Reference: Mabel Amos Trust

Attention Mr Marshall,

Mr. Marshall if you steal 10 dollars worth of goods from Wal-Mart, and are caught, you will be arrested and taken to jail. A teacher, under current ethics law, can’t be gifted anything worth more than 32 dollars, and they could face ethics charges.

Mr. Tom Albritton is the Alabama Executive Director of the Ethics Commission and a trustee of the Mabel Amos Scholarship Trust. The original value of the trust was 500 thousand dollars which ballooned to 4.1 million in 2011, after oil was discovered on the land in 2010. Mr. Albritton, in concert with the two other trustees awarded himself 135 thousand dollars for his children to attend the University of Texas. Regions Bank, a trustee, took a cool million for inflated services. Mr Rick Clifton, the third trustee, as well benefited from the trust. Approximately 3.2 million of the trust, between 2013 and 2021 was awarded to recipients that remain anonymous. Currently the Mabel Amos Trust fund is worth 8.2 million. The oil well producing the revenues has yielded approximately 100 million dollars and is expected to produce many millions more.

You have publicly stated Mr. Albritton committed fraud and self-served himself from the trust. You then moved forward with a lawsuit. That has resulted in Allen Dodd being appointed Deputy Alabama Attorney general. In addition, attorney Mr Tommy Gallion is representing Megan Carmack, a family member of Mabel Amos. Attorney Mr Bryon Mathews is representing Tyra Lindsey a 10th grade student of Hillcrest High School in Evergreen, a possible recipient of the trust that was never given the opportunity to apply due to trustees keeping the trust out of the public’s eye. Ashby Pate is representing Mr. Albritton and Mr. Clifton who are alleged to have filed insurance claims to cover their attorney costs, which would not surprise anyone.

The Ripp Report filed complaints to the Alabama Bar who dismissed any wrongdoing by Mr. Albritton. In addition two mandamus motions never received a hearing. Complaints the Ripp Report filed with the Ethics Commission were also dismissed, by guess who? The Ethics Director. We also supplied your office with a complaint, exceeding 100 pages.

Mr Albritton’s actions have embarrassed, if that is possible, the Ethics Commission and discredited himself to the point that he makes convicted Mr. Mike Hubbard look like an angel. To add insult to injury the Ethics Commission raised Mr. Albritton’s salary, 25 thousand dollars to a staggering 210,000 thousand a year.

State Rep. Matt Simpson, chair of the Ethics and Finance committee is currently rewriting the Alabama Ethics laws. The committee is not addressing the current issue of Mr. Albrittons lawsuits and fraud. Mr Simpson has been quoted in the paper as saying “If there were a rogue director, there’s nothing in the law the legislature or the governor can do about it.” I adamantly disagree and recognize that he left the Attorney General and the Alabama Bar, if they did their job, out of the equation. To write new rules of ethics and be dismissive of the current situation is a failing of the Ethics and Finance committee.

Mr. Dodd said in Montgomery County Circuit Court, in November that “the state, the fund’s board members, the funds trustees, and Regions Bank were close to reaching a settlement after a vigorous adversarial investigation”. I do pray that the settlement is going to make the trust whole as well as new trustees being in charge. That any settlement is transparent listing those who received scholarship funds that so far have remained unknown.

Mr. Marshall you described Mr. Albritton’s actions as fraud and self serving. I believe they far exceed fraud and self serving, that they are criminals however I am not an attorney. There should also be an investigation of the Ethics Commission complaints filed since 2015, that Mr Albritton arbitrarily dismissed. If he is willing to mismanage a trust, reward himself financially and lie to the public then it is not a stretch to think that he could be influenced to dismiss Ethics complaints.

The bottom line is that the citizens of Alabama deserve transparency and accountability, something every politician promises. Depending on the amount of a scholarship, there could be between 200 to 400 scholarships available, possibly more, with the present available funds in the trust. Mr. Albritton and the trustees have deprived children with even the ability to apply for a scholarship while they used the trust as their personal piggy bank rewarding only select friends, Regions Bank, lawyers, a judge and god knows who.

This particular issue has received considerable press coverage, especially from Lagniappe Mobile who broke the story. I respectfully suggest that a settlement that is not transparent or has any accountability will become an issue that will further erode public confidence and become a campaign issue in future elections.

Mr. Albritton should be dismissed as the Ethics Director rather than being rewarded. His conduct supports Alabama’s reputation as the most politically corrupt state in the United States. The citizens of Alabama are fed up with blatant corruption and the reputation that follows.


Francis Paul Ripp

The Ripp Report, A not for profit consumer organization.