PRICHARD, Ala. (WKRG) — Prichard Councilman Lorenzo Martin announced he has hired an attorney to represent the city in response to a civil lawsuit case involving the theft of city finances.
The case, the State vs James Blackman, involves former Prichard Chief of Staff James Blackman who pleaded guilty to stealing funds from the City of Prichard. Blackman was charged with 17 counts of misappropriating money from the city’s bank account.
Councilman Martin released the following statement:
To protect the Financial Interest of the Citizens of the City of Prichard, I, Councilman Lorenzo A. Martin Sr., of District One has hired an Attorney.
I hired an Attorney for the City of Prichard Civil Lawsuit against all parties involving theft of City Finances, City Properties bought and sold. This is an effort to make the Citizens of the City of Prichard whole in all its Public Assesses.
After a complaint was filed against Blackman in 2018, the Mobile County District Attorney’s Investigative Unit and White-Collar Crime Unit began an investigation. where they discovered Blackman used his position with the City of Prichard to “unlawfully enrich himself and his immediate family. ” He used funds to purchase property, one he sold to a third party, another he transferred to his spouse, according to the District Attorney’s Office. In addition, he submitted multiple fraudulent invoices, took out personal checks and deposited the funds into accounts he controlled. The loss to the City of Prichard was in excess of $157,000.
The funding for the attorney will come out of discretionary funds, Martin told News 5.
Martin says a trial date for the State vs James Blackman has been set for Tuesday, November 12.