The report from an Alaska legislative panel about Sarah Palin's efforts to have her former brother-in-law fired as a state trooper is filled with fascinating information.
But here is a nugget that really jumps out: How in the world was having Trooper Mike Wooten fired going to make the Palin family safer?
Investigator Stephen Branchflower raises this issue in the report. "Assuming that Trooper Wooten was ever inclined to attack Governor Palin or a family member, logic dictates that getting him fired would accomplish nothing to eliminate the potential for harm to her or her family."
Branchflower seems to be saying that the Palins weren't really concerned about their safety; they were interested in vindictiveness. And that's a subject I have some firsthand experience with here at Legal Schnauzer. In fact, it's pretty clear that someone connected to my former employer, the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), pulled the same stunt on me that the Palins tried to pull on Wooten.
So let's take a closer look at this business of going after someone's job.
From everything I've read, it appears that Trooper Wooten is not a particularly nice guy. With that in mind, here is the conversation Sarah Palin should have had with her sister: "Your ex-husband is a jerk, so get the best divorce attorney you can find and go after his sorry butt in court. But as governor, I can't get involved in your case.
"And by the way, try to develop better taste in men. Next time around, try to find a snowmobile champion like my guy Todd. And if he's not enough to satisfy ya, find yourself a dreamboat on the side like Brad Hanson. Whew, makes me sweat just thinking about him. Anyway, that's been my plan, and has it worked out for me? You betcha!"
What about the people who went after my job? Evidence suggests it was Alabama Republican operatives who have ties to Karl Rove (and also Governor Bob Riley and U.S. Attorney Alice Martin). And we established in a recent post that Rove and his acolytes aren't nearly as smart as they have been portrayed.
For example, what did the "mini Roves" hope to accomplish by costing me my job? Was it supposed to keep me from blogging? Actually, I now have more time for blogging. And more importantly, I have way more time to conduct research for my blog--because I wasn't conducting "research" at work, which was the bogus charge UAB trumped up. With more time on my hands, I've uncovered all kinds of information at our local courthouses and libraries that I never would have learned if I still had a job. This information provides important clues as to why I was terminated and who was behind it--and Legal Schnauzer readers will be learning about it in the days and weeks ahead.
So by firing me, the "mini Roves" gave me the time and the tools to help expose their schemes. Like I said, they aren't the sharpest knives in the drawer.
And here's another sign that the "mini Roves" are stupid: By going after my job, they came on my turf. I've worked at UAB for 19 years, so I have a pretty good idea how the place works, particularly in the areas of external affairs, development, alumni affairs, media relations, etc.
So when my supervisor (Pam Powell) and her supervisor (Dale Turnbough) start acting outside the norm for them, accusing me of things I haven't done, I know something is up. And it has to be driven by the two people in the chain of command above them--Vice President for Development, Alumni, and External Affairs Shirley Salloway Kahn and President Carol Garrison.
Let's follow the clues. If you scan the profile of Shirley Salloway Kahn at the link above, you will notice her primary interest--raising money. More than anything else, her job is to find people with money and get them to give some of it to UAB.
Folks in higher education like to talk about their high-minded "tripartite" mission--teaching, research, and service. But I've been around UAB for 19 years, and I know it's no different from any other organization--money talks. And when someone gives lots of money to UAB, they hold extraordinary influence over folks like Shirley Salloway Kahn--and Carol Garrison, for that matter.
So who has given lots of money to UAB recently? Well, to pick a project at random, let's consider the Hazelrig-Salter Radiation Oncology Facility, currently under construction on Birmingham's Southside.
Click on the link above and notice the folks who have given big bucks for this project. Then ask yourself this question: If one of those folks went to Dr. Kahn and said, "Shirley, I would be a whole lot happier about giving money if you would do backflips down I-65 at high noon," how would Dr. Kahn react? My guess? It would take her about two minutes to get on her gym suit and start stretching.
That brings us to three lines of inquiry we will be examining regarding my termination at UAB:
* The Alice Martin Line--Evidence will show that Alice Martin, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, did UAB a favor by pretty much whitewashing massive research fraud at the university. And a settlement agreement in the case gives Martin extraordinary authority to reopen an inquiry on research fraud at any time. She has a proverbial gun cocked, loaded, and pointed at UAB's collective head. Would this cause UAB to return a favor for our corrupt federal crime fighter? Hmmm.
* The University of Alabama System Line--At least one member of the University of Alabama Board of Trustees, which oversees UAB, has reason to be extremely grateful to the U.S. Justice Department. That's because the DOJ chose to look the other way when his company was implicated in a major insurance fraud case a few years back in Pennsylvania. Also, a member of the University of Alabama System Office has connections to the Business Council of Alabama (BCA), the group headed by Bill Canary, of "my girls are going to take care of Don Siegelman" fame. Would either of these UA elites be willing to do a favor for the DOJ or the BCA? Hmmm.
* The UAB Donor Line--This is my favorite. And that's because I've unearthed a specific donor who seems to be an intriguing fellow. In addition to having given one of the largest individual gifts in the history of UAB, he has connections to Gov. Bob Riley and his son Rob Riley (shazam!), Riley confidant Dax Swatek (double shazam!!), and the gaming industry (triple shazam!!!). Heck, he even has ties to the oil industry (quadruple shazam!!!!).
And get this: Public records indicate the guy's personal and professional lives are trainwrecks. His driving record is, shall we say, "interesting." So much so that he's the defendant in a criminal case that is scheduled to be tried in less than two months. He recently went through a divorce that apparently was so juicy the file was sealed. And he and a business partner are defendants in a lawsuit that raises questions about whether they provided a proper accounting for the estate of one of Birmingham's most famed businessmen.
This donor might be a life-threatening menace behind the wheel of a vehicle, but would UAB's higher ups do him a favor on behalf of his political and business cronies? Hmmm.
Geez Louise, this donor alone will provide months of material here at Legal Schnauzer. I could even smell a book coming out of this. We're talking about a treasure trove for inquiring minds.
So hold onto your hats and ponder this question: Are some folks close to Sarah Palin wishing they had left Trooper Mike Wooten and his job alone? My guess is yes.
Will some folks in Alabama be wishing they had left Legal Schnauzer and his job alone? We'll find out.