Wednesday, August 31, 2016

A-Advance Bail Bonds company, connected to recent arrest of Tuscaloosa attorney John Fisher Jr., is the site of a fire that officials say appears to be arson

A-Advance Bail Bonds in Tuscaloosa
(From Tuscaloosa News)
A bail bonds company, connected to the recent arrest of a Tuscaloosa attorney and another man on meth-trafficking charges, was the site of a suspicious fire Sunday morning.

The fire was contained toward the back of the A-Advance Bail Bonds building on T.Y. Rogers Avenue, according to a report in The Tuscaloosa News. The building sustained minor damage to the siding and wood framing, but officials said the fire appeared to have been intentionally set.

The business was involved in the recent arrest of attorney John Fisher Jr. and Christopher Shane Rushing, a Northport man who has an extensive criminal record, much of it related to possession or distribution of controlled substances.

From an article published Monday in The Tuscaloosa News, written by reporter Stephanie Taylor:

Firefighters say that a fire at a bail bonding company Sunday appears to have been set intentionally.

The fire set at the back of the A-Advance Bail Bonds building caused minor damage to the siding and wood framing, said Tuscaloosa Fire and Rescue Service Fire Marshal Gene Holcomb.

It's the same business owned by a bail bondsman who was involved in the recent arrest of Tuscaloosa attorney John Fisher.

Firefighters were called to the business on T.Y. Rogers Avenue Sunday morning, Holcomb said.

"It is suspicious, and we are investigating," he said. Arson investigators have recovered samples from the site, he said.

Why would someone intentionally set a fire at A-Advance Bail Bonds? Does it involve the company's prime role in one of the most peculiar crimes in recent west Alabama history? Writes Taylor:

Drug investigators were at the business last week after bail bondsman Mark Flemmings found a backpack containing a meth lab in the office.

He told investigators that Christopher Shane Rushing had left the bag in his office, and he suspected that he was being set up to be arrested, according to court documents. West Alabama Narcotics Task Force agents watched the business, and reported that they saw Fisher arrive and later leave with the bag. The agents followed Fisher back to his office on Greensboro Avenue, and later charged him and Rushing with trafficking methamphetamine.

Records from the Alabama Secretary of State show Markeithian N. and Sparkle M. Flemmings being involved in a number of businesses related to bail bonds and real estate. The registered office address for A-Advance Bail Bonds is listed as: 14966 TOWNSEND LOOP RD, MOUNDVILLE, AL 35474.

The Flemmings, understandably, find the recent events disturbing and are determined to get to the bottom of them. Writes Taylor:

Flemmings is offering a $1,000 reward for anyone who provides information leading to an arrest for the fire.

"We're actively trying to find out who did it," he said. "I don't know where this is coming from. I'm not a person who carries enemies at all. As far as why I was a target, I don't know."

Flemmings received a call that his building was on fire at 6:30 a.m. Sunday.

Was the arson designed to intimidate Flemmings? If so, it doesn't seem to be working:

"I don't think this was a random act," he said. "I hope we can bring the people who did it to justice and prosecute them properly. They will be brought to justice, I promise you that."

He declined to comment on the charges against Fisher and Rushing.

The Alabama Supreme Court has appointed a Walker County Circuit Judge to preside over their cases because Fisher has practiced for years in Tuscaloosa County Circuit Court.

Walker County Circuit Court Judge Henry Allred will preside over a preliminary hearing scheduled for Sept. 23.

Flemmings might not know where the arson is coming from, but it should be noted that Fisher's Facebook friends page suggests he is well connected in conservative political, legal, and media circles. Gov. Robert Bentley and Sec. of State John Merrill are among his Facebook friends. From our recent post on the subject:

A report at Raw Story, by reporter David Ferguson, states that Fisher is active in Alabama's Tea Party movement. In 2010, Fisher ran for a seat in the state legislator and appeared at multiple Tea Party rallies with Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore. Fisher lost the primary election to Republican Bill Poole. Ferguson notes that Fisher's show claims it is known for "“Plain Talk, Easily Understood with NO Political Correctness.”

Is Fisher well connected in conservative circles? In addition to Bentley and Merrill, consider just a few prominent figures who appear on Fisher's Facebook friends list:

* Jessica Mederios Garrison -- lawyer, GOP operative, closely aligned with AG Luther Strange and U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer. (Palmer has spent a significant amount of cash for Garrison's consulting services. More on that in an upcoming post.)

* Lee Garrison -- Jessica's former husband and president of the Tuscaloosa City School Board

* Cliff Sims -- publisher of Yellowhammer News

* Leland Whaley -- right-wing talk host

* Matt Murphy -- right-wing talk host

* Chip Beeker -- Alabama Public Service Commission

* Gary Palmer -- member of U.S. House of Representatives

* Brandon Falls -- district attorney, Jefferson County (appointed by former Gov. Bob Riley)

* Cam Parsons -- attorney for real-estate magnate Stan Pate

* Allen May -- veterinarian and director at Paul Bryant Jr.'s Greene Group

Fisher's friends list also includes a number of individuals who appear to be from Russia or Ukraine. Since the above report was published on August 22, Fisher's Facebook page was taken down for a few days, but now is back up.


Anonymous said...

Holy Crap, Batman!

Anonymous said...

Arson cases are among the most difficult to solve. Will be tough to nail whoever did this.

S C said...

If the Feds aren't looking into this, i don't know what to say...they're asleep at the wheel

Anonymous said...

This makes me think some powerful people are nervous about this meth case. You don't have an arson because of a run-of-the-mill drug case.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Hope the Flemmings are not only bold, but watching their backs. This fire was set to send a message. No doubt in my mind...

Anonymous said...

This is the kind of criminality that ensues when you have courts that are bought and paid for. This whole thing stinks of white privilege.

Anonymous said...

RE @ 11:17 a.m. comment about a court that's bought and paid for --what does that say for the AL Supreme Court? Perhaps some of the members use drugs themselves if they thought it a good idea to move this to Walker County

Lord help

legalschnauzer said...

There is no doubt in my mind that the AL Supreme Court is crooked. Roy Moore obviously has no respect for rule of law. Jim Main is nothing but a Bob Riley water boy. Tom Parker is too old and lazy to do any work. Others are mostly toadies for BCA. Just look at how Sup Ct. has repeatedly violated its own precedent to rule in favor of Riley and Luther Strange on gambling issues.

S C said...

@10:17 am My first thought was the same as yours... the fire was a message.

Then, i started wondering...the bad guys don't want any more attention called to this story, so where does this leave us?

A third party? Maybe the bad guys splintered off?

e.a.f. said...

perhaps the game "played" by the "cooker" and the "bail bondsman" has been played with others and they haven't taken it as lightly as the lawyer did. it's an idea.

now arson is usually to send a message or destroy something. given the fire didn't work too well, we might yet find out. the alternative is the fire was set to cover a B & B to remove things?

it could be a bit of minor "gang" warfare. The "cooking" and selling business is a busy one with usually several factions fighting for market share. perhaps that had some influence on the "fire".

Now would be a good time for some good investigative work to be done. However, it is doubtful it will be done by those employed by the State of Alabama.

Arson isn't hard to prove, if you have first rate investigators. Most arsonists have their usual methods and investigators can on occasion "recognize" the work.

S C said...

The B&B idea is a good one...hadn't thought about the bad guys removing things.

That might explain why they only set a small fire.

S C said...

e.a.f. what did you mean by: perhaps the game "played" by the "cooker" and the "bail bondsman" has been played with others and they haven't taken it as lightly as the lawyer did. it's an idea.

I'm curious because i think i followed your thought but then lost you.

e.a.f. said...

the "cooker" and the bail bondsman set up the lawyer on their own or on the behest of some one else. They may have done it on numerous occasions as they did or variations thereof.

The lawyer doesn't seem to be the type to "get even" criminal style, but others can and do.

This type of stuff is fairly common in drug manufacturing and dealing groups especially when there is competition.

Here in British Columbia, the trade is usually controlled by two groups and then a few independants. Now when independents get too big or they and their dealers start fighting for market share, interesting things happen.

It would be interesting to know if Alabama is having a fairly large crop of Fentanyl deaths or just drug over dose deaths, which coroners aren't recognizing as fentanyl related deaths. Here in B.C., with a population of approx. 4/5 million, we have had over 400 fentanyl deaths so far this year. (many of the dead are not your usual drug addicts but rather middle class recreational users) In a province which has a lot of drugs this is so over board the Chief Medical Officer of the Province (State) declared it to be a health emergency.

The arrest of the lawyer simply looked like a set up, to me and no "cooker" leaves his "goods" anywhere unless he is stoned out of his gord. Now we not having bail bonds men, I can't speak for his actions, but it does appear to be a tad weird about who he called. In my opinion, much more is at play here than meets the eye.

S C said...

e.a.f Thanks for the reply and details behind it

Your theory about the lawyer being set up is interesting, and it explains a lot if that's what happened. Makes me wonder what he did to garner their attention and/or did to garner their scorn.

The alleged 'cooker' leaving his good behind stumped me initially because like you said, nobody does that unless high as a kite.

The fire was interesting, too. A warning, i figured, but it was fairly small from the reports, and like you said in an earlier post, it could have been a b&b cover to remove something (files?) or an unknown third party did it (perhaps the folks who surprised the lawyer even)

Anonymous said...

Rushing (aka meth dealer) is out on bond. Why don't you look into who posted his bond? There is a network of people involved. This story needs a 60 minutes investigation.......

e.a.f. said...

if 60 minutes came to Alabama, they'd be there for 60 years and have a show each and every week. Look at all the posts L.S. has and he is working just on his own.