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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Bradley Arant Law Firm Nets 1,730 Percent Return On Its Investment With Attorney General's Office



The Bradley Arant law firm, of Birmingham, has contributed $21,000 to Attorney General Luther Strange during and after his 2010 campaign. In return, the firm has received $364,000 in public dollars to help Strange's office with gambling-related issues.

If my math is correct--and that's always a big "if"--Bradley Arant has experienced a 1,730 percent return on its investment with Luther Strange. By most any standard, that is a tidy profit--and it's about to get even better.


According to a recent report from Mary Sell, of The Decatur Daily, Bradley Arant is about to rake in even more taxpayer dollars. Earlier this month, the attorney general's office entered into another $100,000 contract with the downtown Birmingham firm. If that contract is paid in full without another donation, it would run Bradley Arant's return on investment up to about 2,200 percent.


How is this happening? A review of recent Alabama history probably explains it.


Before leaving office in early 2011, former Governor Bob Riley cut a deal with Luther Strange. Riley was to support Strange for governor and raise $2 million for his campaign, while Strange was to "protect" Riley's children and direct any business he could to them. The flow of public dollars from the AG's office to Bradley Arant appears to be one way Strange is holding up his end of the bargain. After all, Riley's daughter (Minda Riley Campbell) is married to Bradley Arant partner Rob Campbell--and Riley's son (Homewood lawyer Rob Riley) has strong ties to Bradley Arant, especially to partner Matthew Lembke.

Lembke and Michael Pennington are among the Bradley Arant lawyers to work on electronic-bingo issues. That reminds us of the federal Alabama bingo trial, for which Bob Riley managed to escape testifying, in part, by taking a curious motorcycle trip to Alaska. That trip, of course, concluded with Riley having a crash near Fairbanks, and we recently discovered that the accident report is available online. (See report at the end of this post.)


Who tried to ensure that Bob Riley was excused from testifying after his motorcycle crash? It was our friends from Bradley Arant, as we reported in June 2011:



Attorneys for Bob Riley did not waste any time in notifying a federal court that the former governor would be temporarily unavailable to testify in the ongoing Alabama electronic-bingo trial. . . .
Michael Pennington and Matthew Lembke, of the Birmingham firm Bradley Arant, represent Riley and filed the post-crash motion. Bradley Arant employs Rob Campbell, Riley's son-in-law, and received millions of dollars in taxpayer funds during the Riley governorship. Dave Stewart, Riley's former chief of staff who has been quoted in news reports about the motorcycle crash, now works at Bradley Arant.

The story of Bob Riley's motorcycle crash never has added up. But the story of Luther Strange's cash pipeline to Bradley Arant is crystal clear. That probably is why the law firm itself declined to take questions for The Decatur Daily's report. The chairman of the firm's Political Action Committee (PAC) did take questions and, not surprisingly, he found absolutely nothing wrong with Strange's former law firm raking in piles of taxpayer dollars.


How to summarize the PAC chairman's response? It was more or less this: "Hey, we've got great lawyers, so we must be worth it." Here are the specifics from Mary Sell's report:



The Birmingham law firm has been sought out to help the attorney general’s office represent the state in the ongoing “electronic gambling dispute.” That assistance has cost Alabama more than $364,000 since 2011.
A representative for the firm said it makes contributions to causes and candidates around the state and files the proper paperwork.
“We don’t see a conflict,” said Mike Denniston, partner and chairman of the firm’s PAC. “The attorney general’s office, like any other agency, has the ability to choose outside counsel.
“We feel like if we weren’t doing good work, they wouldn’t continue to hire us and keep us on.”

Are Bradley Arant lawyers really doing good work on the "electronic gambling dispute," from a taxpayer's perspective? Is the firm's sweetheart arrangement with Luther Strange unethical, maybe even criminal?


We will take a look at those questions in an upcoming post.


Meanwhile, let's check out the accident report from Bob Riley's infamous motorcycle dump in the Alaska wilderness:



47 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very interesting accident report.
1) No one witnessed any accident
2)When witnesses arrived on the scene the motorcycle was already wrecked - totaled actually
3) It is unusual that a motorcycle that is "laid down" on a dirt/gravel road is totaled - usually the damage would be slight
4)Riley had no visible injuries
5) Kinda lucky for Riley he just happened to be standing there when a passerby went by - although no one was there to witness the accident

Anonymous said...

If this is pay off for Bob Riley's quid pro quo request for Luther to "protect" the children, someone needs to prepare federal prison cells for Bob, Luther, and a batch of clowns from Bradley Arant.

TLR said...

I dabble in the stock market and I certainly wouldn't mind that return on investment. Wow!

Anonymous said...

Luther is a cheap date if he gives back $464,000 for a payment of only $21,000.

Milk Dud said...

If I remember correctly, a number of people were present in the meeting where Bob Riley cut his deal with Luther Strange. Since those people apparently have not come forward, are they not covering up a felony?

Anonymous said...

you've been hacked-censored LS, had to 'reset' to get the 'timed out' off, your site appears unable to be accessed for the report ... unless one is truly determined.

GREAT and remember closer you get to the BADDD RACKET, the more you cost the crime wave that has been fully functioning for over 100 years and counting. Too much loss on the side of the criminal class and they cut that problem out.

We need the population to awaken and protect the true vigilantes [LS] and now.

Thanks as always and as always do get that doggie sixth sense in full bow wow.

legalschnauzer said...

Milk Dud:

Your memory is on target. That's the way Bob Martin reported it in The Montgomery Independent. I'm not an expert on this subject, but my understanding is that the failure to report a felony is itself a crime. It's called "misprision of a felony."

Spasmoda said...

Great comment, @7:02. You've caused me to look at this "accident" in a whole new way. And thanks, LS, for posting the accident report on the Web.

legalschnauzer said...

Spasmoda:

Thanks for your comment. Thanks for the accident report should go to "JN8021." That's the person who put it on Scribd. Most of the Scribd docs I embed with my posts are ones I put up myself. But someone else found this and posted it. You might say it's a "cover song" for me. Glad someone alerted me to its presence on the Web.

Anonymous said...

All five of your points are very interesting, @7:02. But No. 3 and No. 4 are perhaps most interesting to me. Makes you go "hmmmm."

legalschnauzer said...

Here is more on misprision of a felony:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/4

legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 9:23--

You are having problems viewing the accident report. I don't think I've been hacked, but the problem might be due to the fact someone else posted the item to Scribd. Will look into it.

Anonymous said...

If Luther were a whore, he would give a full range of services for $5.

Anonymous said...

Bob Riley's motorcycle "accident" has smelled from the beginning. It smells even worse now.

Molli said...

I thought you may be interested to read (and comment) on a statement from the scoundrel himself (L. Strange) posted in the opinion section of the Anniston Star yesterday. He is speaking of reports written on Money Spent by AG on Legal Services. Take your time to read through his BS!

http://annistonstar.com/view/full_story/23241259/article-Speak-Out--Guarding-the-state-s-money?instance=opinion_right

legalschnauzer said...

Thanks for sharing, Molli. I advise readers to don hip waders before reading this item. But I strongly advise folks to read it. Speaks volumes about AG Luther Strange.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see an accounting of witnesses Demolen and Smith's financial transactions before and after the "accident" they just seemingly came across after no one witnessed this motorcycle wreck. Smelled bad on day one and I still don't buy it. Apparently the female, Smith, continued to visit Riley in the hospital. Why would she do that if the injuries were not any big deal?

Anonymous said...

I understand a female did visit Guv. Bob in the hospital, but it was not the woman from Alaska. I'm told it was a blonde with strong ties to Alabama Democratic politics--and she followed Guv. Bob along the route from AL to AK. She told a friend of hers all about it, and that friend is a friend of mine. Fascinating story . . . more to come.

legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 10:31--

Do not hesitate to share details. I, too, have heard about a blonde with Alabama political ties who followed Riley to Alaska. Perhaps we need to share notes because I think we are hearing about the same person. I also hear this woman has concerns about her personal safety--with good reason. I think this story is about to get very interesting.

Anonymous said...

One thing I've never understood: Why do Bob Riley's children need to be "protected"? From what?

legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 10:46--

You pose a great question. Since this request was presented to the attorney general, I've always assumed it was about protection from criminal prosecution. I believe it is Bob Riley acknowledging that his kids are scoundrels and outlaws. And he should know because he helped them turn out that way.

Anonymous said...

Luther IS a whore, @10:00, and this story proves he turns cheap tricks.

Anonymous said...

Why do so many white people worry that a black male might someday stick them up in a parking lot, but they are blind to a law firm like Bradley Arant that robs them silly?

legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 11:51--

You ask one of the most profound questions I've seen in a long time. Why, indeed, are so many Americans terrified of street crime, while they are largely unconcerned about white collar and corporate crime? My bet is that, statistically, most Americans are far more likely to be victimized by white-collar crime than street crime.

Anonymous said...

In the movie "The Firm"
It was acts of mail fraud, overcharge billings, that made
others squirm.

Mail fraud by definition qualifies
Alabamians' apprehension.

Alabama corruption breeds, why stop, there is no needs.

Crossing all political lines
various offices w/o fear paying fines.

Not any concern for public's hue and cry
not having any worries for responsibilities or bank account going dry.

High crimes and misdemeanors, misfeasance and malfeasances
follow the monies, pieces by pieces,

Alabamians seen made mockery of
always appearing with no resolve
baffle and babble will never substitute for incorruptible government, removing from official powers those whom believe are God sent!

Alabamians are being made fools of and very few and far in between are coming forth such as LS for example educating public,
yet still after all these years and tears our state on national level in the ditch muddy road slick.

Remembr many unable talk themselves

Riley's administration hiding incidents far more sinister and revealing than scratching backs....
Alabamians unknowingly are becoming a part of state's very own "Watergate"; I wonder how those close to Riley administration feels when finds out the real truths.............

Anonymous said...

I use to work at BAB&C. At lunch certain attorneys would meet with local banker buddies. I would hear them talk about properties they were interested in purchasing. I thought nothing of it until one day I heard the comment, "well we gotta wait until its foreclosed on and that could take a while". I later realized by reading faxes and emails that it was properties that were in good standing with the banks, then gradually were not longer and eventually were foreclosed on. Attorneys would then buy the properties at half (and sometimes less than half) the appraised value. BAB&C really are thieves!

legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 1:21--

If you can point to lawyers who did this, and to property where this happened, I would be glad to investigate. You can reach me at personal e-mail (rshuler3156@gmail.com) or phone (205-991-7438).

Anonymous said...

Very interesting comment, 1:21, especially when you consider that Jessica M. Garrison bought a foreclosed house in Crestline. I wonder how she pulled that off--and who might have helped her.

Anonymous said...

To borrow from Don King: Only in Alabama...

Anonymous said...

Foreclosures by banks are federal, therefore processed via federal bankruptcy court with options such as Chapter 7 or 13.

Being court records, are they then not also public records?

Too, outside litigating cost paid for by the state, are these cost not also public information? In doing so, shouldn't the billings be itemized for hours spent on each resulting total hours charged for??????

An, independent, experienced attorney reviewing same could offer an opinion worth believing in, as to whether mail fraud of not.

legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 4:23--

Good points and questions. Yes, court records related to foreclosures should be public. And it certainly would be interesting to see the itemized billable hours on BABC's work for the state. That, too, should be public information.

Anonymous said...

The bank was Regions. I had access to this info because the firm handled writing up deeds for these properties. Can't remember the properties but they were all over AL and elsewhere. Couch was one of the attorneys but he left and went to Haskell Slaughter. There were a few others.

legalschnauzer said...

Thanks for sharing. If more information comes to mind, please feel free to contact me. What is the general time frame on this? Did it happen in past five years or so?

If this could be proven, it likely amounts to a form of mortgage fraud.

Anonymous said...

It started back in '07/'08 and went on through 2010. I left not long after.

Anonymous said...

LS it was mainly commercial property. Some residential but the rigged purchases were mostly commercial.

legalschnauzer said...

Looks like a Bradley Arant partner named Brian O'Dell is heavily involved in mortgage banking:


http://www.babc.com/school-of-mortgage-banking-course-i-04-16-2013/

legalschnauzer said...

Here is a piece I wrote in 2010 about BABC and foreclosure fraud, via its ties to GMAC:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/11/30/924256/-A-Fox-Is-Guarding-the-Foreclosure-Henhouse

legalschnauzer said...

Your note about commercial property is interesting. I've written some about Walter Sears and Dawn Helms Sharff, who work in commercial lending and borrowing at BABC. They are involved with Ted Rollins and Campus Crest Communities, the subject of many posts here.

Anonymous said...

Christopher Couch. He left BAB&C and went to HS. I remember that crooked greased prick. I use to say that guy would end up in prison. Shady guy!!!

e.a.f. said...

Isn't there any point at which the federal government steps in, when there is so much "funny business" going on in a state? Or is that simply infringing on "state rights"?

Nice return on the investment. Usually if a law firm donates to a caimpaign, it should disqualify them from government work. its a conflict of interest. Guess that concept hasn't passed through, what passes for luther's brain. that man is strange o.k. weird.

Robby Scott Hill said...

If Bradley Arant lawyers are so great & wonderful, why do they struggle to drive revenue from non-governmental sources? Government agencies seem to be their best clients.

Anonymous said...

Couch was never at BABC. He was at Jones Walker.

Anonymous said...

@7:41

Couch was a BABC! I'd like to know why they are trying to cya any trace that he was with them. He left in Sept 2010

Anonymous said...

Have you done a public records request for the billing timesheets? It'd be interesting to see. I know the state is actively cutting the fees of court-appointed indigent defense attorneys who bill at a $70 hr rate, while Bradley bills at $300 and hour. I somehow doubt that their bills are questioned.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 7:41, are you sure you are not thinking of Rob Couch who is still at BABC?

http://www.babc.com/robert-m-couch/?nomobile=temp

Anonymous said...

@ 7:14

Yes I'm sure it's not Robert. RC wasn't there then.

Anonymous said...

@Robby
Isnt that the point? Its low hanging fruit. Low effort, high yield. This is fairly typical of most lawyers that I've run across. When you receive a filing generated from your lawyer that has your name cut and pasted into the document, yet the final page lists my lawyer's previous client and their spouse...low effort. Not to mention the document metadata showed that the document originated from my lawyer's mother in law, the partner in the firm...low effort.