Sunday, July 10, 2011

10 JUL 11: Fanning the Flames

So we're six months into the term of Columbus Mayor Teresa Pike Tomlinson -- and outside the Parks Department scandal and a couple of retirements, there have been no wholesale changes at the Government Center. For instance, Fire Chief Jeff Meyer still has his job. Contrary to some speculation, he has NOT quit to become Jim Wetherington's personal chauffeur.

SUNDAY SOAPBOX: Another fire department is in the spotlight today, because of a federal indictment we mentioned here Friday. This slightly edited e-mail about Angelia Curran comes from an anonymous "Concerned Firefighter"....

Thanks for mentioning the story. Angie has gotten away with so much for so long and intimidated so many, the only way we will ever start to fix the problems is with the communities support, and your story along with those on WTVM, WLTZ, Ledger-Enquirer, and Opelika-Auburn news are letting the community know that issues exist.

There is a copy of the indictment on WTVM's website, and if you get a chance to review it you will see that contrary to the headline in Opelika-Auburn News, she is actually accused of stealing $15K +.....each of the 3 counts state "$5,000 or more" per count.

There is currently a battle brewing within the department as the "firefighters" want her suspended pending the outcome of the case. The board, of which her and her father are members, are resisting. I can not imagine any work place or organization where you could be accused by the UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT of stealing from that organization and you would not be put on suspension pending the outcome. She was even suspended from her job as second in command at EAMC's ETS ambulance service, but not from the organization she stole from. The board has seen the bank statements, they know the charges were made using the debit card and about the atm withdrawals Yet they refuse to suspend her.

She still has full access to the fire department and its millions of dollars in equipment for which no inventory exists. This lack of an accurate inventory of what amounts state tax payer property is of course in contravention to state law. However, any time she has been "audited" she's presented an inventory, the "auditor" has never actually checked the inventory sheets are total BS, just a complete fabrication, but if no one checks how do you get caught?

I would also point you to the last audits for the State Examiner of Public Accounts, several deficiencies like lack of documentation for expenses and $20,000+ spent on meals in 1 years time were documented but not acted upon.

Here is a video she made in 2007, after she nominated herself to the "women of worth" award....

The indictment surprises me right away, by noting the Federal Emergency Management Agency awarded grant money to the Friendship Volunteer Fire Department for coloring books. Is this a proper use of "emergency" money? Especially if a tornado leaves children without crayons?

But anyway: the indictment accuses Angelia Curran of embezzling at least $5,000 of federal grant money on three separate occasions between 2006 and 2010. It does NOT say how the money was spent. But if you're a careful spender, you don't have to spend that much money at conventions in New York.

East Alabama Medical Center released a statement to the Opelika-Auburn News about Angelia Curran. It calls her "instrumental in our EMS disaster training," but says nothing about suspending her. Does our writer mean "suspended" as in mid-air - like she's stuck in a tree?

Someone must have double-checked an audit at some point - because how else could Angelia Curran be indicted for embezzling grant money? How else could this case have reached a federal grand jury in Montgomery? How else.... oh, wait a minute. Maybe Curran spent some of that money at Victoryland.

Unlike this writer, I can think of a place where a federal indictment does not automatically mean a job suspension. Several members of Congress stayed in office all the way to their conviction....

The 2007 video of Angelia Curran was for an honor presented by L'Oreal Paris. But the link took me to a website which looks like it's based in Lithuania. If that's how far a Smiths Station resident has to go to be considered a "woman of worth," the U.S. clearly has a long way to go.

The two-minute video shows Angelia Curran admitting Friendship firefighters have confided in her -- and "sometimes they cry on your shoulder." There may be a big lesson here, and not only for her. If someone confesses a sin to you, be very careful about confessing anything back.

(I could find no proof that Curran "nominated herself" for the Women of Worth Award. It's supposed to be a case where other people nominate you. But I've heard stories that the late Lonnie Jackson offered himself to WTVM as a "Nine Special Friend" - and even tried to win it twice.)

Now it's time for a language lesson....

Here you go Richard, the Word of the Day. Check out it's validity. Thanks, Larry

The chain e-mail attached to this refers to the word "dhimmitude." It does NOT refer to people upset with dimmer switches.

The word is less than 30 years old - apparently coined by a former president of Lebanon, to refer to Islamic suppression of other faiths. But you'll notice Louis Farrakhan has yet to call on President Obama to order five mandatory daily prayers toward Mecca.

So why would a writer bring this word toward The Blog of Columbus? Perhaps because the chain e-mail claims the word is in the federal health care reform act - a claim which is false. Whoever wrote that original message may deserve the title "dhim-witted."

Let's take one more message today - on a topic which may seem familiar:

Hi, Richard,

I recently discovered your blog and have enjoyed reading it immensely. I would love to read some more, but I can't find a way to your earlier posts.

Am I missing something? (Wouldn't be the first time!)

Mike Nichols

We addressed this issue 20 Jun, when someone else brought it up. So that ought to.... oh wait. That post is in the archives now, isn't it?

The archive feature for this blog stopped working a long time ago, and I haven't figured out how to fix it. I finally checked online to see what a "w3c validator" mentioned in my HTML code is. The answer involves something about "markup validity" - and I personally don't think the 30-cent markup in Columbus gas prices in recent days is valid at all.

Your best way to read old blog posts is to use the search box at the top left corner of the page. Search for a month or day the way we title each post - such as "Mar 11." But admittedly, the appearance of current posts at the top may mar 11 more from appearing below.

(BLOGGER'S NOTE: Because of today's Soapbox submissions, our city work crew test is being postponed until another day.)

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