Alabama Gazette - The people's voice of reason

Believe in Mike Hubbard? ENOUGH ALREADY! Time to Go to Trial…

 


The current epicenter of Alabama corruption was quaking from recent affidavits submitted to Judge Walker’s Circuit Court on Speaker Hubbard’s [R - Auburn] criminal indictment. These rumblings prompted inquiries for my thoughts as an active participant in the District 79 campaign to elect Sandy Toomer. Some seem to think I may’ve been one of the architects of the ‘whisper campaign’ alleged in court documents surrounding Barron Coleman’s affidavit. I was aware of no whisper campaign. In a small minority (of ONE it seemed at times) who supported Senator Whatley’s 2014 primary re-election while at the same working and praying to remove Hubbard pollutant(s) from Montgomery I was treated with caution. My support of Whatley placed me at odds with Mr. Coleman’s ‘political strategy.’ I wasn’t shy about communicating disagreement with him at that time. Some ask why my bride’s old pick-up tailgate boldly displaying a Toomer yard-sign on one side with Whatley on the other is STILL my Facebook picture; because I think it the biggest political ‘strategy’ mistake committed in Alabama these past years.

In full knowledge of Judge Walker’s request to hear from anyone with information on the matter, there’s no reason for me to submit yet another affidavit to his court. ENOUGH ALREADY! This sound jurist, in great prudence to make sure an over-privileged ‘affluenza’ type defendant has been allowed to exhaust every possible avenue (however unreasonable) to not face trial has lead to the inevitable abuse of process. It has slowly digressed and decayed into the circus we now observe as the Speaker devoted so much influence, money, power and time successfully stalling the process for far too long so other NON-related issues are clouding and obfuscating the justice being delayed and denied. It is painfully overdue for these alleged felonies to be tried and move onto inevitable appeals. Sadly the Speaker has not devoted effort to address the charges, as it may have pared down to something less overwhelming for the court to address. Some readers will recall I found Judge Jacob Walker an outstanding jurist; his legally correct text in summary judgments aided our unanimous (8-0, Roberts was not yet seated) 2005 victory in the SCotUS.

When government attorneys wanted to continue stalling (as we were homeless from the unlawful/wrongful taking of our house at the time) Judge Walker finally said enough. The $59,800 asserted when they made us homeless magically became $145,000 the day before they would have to face a jury. This was still $30,000 below non-government paid appraisals and some berated us for not going to trial. We were not going waste the court’s time over such a small amount (only money) when the civil rights issues in the federal courts were most important to stop Dial, Hubbard, Little, Riley, Rogers, Sewell, Siegelman, et al types (and their crony contractors) from doing this to others. As I’ve grown older/wiser - I understand those berating us were correct -- always go to court against thieves simply to make it more costly to them in this world and more importantly to get them to lie under oath to be more costly in their most important judgment in the next. Making them incur cost this way is one of the last deterrents remaining.

Back to our current circus that the Speaker has worked so long and hard to set up in Lee County which Judge Walker must now address. In the reading of the available (indeed limited) documents, it seems Mr. Coleman is playing a very calculated game of semantics and parsing of words. Nothing new in the political arena, perhaps most infamous of late is President Clinton’s, “It depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ IS,” or “I was never alone in the White House with Monica Lewinski.” When’s the last time you think ANYONE was alone with only one other in the White House - the last two Brits leaving when trying to burn it down during the War of 1812; the first two back in upon regaining control of DC during the War? I found Barron Coleman very articulate, extremely bright with a sound moral compass but at risk of sounding harsh, also very young and immature. An effective strategist (political or otherwise) cannot let their passion override their reason.

There are many underlying power-players in this ‘Battle Royale’ embarrassment unfolding in Lee County. The most notable/powerful in the mix are the AEA (teachers’ cartel) v. the BCA (corporate welfare recipients) who are two of the most deleterious forces destroying our State. Productive citizens of Alabama hosting these two huge parasites find little solace debating which is killing us more quickly. Many assert Coleman is a loyal advocate for the AEA. Disdain, which ranges from childish to irrational at times, for Sen. Whatley clouds Mr. Coleman’s judgment. Understandably the AEA hates Whatley’s honesty telling them what they don’t want to hear, but he’s a rare voice on Goat Hill (with Pittman, Samford, et al) about budget realities. Some care more about the long-run general welfare of our State over the specific interest of groups wanting redistributions in their favour. Hard not to see someone as an ‘ankle-biter’ when whining about this active duty Senator wearing his uniform on Memorial Day or continuing to carp on long since dropped and unfounded charges of domestic abuse.

This childish, irrational disdain appeared to drive the strategy to spend (by some estimates over $600k) on Andy Carter to defeat Sen. Whatley in the 2014 primary. Champions of big govt. like the AEA or BCA can/will spend vast amounts of money taken from donors to win, yet I could not understand a political ‘strategist’ willing to disadvantage a campaign which could’ve removed Hubbard in the primary and let Lee County (and hopefully federal) courts also do their job. Once Toomer was perceived (true or not) the AEA candidate as seen increasingly more connected to Andy Carter, I spent most of my time trying to dispel the notion to undecided voters I engaged convinced Toomer was a shill for the AEA. This wouldn’t have been as troublesome in the general election if Sandy had decided run as a write-in in the general election, but it was a game changer in a Republican primary. When AEA ‘volunteers’ descended upon District 79 with a Carter sign in one hand and Toomer sign in the other - we unpaid volunteers couldn’t overcome the perception -- it was over. Hubbard bombing the airwaves with negative ads and landline robo-calls kept most voters away from the polls and the Speaker had no trouble getting his minions to carry the day in yet another low turnout victory. Sadder still someone like Whatley who’s had the courage to stand up against Hubbard in the past (esp. taking his lumps to remove Lowder from the Auburn BoT) are pushed to be more beholden to corrupt BCA thugs when facing such huge AEA sums amassed against him.

The plot sickens… now one of Hubbard’s most devoted sycophants, Rep. Jack Williams [R - Vestavia] was “compelled to write a letter and gather signatures” (according to WSFA News’ 2/18/16 report) to request the DoJ investigate Alabama’s AG. Indeed after several score the corrupt Republicans are back in power and using the same old hegemony playbook. Of course, many Alabam-ians applaud federal investigation into the matter - esp. of those like Rep. Williams and other ‘public servants’ in the “fibers of democracy” he claims to hold so dear. It would be refreshing to see this also ‘blow-back’ on them like Hubbard’s ethics laws he paid lip service to when passing them, to now claim they’re unconstitutional to discipline him. Those of Rep. Williams’ character and integrity give little thought to their laws applying to their own actions, so blinded and engulfed in hubris. DoJ investigating the Hubbard alleged felony, tied to what Rep. Wren has already pled guilty to (as it is also a federal crime), would be a sound place to start. Perhaps Rep. Williams’ invite will make the DoJ feel more welcomed to address the current 23 Hubbard felony indictments and curb corruption some more via federal charges. I was impressed Obama’s DoJ correctly stated Don Seigelman’s sentencing was insufficient for charges he was found guilty of committing in federal court, perhaps we’ll see similar courage toward deterrence against the current corruption. Who knows? - maybe Mr. Williams can also invite the NCAA to come to Auburn and address Edgenuity, Inc. and AD Jacobs e-mails to Hubbard, director of compliance McGlynn, etc… let’s REALLY clear the air as Rep. Williams espouses!

Specifically, the prosecution claims (and provided proof to the court according to the Alabama Political Reporter) Mr. Coleman a confidential informant to their Special Prosecution Division since Fall 2012 to acquire information on Hubbard and other individuals where all communications between the State and Coleman are privileged. No prosecutorial misconduct to be found there as conversations between Deputy AG Matt Hart and Coleman, “were all lawful and appropriate, because they were all conducted in the context of Coleman’s status as an informant,” according to the State’s filing in Walker’s court. One may assume in Rep. William’s ‘democracy’ the prosecutor can’t get information to reduce the number of wrongful arrests and wasted resources to our economy this sycophantic politician zealously and hypocritically claims to loathe. It was also reported Special Agent Jack Wilson (ALEA) concluded after interviewing Coleman about his affidavit that Coleman had not alleged any violation of criminal law. Wilson also “recommended that no formal investigation be opened into the matter of Coleman’s allegations.”

I found nothing in reading Coleman’s affidavit (even if completely verified as fact in the court) sufficient to dismiss the Grand Jury indictment. I saw no allegation Deputy Hart leaked Grand Jury information (thus the careful Coleman word parsing) and those charged with investigating violation of Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct have no criminal activity to address. Again ENOUGH! - stop stalling Mr. Speaker. Judge Walker has made it clear in his Court any prosecutorial misconduct would have to meet the well established Nova Scotia criteria - i.e., misconduct which demonstrably influenced/impacted the Grand Jury’s decision on the indictment. The ‘new and improved’ Hubbard Dream Team of lawyers continue grasping for the Court to compel Deputy Hart to testify as a witness. This would disqualify him from the case and proffer even more delay. These past 14 months, the defense has failed to provide any legal precedent compelling pre-trial testimony from a prosecutor. As they run out of time and tactics seems the best they could coerce is a carefully parsed affidavit from a former confidential informant for the AG. If they think Jake Walker is going to set such a despicable precedent to reward this circus act - they’ve lost their minds. The court has suffered everything from selective prosecution, improper Grand Jury empanelment, exceeding the Grand Jury’s jurisdiction, Grand Jury term expiration, to asserting unconstitutionality of Hubbard’s own Alabama Ethics Laws. Judge Walker has recently denied nearly all of these frivolous motions.

If Rep. Williams is successful in getting the DoJ to investigate I will be submitting my request and affidavit as voter and citizen of Lee County as an informant. While Mr. Coleman’s ‘strategy’ to go after Sen. Whatley at the expense of the Toomer campaign was very foolish (but not unethical) another, most damaging blow to Toomer was unethical from my vantage point. I very publicly requested all Lee County legislative delegation members NOT sign onto the significant pay raise (approx. $15,000 or about 16 percent) for Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones. Pay raises of this sort normally become effective the next election cycle - why not this time? I'm a strong advocate of the "you knew the salary when you ran" perspective. If pay for the position was out of line, then it could've been addressed and raised before this past election cycle to possibly attract better candidates at the higher salary - especially with this race unopposed and how difficult it is to get third party candidates on the ballot and/or write-ins to be competitive in general elections.

I concur with those who saw this as political pay-back to a Sheriff who publicly asserted "I Believe in Mike Hubbard" in hundreds of political ads while Speaker Hubbard was under ACTIVE investigation by a Lee County Grand Jury in Sheriff Jones' jurisdiction where stalling has Hubbard later indicted on 23 counts AFTER the primary race. This smacks more of taxpayer funding of a political endorsement than pay adjustment. The chief law enforcement officer to be on the airwaves for Grand Jurists to hear and observe while charges are under active investigation smacks of malfeasance well beyond poor judgment. Behaviour of this sort from any sheriff in our State merits ethics investigation, NOT an immediate pay raise. I take no delight in typing this - I think this sheriff is a nice guy. I’ve asked him to explain/justify this or at least as publicly apologize (preferably before the trial) for possible misconduct or impacting the decision of this jury as he did schilling for Speaker Hubbard in 2014. Of course, this is merely observing a symptom - a powerful pollutant like Speaker Hubbard unchecked will degrade many otherwise good folks. I’ve witnessed his cancer spread from Auburn University, to the city, to the county to the State.

In closing, I’d like to read former State Sen. John Rice’s affidavit (perhaps also sealed by the court?) likely to be the most direct, non-parsed and truthful text on the matter. Rice was Toomer’s campaign manager so I think both Messrs. Rice and Toomer’s affidavits may be most enlightening on the word game I suspect Mr. Coleman is playing. Before these tremors I planned to write on the next AFLG anti-corruption lawsuit John Rice told me was forthcoming on misuse of public funds by county elected officials. The Alabama Constitution prohibits use of public funds for private use and may well also violate the Alabama Ethics Law on ‘private gain'. E.g., if a county sheriff has their union dues directly paid with county funds instead of her/his own purse in violation the Alabama Constitution Article 94 (and possibly also violates the Ethics Law) then what other laws is this elected official willing to ignore?

Section 94 (as amended by Amendment 558) bans counties, cities, towns or other subdivisions of this state to grant public money or a thing of value to any association or corporation whatsoever. The two (very limited) exceptions are: (1) where a subdivision of the state, after a vote, may alienate property for public parks, recreational facilities, or housing; (2) for plaques and trophies to promote excellence in the field of education. My understanding was Rice planned to address potential violations where public funds are transferred to private associations. Some examples are:

Alabama Sheriffs Association • Alabama Probate Judges Association • Alabama District Attorneys Association • School Superintendents Association • Alabama Municipal Court Clerks and Magistrate Association • Alabama Association of School Boards • Alabama League of Municipalities • Association of County Commissions of Alabama • Alabama Association of Circuit and District Judges • Alabama Circuit Clerks Association • Association of Alabama Tax Administrators • Chambers of Commerce

This Amended Section of the Alabama Constitution was designed to protect taxpayers’ dollars by prohibiting transfer of public funds to private associations or corporations where they may not be tracked. In some instances of the organizations outlined above (and others like them) public funds are used to hire lobbyists advocating additional tax revenues in their favour. Ironically, tax- payers are funding lobbyists seeking to raise their taxes. Recently, a spokesman for the Association of County Commissions of Alabama was quoted advocating for increased taxes. This one example of why this prohibition is important to Alabamians. I would’ve guessed Barron Coleman to be one of the attorneys the AFLG would use to pursue curbing this abuse in Alabama - after the tactics I suffered taking eminent domain abuse all the way to the SCotUS, I couldn’t help but think the coercion Mr. Coleman may have been subjected to by the Hubbard/Riley machine triggered the recent quake episode of affidavits in Lee County.

 

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