Barber runs Lott's background
Wednesday, May 7, 2014 1:00 PM
A clerk in the Madison County Tax Assessor's Office has run five background checks on District 2 Supervisor Ronny Lott in the last 90 days.
Lott, a candidate in a special election for Madison County Chancery Clerk, was livid when he learned of the actions this week after filing a public records request.
"As a sitting supervisor, I am appalled that county resources were used to look into my past," he said on Wednesday. "I was shocked to learn that my personnel file was breached. This is unacceptable."
He said he filed a request after another candidate, David Overby, filed a request to see if anyone in the county had run background checks.
"There were no related background searches to Overby, however five searches were performed on me from the tax assessor's annex," Lott said documents showed.
The first search was conducted on Feb. 24 at 5:37 p.m. and was a comprehensive report on Lott.
Four subsequent searches occurred on March 11 between 4:20 p.m.-4:48 p.m. These were person searches on Ronald Lott and Ronald W. Lott, with comprehensive reports on both.
The searches were conducted using Sue Anglin's user ID. Anglin is administrative assistant to Tax Assessor Gerald Barber.
She is one of three people in the county with access to the LexisNexis software that the county uses. The county pays $131.11 each month per user. The other two with access are Emily Anderson with the assessor's office and Myrtle Raburn with the tax collector.
Lott accused Barber and Irby Ford, Barber's deputy tax assessor and the third candidate for chancery clerk, of being behind the background checks.
Barber would neither confirm nor deny Lott was the subject of background searches by his office.
"Our office does not discuss details of our investigations," he wrote in an email to the Journal on Wednesday. "Ronny Lott is not a subject of our investigations at this time. No one in the chancery clerk race had any involvement in any of our investigations."
Ford vehemently denied any participation and said he didn't even know the county could do such searches.
"That's news to me," he said. "I don't even know how you would go about doing a background check on somebody.
"I just don't know what to tell you," he continued. "I had no knowledge of it. I'm just not concerned about any of that type of stuff."
Ford said he focuses on his platform and issues and not on people's history and personal lives.
Lott said the background checks demonstrate a pattern with the Tax Assessor's Office and likened the searches to Barber's recent grab at Entergy customer data in order to police homestead exemption.
"(Barber) has complete disregard for the Fourth Amendment," Lott said
Lott said he was forwarding the information over to the district attorney's office to see if any crimes were committed.
Barber said Anglin was in charge of homestead investigations, but his website lists Anderson as Homestead Director. Anglin is listed as administrative assistant.