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“IF WE DON’T DO SOMETHING, I’M GOING TO LOSE MY LIFE”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Mar. 1, 2011) — Mr. Scotty Morgan has been incarcerated in the Monroe County jail four times after allegedly failing to pay child support and attorney’s fees which he claims he did not owe. Once the owner of a successful contracting business licensed with the state of Tennessee which brought in more than $300,000 annually in state construction contracts and employed a crew of workers, he has been reduced to destitution by what he describes as “extortion” and corruption within the Department of Children’s Services, on the part of his ex-wife, her lawyer, a crooked judge and complicit state employees.
In 1991, Scotty Morgan and his then-wife accepted into foster care two five-month-old twin girls who are mentally disabled. Now 20 years old, they need supervision at all times. As a result of what Mr. Morgan describes as his ex-wife’s manipulation of the adoptive assistance program, he has paid approximately $150,000 in child support claims, attorney’s fees, court costs, and interest even while the girls and his other children resided with him. Mr. Morgan has lost his business and receives food stamps to support his two adopted daughters and himself and now has no income of his own.
The two girls each receive partial disability payments in the amount of $125 each month. Mr. Morgan stated that it could be much more, but that his ex-wife’s attorney, Peter Alliman, intervened and prevented him from acting as a conservator for them, which affected the amount they could receive.
Mr. Morgan’s water was shut off last week because he was unable to pay the bill, but a church group, the Good Shepherd, was able to supply a $100 voucher so that the water was restored within the last few days.
Here Mr. Morgan tells his story of how money was extorted from him by his ex-wife, her attorney, a judge who was accused of involvement with child pornography and retired rather than face trial, and a system which allowed adoptive assistance payments to be sent to a parent who did not even have custody of the adopted children. Mr. Morgan also shares his experiences from when he was in the Monroe County jail.
MRS. RONDEAU: How did you go from owning a successful contracting business to your present situation, Mr. Morgan?
MR. MORGAN: To begin with, my ex had me put in jail for child support.
MRS. RONDEAU: Were you delinquent?
MR. MORGAN: No. Then she got married again and hired a big-time lawyer. Actually, a $17,000 check went through his office. I got a written receipt from him and when it was offered to the Appellate Court, it wasn’t even turned in that it’s been paid. I’ve got good credit. I didn’t have that kind of money. I’ve had my land, my house and everything paid off, and right now I’m $90,000 in debt. Most of that money went to my ex’s attorney and everything, with me keeping the girls. And I had to go borrow that money. Both of my brothers have helped me…it’s as if there’s a bunch of extortionists around here. It’s just about bankrupted me.
MRS. RONDEAU: How long has this been going on?
MR. MORGAN: My wife and I were married in 1976. Daniel was born in 1978, and my daughter Kelly was born in 1985. In 1991, my wife and I took in twin girls with special needs as foster children. The girls were five months old at the time.
When they were three, we legally adopted them, and the foster-parent payments stopped. That was fine with me; I said, “We’ve adopted them; we don’t help from the state now.” But my wife went and got a big-time lawyer in Knoxville so that she could get adoptive assistance payments. I didn’t know about it until later, but she forged my name to the forms. That was 17 years ago.
MRS. RONDEAU: Were you approved for adoptive assistance?
MR. MORGAN: Yes. In 1998, my ex started her own child placement agency called “Thinking of the Children.” She got a license from the state, made contacts with state senators and the like, and started making big money.
MRS. RONDEAU: How much do you think her business was making?
MR. MORGAN: It was $110/day per child, but the foster parents were getting only about $330/month at that time. Foster parents here in Tennessee don’t even know the kind of money that the state of Tennessee paid.
I have canceled checks showing that she financed her business from our checking account. She was eyeing a man who became her next husband, and he hired a lawyer, Perry Shields, and the next thing I knew, she was demanding $253 a week in child support from me. And the children were living with me!
The Department of Children’s Services is biased against men. The man who handles adoptive assistance, Bill Dougherty, told me in 2007 that they had never been able to trust me. I have that recorded. But I haven’t done anything to jeopardize trust. My ex sent him a bunch of false and misleading information and was able to have the adoptive assistance checks to me stopped and sent to her. Shawna Cook, the worker at the Tennessee Adoption Assistance Program, told me that there was “absolutely nothing I could do about it” even though I was the custodial parent.
MRS. RONDEAU: Where is all the money going which comes through the Adoption Assistance Program?
MR. MORGAN: Well, to me, instead of it going to the foster parents, it’s going to the Department of Children’s Services. Every Department of Children’s Services has a new building, and they have 401(K)s, and almost all of ’em drive lavish vehicles and everything like that…they’re getting paid a tremendous amount. But this is all hidden from the general public. It’s supposed to be a matter of public record, but you try to find it. Even the file investigator used to be on my ex-wife’s board of directors. I can give you names of these people. It’s something that needs to be exposed. The Department of Children’s Services is really something else here, especially if you know the people in higher authority the way my ex did.
The girls could use the adoptive assistance right now. The statute says they’re supposed to get it until they’re 21. I don’t have a job; someone has to stay here with them all the time, and my ex has made probably $750,000 in the last 12 years. I got the adoptive assistance for only four or five months. My ex hadn’t seen the girls in two whole years. During that time, I got legal custody of the girls through the courts; I hired an attorney and got legal custody. When the adoptive assistance started coming to me, amazingly, my ex fell in love with the girls. Unfortunately, the girls, with their state of mind, not being able to understand, moved back in with her.
MRS. RONDEAU: Did your ex pressure them to do that?
MR. MORGAN: Oh, yes, she’d get ’em with her attorney, Mr. Peter J. Alliman, and fill out affidavits and say that I had relations with the girls, and the District Attorney did an investigation. I had to take a lie detector test, and I said, “Well, if I take one, how about if my ex takes one? That would be fine.”
I passed my lie detector test, but my ex failed hers. As I said, she had a child placement agency. She would write all of her expenses out of my business account…it’s amazing, this corruption. When we first went into foster care years ago, I didn’t actually adopt the girls because my ex said, “We’re supposed to get adoptive assistance,” and she forged my name even on the adoption papers so she could get money from the state of Tennessee. She was getting adoptive assistance, but she put off the adoption and got extra money from the very beginning. It was just more and more and more stuff on top of that. Everything I’m telling you I can back up with paperwork.
I even went down to talk to Jimmy Duncan, our congressman. My ex had gone down there and talked to him several times, and he informed me that he was the one who actually pushed the “Deadbeat Dad” bill through the Congress. I said, “Listen, I’m not a deadbeat dad; I take care of these girls.” But that was as far as that conversation went.
My ex was very familiar with him; she knows his private secretary, Bob Griffiths, and has been on all these roads before me.
MRS. RONDEAU: Who was the judge who eventually ordered you to pay your ex-wife child support?
MR. MORGAN: Judge John B. Haggler. He stepped down from his judgeship because it was alleged that he was involved in child pornography.
MRS. RONDEAU: I read that if a public servant is convicted of a felony in Tennessee, he or she loses his retirement benefits.
MR. MORGAN: He was never convicted.
MRS. RONDEAU: You may know that I have spoken with your son, Daniel, who told me his story regarding DCS and his children.
MR. MORGAN: My grandchildren.
MRS. RONDEAU: How are they doing, Mr. Morgan?
MR. MORGAN: They’re going to school and learning to do things. There was a situation where Daniel’s ex-wife had exposed them to lots of dangers and everything. It went to court recently, and the judge said, “He’s going to have to go to mediation and pay for it.” I went to a mediation like that, and Mr. Peter Alliman said it was an illegal mediation. We had a licensed attorney, and my ex signed all the paperwork and everything, and I paid her off. She said she had me backed into a corner and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it.
I paid her all the child support, then I went to the appellate court to try to get some of the money back. I hired an attorney out of Maryville and paid him $1,400 to represent me. Then all the articles came out in which they claimed that George (Raudenbush) did an illegal mediation. George actually helped us get with an attorney and sit down. I had a witness at the mediation, and George was just praying with us. He said he wasn’t an attorney. We went down to John Mildorf in Chattanooga. He did all the paperwork, and we actually got the judge to sign it. Then Mr. Peter Alliman picked up on this and said it was an illegal mediation, and he let everybody know that George had done the mediation even though I had affidavits that proved otherwise with witnesses.
MRS. RONDEAU: And this is George Raudenbush?
MR. MORGAN: Yes. I went down and talked with the district attorney, Steve Bebb, who referred me to his assistant, Drew Robinson. When George’s name came up, and I was going to show him about the crimes that my ex had been committing against the state, Drew Robinson said that his hatred for George was so great that the interview was over. He said, “I told George that he’s a criminal.” I said, “Where’s the evidence that George is a criminal?” and he ordered me out of the office. The interview was over.
I had a witness there with me, one of my daughters, who was living with me. That night, she tried to commit suicide. The pressure was so great, so you have to choose your battles. You can’t keep coming after people and everything when your children are involved.
My brother paid me out of jail and paid the attorney over $16,200 after they had tortured me in jail. I had to get out, as they were planning on killing me; I heard that they were planning on taking my life in jail.
MRS. RONDEAU: What kind of torture did you undergo?
MR. MORGAN: I was over in the annex, which is a place where they keep prisoners who are not violent and is a little better facility than what they call “the Hole” for the general population. Daniel and George then put out an article explaining about the corruption of Bill Bivens and everything. So they shut down the phones in the annex so that no one could call out or anything. The police came over and got me; I got a hold of Daniel by the phone in the other office and told him to call the FBI or they were going to throw me back in the Hole. The jailer told me, “Get your stuff; you’re going back over in the Hole.”
I got a hold of Daniel, and the officer jerked the phone out of my hand and put it back on the booth and told me I couldn’t call him. But Daniel was able to reach the main FBI office in the nation. They were going to throw me in Cell #1 where this guy who had had an affair with my ex was locked up. There was another guy who had stolen my checkbook from me and $7,000-worth of checks, and I had it on good authority that they planned on beating me up. So when I got there and they opened the door, this other officer came in and said, “You can’t put him in there.” So apparently Daniel did some good talking to the FBI. They opened up Cell #2, and then they said, “We can’t put him in there, either.” So they cleaned out what they call “the Hole,” the place for the drunks and stuff like that, and put me in there by myself.
When they shut the door, the air conditioner went on; I don’t know what the temperature was. I had to do jumping jacks to stay warm. Finally there was another guy who came in and took me out of that Hole and put me in another room, and I was able to get a hold of Daniel again. I told him, “If we don’t do something, I’m going to lose my life.” So he got a hold of my brother and my brother went and paid the $16,200 to get me out of jail.
MRS. RONDEAU: Is that what the attorney’s fee was?
MR. MORGAN: They had added about 12% interest and everything; the attorney’s fee wasn’t really that much, but they made it go back between two and three years, and part of it went to my ex. During this time, I had received legal custody of my girls, so I was able to get about $5,000 knocked off through the child support people down in Athens, which is a private organization separate from the State of Tennessee. She was only supposed to pay me about $400 a month, whereas I was paying her $250 a week. So you can see there’s a great deal of difference.
But I did get $5,000 knocked off of that, and I think her fees with interest of something like 12% were something like $3,000, and the rest of it went to the attorney. During this time, the girls were living with me. I have school records showing they went to school in Tellico, the whole nine yards. I told some of the officials and they wouldn’t even listen to me. They just turned a deaf ear.
There’s lots of corruption here, you know. Right now I’m just trying to maintain and take care of these two girls.
MRS. RONDEAU: How old are they now?
MR. MORGAN: The girls are 20 years old.
MRS. RONDEAU: How do you think your ex-wife was able to obtain these payments such that she was amassing the large amounts of money you mentioned?
MR. MORGAN: There are all kinds of false information within the court system, and the court system would accept the attorney’s word even though I had documents to prove otherwise, such as “This is according to Tennessee guidelines,” but it was not according to Tennessee guidelines. I was self-employed, and I paid far more than I was supposed to pay.
Regarding my oldest daughter, Kelly, after she turned 16, one of my ex’s friends told me, “That girl is not yours.” I said, “You’re kidding,” and she said, “No, that’s not your child.” So I went and had a DNA test, and it came back, sure enough, Kelly, whom I had always thought was my daughter, wasn’t mine. And I’ve been paying child support on her while she was living with me!
MRS. RONDEAU: So you were paying child support to your ex-wife and then you found out that biologically she’s not your child?
MR. MORGAN: Yes. I still consider Kelly my daughter. The corruption is very, very severe. Even when my ex was pregnant with Kelly, she made me a birthday cake. Well, I got really sick and I couldn’t eat that birthday cake. So she put it in the refrigerator and wouldn’t let my oldest son, Daniel, have any of it. So when Daniel came in from work, she got that cake out and set it down there in front of me. I started to eat it, and I said, “Man, there’s something wrong with this cake.” I heard it on good authority that she and her mother had an insurance policy out on me, so they planned on killing me.
MRS. RONDEAU: Did you eat the cake and then get sick?
MR. MORGAN: No. Apparently she had been feeding me something else beforehand. The cake was intended to top it off, as far as I can figure out. Then her ex-husband, the one she was married to in Maryville, told me on the phone, although I don’t have it recorded, that she and her friend had booked a cruise on one of these cruise ships, and he had had a phone conversation and they planned on getting him drunk and pushing him overboard. So he divorced her.
She was getting food stamps from the state of Tennessee, and I have papers that show that she’d done that before and owned property, committing fraud and perjury. I have evidence that shows she actually did that, and she was telling me she didn’t get any money and she was getting food stamps. I have some of her affidavits which she got from her former husband, and it says in those affidavits that she was healthy and ready to go to work, but she filed for disability and is drawing disability now.
MRS. RONDEAU: So she has several incomes from public sources.
MR. MORGAN: Public sources as well as me, her ex-husband, her other ex-husband; it’s a continual drain. But she does it with these attorneys who will tell lies, like Peter Alliman. George has done quite a few articles on Peter Alliman on the Christian Newswire. Peter Alliman has really got it in for Christians; he goes after them.
MRS. RONDEAU: Do you think the attorneys in your area are running some kind of criminal enterprise?
MR. MORGAN: It’s hard to say. You can’t accuse a man unless you personally witness it, but I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that Peter Alliman is responsible for introducing misleading information into the system, and because he’s president of the Bar and everything, he carries a lot of clout. I think the main problem is these attorneys think they’ve got everything sewn up around here. I know George put out a little piece of paper at the courthouse, on the bulletin board, advising people how you can get a dissolution of a marriage very inexpensively…well, I know that that has been removed, and the attorneys said, “If you want a divorce, you’ll have to go through us.”
It’s as if the attorneys are in control of things, and no one else can do anything. They published my name in the appellate court, and they use that for a base, so that if anybody does mediation, they have to come through an attorney and then also pay the mediator. So it’s like an extortion ring.
MRS. RONDEAU: It seems as if the courts are always billing someone for something. I thought that’s where people’s tax dollars go for, to see that justice is done in the courts.
MR. MORGAN: For example, my two daughters went out there, and Mr. Peter Alliman filled out an affidavit for Briella in case they wanted to get an order of protection against me, but they were living with me. I warned Geri Bryant, the chancellor of the court who handled the protection order, that my girls were in grave danger, and if anything happened to them while in their mother’s custody, I would hold her personally responsible. However, Ms. Bryant wanted nothing to do with the matter and returned the case to Judge Dixon.
I made 50 copies of a DVD that came out in 2008 called “Minds on the Edge” which explains what’s going on with the court system with schizophrenia, how a patient can go to a judge or a hospital, and the hospital says, “Well, there’s nothing wrong with you; here’s a prescription; come back in three weeks,” and they walk out the door and they don’t even know where they’re going. That’s what the DVD explains. It was put out by PBS, and I gave a copy of the video to everyone I could think of who was involved in law enforcement in Monroe County: lawyers, judges, Judge Dixon specifically, Peter Alliman, and I gave Geri Bryant a copy of that DVD for her to watch. She sent me back a note in the mail that my case was pro se, and she couldn’t look at it. And they charged Brianna and Briella $150 apiece for taking out a false order of protection against me.
MRS. RONDEAU: These fees seem awfully high, and the girls are disabled and have no real income.
MR. MORGAN: (laughs) The court of appeals charged me $900-and-something for an appearance up there. I lost the case which involved another $17,000, including interest at 12% and attorney’s fees after seven postponements. Her attorney just kept putting it off and putting it off. Now, my resources are completely gone.
MRS. RONDEAU: Is your business still open?
MR. MORGAN: I can’t attend to my business and take care of these girls. I have no money for tags or insurance or the like. I’ve had people come in and sit with them or something like that, and they’ll call me up at 10:00 or so and say, “Well, she’s doing this or lookin’ at that, and you’re gonna have to come get her.” So I can’t really leave her with anybody.
MRS. RONDEAU: How many times were you in jail?
MR. MORGAN: Four times in all. The first time, I was in to protest the child support that I didn’t owe. That was ten days, and then another ten days.
MRS. RONDEAU: I have contacted Congressman John Duncan‘s office, and he was not responsive at all. Do you think he’s aware of the corruption and the extortion that are going on?
MR. MORGAN: Let me put it to you this way: he’s either the most ignorant man on the face of the earth, or he’s part of what’s going on. You can quote me on that. I have no hard evidence, but a person who’s in a position of authority needs to be responsible. If you’re going to be a judge or anything like that, as Theodore Roosevelt said, “The buck stops here.” The thing that I found out, when you go talk to these district attorneys, lawyers, and everybody like that, they say, “Well, that’s not my job. The only thing I do is this, that, and whatever, and you need to take this to somebody else.” And it’s just a circle.
MRS. RONDEAU: That happened to me when I was trying to find out whom to report to about the horrible conditions in the jail. Nobody wanted to tell me who was actually charged with that responsibility. After I finally reached the TCI and they said they had responsibility, there was an inspection. However, George has reported that it is still like a dungeon in there, and now the woman at the TCI won’t return my calls.
MR. MORGAN: Did you put her name in the news?
MRS. RONDEAU: Yes, I did. I also wrote to the governor, who also has not responded.
MR. MORGAN: You’ll probably have to send her a certified letter.
MRS. RONDEAU: I’d like to know how the sheriff’s department gets away with allowing the slovenly, inhuman conditions in the jail.
MR. MORGAN: That’s the way it’s been in Monroe County for years, and they’re going to continue…there’s a rule of the authority. I find it very compelling that the judges allow this stuff to go on.
MRS. RONDEAU: From what I’ve been told, the judges are corrupt, too.
MR. MORGAN: The grand jury is supposed to do an inspection of the jail and report back, but when the grand jury is controlled by a few people, that makes it really bad. My next-door neighbor was part of the grand jury that met up there which was supposed to hear my case, and Mr. Fitzpatrick told him that he couldn’t listen to that case since he knew me. The charges weren’t against me; they were against the attorney, Mr. Peter Alliman. Now they sent him home. I sat there in the courtroom for about six hours waiting for the grand jury to adjourn so I could go in and talk to three people instead of the full panel. Gary Pettway, the foreman, objected to everything I brought up. I said, “Mr. Pettway, I’m trying to present evidence that a crime has been committed and you won’t let me.” And he said, “That doesn’t pertain to what we’re talking about,” and I said, “Yes, it does, Gary Pettway; it most certainly does.”
MRS. RONDEAU: Did they ever hear you?
MR. MORGAN: I presented about three of 133 pages to show the corruption, and the grand jury foreman told me that I didn’t have enough evidence for any kind of crime to be investigated. He kept interrupting me when I tried to present the evidence, so I couldn’t present what I needed to. According to FIJA, you’re supposed to be able to present evidence of any crime to a grand jury.
I’m not a lawyer, but we’ve done everything according to the book. Because we didn’t go through the local group of criminals – lawyers and stuff – we got the book thrown at us. That’s one of the reasons George was in jail; they have it in for George and they intend to break his will.
I thoroughly believe that the judges, and especially the attorney, Peter Alliman, are working with the jail, and although I have no evidence, I believe he’s responsible for my torture. The jail conditions were not up to standard; when I was in the Hole, a guy came in and there was no running water in the cell. There was a lot of smoking even though it was supposed to be a smoke-free environment. There was a shakedown for tobacco, and after we came back from the shake-down, an inmate took out a pack of cigarettes and a group of men smoked 17 cigarettes. The smell was awful; these aren’t like the cigarettes you buy in a store. The smoke is enough to make you sick.
I had a kidney-stone attack while I was in there. One of the guys kept beating on the door until an officer finally came down. I went up to the nurse. I was urinating blood. She moved me up to an area up front and gave me two mattresses. I was given a whole gallon of tea, which I drank, and there was no bathroom where I was put, which was really a visiting area. I was there for a day or day and a half, and then moved over to the annex.
MRS. RONDEAU: Did you ever see a doctor or go to the hospital?
MR. MORGAN: No. I drank plenty of fluids, and after a few days, I was better. I was lucky.
MRS. RONDEAU: What other effects has this ordeal had on you?
MR. MORGAN: I’m local, and a lot of the papers around here are completely biased. My business has been destroyed. I’ve been put on the front page of The Buzz as a deadbeat dad and all this other stuff, and I’m not.
MRS. RONDEAU: Can you sue them for defamation?
MR. MORGAN: The only thing about that is that the newspaper would just go out of business and then come back under a different name. They’re allowed to do that, and they know how to do it.
We used to have a newspaper here called The Democrat under a man named Dan Hicks. He really did a good job reporting the news in Monroe County.
MRS. RONDEAU: How long ago was that?
MR. MORGAN: Oh, probably about 20 years ago. Dan told me then that he had seven million-dollar lawsuits; they got his house; they shot at him and all kinds of stuff like that. He spoke out about the corruption with local officials, the secret meetings and all, and won national awards for his reporting. Dan’s an old man now and no longer in the newspaper business. He went out of business around1985.
MRS. RONDEAU: Do you think he left the newspaper business because of the threats and lawsuits?
MR. MORGAN: Oh, yes.
MRS. RONDEAU: What are your immediate plans, Mr. Morgan?
MR. MORGAN: My main thrust right now is to get these children where they can function. With me locked up in jail, there’s no one to take care of the girls. When I get my girls straightened out and everything, I’m going to try to go back to the grand jury. I’m limited on resources in regard to filing papers and everything like that…I still have a few friends who know me personally. I have a lot of debt now, and I haven’t been able to buy insurance or tags for my vehicles.
MRS. RONDEAU: When was the last time you were in jail?
MR. MORGAN: I got out in August of last year. I got 33 days for refusing to pay Peter Alliman’s attorney’s fees. I couldn’t come up with the money. Peter Alliman tried to sell some of my land which I inherited from my mother.
MRS. RONDEAU: Was he able to do that?
MR. MORGAN: No. That’s when George and Daniel published an article about the corruption in Monroe County, and then they started to torture me in the jail. I was moved from place to place in shackles, but I never knew where I was going. I had no money left to pay the attorney’s fees.
MRS. RONDEAU: How did you get out?
MR. MORGAN: My brother paid the clerk the $16,200 before they’d let me out of jail.
MRS. RONDEAU: In total, how much money have you paid out that you did not owe?
MR. MORGAN: About $150,000.
MRS. RONDEAU: Do you think the average Monroe County resident knows about the deep corruption of public officials there?
MR. MORGAN: No, and the reason they don’t is that they read the trash in the local newspapers. Someone said to me the other day, “Morgan, I saw your picture in the newspaper about how you’re a deadbeat dad,” and I told him, “You know, if you would read the Bible half as much or even one-tenth as much as you read these lies, you’d be a pretty good person.” Most people read these “lie papers,” as I call them, and that’s all they know. Someone who can’t discern the truth from a lie is in pretty bad shape, and I think most of the people in Monroe County are too busy making a living. They’re not really concerned unless it affects them personally.
If the girls could get some help, some job training or something so that they could make a living and even pay taxes, that would help a lot.