Baldwin County Board of Education Vice President Angie Swiger announced Thursday she has been cleared of wrongdoing following a six-month Alabama Ethics Commission investigation that stemmed from a complaint filed in 2015. Swiger represents Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and other coastal Baldwin areas in District 5.
The complaint, which was leaked to media in January, alleged Swiger used her influence as a member of the Board of Education to coerce school employees to buy property from her Gulf Shores real estate business.
Swiger, who is serving her second term on the board, hosted a press conference at her office in Gulf Shores and released a statement to media shortly thereafter.
In the statement, Swiger said the details of the complaint were provided to the press in an attempt to smear her name and reputation and alleges it could be considered a criminal offense. She says the “baseless accusations” were reported by “radical fringe political groups” working to tear down the school system.
Swiger’s statement is reprinted in full below:
“Last month, on Jan 20, I issued a statement to the media regarding an ethics complaint filed by an anonymous source, a complaint relating to my personal real estate business and my service on the school board. My statement was in response to the details of the complaint being illegally provided to the press with the motive and intent to smear my name and my reputation and to do irreparable harm to my family and my business. This was not only a cowardly act, but potentially a criminal offense.
She also defends her real estate business, Swiger & Company, and said the company will continue to support schools in Baldwin County.
“After an exhaustive six-month investigation and numerous interviews with me and various school employees, the accusations in the anonymous complaint could not be substantiated by any evidence; and as of yesterday, Feb 3, my name has been cleared. The file has been closed by the Alabama Ethics Commission.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the ethics commission and the ethics investigator for providing a fair and thorough investigation. In addition, I’d like to thank my wonderful family, my friends, and my loyal supporters for standing by me throughout this challenging time. You have always been there for me…through a challenging 2008 campaign, through my six years of service, and through my re-election, just a year ago.
“If we allow such hatred, slander, and baseless accusations to go unchecked, we run the risk that these radical fringe political groups will continue to tear down the values we work so hard to maintain. They will tear down our schools, divide our communities, and weaken any chances we might have to achieve something beyond mediocrity. They will destroy our chances of greatness and rip apart the very fabric of what drew us to our decent, caring communities.
“We can’t achieve our goals by destroying the good names and reputations of the very people who take time away from their families and businesses in order to make a difference, to be a part of the solution rather than just criticize. If we do, good, honest, fair people will refuse to serve, and our communities and our country will be run by those who hate, slander, and unjustly accuse.
“Over the past decade, Swiger & Company, Realtors has helped hundreds of families achieve their dream of home ownership. We have built our business on integrity, trust, and confidence and we take great pride in knowing that our clients trust us with the largest and most important transaction of their lives. We love what we do and plan to continue helping families for many years to come. We also plan to continue our tradition of supporting our schools as we have in the past.
“I have spent the last 7 years giving my heart and soul to the Baldwin County Board of Education as Representative for District 5. I will continue to serve in that role proudly and the people I represent know that I will continue to serve them with honor and integrity. Because of my strong views and unwavering advocacy for the children of Baldwin County, I sometimes meet with strong opposition and because of this there are people who would like to unseat me, but I am more empowered than ever before.
“My message to this anonymous, malicious complainant should be clear. My resolve is steady and strong.
“If you think you can attack me because I am a woman, and therefore weak; you are wrong. I will speak out so loudly that no other woman endures your veiled threats.
“If you think you can attack me because and I will cower in fear, you should know that your attacks have given me the strength to fight against the destruction of decent people.
“And if you think you can win a campaign based on Politics of Personal Destruction, know that I will not stand for your antics, nor will not indulge your personal agenda that has nothing to do with children, teachers, or schools.
“Those of you who hide in the shadows of anonymous complaints, anonymous letters and private Facebook Groups should know that the future of our children is at stake and I will not go away and I will not quit. I will continue to be a beacon for our teachers and children and I will continue to be a voice for the voiceless.”