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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Stench From Anti-Gambling Task Force Grows Overpowering

Alabama Governor Bob Riley says his anti-gambling task force is designed to ensure that the rule of law is upheld in our state. But with each passing day, we learn details that indicate the task force itself is a sham.

The latest example comes with reports that John Tyson, the new commander of the task force, received more than $200,000 in campaign funds from political action committees funded by gambling interests. Some of those funds were solicited, and $100,000 came from Milton McGregor, owner of the VictoryLand casino that Tyson tried to raid last week.

On top of all that, we even have behind-the-scenes footage of a task force meeting that shows just how unhinged Alabama's governor has become over gambling.

But first, back to Tyson. How big a bozo is the new gambling czar? Well, reporter George R. Altman, of the Mobile Press-Register, shows that Tyson has serious problems keeping his stories straight:

"He specifically asked me for $150,000, and I told him that wasn't possible, but I flat sure gave him $100,000, and he wanted more," said Milton McGregor, owner of the VictoryLand casino near Montgomery.

Tyson, who remains Mobile County's district attorney after his January appointment by Gov. Bob Riley to head the gambling task force, told the Press-Register last week that he didn't ask for -- or even know of -- any contributions given to him by gambling interests.

Tyson clarified that statement Monday night, saying he did ask for and receive $100,000 from McGregor. Tyson said his statement last week was meant only to apply to contributions from Poarch Creek Indian, or PCI, Gaming.

McGregor is not the only person pointing out that Tyson has a loose relationship with the truth. Luther Winn Jr., CEO of the Eutaw-based gaming facility Greenetrack, said much the same thing. Reports Altman:

"The point is not where (Tyson) got his contributions from, but that he lied about it to the public and to the media," said McGregor. "He said he didn't take gambling money when in fact he did take it. Now he's in a very powerful public position as head of the task force. If he can't be honest, he should step down."

McGregor and Winn both said they heard from the Tyson campaign in 2006 that he thought their gambling venues were legal.

"He indicated to me, if we were operating under a constitutional amendment that Greene County had voted on and approved, then he had no problem with it," said Jerry Spencer, Winn's lobbyist.

Tyson said he didn't recall details of the conversations, but he likely said "something to the effect that, if you're legal, then you have no problem with me," without saying whether the VictoryLand or Greenetrack were themselves legal.

So Tyson said certain gambling venues were legal four years ago, and now he is trying to close some of them down? Makes a lot of sense.

Maybe we should expect such goofiness from any outfit that is led by Bob Riley. We've been wondering for awhile if the governor might be losing it. This exclusive video footage indicates that the gambling crusade finally has fractured the Riley administration. Disturbing stuff:

1 comment:

Stephen Kammerman said...

The government has missed the boat on anti-gambling legislation. BILLIONS of potential dollars...lost. Only a matter of time before they see the light.