DA: Council must seek legal counsel to get property back

Published 12:05 am Saturday, October 13, 2012

It will take the help of an attorney for the Town of River Falls to obtain control of its old town hall property.

The illegal sale of the Sunnyside Street property by former mayor, Mary Hixon, to her housemate Richard Moss was the first piece of “a massive scheme to pilfer money from the town’s coffers,” said District Attorney Walt Merrell Friday.

“Were it not for that land transaction…none of this would have ever been uncovered,” he said, speaking of the discovery of more than $200,000 in missing town funds over the last three years.

In August, The Star-News reported a majority of the then-sitting River Falls town council members said they never voted in 2008 to sell the former town hall.

Probate records show the property, which begins at the intersection of Sunnyside and Pierce streets in River Falls, was sold to Moss’ company, “Connecuh River Enterprises,” a corporation also known as Conecuh River Enterprises.

At the time, Moss was employed as the Coffee County Jail administrator.

The deed was executed by Hixon and notarized by a Donna Pennington, the business manager at the Coffee County Jail.

It stated the property was sold “in consideration 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.

The deed was recorded in the probate office on Nov. 12, 2008, making it a legally recorded document.

On Friday, Merrell said he has advised the town council to seek counsel’s advice to get the deed voided and the property returned to the city.