Less than a week ago, Alabama A&M University (AAMU) announced the promotion of Shannon F. Reeves to vice president of government affairs and external relations. In making the announcement, AAMU President Daniel K. Wims touted Reeves as the "consummate professional," who would oversee all of the university's lobbying efforts, while serving as its lead advocate in Washington, D.C. Wims praised Reeves for developing a professional network on both sides of the political aisle and noted that Reeves had a wealth of political knowledge and strategy that would help move A&M forward.
Today we learn that Reeves has overwhelming financial troubles of a personal nature that could lead to issues with the IRS.
In introducing his new VP, President Wims hinted that Reeves would have rock-solid credibility with power players at the state and national levels. But that appears to be in doubt, just six days into Reeves' tenure. Donald Watkins, longtime Alabama attorney and leading voice in online investigative journalism at donaldwatkins.com, has uncovered documents that suggest Reeves' status as a respected and effective voice for Alabama A&M might have sprung a few leaks. Under the headline "Shannon F. Reeves, Alabama A&M’s New VP for Government Affairs, is Dripping with Tax Liens and Debts," Watkins writes in an article today:
On October 23, 2023, Alabama A&M University announced the promotion of Shannon Frank Reeves, Sr., from Associate Vice President for Government Affairs to Vice President of Government Affairs and External Relations.
"Reeves will oversee all federal, state, and local lobbying efforts for AAMU government affairs, military affairs, civic engagement, and community affairs," according to the university's press release. As the lead advocate for AAMU in Washington, D.C., Reeves is "charged with the successful management of active engagement with legislative bodies and regulatory agencies in pursuit of support for the university’s research agenda and infrastructure needs."
We introduced our readers to Shannon Reeves in an October 12, 2023, article titled, “Louisiana GOP Central Committee Member Leads Alabama A&M’s Foray into MAGA Politics.”
In his announcement, Alabama A&M President Daniel K. Wims issued these accolades about his new vice president:
“Mr. Reeves’ appointment to Vice President, secures our voice and placement in federal, state, and local communities. His professional network on both sides of the political aisle has proven to position us for coalition building as we plan for continued growth to secure our path in the development and implementation of advocacy and legislative priorities. He is the consummate professional and poised to manage our first-ever Division of Government Affairs and External Relations. His wealth of political knowledge and strategy will be beneficial to the success of our institution.”
Dr. Wims also claimed that Reeves, a MAGA Republican and elected member of the Louisiana GOP Central Committee, has secured historic increases in Alabama state appropriations in addition to increased federal support for university research and infrastructure. Wims bragged that Reeves has a “unique ability to collaborate with Democrats, Republicans, and Independents to support the legislative priorities of the university.”
It did not take long for information about "the real Shannon Reeves" to surface, Watkins reports:
Within days after Dr. Wims announced Reeves’ promotion in such glowing terms, Democratic and Republican political players in Washington and Montgomery expressed disbelief that Wims had elevated Reeves to the Vice Presidency for Government Affairs. They shared with me documentation that showed a struggling Shannon Reeves dripping with tax liens, personal debts, and financial credibility issues. My independent review of this documentation established that it was true and correct.
What about details regarding Reeves financial troubles? Watkins provides them, and they are grim:
Here is a sprinkling of the financial information that is available in the public domain on Shannon Reeves:
1. Reeves Strategies LLC, Shannon Reeves’ defunct lobbying firm, lost its corporate existence in June 2018 due to a "tax forfeiture" on February 10, 2012.
2. Court records show tax liens recorded against Shannon F. Reeves in the following amounts:
a. $1,061.52 -- state tax lien that was filed against him on February 24, 2021, for unpaid individual income taxes;
b. $2,193.49 -- state tax lien that was filed against him on February 17, 2021, for unpaid individual income taxes;
c. $317.00 -- state tax lien that was filed against him on February 3, 2021, for unpaid individual income taxes;
d. $535.08 -- state tax lien that was filed against him on July 6, 2018, for unpaid individual income taxes; and
e. $2,034.00 -- state tax lien that was filed against him on March 16, 2010, for unpaid business franchise taxes.
3. Shannon Reeves was evicted from his home in Southlake, Texas after he stopped making his mortgage payments to Aurora Loan Services, LLC, and he failed to answer Aurora's lawsuit for eviction on November 8, 2010.
4. Shannon Reeves also had a $9,620.00 state court judgment issued against him by a Texas judge on November 10, 2009.
Shannon Reeves' list of documented financial difficulties seems endless.
So why did Alabama A&M officially hire Reeves from Grambling State University, in July 2022, as associate vice president of governmental affairs? Why did A&M promote Reeves six days ago?
Watkins, so far, cannot provide a clear-cut, rational answer to those questions -- and that, he says, suggests something peculiar is going on behind the scenes:
Most major public universities in America would never knowingly hire or promote an employee with Shannon Reeves' checkered financial background to the position of Vice President for Government Affairs. For all practical purposes, Reeves was "broker than the Ten Commandments" when Wims rescued him from the brink of financial despair in 2022.
Obviously, some other, undisclosed agenda was behind Wims' decision to hire and promote Shannon Reeves. According to our sources in Washington and Montgomery, Shannon Reeves has zero credibility in the world of government and external affairs in either political party.
University financial records show that Alabama A&M began paying Shannon Reeves on January 20, 2022, exactly 20 days after Dr. Daniel K. Wims became president. Reeves received $10,265 on January 20, 2022, for “contract services.” Between February 2022 and June 2022, Reeves received “payroll” payments of $11,541 per month. Starting in July 2022, Reeves “payroll” payments increased to $12,916 per month.
In addition to his cash payment for “contract services” on January 20, 2022, and his monthly “payroll “money (which began on February 28, 2022), Shannon Reeves received rent-free housing at Alabama A&M's Normal Hills Student Apartments for about nine months. We have confirmed that Dr. Wims personally authorized Shannon Reeves' free housing arrangement at Normal Hills Student Apartments.
Reportedly, Alabama A&M did not issue Shannon Reeves an IRS Form 1099 for the economic value of his free housing during this nine-month period. We have also confirmed that at least two other top administrative employees hired by Wims -- A. Jackie Robinson, III, and Jamal Ali -- may be in the same legal jeopardy as Reeves regarding the university's failure to (a) report the free housing arrangement to the IRS and (b) issue the beneficiaries of this free housing arrangement a Form 1099 for tax purposes.
Finally, Dr. Wims hired Reeves’ wife as an events coordinator for the university and paid her $3,993 per month, commencing in September 2022.
The Shannon Reeves situation is a mess and it will likely get messier! We understand from reliable sources that Reeves' sticky situation may spark an IRS civil and criminal investigation.