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UPDATE: AIRPORT EMPLOYEE CHARGED WITH FELONY

By   /   August 14, 2010  /   Comments

WAS IT THEFT? City employee pockets $1,100 from selling airport’s scrap metal

5 Comments 12 August 2010

ANOTHER COVER-UP: CITY MANAGER HIDES FACTS BY WITHHOLDING PUBLIC RECORDS

UPDATE: Sean Reddish was arrested by the Albany Police Department on Friday, Aug. 13 and charged with two felonies: theft by taking and theft by deception. On Saturday, he was released on $10,000 bond from the Dougherty County Jail.

By Kevin Hogencamp

An Albany airport employee is the target of a closely kept police investigation for cashing in on scrap metal left behind from a recently completed airfield lighting and signage project.

In an interview Tuesday with The Albany Journal, Operations Manager Sean Reddish says he did not realize he was doing anything wrong when he made 11 trips in July from Southwest Georgia Regional Airport to a recycling center in a city vehicle, pocketing about $1,100.

That’s because, he said, the contractor gave him the scrap metal – a claim the contractor supports. Additionally, Reddish says that while working off the clock at the airport, he disassembled the old signage, saving the airport thousands of dollars by salvaging lights and circuit boards that were replaced with new signage by TCA Electrical Contractors of Omega, Ga.

Albany police also are attempting to determine whether Yvette Aehle, the airport director, committed a crime or violated city policy by giving Reddish permission to profit from scrap materials, a claim levied by a former airport worker that Aehle and Reddish steadfastly deny.

“I was told last week that it’s been reported that you are selling scrap materials, and I said, ‘Yes, I have been,’” Reddish said. “Obviously, there’s a gray area and the city policy was violated. I expect to take some licks and keep moving. But I have not stolen anything …

“The contractor gave me stuff that belonged to him. It was going to be hauled off and dumped. It was the common sense thing to do.”

In a letter to the city sent because of the theft investigation, TCA’s Marty Bennett said he gave Reddish the old signs because transporting and salvaging them wouldn’t have been troublesome.

“The signs became TCA’s property upon removal from their base,” Bennett said. “I, as acting agent of TCA, personally gave them to Sean Reddish to dispose of as he sees fit. At no time, that I am aware of, did Sean Reddish steal or sell for personal gain any airport property. When he sold the aluminum from those signs, it was his to sell, not the airport’s.

Still, Albany detectives are attempting to determine whether Reddish’s actions were criminal violations. An Albany law, meanwhile, requires employees who receive gifts to report the gifts to the city Board of Ethics or its designee and to “have the gift added to the inventory of property of the city.” Violating the ethics law is punishable by disciplinary action up to and including termination.

Meanwhile, recently fired airport employee David Bradford said Tuesday in an interview with the Journal  that Aehle told Reddish, Bradford and others that they were welcome to profit from selling the airport’s scrap metal at an Albany recycling center. Aehle and Reddish say that Bradford is mistaken, but that Aehle did give permission to the employees to cash in on a small amount of metal that had been at the airport for years – “enough for maybe an employee pizza party,” Aehle said.

Aehle and Reddish said that Reddish did not take Aehle up on her offer, however, and that Bradford had no knowledge of the metal TCA left behind because Bradford was fired in March.

Bradford’s complaints to city officials spawned the probe. Meanwhile, Bradford has filed a federal discrimination and hostile-workplace complaint against Reddish and the city.

Reddish says that he readily identified himself at the recycling center as an airport worker, and was wearing his work uniform, which signifies that he didn’t take the scrap metal under a shroud of city. He says that if he is required to do so, he will pay the city the money he made from the scrap metal sales. An airport employee since last fall, Reddish says he has not been shown documentation of a law or policy that he has broken.

Aehle says that she will require Reddish to give the city the money he was paid by the recycling center and that he will also be disciplined following the police investigation. But she, too, says she feels that Reddish is “guilty of poor judgment, but not a crime.”

Meanwhile, Lott and Albany police refused to answer the Journal’s questions regarding the probe on Tuesday and denied the Journal access to any public records associated with the case, including Reddish’s statement to police. Lott’s decision to withhold public records means that he is committing a crime – a violation of Georgia’s open records act — to cover up details of an alleged crime.

Despite being the subject of a public theft probe, Reddish remains on the job with full security clearance. Recently at the airport, the facility’s deputy director was immediately suspended from his duties upon being arrested and charged with stealing clothes from an Albany retailer. He was later fired.

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  • Published: 1349 days ago on August 14, 2010
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  • Last Modified: August 16, 2010 @ 6:12 pm
  • Filed Under: News
  • Tagged With: crime
 

Comments

  1. Jimmy says:

    how can they prove stealing when there is a letter that gave this man the scrap? too bad reddish is holding onto whats really going down at the airport. i wont be that nice and would sing like a bird if i was him. the lame duck safety department out there been catching heat from the new asst director including cheif himself! they want to get back at reddish because they are being checked in place so they report lies on him to ruin him. the city got his money and free lights parts and try to save face because they react to bad lies. mr. hogencamp should really be asking about what the faa found at there and them abusing there police power to get even with reddish its shameful. i know the real problems so do others but they are scared to speak up because they will get the reddish treatment.

  2. Bella says:

    Kevin, you seem to be a man of reason so I’d rather direct my comments toward you. What is your qualm with the government officials in Albany? Albany has problems so deep that they would be nearly impossible to solve and the sad part is that some of the citizens of this community don’t want to be honest with themselves. I think Mr. Reddish actually did us a favor because the whole airport is a waste. Hardly anyone even uses it because its so much cheaper just to drive to Atlanta than to take that bumpy crop-duster of a commuter flight. And everybody likes to bring up Don Buie but let’s be real. Downtown Albany was a proverbial ghost-town long before Don Buie blew through but it was easy for Albanians to blame him for its failure. And as far as Al Lott is concerned, it seems almost as if the man can’t use a city restroom without people saying he’s wiping off “on the taxpayer’s dime”. These people are just pawns, fall-guys for the higher ups who are the real drain on our local economy. You only shine light on every negative thing ‘certain’ government officials do while keeping the real culprits hidden in the shadows. So you see Kevin, if you want to market The Albany Journal as some sort of ‘Robin Hood’ vigilante newspaper that is working for the taxpaying citizens, dig a little deeper.

  3. Bella says:

    Put your gloves back on, Tom. We’re just having a mere difference of opinion. No need to get uncivilized and call me silly. Did you ever take debate in school? Well, rule number one is to never show the opposition your weakness by getting personal and calling names. So, don’t. You are absolutely right, I don’t have to read The Albany Journal and I mostly don’t. However, if and when I do, I have the option of coming on this site and voicing my opinion just like you. Frankly, the only reason I’ve even been responding to you is because you’re like a pen pal, Tom; everytime I write, you write back.

    1. Tom says:

      I didn’t call you silly, I said you’re making yourself look silly. There’s a difference.

    2. khogencamp says:

      Thanks so much, Tom, et al. Bella … Are you sure you’re talking about the Albany Journal? I’d love for us to be the go-to source for arrests in Dougherty County, as you’ve accused us of. Indeed, I am trying to arrange printing Dougherty County inmate info in the paper. But, regrettably for us, WALB and the Herald have much more information than we do about arrests in our community. As a matter of fact, we write a lot more about people (government officials) who should be in jail than about people who are in jail.

      I’d like to point out two additional things in response to some of what you’ve written:

      1. What articles are you talking about that are based on rumors. Our articles about government are almost exclusively to the contrary. Indeed, we quote public records very, very prominently and extensively.

      2. Finally, to randomly illustrate that we print as many uplifting articles and as much so-called “positive” information as we do thought-provoking and hard-hitting information and analysis, here is a snapshot sampling of the last 30 articles posted on the Web.

      The last 30 posts
      Skiles & Baddie Lead the Way For The Cavalier Cross Country Teams – 26 September 2010
      Unbeaten Rams rumble – 26 September 2010
      Albany State Lady Rams defeat Benedict Lady Tigers in SIAC matchup – 26 September 2010
      THEFT BY DECEPTION? WIDOW CHEATED out of $112,000 THE CULPRIT: CITY HALL – 26 September 2010
      Guns: Better safe than sorry – 25 September 2010
      Georgia DOT Announces Proposed Construction Activities For I-75 – 25 September 2010
      Classic Car show back at Mall – 25 September 2010
      Speak Ralston, Lt. Gov. Cagle Highlight Karen Kemp Event – 25 September 2010
      Georgia receives $2.7 million in HHS grants for public health and prevention priorities – 25 September 2010
      California bound on the taxpayers’ dime – 25 September 2010
      Whatcha Say, Albany? – 25 September 2010
      ASU Sculpture named one of the Seven Wonders of Historically Black Colleges and Universities – 24 September 2010
      Lady Cavs Rolls Over ABAC, To Face Perimeter on Friday – 24 September 2010
      Darton Defeats Andrew, To Face Georgia Perimeter on Saturday – 24 September 2010
      BISHOP SUPPORTS ADDITIONAL TAX RELIEF FOR AMERICAN FAMILIES – 24 September 2010
      Let’s focus, folks – 24 September 2010
      Official: Get sickle cell test, then have kids – 23 September 2010
      Home is where they take you in – 23 September 2010
      Ministers of reconciliation – 23 September 2010
      Darton expansion good for economy – 22 September 2010
      Flint River Preserve certified green – 22 September 2010
      Water Festival 2010 to be held at Flint RiverQuarium Sept. 28-30 – 22 September 2010
      Word from the Wetherbee (Plantarium): Planet’s Lack of Odor Could Rewrite Chemistry – 22 September 2010
      Thronateeska: You’ve got to experience it – 22 September 2010
      HELPING WITH HOUSING – 22 September 2010
      Church Briefs – 21 September 2010
      Game of the week: Westover vs. Dougherty – 21 September 2010
      Albany State’s Jennings is nominee for national football honor – 21 September 2010
      Two south Georgia funeral homes cited – 21 September 2010
      Get tested for sickle cell trait before starting family, District Public Health Director recommends – 21 September 2010

      In spite of my firing back, so to speak, I am really grateful for your feedback. Please keep it coming.

      Kevin

  4. Bella says:

    Tom, just look at the headlines on this paper. They talk about the police spokeswoman who went to jail who supposedly had a relationship with the chief of police, a man who supposedly stole some ‘junk’, sex & violence at FedEx, etc. All of that is just pure gossip, and if you say its not then you are in denial along with Mr. Hogencamp. Where is the news? Where are the positve goings-on in the community? I’m sure that if The Albany Journal covered more positive news, they could expand their readership beyond occasional buyers and people like me who just look at the front page for free while standing in line at the gas station. So, yes. I have been commenting on this site lately because I feel its time someone stood up and sent a message to the editor of this paper because it seems that he has nothing better to do than sit around listening to police scanners and ruin people’s lives on the front page of his paper just to make 50 cent.

    1. Tom says:

      You think it’s gossip, I and a lot of other people in this town thinks it’s news. Frankly, you’re just making yourself look silly. And yet, there actually IS positive news in the Journal. Maybe not as much as you might like, but since there are plenty of people who read this paper and like what it’s doing, there’s not a lot of reason for the ownership of this paper to change, now is there?

      Don’t like it, don’t read it. How hard is that?

  5. Bella says:

    Whoa, Tom. You’re getting mighty defensive. You act as if you wanted to cash in on some of the scrap metal for yourself. The man hasn’t been found guilty yet so let’s just wait and see what happens. I’m sure The Albany Journal will be the first to cover the verdict when its given. I always root for the underdog so I hope Mr. Reddish is acquitted and gets to keep his job and his scrap metal earnings. And as for the number people who comment on here, I consider The Albany Journal to be nothing more than a glorified gossip column. But if that’s how they want to make their money, go ahead.

    1. Tom says:

      Why would I cash in? I don’t work anywhere where I could have cashed in. What I am is a taxpayer who has seen way to many people, including various City and County Commissioners, make money illegally where the people of this community are the ones getting hosed. Frankly, I’m not being particularly defensive. If he’s tried and found not guilty, then so be it. But he needs to be prosecuted for what certainly appears to be an illegal act. You, on the other hand, seem particularly fine with the tax payers getting screwed.

      Of course, you seem to be spending a lot of time on the website for what you call a “glorified gossip column”. The fact that you’re wrong about that isn’t really germane at the moment though.

  6. Bella says:

    No, Tom. Actually I don’t have a problem with people who question our government’s actions. However, I do feel that Albanians sometimes have a tendency of asking questions that really don’t matter in the full scheme of our local government. While people are awaiting the latest edition of the ‘Jail Journal’, excuse me, Albany Journal to see if Mr. Reddish will be prosecuted, what does it matter? If he were to have reported the scrap metal to the Ethics Committee it won’t make your taxes any lower or your light bill any cheaper, so who cares. No one seems to be asking any real pertinent questions. For example, we have Jeff “Bodine” Sinyard who is the County Commission Chairman who owns just happens to own Adams Exterminators, the same company that “our government” uses for all of pest control. I could go on a little further but I don’t want to ask too many of the right questions about our local government.

    1. Tom says:

      And this is the same paper that broke what Don Buie was doing with Downtown funds, Al Lott’s various acts, and a host of other things. THIS article is far from the sum of what The Albany Journal covers, but you seem to take issue with them. The truth is that people want to know some of this stuff. You don’t? That’s fine, but others do as is obvious from the number of comments on this story.

      I’m just glad to see you’re not taking issue with people who question government actions. However, why should we care? Because while that one scrap load won’t change what we pay out, it’s still theft from the government and therefore theft from all of us who pay taxes.

  7. Bella says:

    Wow, Perry Mason. Who made you the judge and the jury? You know, its people like you who always have something to say about another person’s situation but they are the main one doing wrong. Did you want to be a police officer when you were growing up or something? Go dress up as a cop for Halloween and get a life.

    1. Tom says:

      That’s funny Bella. After all, Perry’s questions are legitimate. Or do you just have a problem with people questioning our government’s actions?

  8. John says:

    @Hogencamp I wouldn’t be surprised if these posts that lack real contact information were posted by people your newspaper publishes the truth about. They’re unhappy that you post the truth so the retaliate in the only 10 year old fashion they know- name calling and the like.
    It’s sad really that educated adults can resort to childish behavior like this.

  9. John says:

    Is Albany so petty that they need to take money from someone and possibly fire them over something this stupid?
    I’d look into this city policy. Just because it’s a local city policy, ordinance, or part of a job description doesn’t make it legal or binding.

  10. Jimmy says:

    it is funny perry mason because you sound like one of the snakes ganging with other snakes to send this man up the river! sounds like your on the inside. you call this man a criminal and you dont even have your facts straight. you should go back and read instead of focusing on what you want to see. the pizza thing has nothing to do with the signs given to him. it was a different issue months before this. the snake that was fired tells big lies for his agenda. maybe he wanted it for himself because it was gave to him. maybe he did it on his time because it was the right thing to do. maybe he dont have time during the day. broken ethics dont make the man a felon. where do you see his intent to do crime? there was no secrets or hiding!

  11. Perry Mason says:

    The funniest statement that was made in this whole situations is “…We’ll have Redish pay back the money that he made from the sales…” How many other criminals would’ve done the same thing to get themselves out of trouble? How does the Airport Director give an employee permission to sell “some” scrap metal for a pizza party? Isn’t their a line item in the airports budget for those types of purchases? “Reddish didn’t take the directors offer.” Yep, he sure didn’t….He definitely didn’t have a pizza party! And why does the operations and maintenance Manager have to spend his on time dismantling anything? Ummmm, probably because he saw the value of the scrap metal and wanted it all for himself! And one last question…wait for it….Who gave him permission to drive the Airport vehicle, after hours, loaded with scrap metal, to a recycling center for his own personal gain….so we now have 2 felonies (possibly) and several policy violation and one ethics violation to add to his innocence…..I’m open for questions…

  12. Truth B Known says:

    It is Amusing to me that someone would think that the court system here in albany is anything fair,and justfied.I been there done that.And i think you must have this Great paper mixed up with another “RAG” paper.And maybe if the justice system would hold up the laws,we all would know the truth,instead they hide all the info.Or give it to a rag paper.Now you can go clip them toenails,but dont put your feet on the desk.

  13. Allison says:

    Geez! I know this young man, he’s done car work for me over the years. Every time I gave him money for the parts he brought back my change and reciept’s. He has never given me reason to question his honesty or integrity.
    I can’t even say that about my own brothers.
    Is anyone even thinking about the fact that the man Sean fired earlier this year was just a lazy employee and needed to be fired? Probably not, that doesn’t seem to be as important as trying to make it a racial issue.
    Just because somebody doesn’t agree with you doesn’t make them a bigot.

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