Here is what we mean: The trial, to a great extent, revolves around Hubbard's actions after his "job situation" became a cause of grave concern for the Alabama House Speaker. The job situation arose when IMG bought broadcasting rights to Auburn athletics in 2010 and fired Hubbard in the aftermath.
As money problems mounted from the job loss, prosecutors argue, Hubbard began to use his public office for personal gain. That scenario is at the heart of a 23-count indictment, with Hubbard facing two to 20 years in prison if convicted on at least one count.
What is the irony in this? Well, Hubbard is perhaps the most high-profile member of Riley Inc. who is not named Riley. "Riley Inc.," of course, is the term detractors use to reference the political machine built by former Governor Bob Riley and his lawyer children, Rob Riley and Minda Riley Campbell.
Hubbard started desperately trying to raise $1.5 million to make up for his lost IMG income, ignoring state ethics laws that he had helped put into place. The recklessness and desperation Hubbard felt from loss of his job could essentially earn him a life sentence in state prison if he is convicted on at least a majority of the counts.
That is deeply ironic because Riley Inc. specializes in cheating its perceived enemies out of their jobs. My family unit knows about this tactic first hand.
I lost my job at UAB, where I had worked for 20 years, after reporting accurately on this blog about the monstrous cheat job dumped on former Democratic governor Don Siegelman and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy. How do I know my reporting on the Siegelman case, done on my own time and with my own resources, cost me my job? Well, a member of UAB's human-resources department admitted to me that I was targeted for that, and I captured the conversation on audiotape. (See video of conversation with Anita Bonasera at the end of this post.)
Who likely would be unhappy with my reporting on the Siegelman case? That would be Bob Riley, Siegelman's chief political foe. Who served as ex oficio president of the University of Alabama Board of Trustees, which oversees UAB, at the time of my firing? That would be Bob Riley.
|Rob and Bob Riley|
My wife, Carol, went through a similar experience in 2009 at Infinity Insurance Company. She was fired for allegedly being tardy when she was told to move her start time back to 9:30 a.m.--to assist with the company's large customer base in California, with its two-hour time difference from Alabama--and did exactly as she was told. Drayton Nabors, former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice and prominent member of Riley Inc., just happens to serve on Infinity's board of directors.
Riley Inc.'s "career ruination plan" hardly is limited to Carol and me. I've reported about Russ and Dee Fine, of Birmingham, who were fired from their radio show after reporting about Bob Riley's ties to a Masonic group with a history of racial exclusiveness. I've had probably a dozen or more readers tell me about losing their state jobs, or knowing a friend or family member who lost a state job, apparently because they didn't fall into the Riley political camp.
I still think Hubbard will be acquitted, although evidence presented so far strongly suggests he is guilty on most of the charges. I've seen so many debacles in Alabama courtrooms that it's hard to imagine justice actually being served in one. I can see the jury being dense or inattentive, witnesses being threatened (we already have reports of that), or jurors being paid off. Any of those would result in an acquittal or a mistrial--with either outcome being a major victory for Hubbard.
What if Hubbard is found guilty, and the mask is pulled off Riley Inc. in a way that never has happened before? That still could be the result of the Hubbard trial--and it all would flow from Mike Hubbard's loss of a job.
How ironic would that be?