of a comment by a former employer they could potentially sue their former employer. Most HR people and managers are told to only confirm the employee worked for them and the dates in which they were employed. Some will only do this for employees that were fired, which can be a sign that they didn’t leave on a positive note, but others do this on all reference calls.

          Some public jobs can still see court records even if they have been sealed. But they usually don’t. But a simple google search will bring it up and see that her record has been sealed. Let’s hope future employers at least do that.

          • oldruss

            Anybody can sue for anything. The point is that as long as an employer states facts, as opposed to giving an opinion as to a former employee’s ability, work ethic, etc., the employer is on solid ground.

          • Pablo Jones

            Based on the ruling of this judge, do you want to trust the court system? All it would take is a lawyer to say LCCAA was being vindictive to a person who served her time and repaid them, by paint her in a negative light by saying she was fired and the nature of her crimes which were sealed.

          • Cassie

            I don’t know about employers but I know that certain licensing boards, such as nursing and teachers, have access to expunged records.

        • Joe Smith

          Hey, I didn’t get fired for theft!
          Ha, I know that was just an example. The problem is if a employer makes a statement about getting fired for theft that they would get sued. Most employers will only confirm that a person has worked for them and for how long due to lawsuits.

          • oldruss

            Not to put too fine a point on it, but in this case, the LCCAA Board voted to terminate her employment, and would have stated specific reasons for doing so. Her felony conviction is a matter of public record, and notwithstanding Judge Burge’s decision to “seal her record”, the fact is that she was convicted of theft in office relating to her position with the LCCAA.

  • Don Grantzki

    Time to resign, Burge!!

  • Don Grantzki

    The problem with Taylor-Carter-etc-etc came about when somebody decided to let her have MONEY!!

    • Reverend Bacon

      I think it came about when somebody decided to let her have OXYGEN!!

  • Cassie

    Her record might be sealed, but know that many employers do Google searches now. This and all the other articles about her tenure with LCCAA cannot be so easily erased.

  • GreatRedeemer

    I would have expected no different outcome. This is how it
    is in Lorain county. Wonder if the common criminal also gets their records sealed ?

    This woman is a stain on LCCAA’s mission. Then again for an
    agency that does allot of good it sure seems to hire/appoint the less than
    stellar individuals. Just recently Vince resigned as director of community
    services amid a prostitution sting, he also had the dubious of honor of a previously
    sealed criminal record. Presumably so he could work for LCCAA, which begs the
    question of where does Anna Taylor-Carter have a job lined up ?

  • told you so

    If I ever do any crime I want Burge on my side,He understands crime.He commits crime every day R.I.P. Duane hurley

  • danofamherst

    This judge did nothing to support the people who pay his salary and should be removed. What Taylor-Carter did was wrong and she knows it and should have to live with it. She created a FAKE contract to cover up how much LCCAA’s catering business spent on her wedding. And this judge believes she didn’t know she was doing anything wrong? If the court system is short of funding for this coming year, they should consider reducing their staff as they seem to be developing a hole in their creditability

  • Phil Blank

    Can I get my records sealed too?
    How much does that cost?

    • Charles Parker

      hire a lawyer

    • Zen Grouch

      Nolo.com specializes in ‘do-it-yourself’ legal books.

      Do a search and include the web site.

  • BITTERCLINGER36

    Haha, any lowlife’s best friend strikes again, people complain, but he gets elected. Anyone else notice how when something truly odd with the courts is written about it is almost always one judge doing it?

  • Aselfprotectingcitizen

    Ah yes. Steal and then only show remorse when you are caught and claim I did not know stealing was against the law. Really. Bye bye Jim Burge!

  • Mian

    Burge, how predictable. You’ve become a caricature.

    As for Mrs. Taylor-Carter, a little contrition would’ve been nice. ‘I didn’t know creating fake invoices to cover up the money I stole on personal catering services was a crime.’ Very believable.

    I only hope in this day of widespread electronic searches and the virtual evisceration of privacy, that your expungement is meaningless: I hope you never get a job handling money again, for you are surely a thief and can’t be trusted.

    • Zen Grouch

      **’I didn’t know creating fake invoices to cover up the money I stole on personal catering services was a crime.’ Very believable.**

      I believe her… I mean, look at her photo. She looks like half a total moron.

  • SniperFire

    Democrat judge and a black woman manager in a government job.

    And you were expecting?

    • Heath J

      RACIST!

      There, now it’s been said, I totally agree with you. Welcome to Lorain County.

    • willlam

      White women steal more money,from thier employers than thier Black counterparts. They get probation with Dem or Republican county judges,so what is all the noise about?

      • Oneday67

        Can you please share your source of information.

        • willlam

          …Lorain Journal,CT,all the newspapers in America!

  • givemeabreak1234

    I wish to know how this really has anything to do with a tax increase? really throw everything in the pot Jenn

  • LookBackTwo

    Politics trumps justice….every time! Burge is a political puppet…..

  • Charles Parker

    The majority of you have no clue,records are sealed quite often.

    • ken

      for a price…..$$

  • willlam

    34 comments. If she were White there would have been,10 comments, maybe. Words of wisdom,” your past does not define your future”.

    • ekwaykway

      Race baiting troll William speaks….

      • willlam

        Breaking News……”ekwaykway: A Racist Speaks”. Has NOTHING to say,but he speaks,anyway.

        • ekwaykway

          Anna taylor-carters tinker tailor soldier spy is innocent! Innocent I tells ya! :-0

          • willlam

            ….nothing to say,but comments anyway. Would you mine sharing your comment with us,as it does NOT make sense to me. What is a “tinker tailor soldier spy”? A toy,game your imagination?What?

  • Trina

    I come here and find small town locals making small town local comments, lol classic.