Recent reports about Alabama Governor Bob Riley and his threats toward those who oppose him hit close to the bone here at Legal Schnauzer.
My wife and I know what it's like to be targeted by those who have ties to Riley. I was cheated out of my job as a state employee, after 19 years of service at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), and evidence strongly suggests that someone connected to Riley targeted me because of my blog.
Now we have a report today that Mobile County DA John Tyson is the new head of Riley's anti-gambling task force. And Tyson is hinting that VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor might have obstructed justice when he hired a private investigator to track previous task force commander David Barber.
Has Tyson lost his mind? If so, perhaps he will fit in with an administration that seems to attract folks who show signs of being disturbed.
I've had close encounters with people connected to Riley, so I have firsthand knowledge on this subject. William E. Swatek, the disgraced attorney who started our legal woes, is the father of Dax Swatek, who ran Riley's 2006 campaign.
Bill Swatek has a 30-year history of ethical violations in the legal profession, which we have chronicled in the following posts:
An Alabama Portrait of Sleaze in the Age of Rove, Part II
An Alabama Portrait of Sleaze in the Age of Rove, Part III
We soon will be starting a series of posts that will feature many of the documents from Bill Swatek's extensive file with the Alabama State Bar. It will provide direct evidence of how a dirtbag lawyer is allowed to operate in Alabama--and he has strong ties to Bob Riley.
As for my personal situation, evidence strongly suggests that my "termination" at UAB has Riley/Swatek fingerprints all over it. By virtue of being governor, Bob Riley serves as ex oficio president of the University of Alabama Board of Trustees. Do you think it would be hard for someone to go through the governor to cheat a UAB employee out of his job? I don't think so either.
Here's what's eery about Riley's "warnings" to those who might "get too close to the families." I received plenty of warnings before I was fired, including one specifically threatening my job. My guess is that a check of Google records, as part of my upcoming lawsuit against the University of Alabama Board of Trustees, will show that those anonymous threats came from someone associated with Riley.
Experience has taught me that threats are part of "business as usual" for those close to Riley. And after viewing the alarming tape of Riley's warnings, I think it's reasonable to ask this question: Is the Alabama governor's office populated by a number of sociopaths?
We've written several times about antisocial personality disorder, the formal term for sociopathy. The disorder boils down to a lack of empathy for others, and Riley's videotaped "warning," to our untrained ears, sure hints at some disturbing stuff.
Let's consider a few insights we can glean from the Riley tape--along with what we know about his time in public office:
* Riley hints that he is troubled because he thinks someone is "following" law-enforcement officers who serve on his anti-gambling task force. Why is this a problem? Is there something unlawful about it? (We now know that Riley has appointed John Tyson to help spread this message, even though there appears to be no basis for it in law.)
* Then we learn what really seems to be bothering Riley: That someone is getting "too close" to "the families," apparently a reference to his children and their families.
* Isn't it interesting that Riley is hypersensitive about his family, but he has no history of showing concern for the families of others? For example, governor, what about my family? Being cheated out of my job at UAB has put my family at grave risk. Does that weigh on your mind? What about the family of Don Siegelman, your one-time opponent for the governor's office? Having to face bogus federal corruption charges surely has been an unspeakable strain on Siegelman's family. Do you care about that, governor?
* Riley indicates that his family members deserve some sort of special protection, that they should somehow be "off limits." Perhaps the governor should have thought about that before he ran for public office. Perhaps Riley's children and their families should have thought about that before they reportedly benefited personally from their connections to public resources.
* Riley hints that he is going to take action against those who get "too close" to his family members, and we can assume such action would involve state resources. Wouldn't it be a crime for a governor to use state resources on a personal matter--to help carry out a personal vendetta? This is alarming stuff, and Riley's tone hints that he already has done this kind of thing.
WSFA reporter Eileen Jones has performed an admirable public service. She has recorded evidence that shows, for all Alabamians who care to pay attention, what our governor is really like.
Sadly, John Tyson has joined the Riley team, and it's hard to figure what he's thinking with his hints about obstruction of justice regarding Milton McGregor. My guess is that Tyson simply is trying to throw a scare into McGregor because nothing McGregor has done appears to come close to obstruction of justice. Our research indicates that obstruction of justice generally is a federal matter, so even if McGregor had committed such an offense, it isn't clear how John Tyson would have authority to do anything about it.
Tyson is a Democrat who ran for attorney general in 2006 and lost to Troy King. Apparently, Tyson has decided that he can advance his political fortunes by sucking up to Bob Riley. Sad. Tyson would not be the first Alabama Democrat who seemingly has sold his soul to the Rileys. (See Jones, G. Douglas.)
Hope Tyson enjoys his time with the Riley crowd. I've thought for a long time that there are some disturbed people around the current administration. After viewing the WSFA report, I don't think there is any doubt about it.