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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Did Debt Collectors Cheat Me Out of My Job at UAB, Part IV

We have presented evidence that an alliance among debt collectors, a sleazy lawyer, and the administration of a corrupt Republican governor might have played a prominent role in my unlawful termination at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

But does this scenario make chronological sense? Does it fit with a timeline of events that led up to my firing?

The answer: Yes, it does fit--almost like a glove.

At the end of this post, we present a timeline showing that actions by debt collectors, threats against our cars and house, and my ultimate termination at UAB dovetail almost perfectly.

Before we examine the complete timeline, let's look at a few key events that show how our problems with debt collectors, threats on our house, and my eventual termination at UAB march in lockstep:

* I started this blog in June 2007, and strange events started happening at work in December 2007, culminating with my termination in May 2008. I've long associated those events with someone's desire to shut down this blog because of its coverage about the Don Siegelman prosecution in Alabama. After all, I have a tape-recorded conversation with a UAB human-resources official stating that I was targeted because of my blog's content about Siegelman. But evidence now suggests that wasn't the only reason I was targeted.

* In July 2007, one month after I started this blog, my wife and I began to hear from debt collectors--Birmingham-based Ingram & Associates, working on behalf of Pennsylvania-based NCO--claiming I owed a debt to American Express. I wrote three posts in early August 2007 about our interactions with debt collectors. (Here is a link to one of those posts.) I didn't know it at the time, but the posts presented evidence indicating that Ingram & Associates had violated the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA).

* This must have concerned someone, because roughly a month later--in September 2007--Alabama lawyer William E. Swatek applied for a writ of execution on our cars and house , seeking a $1,525 judgment on behalf of our troublesome neighbor, Mike McGarity. The judgment was more than three years old at the time, and Swatek had never made any effort to collect on it. To this day, we've never received a demand letter asking that we pay the judgment.

* On December 6, 2007, I wrote a post ("Muzzling the Legal Schnauzer?") about our receipt of the writ of execution. As I've reported several times on this blog, early December 2007 was when my former supervisor, Pam Powell, began a harassment campaign that continued for roughly the last six months I worked at UAB.

* On February 13, 2008, I wrote a post ("Jack-Booted Thugs Visit The Schnauzer") about receipt of a notice of levy on our house--and my suspicions about Governor Bob Riley's role in all of this. According to testimony from Pam Powell at my grievance hearing, this was the general timeframe when UAB was monitoring my computer usage.

* On April 4, 2008, I received one of many anonymous comments mocking me about the alleged American Express debt, and this one noted the last four digits of my Social Security number. (I moderate comments and did not run this one on the blog.)

* On April 14, 2008, I received an anonymous comment stating that I appeared to be blogging at work, and UAB needed to be informed about it. This comment, which does appear on the blog, is curious for a number of reasons. One, I had never identified myself as a UAB employee or written about UAB issues, so someone went to the trouble to look up information about where I worked. Two, the day in question was a Monday, and I was on vacation, so I wasn't blogging at work--on that day or any other day. But UAB proceeded to use this as a general excuse for firing me. That indicates that someone from outside the university was involved in the process.

* On April 15, 2008, the very next day after receiving this anonymous threat, my supervisor gave me a written warning when I protested her issuance of an oral warning that was contrary to UAB policy--and involved issues that either were bogus or already had been resolved. This action, coming so soon after the anonymous threats, indicates someone external to the university had reached UAB management.

* On May 4 and May 6, 2008, I wrote posts ("Date Looms With the Jack Booted Thugs" and "A Roadmap of Corruption in Real Time") that indicate I knew the upcoming sheriff's sale of our house was unlawful and driven by ulterior motives. I also indicated my wife and I were not going to cave to the pressure and "work something out" with Bill Swatek--as we had repeatedly been asked to do by Shelby County deputies.

* What happens when it becomes it clear that I know the house sale is a ruse? I get placed on administrative leave at UAB--on May 7, 2008.

* How long does it take for the American Express issue to raise its head again? One day. On May 8, 2008, I receive an anonymous comment: "How are the folks at AMEX treating you?" This indicates that an external person, who was paying close attention to the AMEX issue, knew I had been placed on administrative leave at UAB.

* On May 14 and May 16, 2008, I wrote posts about the sheriff's sale that had taken place on May 12, while I was on administrative leave. These posts ("Showdown in Shelby County, Part II" and "Caught on Tape: Corrupt Alabama Republicans") include video footage of the actual sale.

* May 16 was a Friday. On the very next work day, May 19, I was terminated at UAB.

The bottom line? Our issues connected to an alleged debt owed to American Express weave throughout the story of my unlawful termination at UAB. And let's keep this in mind: We now know that neither Ingram & Associates nor NCO has a shred of evidence that I even had an AMEX card, much less that I owed a debt on one.

Here is the complete timeline, showing in stark detail the connections between debt collectors and the cheat job I experienced at UAB:

Swatek Ingram Timeline

7 comments:

UntiringLawPerson said...

Very interesting stuff. Has anyone ever told you that the loss of your job at UAB would make a great movie? Of course you'll have to add in a few murders to keep the story exciting. Everyone know's "based on true events" is a very loose term. :)

legalschnauzer said...

Actually, it wouldn't surprise me if the people responsible for cheating me out of my job have committed a murder or two. In fact, I'm not so sure they didn't commit one not too long ago.

Anonymous said...

You think the people responsible for your unlawful termination had something to do with Sloan Bashinsky's death?

legalschnauzer said...

Anon:
First, I don't know for sure who was responsible for my unlawful termination at UAB. I'm in the process of trying to find that out, and very soon will be filing a lawsuit in that matter. Second, I don't know who is responsible for Major Bashinsky's death, although I've seen documents--and will be writing about them soon--that raise serious questions about the suicide finding. Third, the environment has been so toxic in Alabama in recent years that I wouldn't be surprised by much of anything that might come to light regarding the powerful interests in our state. We've got citizens being held as political prisoners. Is it all that big a leap from that to murder? Do you think Major Bashinsky killed himself? Have you seen anything presented by public officials in The Birmingham News that you find strongly convincing? I sure haven't. It certainly could have been a suicide, but I've seen pretty much zero evidence that would cause me to come to that conclusion. Experts in the field say they believe that suicide is under-reported, that medical examiners usually are overly cautious about coming to such a finding. In this case, it seems authorities were anxious to come to such a finding. I wonder why.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about Bashinsky's death, but I know there have been many murders in the corrupt South that were politically motivated. Yes, most have been covered up. I grew up in Birmingham, and I know what the " the good ol boy " system is capable of. If you don't, with all due respect, you're naive or your part of it. The corruption in the South makes me sick and sad. Specifically Alabama, where I live. The more "legalschnauzer's" we have the better off this state and nation would be. Exposure is the key, if you can do it without getting run off the road, harassed, or killed. I have been very impressed with Robby Scott Hill's post and really appreciate his honesty.It's nice to here someone on the inside tell us what's really going on.

Anonymous said...

Shuler...do you read your own writing or does it just ooz out of you. I've never seen an adult man whine and complain and make himself the VICTIM in every possible adverse situation in his life. Sad for you, but funny for the rest of us. Its like watching a train wreck when the train tries to keep going. Keep it up. I love it!

legalschnauzer said...

Anon No. 3:

If I had to guess, I would say you are from Haskell Slaughter. I would also say you like to tout your credentials as a fighter for justice and civil rights, while the real you comes out in snide little anonymous comments like the one you've left here.

Am I right, No. 3? Actually, I don't need to ask. I know I'm right.

My, what a small, pathetic person you are.