Legal expenses for the AG's office have risen from $0 in Fiscal Year 2008 to more than $270,000 in FY 2013, which ends September 30. Most of that spending has gone to outside lawyers, according to a report by Mary Sell, Montgomery Bureau chief for The Decatur Daily.
No one has benefited more from Strange's crusade against gambling than Bradley Arant. From Mary Sell's report:
Alabama’s attorney general has paid private attorneys about $360,000 in the past two years to help in his fight against electronic bingo and illegal gambling in the state.
It’s one of several cases for which the office has solicited help on the state’s behalf.
The amount the attorney general’s office has spent on outside legal services has risen in recent years, from $0 in fiscal 2008 to about $70,000 in 2009 and to about $271,000 this fiscal year, according to www.open.alabama.gov, a website run by the state comptroller’s office.
The expenses do not include those involving in-house attorneys.
Bradley Arant has a history of cashing in on the state's crusade against non-Indian gaming. Multiple press reports show that the firm sucked up more than $10 million in taxpayer dollars during the last two years of former Governor Bob Riley's administration, when gambling issues took center stage. Riley's son-in-law, Rob Campbell, is a shareholder at Bradley Arant, and Luther Strange is a long-time Riley ally.
Mary Sell provides more details on Bradley Arant's tendency to feed at the public trough during Republican administrations that supposedly are morally opposed to gambling:
These are not the first gambling-related fees Bradley, Arant, Boult, Cummings has had with the state.
In 2010, The Associated Press reported then-Gov. Bob Riley’s administration paid the firm $536,115 to assist the Governor’s Task Force on Illegal Gambling. The firm also worked for King when he served as attorney general.
The firm declined last week to discuss its contracts with the state.
Imagine that . . . Bradley Arant is happy to take public money, but it declines to discuss its haul in a public forum. We've had experience with that here at Legal Schnauzer. We have sought interviews with multiple Bradley Arant lawyers about Campus Crest Communities CEO Ted Rollins and his connections to child abuse, perjury, and other unethical acts related to the Rollins v. Rollins divorce case in Shelby County. Bradley Arant is Rollins' chief corporate law firm and played a key role in preparing his company's Wall Street IPO, but the firm has steadfastly refused to respond to our interview requests.
One member of Luther Strange's staff would discuss the AG's private-lawyer expenditures with The Decatur Daily, and that was Chief Deputy Attorney General Kevin Turner. He holds a position that was intended for Jessica Medeiros Garrison, who managed Strange's 2010 campaign and has carried on a long-running affair with the AG.
Before joining Strange's staff, Turner worked at . . . Bradley Arant. From Mary Sell's report:
The attorney general’s office contends the numbers are misleading because they include fees for expert witnesses and money paid to other states during multi-state litigation. But much of that money in recent years has gone to attorneys working on cases such as the ongoing gambling litigation, defending the state’s redistricting plans, deferred compensation plans and defending the office from lawsuits filed by former employees, according to documents obtained by The Decatur Daily.
“In general, when we hire outside law firms, there are two possible reasons: One, for expertise and specialized skills, or there is a workload issue where we don’t have the manpower in the office to dedicate sufficient hours to that particular case,” said Kevin Turner, chief deputy attorney general. Turner sat down with the newspaper last week to discuss the expenditures.
Sell noted the irony of a former Bradley Arant lawyer serving as the AG's spokesperson on issues involving payments to Bradley Arant:
Turner explained when it comes to contracts with private attorneys, the attorney general has the decision-making power.
“There is no formal bid requirement on those contracts, so we determine who we think is best to handle the particular subject matter, and then the governor’s office approves the rate which they are paid,” Turner said. He’s a former associate at Bradley, Arant, Boult, Cummings, but said he has no interest in the firm now.
“Basically, we pick the lawyer and the governor’s office sets the rate,” he said.
Is Luther Strange proving to be a responsible steward of public dollars? At least one state official answers with a resounding no:
Some think expenses like the more than $364,000 for private attorneys to fight gambling in the state are unnecessary.
“This is a waste of taxpayer money,” Sen. Roger Bedford, D-Russellville, said. “If the attorney general feels strongly about it, he should be handling the case himself, with staff attorneys that taxpayers are already paying for.”
Bedford, an attorney, said after years of legal fights and lost jobs, there still are electronic bingo casinos operating in the state. He said he recently saw several in Greene County.
“So, what’s the $300,000 going for?” said Bedford, who previously sponsored legislation to tax, expand and regulate electronic bingo casinos. It did not pass.
Ah, I get it . . . the Riley/Strange machine takes cash from Indian gaming interests in order to fight non-Indian gaming interests by funneling money to Bradley Arant (which just happens to be Big Luther's former law firm and home to Bob Riley's son-in-law).
What a sweet deal--for the Riley machine, not for taxpayers.
I think I'm going to vomit.
If Bradley Arant is doing such a great job for the state, why are their lawyers hesitant to answer questions from the press?
The Inrepid Alabama Press Corps: they do not know where the Mississippi Choctaws' $13 million in 2002 went (and do not ask); they do not know where the $13 million to Paragon Source went (and do not ask); they do not know where Bob Riley's supposedly wrecked motorcycle went (and do not ask); they do not know who is paying for the Paris Air Show boondoggle (and do not ask); and they do not know who is paying for Mike Hubbard's self-aggrandizing "conference" in Mobile (and do not ask).
We call this a pimp/whore relationship out on the streets. Luther's the pimp, and Bradley Arant lawyers are the whores.
Mucho props to Mary Sell and The Decatur Daily. Maybe mainstream journalism in Alabama isn't dead yet.
Was there one word about this story at al.com? If so, I missed it.
During the Wallace administrations in the 1960's and 1970's, Bradley, Arant was the law firm that handled the state bonds issued to finance the projects associated with Wallace's populism. The fees for this representation are based on a percent of the bond issue, not an hourly rate. The amount of money a law firm receives from doing bond work is frankly obscene, especially when you consider the fact that much of the work is using boilerplate forms that were used in a previous bond issue. Bond issues are so lucrative that firms will "co-counsel" other lawyers who have political ties to the Governor. In Wallace's case, it was his brother, Gerald Wallace, a sole practitioner with no real legal specialization or skill, whom Bradley Arant "co-counseled" into these bond issues and split the fees. Gerald Wallace handled the campaign financial director of Wallace's' gubernatorial and presidential campaigns and the fees derived from Bradley, Arant played a major role in allowing "Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!" Here is an article in the Montgomery Advertiser about a federal indictment of Gerald Wallace that is unrelated to the kickbacks (err....co-counsel fees) for the bond issue work. http://bit.ly/15ZkQB4
Note Southeast Alabama Gas District ads on al.com. That's Mike Hubbard. He owns al.com too. They are his bitches.
Anon at 8:44--
Many thanks for a fascinating history lesson. It sounds like racism is solidly entrenched in Bradley Arant's past. Perhaps it's still a factor in the law firm's present.
To Anon @ 8:32 a.m.
Can't speak for everything you mentioned, but here's Bob Riley's motorcycle.
Anon at 10:18--
Are you sure that's Riley's motorcycle? Is it the red one? How did you come across this?
Sweet Jesus! An actual MSM reporter still resides in Alabama! What do you know?
Why is this not a "quid pro quo" like the alleged deal that got Don Siegelman and Richard Scrushy thrown into prison?
Some right wingers are going to have to sit Mary Sell down and tell her that we can't have reporting like this here in Alla--Bahm--Ahh. Who does think she is? Where does she think she's living?
That is Riley's bike. The VIN & tag number match the accident report.
Anon at 12:10--
You've done some good investigative work here. I don't think I've ever seen that accident report before. And to tie that to the bike in photo . . . I say, "Bravo." Wish I could hire you.
I saw the photo of the bike seat with a hole in it...is that where all the Riley minions could pop in and out of his a@# ? Or was it the vent for when he was/is blowing smoke out the same orifice??
Wonder if his new one has the same...
When are white Alabamians going to wake up and realize that Luther Strange and Bradley Arant are stealing from them?
Imagine Larry Langford was still mayor, and he was sending that kind of taxpayer cash to a black law firm. Lord, the "pro whitey" newspapers would be howling like stuck pigs.
Our state was racist, it is racist, and it will be racist far down the line. Nothing much changes in the Naked City.
Didn't Bob Riley ask Big Luther to take care of "his chillrun"? Isn't that exactly what Luther is doing by sending money to Bradley Arant, which goes into Rob Campbell's pocket, and thus, to Minda Riley Campbell?
I hear Big Luther has big problems with Mrs. Luther. She knows about Jessica M. Garrison, and she is none too pleased.
Looks like happy faces on the headlights. Gomer looked cute riding around on this "thang thanking thangs" were ok back here in Racist State USA...
I do not know how in the world his family, handlers or whatever nut was in charge of him did not tell him to quit saying "I THANK THANGS" for I think things. You know all he needed was to take out his teeth.
Good point, @4:04. Matt Murphy and the right-wing dumb-ass radio guy in Huntsville--his name escapes me--would be howling at the moon if a black politician did this.
Larry Langford probably never even contemplated unlawful acts like the ones Gang Riley actually has committed.
There once was a man called stranger,
He lived his life knowing political danger,
His dream of him being a long ranger, failed, due never being the people's game changer,
But rather choosing to be a political arranger,
Soon coming, a time of grandeur,
Alabamian's entrusted votes
demanding his public exposures....
Yo! Word to their babies' momma.
I could not get the Bob Riley accident report to come up on Scribed. Can someone help me?
I'm going to publish the accident report with my post tomorrow.
This is getting so good. I shudder to think what is going to happen in the future if the Riley machine is not shut down. They have so much dirt on their hands and Big Luther is right in the middle of it. He and a reporter here in SE ALabama are none to fond of each other and it keeps getting hotter. Luther has been to Dothan several times here lately but did not show up during the hostage crisis of the little boy in the bunker. The governor sent two people and was available through these two people 24/7 but Luther was no where to be found as the top legal person of our state. Luther does not like having to answer for anything. He took a personal shot at the reporter. Keep at Luther, I believe there is enough dirt around him to keep reporters busy for the next decade. Schnauzer thanks for your work.
Thanks for your comment. I have a post going up later this a.m. about Luther's trip to Dothan and encounter with reporter.
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