Former Walker County commission candidate turns self in after charity members accuse her of stealing funds

Tuesday, November 6, 2012 Walker County commissioner write-in candidate Ales Campbell sits on the stairs in the Lafayette courthouse and waits as ballots are counted Tuesday night. Campbell was defeated by incumbent commissioner Bebe Heiskell.

Members of the LaFayette Women's Club accused Ales Earle Campbell of misappropriating $7,902.52 of funds from the non-profit, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

Campbell, 53, a former Walker County commissioner candidate, served as treasurer of the organization and had access to the club's debit card and checks. Stephanie Wardlaw, who succeeded Campbell's as treasurer, said she flagged suspicious expenses on Oct. 9.

Wardlaw, Club President Rachel Willeford and Past Club President Cecilia Westbrook told LaFayette police that Campbell admitted to misusing some of the funds during a meeting last year. The women reported the crime on Nov. 13. Campbell did not immediately return a call seeking comment this evening.

While the investigation was still open, a Walker County magistrate ordered Campbell to pay the women's club back all $7,902.52 after a civil hearing on Jan. 10, according to the incident report.

The incident report includes a spreadsheet of supposed misused funds. This includes seven checks made out to Campbell herself, worth a total of $1,599.71. It also includes at least seven ATM withdrawals, totaling $1,085. (There may be more. The spreadsheet provided to the Times Free Press by Walker County Magistrate Court employees is too blurry to read in some areas.)

Other supposedly criminal expenses include charges to Netflix, Direct TV, Ronnie's Wine, Walmart and Bass Pro Shop. Of all these charges, police say that Campbell admitted 15 purchases, totaling $938.67.

Campbell turned herself in at the Walker County Jail on Friday on a theft by taking charge.