LIMA — The first criminal trial for an employee of the Allen Metropolitan Housing Authority is scheduled to begin this morning in a legal saga that has dogged the agency for more than a year.
Anna Schnippel, the agency's executive director, is on trial on the misdemeanor charge of falsification. Schnippel is accused of making false statements concerning the way police handled an agency receptionist during a 2012 raid.
Schnippel described police as “storm troopers” and “jack-booted thieves” when they raided the agency and allegedly injured receptionist Cheryl Lawson. Lawson also is facing criminal charges over the filing of a workers’ compensation claim the prosecution said was fraudulent.
Schnippel was in court Tuesday as her attorney and a prosecutor took care of some housekeeping matters in the case that is set to be a jury trial. Her attorney, J. Alan Smith, pushed to pin the prosecutor down on the exact allegation, saying the Sixth Amendment affords the person the right to be notified of the charge.
Assistant Lima City Prosecutor Rick Eddy said the allegations have been spelled out in records given to the defense.
“The false statement is her description of the arrest and whether or not it’s accurate,” Eddy said.
Lawson is scheduled to stand trial May 2 on the charges of falsification and workers’ compensation fraud. She is accused of filing a false claim that was denied by the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.
Lawson said she was injured during the police raid. Police raided the agency March 27, 2012, after allegations of illegal conduct were made.
A third employee, Bruce Monford, the brother of the housing board President the Rev. Lamont Monford, was indicted on eight counts of tampering with records and two counts of theft in office. The charges allege crimes related to Bruce Monford’s duties as a housing inspector for the agency. He is scheduled to stand trial May 28.
There also has been a series of civil litigation involving employees who lost their jobs at the agency.