City council seat vacated

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 2, 2007

GREENSBORO &045; Mayor Pro Tem Valada Paige was removed from office yesterday after being convicted of felony welfare fraud.

According to a press release from the office of Troy King, Alabama Attorney General, Paige, also known as Valada Banks, was found guilty late Friday by a jury in the Hale County Circuit Court of first degree theft of $8,758. The conviction automatically removes Paige from office in accordance with state law.

The attorney general’s office presented evidence in the case against Paige showing that she had tens of thousands of dollars in her bank account during the period in which she was applying for food stamps and claiming to be destitute. Evidence showed that Paige received a total of $8,758 in food stamp benefits over a 10-month period.

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Prosecutors showed that Paige received $132,400 from a settlement involving the diet pill fen-phen in 2001 yet in three claims the same year reported having $6.05, $5 and no money at one point. Citizens concerned about the potential fraud contacted Department of Human Resources officials. When questioned by DHR Paige initially denied receiving any money or participating in the settlement.

The sentencing date has yet to be set, but Paige faces a maximum penalty of two to twenty yeas imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000 for the class B felony. State code says that when an officeholder is convicted of a felony the office is vacated at the time of conviction.

The Greensboro mayor could not be reached to find when the council would fill the seat vacated by Paige.