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WAAY 31 I-Team Investigation: Sheriff Ana Franklin's questionable connections

Bankruptcy filings further expose Sheriff Franklin's questionable connections to an ex-con who ran a collapsing used car business. There are more troublesome ties to Franklin.

Posted: Feb 27, 2018 8:28 PM
Updated: Feb 27, 2018 8:47 PM

Tonight, a WAAY 31 I-Team Instant Investigation.

The bankruptcy of a Priceville used car dealership exposed questionable connections between Morgan County’s sheriff and a key person inside the business who is on the wrong side of the law.

Morgan County Sheriff Ana Franklin has been accused of loaning $150,000 to a felon. Franklin is on record claiming she didn't know the felon had a stake in Priceville Partners, LLC.

Greg Steenson is an ex-con. He pleaded guilty to bank fraud and conspiracy. The felon owned 40% of Priceville Partners, LLC.

Steve Ziaja is Sheriff Franklin's ex-boyfriend. Ziaja is one of the creditors listed in Priceville Partners bankruptcy filing. Ziaja is in trouble with the law. He's charged with 11 felony counts of computer tampering and one count of using his job as an

When the used car lot filed for bankruptcy, it left creditors holding the bag for nearly five and half million dollars.

The latest complaints in the Chapter 11 filing point fingers at Priceville Partners’ owners, managers, employees and investors.

One of those investors is Sheriff Ana Franklin.

WAAY 31 obtained the latest in a series of bankruptcy complaints. The court filings state Sheriff Franklin’s connection to Performance Auto Sales which was located on Point Mallard Parkway.

The sheriff’s involvement began with a $150,000 cashier’s check dated June, 5th 2015.

The complaints claim Franklin used your tax money for the loan to Priceville Partners, LLC.

She eventually paid that money back to replenish the jail food account.

Creditors want to know why Sheriff Franklin invested in a business partly owned by someone with a criminal record.

WAAY 31 contacted Franklin. She told us she can’t talk about a pending legal matter.

That matter involves felon Greg Steenson.

Steenson pleaded guilty to conspiracy and bank fraud and was sentenced in 2002. The ex-con owned 40 percent of the business and now faces additional theft and forgery charges.

Franklin insists she never knew Steenson was involved and thought Harold Jeffereys was the sole owner of Priceville Partners.

Jeffereys owned only 60 percent of the business after buying out his son’s stake. Ben Jeffrey’s had owned 40 percent.

The bankruptcy trustee, attorney Stuart Maples, complains when Priceville Partners started to collapse in 2016, people inside and outside the business violated bankruptcy laws by transferring assets.

Among the violations: embezzeling money, giving cash and cars to family and friends, even giving lavish gifts like homes and a lakeside condo.

The bankruptcy suit also points at Sheriff Franklin’s daughter, Alyssa.

She worked for Priceville Partners and is accused of giving below market auto loans and cancelling debts owed by her husband.

Documents also reveal one more connection to the sheriff: an ex- boyfriend. Steven Ziaja is an Alabama Alcohol Beverage Control officer. He’s also one of the creditors listed in the bankruptcy filing.

He faces 11 felony charges of computer tampering and one count of using his job as a state agent for personal gain.

Earlier this month, Franklin announced she won’t seek re-election.

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