One story has to do with electronic bingo at the new Country Crossing development in Dothan. The other is about the multimillion-dollar contract Riley awarded to Paragon Source, a Virginia-based company that doesn't even have a business address.
We are not qualified to determine whether someone's inability to tell the truth has reached the pathological stage. But you have to wonder about the current occupant of Alabama's governor's mansion. And here is perhaps the most alarming aspect of the story: Because Riley is a white, "pro business" Republican, many Alabamians don't seem to bat an eye when the governor takes a trip down Liar's Lane.
Consider the Country Crossing story. Last October, Riley said he was "one hundred percent behind Country Crossing." So why did Riley sign off on a raid of the electronic-bingo pavilion at Country Crossing, an event that was halted only because a judge issued a restraining order in the wee hours of Wednesday morning?
In essence, Riley showed support for Country Crossing by siccing his Anti-Gambling Task Force on the facility. Riley's press secretary called Country Crossing a "criminal enterprise."
Most rational people would say that's a strange way of supporting a new development that is expected to provide a major economic jolt for Southwest Alabama.
Riley, of course, is pointing to a recent Alabama Supreme Court decision that established a six-point test for determining if electronic-bingo machines are legal. But the governor seems to have a problem understanding what the Supreme Court decision actually did. Even his own attorney general, Troy King, says so:
Now the governor is apparently acting on a decision of the Alabama Supreme Court that is not yet final and which, contrary to his public statements, does not say that all electronic bingo machines are illegal. I can only offer the governor my advice, which I have done. I cannot force him to take it.
Multiple reports have indicated that Riley won the governor's race in 2002 with the help of Mississippi Choctaw gaming funds, laundered through disgraced GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Is Riley so beholden to Mississippi gaming interests that he has become irrational, unable to tell fact from fiction? Sure looks that way.
On the Paragon Source story, consider this report from Bob Lowry of The Huntsville Times:
A consultant Wednesday identified 115 Huntsville computer software companies that he said could have done the work on a $7.5 million no-bid computer contract awarded by the state to a Virginia firm.
Jyles Machen, a Huntsville consultant and political action committee organizer who is retired from NASA, said he is forming the Alabama Works Coalition to support legislation to ban no-bid contracts in state government
Riley claims that Paragon Source is the only company that could perform the work, granting it a "sole source" contract. But a technology expert says more than 100 companies in one Alabama city alone could have done the work.
Who is out of touch with reality here?
How big a phony is Bob Riley? Consider this passage from The Huntsville Times:
Riley ran for governor on the platform of opposing the no-bid contracts handed out then-Democratic Gov. Don Siegelman. But at a Dec. 8 news conference, Democratic senators said the Riley administration's record $2.6 billion in no-bid contracts have already doubled the amount handed out by Siegelman.
Riley's staff also seems to be out of touch with reality. Consider this quote from Press Secretary Todd Stacy:
"Governor Riley will not tolerate criminal activity from anyone--no matter how powerful or politically connected they may be," Stacy said.
Stacy seems to have forgotten that Bill Johnson, a former Riley insider, is calling for a criminal investigation of the governor and his administration.
On a personal note, I informed Riley's staff several years ago about criminal conduct by various Republican judges in Shelby County and Pelham, Alabama, attorney William E. Swatek, the father of former Riley campaign manager Dax Swatek. Riley's staff apparently ignored the complaint, so I know from firsthand experience that Toddy Stacy is full of it.
* Bob Riley said he opposed no-bid contracts, but he has awarded twice the amount handed out by his Democratic predecessor--and Riley still has a year left in his term;
* Riley says he opposes gambling, but the evidence is overwhelming that he rode into the governor's office in Alabama with support from out-of-state gambling interests:
* Riley says he supports "a hundred percent" a new development in Dothan and then proceeds to raid the place in an effort to shut it down.
Does the term "pathological" fit those actions? Alabamians should think seriously about that question.