Former Anchorage director arrested for theft

Police allege he stole more than $26,000 from the Lee County substance abuse facility.

LEESBURG, Ga. — The former head of a local faith-based substance abuse rehabilitation facility has been arrested and charged with stealing more than $26,000 from the facility.

Kenny Phillips was booked into the Lee County Jail and released on bond Wednesday night. He’s been charged with one felony count of theft by taking.

Sky Martin, the chairman of the board of the Anchorage, told The Albany Herald on Thursday that the funds Phillips is accused of stealing did not come from the facility’s donor account.

“We noticed, in a review of the finances, that there were some items we thought were inappropriate,” Martin said. “He’s (Phillips) has been forthcoming and has admitted it.”

Pete Donaldson, Phillips’ attorney, said Thursday that he and his client have been cooperating with investigators, but that it’s premature to speculate as to how the case will be resolved.

“My client has met with investigators and been fully cooperative with them,” Donaldson said. “We’ll deal with the evidence as it becomes available, but I think its premature to speculate as to the disposition of the case.”

According to an incident report filed with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Phillips is accused of redirecting over a 48-month period up to $26,400 in funds from use by the facility to his own personal gain.

When Martin and the board learned of some possible “inappropriate activity” on the Anchorage accounts last May, they questioned Phillips, who at the time, Martin says, was less cooperative, leading the board to vote to terminate him as director at that time.

Since then, he said, a review of the organization’s finances revealed that Phillips was redirecting small amounts of money each month — roughly $550 — to his personal use.

Martin said that while he and the board members feel betrayed by their former director, that they are undeterred from their mission to provide substance abuse treatment for their clients.

“The Anchorage is a vital community ministry,” Martin said. “This is a setback, but it’s not going to stop us from doing what we do, which is helping people.”

Martin said that the facility has whittled down the candidates to replace Phillips as head of the organization and that the finalists for the position will be presented to the board at some point in September.