Phenix City councilman arrested for forgery & perjury

By Lindsey Connell - bio | email

PHENIX CITY, AL (WXTX)  - A longtime member of the Phenix City Council has turned himself in to authorities, facing felony charges.

Seventy-year-old Arthur Sumbry Sr. turned himself to the Russell County Sheriff's Office Friday on charges of forgery and perjury.

Sumbry was indicted by a Russell County Grand Jury this week.

According to Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor, the charges stem from a business situation in 2008 when Sumbry was acting as a notary public.

He allegedly forged signatures on a legal document that he notarized and later lied about it in court under oath. Sheriff Taylor says Sumbry forged signatures on a deed to a house and the people whose names were forged realized they never signed the document.

"It's a bad situation any way that you look at it. I mean, he is a long-term family person in our county and he's a sitting council member. You know, we certainly are not happy about being in this position, but we have to do what's right," Sheriff Taylor said Friday afternoon.

A complaint about Sumbry was originally made to the Phenix City Police Department but officials posed concerns about a possible conflict of interest considering he's one of their city council members, so they turned it over to the Russell County Sheriff's Office this past November. The Sheriff's Office conducted a month-long investigation and presented the case to the grand jury.

Sumbry posted bond Friday and his case will proceed to trial.

Phenix City Mayor Sonny Coulter says Arthur Sumbry Sr. has been a member of the city council on and off for the past 25 years.

The mayor did not know about his arrest until WTVM contacted him with questions late Friday. He could not comment on the case or what possible affect it could have on Sumbry's position.

Sheriff's officials say someone cannot hold a public office in Phenix City if convicted of a crime.

WTVM archives show that Arthur Sumbry Sr. was convicted of voter fraud in 1980, but was eventually pardoned.

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