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Friday, January 14, 2011

No Wonder Alabama Democrats Are In Pitiful Shape

George Beck

If you want to know why Democrats are in perhaps their weakest position in Alabama history, consider two stories that have broken in recent days.

The stories reveal that too many Alabama Democrats, particularly those of the white variety, have no principles and no spine. And one of the stories adds to the Obama administration's already horrible record on justice issues in our state.

First, comes word that Montgomery lawyer George Beck is likely to become the new U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Alabama. Then we learn that Birmingham lawyer Nicole Gordon "Nikki" Still, who claims to be a Democrat, has been appointed to a Jefferson County judgeship for the second time by Republican Governor Bob Riley.

With appointments like these, things are likely to get worse before they get better for Democrats in Alabama.

The Alabama Democratic Party's Presidential Advisory Committee has endorsed Beck, even though he comes from a law firm with ties to Republican strategist Karl Rove and Business Council of Alabama (BCA) President Bill Canary. A source tells Legal Schnauzer that Beck's firm, Capell and Howard, often serves as a home base for Rove when he visits Alabama.

If Beck is nominated and confirmed, he will replace Leura Canary, the abominable George W. Bush appointee who ramrodded the Don Siegelman prosecution and, inexplicably, has served for more than two years under the Obama administration. Leura Canary, of course, is married to the BCA's Bill Canary, and given Capell and Howard's ties to Rove, we probably can look for more political prosecutions under George Beck.

Perhaps most troubling is the role Beck played in the Siegelman case. Beck represented key government witness Nick Bailey and allowed him to be bullied by federal prosecutors, who questioned Bailey some 70 times. Then there is this, which we reported in an earlier post:

Numerous reports have indicated that government prosecutors had Bailey write down portions of his statement in order to help him keep it straight. Those notes should have been turned over to defense counsel, but they were not.

Was Beck aware that this exculpatory material was withheld from the defense? If so, why did he quietly let it happen? Is this a serious breach of legal ethics? Does it approach a conspiracy to obstruct justice?

Sounds like just the kind of guy we need as a U.S. attorney, doesn't it? What are Alabama Democrats thinking? Are they thinking at all?

As for Nicole Gordon "Nikki" Still, we know what she's thinking. She's desperate to be a judge, and if she has to jump in bed with perhaps the most corrupt governor in Alabama history . . . well, so be it.

Nicole Gordon Still
Still now has twice accepted judicial appointments from Bob Riley. What does that say about Still's principles? Consider that Riley has documented ties to Jack Abramoff, Michael Scanlon, Karl Rove, Bill Canary . . . the list goes on. He represents the worst the Republican Party has to offer--and that's saying something. But Nikki Still is more than happy to suck up to Alabama's King of Sleaze.

Still's first appointment didn't end so well. When she had to run for election, she lost in the Democratic primary to Kenya Lavender Marshall. That prompted the Alabama State Bar, apparently at Riley's urging, to conduct a witch hunt against Marshall, suspending her license and causing her to be disqualified.

When the Alabama Democratic Executive Committee bypassed Still and nominated Elisabeth French, Still pitched a major snit.

Unable to win an election, Still jumped back in Riley's lap and was chosen to replace Judge G. William Noble, who retired last month. Still will serve the final two years of Noble's term before she has to face election again.

Why is Still so cozy in the Riley camp? Her father, prominent Birmingham attorney Bruce Gordon, has ties to Riley's son, Rob Riley. Here's how we explained it in an earlier post:

For several years, Bruce Gordon and the Gordon Dana law firm represented a company called Alabama Pain Consultants in a lawsuit involving Aspen Medical Products. That case is ongoing, and the Gordon firm has withdrawn from representation of Alabama Pain Consultants. But the case establishes a tie between Bruce Gordon, Nicole Gordon Still's father, and Rob Riley.

Alabama Pain Consultants is owned by Thomas Spurlock and David Marshall. Spurlock, a chiropractor, works in the UAB Department of Surgery and is a business partner with Rob Riley. Spurlock is an owner and officer in Performance Group LLC, a company whose other owners include Rob Riley.

As we have reported here at Legal Schnauzer, Performance Group and Alabama Pain Consultants are among the defendants in a federal whistleblower lawsuit, alleging they have engaged in Medicare fraud.

Bottom line? Bruce Gordon has tried to help Rob Riley and his buddies fight off charges of health-care fraud. Bob Riley probably would like to have a friendly judge on the Jefferson County bench to help limit Junior's exposure. And thus, an alliance is born between the Gordons (supposedly Democrats) and the Rileys (the sleaziest of Republicans).

As we said, so much for principles.

The problems for Alabama Democrats, however, go way beyond George Beck and Nikki Still.

Consider the Birmingham law firm of Wiggins Childs Quinn and Pantazis (WCQP). It's the largest employment law firm in the state, and in local legal circles, it's labeled a "Democrat law firm." But does WCQP exhibit solid progressive principles? Not exactly.

Bruce Gordon used to be a named partner at WCQP before leaving to start his own firm. The ties, however, between WCQP and the Gordon family appear to remain strong. Public documents show that Nicole Gordon Still has done extensive work with Dennis Pantazis, a current named partner at WCQP.

On its Web site, WCQP touts itself as "a leader and advocate for the rights of individuals." But I've seen evidence that the firm avoids cases that might shine light on Bob Riley's dark regime, probably because it wanted to help Nicole Gordon Still become a judge.

Nikki Still is hardly the only opportunist among Alabama Dems. Doug Jones, a former Clinton-era U.S. attorney, jumped in bed with Rob Riley to help earn hefty attorney fees in a federal lawsuit involving individuals and entities connected to HealthSouth Corporation.

Perhaps saddest of all is Obama's appointment of Abdul Kallon to a federal judgeship in the Northern District of Alabama. Kallon came from the conservative and pro-Riley Birmingham firm of Bradley Arant, and apparently was hoisted upon Obama by former U.S. Rep. Artur Davis.

We've had personal experience with Judge Kallon, and we will present overwhelming evidence that the man is either incompetent, corrupt--or both. And we are not talking about a Bush appointee; this is an Obama guy.

As a black lawyer who replaced a historic figure, retired U.S. Judge U.W. Clemon, Kallon is perhaps Obama's most high-profile appointment in Alabama. But we've seen from firsthand experience that Kallon is a disgrace to the bench and is little more than a corporate puppet--in other words, he's just like a Bush appointee.

Can things get worse for Alabama Democrats? At the rate the party is heading south, I would say they undoubtedly will.


Robby Scott Hill said...

I'm truly amazed at how all these lawyers on the other end of the economic spectrum who can't get themselves elected or who get voted out of office after an appointment, get selected for even more jobs. If you're down on my end of the economic spectrum, getting fired from bagging groceries at the Piggly Wiggly 20 years ago, a job you only took to help feed your family, will keep you from even getting to take the bar exam, much less becoming a judge. You know there's some back room deals where the money is all funny when they go re-appointing all these losers. There should be a law that no one can be appointed to the bench if they've lost an election in the previous cycle.

Redeye said...

"The stories reveal that too many Alabama Democrats, particularly those of the white variety, have no principles and no spine."

Enough said.

Max Shelby said...

I knew a former lawyer who was with C&H for many years. Your information on that firm is accurate.

elton t adcock said...

I have had the distinct displeasure of having a case heard by Nikki Gordon Still. Her handling of the matter I was involved in can only be described as incompetent at best and corrupt at worst. She never had nor attempted to take control of her courtroom. Instead, She opted to allow the Older, more politically connected lawyer for the Plaintiff educate her and dictate the entire proceeding which was a travesty of justice. The case was in Madison county and the number is CV-2008-900525. Not only should this woman not be a judge, she should have her law license revoked. I would laugh if it were not so damned sad.

Elton T. Adcock
Jan. 7, 2013

legalschnauzer said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences. What kind of case was it?

Elton T. Adcock said...

A civil case involving a bunch of white trash that got a taste of money and turned on one another. I had the misfortune to have been married to one of them at the time. There was no evidence of any kind presented where I received a dime from any of these people and I truly believed that since I had done no wrong, I had nothing to fear because justice would prevail. Unfortunately, "Nikki" Still has not the slightest clue what justice is. Despite my proven innocence, she saw fit to level a $45,000 judgement against me, while allowing the plaintiffs and their attorneys at Wilmer and Lee in Huntsville to extort money from me at every turn. "Nikki" said that "she would look into" their outright theft of $6000 from me but, conveniently overlooked it like every other crime committed by Mr. Stanley D. Rowe and his creepy offspring Stanley D. Rowe Jr. These people are a menace!!!!!

legalschnauzer said...

Your experience sounds a bit like mine. I had a neighbor file a bogus lawsuit against me over a property-related matter, and I knew I was in the right, so like you, I thought "justice will prevail." Well, 12 years later, my wife and I are still fighting the repercussions from it. That experience is what led me to start this blog.

elton T adcock said...

What can we do about these injustices that has more teeth?

legalschnauzer said...

Exposure to sunlight is the best potential cure that I know of. That's what I try to do with this blog.