Coffee County: Moss on leave

Published 12:05 am Friday, August 31, 2012



A man linked to an ongoing investigation in River Falls is now on leave from his job as the Coffee County Jail administrator.

Earlier this month, The Star-News reported that in 2008, Mayor Mary Hixon sold the nearly half-acre parcel where the former town hall sat without council approval to Richard B. Moss, a man who has been living with Hixon for more than a decade.

Moss, through his company Conecuh River Enterprises, constructed a feed and seed store on the property. The store has since closed.

The deed, which was executed by Hixon, stated the property was sold “inconsideration of $10 and other valu(able) considerations,” on March 4, 2008.

Local attorneys say that is a common description for property transactions no matter what the cost.

Hixon would not comment on the sale, and when Moss was questioned two weeks ago about the sale and the purchase price of the property, he said, “I’m not able to say,” and asked the reporter to put her request in writing. Moss then asked why the reported wanted to know about the sale and later said the sale was “not any of (the reporter’s) business, and you can write that down and put it into your newspaper.”

Earlier this week, law enforcement executed three search warrants – one on town hall, another on Moss and Hixon’s home and another on Hixon’s workplace – moments after Tuesday’s municipal election results were posted announcing Hixon’s re-election as mayor.

Covington County District Attorney Walt Merrell was at town hall for a brief moment that night, but declined to comment before leaving the property.

It is believed officers seized financial and other records from each of the locations; however, the law enforcement community remains silent about not only the basis of the investigation, but also the results the Tuesday night searches.

Merrell would not say what his team was looking for, but confirmed he was not investigating voter fraud.

The Star-News has learned that a team of investigators is currently working to sort the gathered evidence; however, the DA has declined to comment.

Chief Deputy Ronnie Whitworth with the Coffee County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday Moss is on leave pending the outcome of the River Falls investigation.

“We’ve got no reason to suspend him, but we do our own investigation when there are allegations against our employees,” Whitworth said.

Records from the Alabama Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission, the agency tasked with training law enforcement officers, show Moss was hired as the Coffee County Jail administrator in 2007. The records also show Moss is currently employed with the River Falls Police Department. He was hired there in 2000 and sent to the police academy in 2001. He transitioned from “applicant” to part-time law enforcement officer in June 2001 and remains on staff, according to APOSTC.

The Star-News has requested, but has not received, an assortment of records from River Falls officials, including a pay schedule for all employees, minutes from meetings held from Jan. 1, 2007, to the present; copies of financial statements for all public funds, and copies of all ordinances and resolutions approved by the town council since 2007.