DENVER - A prominent member of the Colorado State Parole Board resigned after a CALL7 Investigation revealed he failed to send thousands of dollars in garnished wages to a creditor on behalf of a former employee.
Dr. Anthony Young was a highly-paid gubernatorial appointee, charged with assessing the honesty and integrity of inmates applying for parole. He also serves as the board president of the Black American West Museum & Heritage Center and handles the organization’s funds.
An employee at the museum, Naomi Mills, had a court-ordered garnishment of her wages to pay off a car debt. Records show Young, acting for the museum, garnished hundreds of dollars from her paychecks every two weeks that he never sent to the collection agency.
When CALL7 Investigator John Ferrugia first spoke with Mills, she was the museum's office manager.
"I do pretty much everything; I do tours, I book tours, I help the volunteers, I manage the volunteers, I keep up with daily reports, daily receipts, I do the monthly reporting to Dr. Young," Mills told Ferrugia.
Mills said Young had direct control of museum funds, and wrote the checks. She showed Ferrugia her pay stubs, which make it clear that the museum garnished her wages, beginning in January 2013, for a car she bought but could not afford.
"I gave the car back, and when I gave it back, I still had to pay for it, and so I ended up getting garnished," she said.
But in October 2013, the finance company, Prestige Financial, called Mills to tell her that the most recent payment check had bounced -- and that wasn't the only money in arrears.
"They are also wondering why my payments have not come through consistently," said Mills.
"So where was the money going?" Ferrugia asked.
"I have no idea," said Mills.
The CALL7 Investigators obtained Mills' Prestige account statements and found that while Young was garnishing her wages for about $600 each month, he was sending the finance company far less than the amount garnished, and sometimes sending nothing at all -- shorting Mills' account thousands of dollars.
For example, museum payroll records from January 2013 show Mills' checks were garnished more than $673. In February, they were garnished more than $613 dollars. But her Prestige account records show no money was sent to the company in either month.
The first payment of the year was sent in March, for $322.86 -- about half of what was owed for that month, and about half of what was taken out of Mills' check.
The former treasurer of the museum for a short time in 2013 told Ferrugia she was sending checks to the court from January until the middle of April – or so she thought. She says she wrote the checks and gave them to Young to be mailed.
She also said she is a long time professional friend of Young, and both she and Young acknowledged they also had a personal relationship.
"I am concerned because my name was on most of those checks and I don't see them there," she said, noting the amounts listed in the finance company documents.
"I don't see it there," she said. "If the museum is not being responsible sending money to the court, what are they using the money for?"
That's what Naomi Mills wanted to know when she confronted Dr. Young. At first, she said, he stalled her.
"And then he finally came back and said, 'I had a choice of paying you and helping you or giving the money to Prestige,'" she said. He made no commitment, Mills said, to repay the money to the finance company.
Mills said it was then that Young intensified what she claimed was their personal relationship -- a relationship Young denied to the CALL7 Investigators. But photos and text messages confirm they apparently saw one another outside the office. And Mills said after she confronted Young, he became even more attentive.
"He would come and give me money, and say this is money I want you to have because I know you are struggling," she said. "But I had to sign a paper stating that, I received this money."
"Why do you think he was doing that?" Ferrugia asked.
"Probably to keep me quiet," Mills said.
In early December 2013, Young fired Mills. She had no income, and knew the finance company would continue to hound her.
"I called EEOC, I called the work labor board, and it was not in their range of what they can help with," she said. "So it was like nobody wanted to touch either the non-profit or Dr. Young, and I thought it was because of his position with the state."
Dr. Anthony Young made more than $92,000 per year as a gubernatorial appointee to the Colorado State Parole Board, and until recently, served as chairman. When state officials became aware of the CALL7 Investigation Monday, Young was questioned, and on Tuesday was called to meet with Deputy Chief of Staff Kevin Patterson at the parole board office. Sources familiar with the meeting said Young was asked to tender his resignation, which he did.
Young's position on the parole board had been very concerning for Mills, because she is currently on probation from a legal case in 2013, and has a past criminal record -- and Young knew about both. Milles said because of his position Young had access to her records.
Prior to his resignation, Young refused to speak with the CALL7 Investigators, saying an interview could hurt his position on the Parole Board. So, Ferrugia went to talk to him at the museum in Denver where he serves as board president.
"You think it's okay to garnish someone's wages and keep the money?" Ferrugia asked Young. "Where is the money?"
Young didn't answer any questions.
"It has nothing to do with the museum, it was the person that is in control knowing better and doing it anyway," said Mills. "If you are on the parole board, then, you know, you know better."
Until the CALL7 Investigators started asking questions, neither Prestige Financial nor its legal representative knew Young and the museum were withholding Mills' money. Now, Prestige Financial has focused its efforts to recover thousands of dollars owed to Naomi Mills' account.
The company's legal representative confirms it has been in contact with Dr. Anthony Young, who has agreed to pay Prestige more than $6,000 the museum owes in garnishment from Mills' checks. The legal representative says the finance company expects payment by March 15th.