Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Rob Riley, while his father was governor, apparently solicited bribes from law firms seeking state contracts, according to veteran attorney Tommy Gallion

Tommy Gallion
Rob Riley, while his father Bob Riley was Alabama governor (2003-11), suggested law firms seeking bond work via state contracts would need to funnel work to his Riley Jackson law firm in Homewood, according to a prominent Montgomery attorney who was involved in the process.

Tommy Gallion, of Haskell Slaughter and Gallion, said Rob Riley ran bond-work meetings as if he were governor. "Rob Riley ran meetings about bond work with the state and required that the winning firm send work to him. Haskell Slaughter had been doing that work for years, and it went to Bradley Arant because they agreed to Rob's terms."

Until recently, Bradley Arant was home to Rob Campbell, Rob Riley's brother-in-law and husband of Minda Riley Campbell (despite Rob Campbell's appearance at the Ashley Madison extramarital-affairs Web site.) Rob Campbell no longer is listed as an attorney at the Bradley Arant Web site, although the Alabama State Bar still lists him as working there. The firm reportedly raked in more than $10 million in taxpayer funds during the final two years of the Bob Riley administration. From Gallion:

At a meeting of our firm's executive committee meeting, when Bob Riley first took over as governor, Rob Riley appeared. He hinted that he could help our firm get considered in a major state upcoming bond issue, and he would like us to consider associating him in non-state related legal business. Our firm rejected his proposal after he left. Gov. Riley had a press release that he was putting out requests for proposals (RFP's) to all qualified law firms. Haskell Slaughter submitted the low bid, but the work went to his son-in-law's firm, Bradley Arant, who had recently hired him after Gov. Riley was elected. Bradley was the high proposal, and our firm was the low proposal; Bradley was selected by Gov. Riley.

Rob Riley's actions, as described by Gallion, appear to come close to being a classic quid pro quo ("something for something" deal) that forms the heart of federal funds bribery under 18 U.S.C. 666. The five-year statute of limitations clearly has run on Rob Riley's scheme, so why is it news now?

For one, the perjury case against duly elected Jefferson County District Attorney Charles Todd Henderson has Riley Inc.'s grimy fingerprints all over it, especially since Henderson (a Democrat) surprisingly ousted the Rileys' GOP favorite (and incumbent) Brandon Falls. Two, Gv. Kay Ivey has shown that she is willing to recycle members of the Riley Machine, such as general counsel Bryan Taylor, into positions of authority. That suggests the rank corruption of the Riley years could rear its head, with Ivey at the controls.

On top of that, Rob Riley has documented ties to efforts at establishing gaming/business enterprises that would connect Alabama investors and Russian interests. U.S. newspapers currently are filled with headlines about brewing scandals that involve Russian and American political/business figures. One of the biggest stories at the moment centers around Chattanooga property magnate Franklin Haney and his efforts to use a Canadian company (with ties to Russia) to bring a dormant nuclear plant in northeast Alabama back to life.

Rob Riley
A certain Montgomery lawyer had a front-row seat for some of Rob Riley's machinations related to Russia. Consider these words from Tommy Gallion:

My understanding is that Rob and Minda Riley made a substantial amount of money during the eight years their father was governor -- and Rob Riley could not make his house payments when Bob Riley went in.
I can tell you how they funneled the money; I've got all the documents on it. When Bob went to Congress, Rob was up there all the time working deals, and he's connected to big-time gambling interests. I know it first-hand because I invested with him and Robert Sigler. They were best friends . . . and (Sigler) lives in Las Vegas. He came in and did a sales pitch on the Russian lottery to a group of my friends. I actually invested in the pay-by-touch company, which was a helluva company, but to get that I had to get one of the units of this Russian lottery, which I never had any faith in. But (Sigler) raised over $10 million on the Russian lottery, and the money vanished.

They had the money with a bank that had a main office in London, with a branch office in Moscow. Sigler put $10 million in the Russian bank to procure a right to participate in the bid process. The money simply vanished. When everything started falling apart on the lottery, the stockholders -- which were a whole bunch of people in Montgomery -- said, "Where is our money?" Sigler had said, "We've got it protected." I got on the Internet and saw where Rob Riley set up offshore accounts for Sigler.

What happened to the Russian-lottery money and what about those offshore accounts? The answer remains unclear, but Gallion has thoughts on the subject:

I was told that an offshore account was set up in the Canary Islands by someone connected to the missing money. I don't know any more. I was told that Sigler had set one up there for Rob [Riley], but don't know for sure.

Another dubious deal involves Rob Riley's contract to represent the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, headed by Mike Hale. That story begins with Bill Johnson, who was director of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) for part of Bob Riley's term. Says Gallion:

A million-dollar federal grant was sent to ADECA for law enforcement in the state. Bob Riley instructed Bill Johnson to send the full $1 million to the sheriff of Jefferson County, Mike Hale. Johnson later found out that to get the money, the sheriff had to put Rob Riley on a large legal retainer. He is still on the retainer.

How did Rob Riley and sister Minda Riley Campbell fare during their father's years as Alabama governor? The answer is "mighty well," according to Tommy Gallion:

I do not know what they made during their father's eight-year term. But I have been told it was substantial.

That is classic Riley-style corruption. With Kay Ivey in the governor's office, it might be returning soon to a theater near you. And with Donald Trump in the White House, the environment might be ripe for more attempted deals involving Alabama and Russia.

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