|Jessica Garrison and Luther Strange|
Is Garrison going to sue Barron and, for that matter, Echols? After all, that's what she did to me after I broke the story of the affair with Strange, for whom she served as campaign manager. Garrison received a $3.5-million default judgment against me, but that might only deepen her quandary regarding Barron. That's because Garrison's public statements indicate she does not put much value on her own default judgment.
History suggests that Garrison and her GOP allies (Bill Pryor, Jeff Sessions, Luther Strange, Rob Riley, etc.) don't necessarily stop at dubious lawsuits in their efforts to silence those who might air their dirty laundry. Is Garrison going to participate in a scheme to have Barron kidnapped and thrown in jail? Is she going to help have Barron's home wrongfully forced into foreclosure, placing him on the brink of homelessness?
My wife, Carol, and I experienced all of that not long after my reporting on the Garrison/Strange affair--plus Garrison's documented ties to organized crime. We do not know what, if any, role Garrison played in the abuse we suffered, but let's just say the timeline is interesting--and we intend to learn more.
Here is a sample of what we know for now:
* I break the story of Garrison's affair with Strange on July 17, 2013;
* I break the story of Garrison's ties to Erik Davis Harp, who was indicted for his role in a Panama-based gambling ring, on August 22, 2013;
* I break the story of the gambling ring's ties to the Genovese and Gambino crime families on August 26, 2013;
* I break the story of Garrison's apparent sweetheart deal on a $400,000 home in Mountain Brook on October 22, 2013.
The very next day--October 23, 2013--Shelby County officers enter our home, beat me up inside my own garage (without presenting a warrant, stating they had a warrant, or even stating their reason for being on the premises), essentially kidnapped me and hauled me to the Shelby County Jail for a five-month stay that had zero support in fact or law.
You can see what I mean about an "interesting timeline" regarding my incarceration. And the curious events do not stop there.
When I was released from jail on March 26, 2014, Carol and I immediately were faced with threatened foreclosure on our home of 25 years. Under Alabama law, the sole purpose of a foreclosure is to collect an alleged debt. If it is conducted for any other reason--with an ulterior motive--it is a wrongful foreclosure, and that is illegal. [See Reeves Cedarhurst Development Corp. v. First American Fed Savings, 607 So. 2d 180 (Ala. Sup. Ct., 1992: "A mortgagor has a wrongful foreclosure action whenever a mortgagee uses the power of sale given under a mortgage for a purpose other than to secure the debt owed by the mortgagor."]
So, back to our question: Will Garrison sue Lowell Barron? We doubt it. For one, Barron's statements are true. For another, Barron has proven he has the resources to fight back against Strange and Garrison. Barron has shown that neither Strange nor Garrison can hold up to adversarial questioning under oath--and aggressive gathering of documents--about their relationship.
Finally, Garrison's own words indicate she knows her default judgment against me isn't worth much more than a plug nickel. Consider this from an article by Rob Holbert at Lagniappe Mobile after publication of Garrison's PR-attack piece at maireclaire.com.
Garrison said she is fighting to have Google remove searches that would take people to Shuler’s stories about her. With the defamation judgment against him, she hopes that will soon happen. As for collecting any of the $3.5 million award, Garrison laughed and said she hasn’t gotten a dime and never expects to since Shuler’s various run-ins with the law, loss of employment and foreclosure on his home have left him with little money.
“We told him if he would take the articles down and apologize to the people involved, he could satisfy the judgment for $1, but he wouldn’t do it,” Garrison said.
This might actually contain a kernel of truth, which would be unusual (in my experience) for Garrison or Holbert. Davy Hay, a Clanton-area lawyer who represented me briefly, stated via e-mail that Garrison lawyer Bill Baxley said the lawsuit could be resolved if I paid $1 and removed the offending posts. I never heard anything about an apology, and I never received anything in writing from the other side--so I did not consider it a legitimate settlement offer. Plus, I was not about to remove blog posts that I knew were true. Garrison essentially was using the same "extortion against journalist" strategy that Rob Riley used, with a bogus $3.5-million judgment substituting for a jail term as the extortionate mechanism.
(On a side note, Davy Hay was portrayed in various quarters as my "legal champion." [See here and here.] That did not turn out to be the case. "Legal chump" might have been a more accurate description. Hay did little, if anything, to help me fight the Garrison lawsuit, and he wound up bailing out and leaving me hanging, contrary to a written contract that we had. More on that experience in an upcoming post. I know many Alabamians have received similar treatment from lawyers who are supposed to be their "legal champions.")
Even if I had thought the $1 offer was legit, I was not about to accept such a proposal. As we've shown here on multiple occasions, the default judgment is void because (according to Hay's review of the file) I never received--or was even sent--notice of the default-judgment hearing. Also, the record shows there was no trial, no jury, no discovery, no adversarial proceeding of any kind--and, as a matter of law, that means my reporting was not false or defamatory.
How do I interpret Garrison's $1 offer? Here's what I think:
* It's essentially an admission that she never had a case--and she did not come close to proving her case;
* It's essentially an admission that the $3.5-million default judgment has no basis in fact or law, meaning members of the legal tribe schemed with Judge Don Blankenship to corruptly produce a bogus finding;
* She's not about to take on Lowell Barron. After being thrown in jail, and being forced from our home, I had almost no ability to fight the Garrison lawsuit. I suspect Barron has the resources not only to fight Garrison--but he would chew her up (along with Strange) and spit them both out. In the process, their political careers would be finished.
Jessica Garrison v. Lowell Barron? Don't make me laugh.
Garrison versus Barron? Sign me up for a ticket. Who's bringing the popcorn. This ones going to be good! Keep it up LS!
The big media companies are going to have to start taking you seriously as it's turning out you are breaking all the big stories way before they do. Hopefully the level of harassment you get for doing it will be enough to get their attention.
Lowell Barron has whupped Lutha Strange's ass once already. I'm sure he wouldn't mind doing it again.
Jessica Garrison offered to drop the $3.5 million judgment if you paid $1 and removed the posts about her--and you refused it?
Davy Hay, my lawyer at the time, said Garrison lawyer Bill Baxley had made some verbal statement along those lines. I never received any written settlement offer, stating such, and I would not have accepted it anyway.
I had already been thrown in jail once because of accurate reporting on the Riley/Duke case, and I wasn't caving in to that kind of extortion again. Garrison's judgment is void, as a matter of law, and not worth the paper it's written on anyway.
That $1 offer from Garrison--or I guess I should say the supposed offer--blows my mind. Still trying to wrap my brain around that one. All I can say is "bizarre, even by Alabama standards."
Let's take a political poll: Who is the bigger political slut, Jessica M. Garrison or Rebekah C. Mason?
I guess Garrison had better get prepared to sue Donald Watkins, too. He did not use her name, but he referenced the extramarital affair with Luther Strange, which compromises the AG's ability to do his job. From Watkins:
"Will Alabama Attorney General prosecute state public corruption charges against Bentley and Mason, or is he too compromised by his own extramarital affair to pursue criminal charges against Bentley and Mason?"
I think I would have taken the $1 and been done with it.
Do you have a job, @12:34? Are you a member of a profession? Do you take pride in what you do? Do you try to do a good job? I bet you do.
If you were a journalist who takes pride in his reporting, I suspect you would have a different approach. For someone to say, "I can get a bogus $3.5 million judgment against you, and you can get rid of it by selling your reputation for $1," well, I'm not going down that road with anyone.
And I bet you wouldn't either if someone tried to pull the same stunt in your work life.
Donald Watkins referenced the Luther Strange affair again today. Jessica must not be pleased:
"The public is unified in its condemnation of this sexual bribery and the racketeering conspiracy it spawned. Many Alabama legislators see nothing wrong with this form of sexual bribery because they are engaging in the same type of illegal conduct. Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange shares the same problem."
Disappointed that Judge Don Blankenship participated in this scheme. I know him, in general, to be an honorable man. He should know better than to get involved with this.
This has all the signs of a classic Bill Baxley con job. How the mighty have fallen. The crusader for justice, the one willing to stand up to the Klan, has become a parody of himself.
More from Donald Watkins. He is tearing Big Lutha a new a-hole--and I love it:
"Will Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange prosecute state public corruption charges against Bentley and Mason? Not likely. “Big Luther”, as Strange is affectionately known in political and legal circles, is too compromised by his own extramarital affair to pursue state law public corruption charges against Bentley and Mason. Remember, Strange is the state attorney general who embarrassed Alabama nationally by aggressively trying to execute Anthony Ray Hinton, a former death row inmate, even though Strange knew at the time that Anthony was innocent of the murder for which he had been convicted. Anthony was freed last year after spending nearly 30-years on death row. Strange was willing to snuff out an innocent life to win “law and order” votes from hardcore conservatives during his 2014 re-election. Yet, Strange lacks the courage or political will to charge a real criminal like Bentley with public corruption offenses."
I would say Jessica's lawsuit against you was just a con designed to protect Big Lutha politically.
The answer to your question is NO. As any good bully knows, don't pick a fight with someone your own size. They went after you because they knew you didn't have the money or friends to stand up to them. The same bully from 1st grade is now in top leadership here in bamaland.
Stay on their ass.
I still want to know who actually paid for Garrison's home in Mountain Brook. A half a million dollar house placed on a silver platter for her for a payment of $30,000.
The Birmingham News could have exposed that scandal but they were too busy having a We Love LGBT and Hate the Police party. Daily.
I agree, @10:14. There is a story no one has really gotten to the bottom of. I've written a little about it, but have not really nailed it. As this post says, I wrote about Garrison's house deal on Oct. 22, 2013, and got beaten up and arrested by Shelby Co. cops the next day. That makes me think it's a sensitive subject for somebody.
Interesting! Baldwin County Commissioner Tucker Dorsey was associated with online gambling. Suppose if you hold public office its ok. Right after it was discovered he changed hosting companies and and hired a new IT company. He also happened to be associated with Genovese and Gambino associates. Dumb thing to do in today's tech savvy era. Especially when you hold public office and people dont like you.
@10:14 PM and LS -- Never having considered owning real estate and knowing less than nothing about mortgage defaults, I read the posted legal documents and they aren't completely clear, at least to me. Yes, Ms. Garrison paid $30,000 at the open outcry auction, but, according to the documents, that would cover state expenses which were incurred in the default with any extra going toward the mortgage. Nowhere is there any language about the remainder of the mortgage. Did the lender just eat that? (Here in DC, a similar auction process wins you the property but you also have to pay off what remains of the mortgage.)
I also think it may be productive to revisit the Mountain Brook house story.
According to what you have posted on this, the transaction does seem somewhat out of the ordinary. The timing of your arrest is either coincidental or not.
This may be in some way similar to the well connected Jon Mason's billboard rental business. Either there is something wrong, or it is business as usual and there is nothing to see.
Like they say, follow the money.
@9:39 and @11:06 -- Yes, I would like to revisit the Garrison house deal. My memory is there were two foreclosure deeds in the deal, one for about $30,000 and a second one for almost $400,000. I think the second one might have been dated after I had started reporting on the house in Mountain Brook, but I will need to check my records to make sure.
There might be a legit reason to have two foreclosure deeds in a case like that, but it seems strange to me. I would welcome insight from a foreclosure expert, or anyone who knows more than I do about how these things work.
BTW, here is URL to the Oct. 22, 2013, post I wrote about Garrison's house deal. I was arrested the next day. Here's a thought in my head regarding this matter: I feel pretty certain that Luther Strange, as AG, has the power to make law enforcement act according to his wishes. Did this house deal somehow reflect badly on him, and did he therefore order cops to kidnap me the next day after this post appeared?
There might have been 2 separate loans along with the property.
Response to LS post at 12:11PM:
What you should look for is all the transactions and all of the parties (both persons and legal entities) involved. Research the transactions completely and see what turns up. You have already questioned the various dates involved. Find the evidence, then construct theories and/or speculate.
I worked on a campaign once against Luther Strange and I know he presented at some suspicious secret meetings in D.C. wherein conveniently none of the attendees "remember" what he said. He was a lobbyist in D.C. and he has powerful connections. He recently entered the political scene as far as to the public, but he's been a political insider all of his life. And he worked for the law firm in Birmingham that is known as Badly Arrogant because they are elitist and dominate the state as well. He's a powerful enemy and likely able to pull any number of strings against an individual against whom he holds unfounded resentments.
Somebody named Steven Kneussle who ran against John Merrill back in the day claims he even received audio files concerning John Merrill's affair. Any chance of those being made available to the public? This whole Tuscaloosa crowd is comprised of nothing but filthy hypocrites.
Anon 12:47am Is one of Luther's enemies Garve Ivey? The AG's office filed charges. Ivey was disbarred & fined. That's all...maybe he's a friend?
Do you mean Ivey is a friend of Luther's? That might be. My wife and I met one time with Garve Ivey, and we thought (aside from Rob Riley) he was one of the oilest people we've ever met. We both felt like we needed an industrial-strength shower after that encounter.
I've heard some individuals in Walker Co., apparently not pleased with something Mr. Ivey had done, performed an assault of a particularly ugly nature on the "gentleman." If true--and I've not heard if charges ever were brought--it was an event Mr. Ivey will not soon forget.
The use of polls for forceful placement into certain orifices is not something I recommend, but I could see how Garve Ivey could piss someone off badly enough to lead to such a situation.
What I had intended to ask: Is Ivey close to Luther? Regarding your comments about his orifice violation, I heard that as well, although I'm unclear what he did to tick off certain people. I thought he was one of 'them'. Did that happen around the time he filed a lawsuit against a certain large company on behalf of victims? Was the large company, whose reputation is sketchy, upset about the lawsuit that he and another firm filed?
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