McPhillips retracts claims made in 2017 Wells Fargo case

Published 1:53 pm Thursday, August 1, 2019

Surrounded by family members and supporters, Uleter Nix listened as Montgomery attorney Julian McPhillips, during a press conference on the steps of the Dallas County Courthouse Thursday, walked back a number of assertions made in a 2017 case against Nix and Wells Fargo in Selma.

In August 2017, Dorita Lynn Clay enlisted McPhillips to bring a lawsuit against the bank and its branch manager, Nix, alleging that personal account information was improperly shared with an investigator from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other agencies.

The suit alleged that Nix allowed an investigator to view Clay’s bank account without permission and without going through the proper channels.

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When the lawsuit was announced, Clay alleged that she was being investigated by the FBI as a result of loaning a friend a large sum of money – that friend was supposedly under investigation for embezzlement and, when the loan from Clay was repaid, the FBI turned its attention to her.

At the time, McPhillips believed the case to be on solid ground, despite Clay’s checkered past, which includes charges for theft by deception, theft of property, forgery and identity theft, but recent findings by Birmingham attorney Slate McDorman forced McPhillips to retract many of the assertions made in the original case.

First, McDorman found that Wells Fargo followed proper legal procedure when it cooperated with the FBI during the course of its investigation into Clay, who was indicted only two months after bringing the case against Wells Fargo for her part in an embezzlement scheme that cost a Georgia business some $600,000.

McPhillips also stated that Nix “was not aware of anything pertaining to the FBI agent, subpoena or any other involvement in this case.”

“I have also been told by [McDorman] than an FBI agent gave a statement that he (the agent) never met [Nix] or visited the local Selma branch of Wells Fargo Bank and that [Nix] had no involvement,” McPhillips said in a statement distributed to members of the press during Thursday’s conference.

Additionally, McPhillips stated that Nix had never been suspended from her job and was “not playing around with other people’s accounts or violating state and federal laws.”

The atmosphere surrounding the press conference was fraught with tension as McPhillips offered “nothing but good will and good faith” toward Nix, who showed no signs of relief.

“I just really want to, at some point, tell my side of the story,” Nix said later. “I’m speechless.”

Earlier in the day, McPhillips stood alongside former Selma Fire Department (SFD) Chief Toney Stephens in Selma Municipal Court to address harassment charges brought against Stephens by SFD Acting Chief Chris Graham.

According to McPhillips, more than a dozen Selma firefighters were on hand for the hearing, though not all were in Stephens’ corner.

McPhillips said the harassment charges would be dropped if there are no further incidents over the next six months – he added that he and Stephens apologized for the controversy and ensured those present that no further legal action would be taken relative to the incident.