|Lee Garrison, candidate for Tuscaloosa
school board , sports a penis nose
We will call it the Penis Nose Scandal, and it coincides with another scandal that we have been covering for about a month here at Legal Schnauzer.
The man wearing the penis nose is Lee Garrison, the ex husband of Republican attorney and political operative Jessica Medeiros Garrison. Thanks to her long-running extramarital affair with Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, Jessica Garrison has become the focus of about a half dozen posts here, with quite a few more to come.
Lee Garrison gave up a seat on the Tuscaloosa City Council to run for chair of the Tuscaloosa City Board of Education. He is opposed by Denise Hills, and while the elections are nonpartisan, Garrison has roots in the Republican Party and is part of what might be called a corporate slate of conservative candidates.
Critics say powerful pro-business entities are trying to take over the board and give it a "Chamber of Commerce" look. The corporate candidates, Lee Garrison included, have benefited from the support of Educate Tuscaloosa PAC, which is chaired by Mike Echols and claims the present board has failed to act in a responsible fashion. Echols, a Tuscaloosa accountant, is listed as an employee of Franklin Resources Group, a Montgomery PR and lobbying firm. He has served as campaign treasurer for Governor Robert Bentley and shares a post-office box with the Red Elephant Clubs of Alabama, a powerful group of Crimson Tide football backers that includes UA trustee Paul Bryant Jr.
An infusion of corporate cash has helped inject the municipal races with an unusually combative tone. It even has sparked the creation of The Franklin Stove Blog (FSB), which can be found at ttowntruthseeker.com.
The blog's views appear to run counter to those of the corporate-backed candidates. A post dated August 18 is titled "Cash Soaked Election Covered In The News." The author of FSB says a win for the corporate candidates would be a victory for The Machine, the shadowy group that has dominated student politics at UA for decades.
Where does the Penis Nose Scandal fit into all of this? Well, we aren't sure, but the photo came to our attention a few days ago. I sent an e-mail to Lee Garrison, seeking comment, and he confirmed that it was him and was taken at a Halloween party in 2003. He served on the Tuscaloosa City Council at the time.
Here is the message I sent to Garrison via e-mail:
I understand there is a photograph of you wearing what might be described as a "penis mask." I further understand the photograph was taken somewhere around 2003, at a Mardi Gras party in Tuscaloosa, and you were a member of the Tuscaloosa City Council at the time.
Given that you are running for Tuscaloosa School Board, and Jessica Garrison's affair with Luther Strange has become a statewide story, I am investigating the photo matter.
Therefore, I would like to give you an opportunity to comment about the photograph and its possible implications regarding your suitability for a spot on the School Board.
If you wish to comment, please do so by noon on Wed. (Aug. 21).
Here is Lee Garrison's response:
That was a picture from a Halloween Party 10 years ago.
What does the Penis Nose Scandal say about Lee Garrison's qualifications to serve as chair of the school board in a major Alabama city. We will let readers--and Tuscaloosa voters--decide for themselves.
Perhaps it points to some unflattering assertions that Jessica Garrison raised in the couple's custody case. Here is a sample of claims made against Lee Garrison and his current wife. (The full document can be viewed at the end of this post.)
The father has repeatedly exhibited a willingness to forfeit time with his son to pursue recreational and social activities that often involve excessive drinking and late nights. He also admittedly has had a gambling problem and takes controlled medications for which he has no prescription or medical need. The father also has a bad temper and a consistent tendency to rage, often in the presence of the child. Moreover, the father and his wife are cigarette smokers and have pets, both of which contribute to the child's ongoing allergies.
For now, the Penis Nose Scandal has helped enliven a contest that already was plenty lively.