Randall Woodfin’s secret partnership with convicted thieves raises major ethical questions.

Kelli Caulfield | Randall Woodfin | Gayle Cunningham

Mayoral Candidate Randall Woodfin has spent the last year promoting his personal and professional resume in his quest to become mayor. He has promoted  every detail from his high school days to working with the Botanical Garden and everything in between. So why did he leave out that for the last seven years he has been a leading board member of a company that entitles him to a share of 25 percent of that company’s profits?

According to Secretary of State records, on November 29, 2011 Woodfin became a board member of  a new company named Caldwell Holdings. According to these documents, he, as said board member, would be entitled to a share of 25 percent of the company’s profits. At the time Woodfin was 29 years old and his resume indicates no prior executive experience. His time on this board and any mention of it, is also glaringly missing from his biography on his campaign website and could not be located in any previous mentions of his professional experience. 

A closer look at Caulfield Holdings reveals many significant issues with this partnership. Caulfied holdings is owned by Kelli Caulfield and her mother Gayle Cunningham, who also serves as a board member alongside Woodfin.

The same two women later found themselves at the center of a massive scheme to defraud the children of the Birmingham area through stealing over $500,000 from the city’s Head Start program.

U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard D. Schwein Jr. issued a statement that highlighted the costs of the theft saying,

“Gayle Cunningham was able to steal money intended to help some of the most vulnerable members of our community because she traded on her long tenure at JCCEO to receive broad discretionary powers from its board.

She and her daughter exploited that authority to steal nearly a half million dollars from the agency. As a result, training programs lagged, Head Start buses were not replaced, and classroom computers were running on obsolete, unsupported operating systems.

Prison is deserved for this type of abuse of trust and misuse of federal funds.”

As a self-declared champion for children, one would think Randall Woodfin would have decried these actions so callously laid out by law enforcement.

“I just want to ask the court for mercy,” the article says then-Birmingham Board of Education President Woodfin told the judge.

Woodfin asked that if there had to be some form of incarceration, that it be home confinement.

But the question remains, why would Randall Woodfin get involved in a case where Head Start money — money for little kids– was stolen? Especially since he was president of the Birmingham School Board at the time.

According to court documents, Cunningham and Caulfield bought multiple properties in Jefferson and Shelby Counties. Cunningham and Caulfield used Head Start money to make mortgage payments, pay property taxes, and make repairs to the homes they had bought, robbing our children of their pre-k funds.

Birmingham City School Board President, Woodfin testified on the behalf of these criminals, but never bothered to disclose that he is a board member for Caulfield’s company. Again, as a board member, he profited a portion of 25 percent of the company’s proceeds. Through out the trial and even after Cunningham and Caulfield were convicted —Cunningham was ultimately sentenced to two years in prison and had to pay paid $492,195 in restitution. Meanwhile, her daughter, Caulfield, was sentenced to eight months home confinement and supervised probation — Woodfin never spoke out about this secret partnership. He even failed to disclose this financial relationship on his annual ethics forms — a clear violation of state law.

All of these documents are public record and they show a troubling trend for Randall Woodfin. How do you condone and defend your business partners stealing money from pre-k children — literally as investigators pointed out taking away books, supplies and computers of the most innocent citizens? These are questions that voters will have to ask themselves and Woodfin prior to election day. 

Alabama Today has reached out to the Woodfin campaign for comment and will update accordingly pending response.


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