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Today’s News Headlines from Alabama 810 News 

  • Former College Chancellors son placed on leave
  • Judge rules title pawn law unconstitutional
  • Accident kills Talladega woman
  • Former Gadsden official enters guilty plea
  • Local Football Lineup...High school & College!

 

Former College Chancellors son placed on leave 

Steven Johnson, son of the fired chancellor of Alabama's two-year college system, has been placed on leave following the disclosure that he took payments from an Anniston architect working at Lawson State Community College.

Johnson will remain on paid administrative leave, which began Monday, as Lawson State officials investigate the payments he received from Jenkins Munroe Jenkins of Anniston. The school's action followed reports Monday in which Johnson acknowledged receiving the $3,000 monthly payments from the architectural firm. Julian Jenkins, a partner in the firm, said he paid Johnson the money without knowing that he worked full-time at Lawson, performing similar work.  Johnson, the son of ousted Chancellor Roy Johnson, received nearly $69,000 a year from Lawson to work on building and maintenance projects.  Roy Johnson was fired in July after member of the state Board of Education learned of jobs and contracts given to his family.   Lawson State President Perry Ward said he was not aware of the financial arrangement Steven Johnson had with Jenkins. Ward said that Johnson's duties included overseeing campus building and maintenance projects similar to the one Jenkins paid him for. Julian Jenkins said in an interview this week that he agreed to pay Johnson $3,000 a month, starting in about October, to oversee site preparation for a residence hall being built at Lawson. He said he knew Johnson had worked on another project at Lawson earlier, but he said he was not aware that Johnson was being paid full time for similar work. Jenkins said that Johnson stopped receiving the payments in June. Jenkins also has said he helped Roy Johnson build his $1 million home in Opelika. Jenkins said he didn't make Johnson pay him when he did the work, instead agreeing to wait until Johnson sells the house he built last year.   Andre Taylor, a spokesman for the two-year system, said Department of Postsecondary Education officials also were not aware of the arrangement. Taylor said Johnson's arrangement with Jenkins appeared to violate a system policy prohibiting employees from performing outside work that would be considered a conflict of interest. Ward said he also is looking into criminal charges of sexual abuse, domestic violence and resisting arrest pending against Steven Johnson in Baldwin County. Johnson is accused of beating his estranged wife over the July Fourth weekend at his father's Gulf Shores condominium.  Ward said he is seeking more information about that case.  

 

 

Judge rules title pawn law unconstitutional 

St. Clair County Circuit Judge Charles Robinson Sr. struck down a provision of the Alabama Pawn Shop Act in a summary court ruling, saying it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution. Pell City attorney Erskine  Funderburg said “It’s a big win for those who can’t afford conventional loans, like those from banks,” Funderburg,  helped represent James Waites in his case against Express Enterprises Inc. Waites borrowed $400 using the title to his truck as collateral to buy medicine for his wife. He made nine consecutive monthly payments of $100, said Birmingham attorney Annesley DeGaris, who also represented Waites. He said Waites, a resident of St. Clair County, refused to make any further payments after giving Express Enterprise $900, more than twice the amount he borrowed from the company. DeGaris said the pawn shop, which contended Waites only made interest payments and never repaid the principal, repossessed his automobile and sold it, leaving Waites stranded. In a court opinion, Robinson ruled in favor of the plaintiff, who asserted the Pawn Shop Act passed by Alabama legislators in 1975 violates equal protection laws of the Constitution. The plaintiff in the case asserted the Alabama Pawn Shop Act allows pawn and title owners to charge interest rates of up to 300 percent annually, while Alabama law limits all other money lenders to maximum rates not exceeding 24 percent in a year. Robinson wrote that the Alabama Pawn Shop Act ultimately discriminates against other lenders, as well as borrowers, “the very class for whom the Alabama small loan and usurious statutes were made to protect.  Therefore, the judge wrote, the portion of the Alabama Pawn Shop Act that allows an interest rate charge of 25 percent per month on car title pawn must be struck down as a violation of equal protection.   Funderburg said excessive interest rates on car title loans are prohibited in most states that surround Alabama.   The defendant has 42 days to file an appeal in the case.  

 

Accident kills Talladega woman 

An Talladega woman was killed in an accident in Clay County Tuesday which also sent another man to a Birmingham hospital. According to Alabama state troopers, 34 year old Marcy W. Simmons,  of Talladega, was killed in the two-vehicle accident 12 miles north of Ashland on Clay County 7. No one else was in Simmons' 2004 Dodge Stratus when it collided with a 1986 Ford pick-up just after 3 p.m. on Tuesday.

The driver of the truck, 56 year old Carleton Randolph,  of Talladega, was airlifted to UAB Hospital in Birmingham.

 

Schools gear up for football

 

High School

Area high schools are gearing up for the kickoff of the 2006 high school football season.  Anniston and Oxford High Schools will kick off the season tonight (Thursday) at Oxford.  It will be the 77th meeting of the two teams.  Other action Thursday night will find Wellborn at Saks Jefferson Christian at Ohatchee and Lincoln at Talladega.  Friday night the Jacksonville Golden Eagles open their season at Weaver,  you can hear that game live on Alabama 810 with the pre game show beginning at 6:30pm from Bearcat Stadium.  Other games include Alexandria at Oneonta, Lyman Ward at Donoho, ASD at Jacksonville Christian, Woodland at Piedmont, Cherokee County at Pell City, Spring Garden at White Plains, Clay County and Handley, Lineville at Cleburne County

 College 

Jacksonville State vs Furman at 12:30pm Saturday.  Hear the action live on Alabama 810.
 
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