Investigation continues in Selma’s Finance office

Published 9:40 pm Tuesday, September 11, 2018

City of Selma Finance Director Ronita Wade has been under investigation by the Attorney General’s office for alleged criminal misconduct.

The case started out as a possible ethics violation until the attorney general’s office took over the case six weeks ago, according to media reports.

When Wade was suspended at the end of last year, Selma Police Chief Spencer Collier said the interim finance director contacted him after discovering what he felt to believe something improper on a city owned computer that had previously been assigned to her.

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“Over a brief period following that we began to find more and more documents particularly invoices that he felt in his description that were not of a sound judiciary responsibility,”

said Collier.

Investigators are viewing Wade’s laptop and hard drives, according to Collier. He said the allegations center on the fact that Wade allegedly wrote phony invoices on fictitious companies, generating hundreds of dollars.

“I examined the documents, and got them in a hard copy form and they are all public documents, and these are invoices submitted and bills paid for by the taxpayer dollars,” Collier said. “I discovered by accessing the Secretary of State’s office and the city’s business license office that several of these companies did not exist and they were not registered companies in the state of Alabama.”

Collier said the more he searched, he discovered more invoices.

“I found additional invoices for a real company that does business with the city,” Collier said. “However, I discovered multiple invoices created on behalf of this company that were created on her city issued computer and a hard drive search revealed this was made during city time, and these invoices were submitted and cut for check and paid. On at least two occasions on invoices she created … she took custody of the check after it was issued.”

Collier said he turned over the case to the attorney general’s office because the Selma Police Department lacks the technology to handle an investigation such as this one.

When reached by phone Tuesday night, Wade referred all questions to her attorney in Montgomery. Wade’s Attorney Julian McPhillips said there is no basis to the allegations accusing Selma City Mayor Darrio Melton trying to undermine Wade’s credibility.

City council President Corey Bowie said he had no knowledge of the alleged claim.

Melton was contacted for comment, but did not return comment by press time.