Statement of Luther Winn on Behalf of Greenetrack

March 31, 2014

By Luther Winn

Today marks yet another sad chapter in a long history of partisan harassment of our operations. The attempts by the Alabama Attorney General to go after Greenetrack for legitimate gaming compelled us to suspend an aspect of our gaming in an abundance of caution.

Such targeting by the Attorney General is clearly a blatant political maneuver meant to undermine and damage our efforts to expand our operations into other states. While an inconvenience and an injustice, we are confident that fair minded people will see this transparently unethical action exactly for what it is…political blackmail. Using police powers to pursue a partisan political agenda is an abuse of power. After years of persecution and discrimination this has become an emotional issue for our supporters in Alabama.
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Search Warrants Served at Four Casinos in Greene County

March 31, 2014

Staff Report

MONTGOMERY—Attorney General Luther Strange announced that four search warrants were served today at four separate casinos in Greene County through a joint effort by law enforcement agents from the Attorney General’s Office and the Alabama Department of Public Safety. This law enforcement action was taken in response to alleged illegal gambling operations. The search warrants were served this morning at Greenetrack and Greene Charity in Eutaw, AL, and at Frontier Bingo and River’s Edge in Knoxville, AL.
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Wren Tells Sunday School Class He Will be Indicted

March 31, 2014

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—On Sunday, State Representative Greg Wren (R-Montgomery) confessed to his Sunday School class at the First Baptist Church of Montgomery that he would soon be indicted on criminal charges by the State’s Attorney General’s Office, according to sources with intimate knowledge of the events.

Wren’s pending indictment may be tied to his effort to place 23 words into the State’s 2013 General Fund Budget that would have granted a monopoly for the American Pharmacy Cooperative Inc. (APCI), a Bessemer based company.

In a scheme that is believed to have originated with Alabama Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn), APCI would have become the sole provider of pharmaceuticals for the State’s million dollar Medicaid program.

Hubbard and Wren both had lucrative contracts with APCI at the time the 23 words were placed into the budget.

SB143 was originally drafted by Sen. Arthur Orr, Republican chairman of the Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee. The bill was introduced in February of 2013 and finally passed out of the Senate with three amendments on March 12th. When state Senators sent the budget to the House, there was no language benefiting APCI. But, by Feb. 23rd, the House had re-crafted the budget adding a section that would have forced the state into using a pharmacy benefits manager (PBM) to administer the Medicaid prescription drug purchased.

According to the bill: 

“The Alabama Medicaid Agency, in order to implement a pharmacy benefit manager program, must seek a pharmacy benefit management organization or manager that will: (i) act in fiduciary capacity and perform its duties in accordance with standards of conduct applicable to a fiduciary, including the allocation of all drug manufacturer rebates, discounts, and incentives to the State General Fund; (ii) establish a maximum allowable cost list; and (iii) operate a group purchasing function with a purchasing base for generic drugs consisting of at least 30% of the retail pharmacies in Alabama.”

 Those 23 words requiring the PBM have a purchasing base of 30 percent locked in Hubbard and Wren’s client, APCI, as it is the only company that fits the description, officials said.

Wren acknowledged to the media that he was responsible for inserting the language into the budget.
Rep. Steve Clouse (R-Ozark) was asked last year if he and Speaker Hubbard had spoken about the 23 word addition to the budget. “You know we (Clouse and Hubbard) talk about a lot of things with the budget. I don’t remember in particular.” Clouse said he recalled Wren suggested the passage benefiting APCI. Wren was “concerned about independent pharmacists and he wanted to add language in there… Greg wanted to put the language in there, so I told him to go ahead and write it up.”

 Neither Hubbard or Wren responded to multiple phone messages and emails seeking comment for this story.

Wren’s confession to his Sunday School class is believed to be the prelude to a larger scandal involving Speaker Hubbard, legislators, lobbyist and legislative staff members.

Wren reportedly said on Sunday, “People will no longer trust their government.”

Moore, Hubbard Plot Intercepted in Job Killing, Political Retribution Scheme

March 31, 2014

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—Evidence gathered by the Alabama Political Reporter shows that Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) and Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) threatened to kill more than 100 jobs in Moore’s home district, as political retribution against Moore’s primary campaign opponent.
Barry Moore and Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard are believed to be the subjects of the special grand jury investigation in Lee County this week.
Over the last year and a half, speculation about the special grand jury investigation has centered mostly on Speaker Hubbard.
Over the last six months, dozens of witnesses, including more than a dozen sitting legislators, have been documented coming and going from the Lee County Justice Center. While the content of the proceedings has remained secret, certain information has been uncovered in connection with these alleged, illegal activities.
It is believed this week, testimony at the grand jury will center on Moore’s complicity in a plan that would have stopped the development of around 100 jobs in Enterprise. Moore’s own words link he and Hubbard to a unified effort to force Josh Pipkin out of the Republican Primary where he is set to challenge Moore for House District 91.
As first reported by the Southeast Sun on January 29, 2013, Enterprise State Community College was on-track to get a new, unmanned, aerial systems program. The plan was for the program to be housed in a 44,000 square-foot facility currently occupied by Enterprise Electronics Corporation (EEC), an Australian owned company. Some $2 million in State funds were to be used for the purchase EEC’s building. EEC would then invest the $2 million in a brand new facility to build its satellite radar systems.

The net result of the transaction would be approximately 100 new, good paying, highly-skilled jobs at the new EEC plant in Enterprise. For its investment, the State of Alabama would get EEC’s high-tech facility near Enterprise State Community College to create a state-of-the-art technology curriculum unmatched in Alabama.
That was the plan developed by Enterprise State Community College and local economic developers. That plan seemed to be on its way to fruition, that is, until Pipkin decided to run against Moore in the Republican primary.
Evidence believed to be in the possession of the Attorney General exposes a long, detailed and potentially criminal attempt by Hubbard and Moore to pressure Pipkin—the 2012 Enterprise Man of the Year—out of the race.
Over the course of several months, Hubbard and Moore met with various influential individuals in Enterprise making it plainly clear that they were determined to kill the new jobs coming to the city if Pipkin would not relinquish the race to Moore. If the deal fell through, the backup plan for EEC’s expansion was to relocate the facility to Oklahoma, a blow to the entire Alabama economy, not just Enterprise and Coffee County.
The Attorney General’s Office is thought to have evidence that indicates Hubbard and Moore placed threatening calls to public officials and private individuals, including but not limited to, mayors, school superintendents, state officials, economic developers and other influential figures in Coffee County and around the State.
The Alabama Political Reporter received several pieces of evidence, now believed to be in the possession of the Attorney General. The evidences reveals  Moore saying,

“Speaker Hubbard told me himself, I will bring Holy Hell down on [Pipkin] him. That was (sic) his exact words.”
Moore went on to say, “Hubbard is as stubborn as a mule. He can be pretty tough to deal with and I do a good job for him… At the end of the day, it’s policy to help people, you know… I’ve been loyal to Mike and he’s been good to me.”
Recently, exposed thousands in State services contracts Moore received after making alliance with Hubbard.
The evidence on file suggests that on one occasion, Moore was asked if there were any “hiccups,” that needed to be fixed so the EEC deal could be completed or if the Pipkin’s candidacy was the only thing standing in the way, Moore responded,
“I think that’s a major hiccup. We just about had the deal done before all this.”
Other statements from Moore include him asking for an update and stating, “I’m waiting to meet with the Speaker… I don’t want to put the Australians [EEC] off too long so either way I’ve got to meet with Mike (Hubbard) this week. This deal is too important to our city. I know some think I have nothing to do with it but they are very wrong. Mike controls this deal and my relationship with him has everything to do with it. Relationships in politics are everything. And Mike is very loyal to his friends. He just is.”
In another statement, Moore responded to a question about whether he and Hubbard were going to kill the jobs deal if Pipkin refused to abandon his race. Moore responded, “I got a meeting with the Speaker and he is furious… At the end of the day, yeah, because we were fixin’ to land a pretty good deal, and there’s a lot at stake, I can assure you, for our City and our community.” Moore later told Pipkin, “If you’ll give me your word that you’ll get out, when I meet with him [Hubbard] next week, I’ll tell him… he’s going to get out, so we need this deal for him to stay out, but I need your word on that. And I’ll talk with the Speaker.”
Moore, has retained Derek Yarbrough, as counsel, Yarbrough previously represented convicted gambling kingpin of Ronnie Gilley.
It is believed that the information linking Hubbard and Moore to plan to destroy a political opponent—at the price of jobs to a city—it just one of the suspected crimes hanging over the head of Speaker Hubbard,  the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Republican takeover of the Alabama State House.
Pipkin was contacted for comment but refused, at the request of the Attorney General’s Office.


GOP Chairman Accuses Foundation of “Dirty, Potentially Unlawful, Political Tricks”

March 31, 2014

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—On Friday, Chairman of the ALGOP Bill Armistead leveled a barrage of attacks on the Alabama Foundation for Limited Government. Armistead claims that the organization is participating in “Dirty, Potentially Unlawful, Political Tricks.”

In a press release, Armistead called the group “elusive,” complaining about the “Take The Pledge” television advertisements the Foundation is running across the State.

The President of Alabama Foundation for Limited Government is former Republican State Senator John Rice a man that Armistead has known for years. There is nothing elusive about Rice who has been a active member of the ALGOP for decades, who in 2012 sued the State for taking money from the oil and gas trust fund to balance the budget.
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Hubbard, Storming the Steak House

March 31, 2014

By Lee Hedgepeth
Alabama Political Reporter

According to campaign finance reports in November of last year, and with the 2014 elections exactly a year away, Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard spent hundreds of dollars from his campaign coffers on food from high-end restaurants, including nearly $200 at the famous Smith & Wollensky, a gourmet steak house with locations in New York City, Chicago, Miami Beach, Las Vegas and other large cities – none of which are in Alabama.

The itemized expenditure, which was paid to Auburn Network as a reimbursement, also included cash for food at the Clubhouse in Hoover, the Irish Bread Pub in Montgomery, and Baumhower’s.

The same day, Speaker Hubbard’s campaign committee also reimbursed Auburn Network for a Delta plane ticket and for lodging at a Marriott hotel.

Auburn Network is a broadcasting and media company owned by the Speaker. Alabama Political Reporter has chronicled the evolution of the business, which under Hubbard’s leadership viewed sealed bids to gain lucrative contracts. The entity has also been a regular on Hubbard and his GOP allies’ expenditures lists since 2010, gaining contracts to provide media services to Republican candidates across the state.

During his successful takeover of the Alabama legislature in the 2010 elections, and since his tenure as Speaker began, Hubbard, an Auburn Republican, has always said that those in leadership should conduct themselves like an average Alabama family – keeping spending down and productivity up.

All in all, for four meals, Speaker Hubbard spent nearly four hundred dollars. According to numbers from the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, the average family of two spends about $380 not for four meals – but for four weeks, or about 160 meals.

Smith & Wollensky describes itself as follows:

“Our signature green and white building was established in 1977 in New York. Today, with nine boutique and distinctively different locations, it continues to symbolize the timeless luxury of Prime USDA steaks, premium seafood, signature cocktails and award-winning wines. We’re still the only national steakhouse to dry-age and butcher on site, fly in fresh lobster daily and make our sides and pastries by hand. Our staff put your comfort and pleasure as their absolute priority. So whether you visit for an intimate gathering or large celebration, you’ll be glad when you’ve arrived.

Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group owns and operates nine iconic Smith & Wollensky locations in Miami Beach, Chicago, Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Columbus, Houston and two restaurants in Boston.”

Although there is no Alabama Smith & Wollensky location, the steak house does offer an online steak shopping experience. The cheapest piece of meat available is priced at around $100 per steak, athough it is not clear if that includes shipping and handling.


McKinney Touts Qualifications

March 31, 2014

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

As the Republican Primary draws near candidates are working hard to distance themselves from their competitors.  In a year where Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) appears to be sailing to his party’s nomination, the Secretary of State race is shaping up to be one of the most interesting contests.  Former Montgomery county Probate Judge Reese McKinney’s (R) is one of three candidates pursuing the GOP nomination.
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Republican Assembly Endorses Bentley

March 31, 2014

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Saturday, March 29 the Alabama Republican Assembly met to hear from candidates and to make their official endorsements for the 2014 Republican Primary.  The Alabama Republican Assembly announced their decisions in a written statement on Sunday.

The Republican Assembly endorsed Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) for another term as Governor.  Bentley faces both Republican primary opponents and a Democrat in the general election.
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Ukraine an Opportunity and a Test

March 31, 2014
Bradley Byrne

By U.S. Representative Bradley Byrne

As the situation in Ukraine has unfolded over the past weeks, I have watched closely as a member of the House Armed Services Committee. I am gravely concerned with developments that continue to expose this Administration’s dangerously anemic foreign policy. Ukraine is a sovereign nation whose people have demonstrated a strong desire to align themselves with the West. Yet today, we stand on the precipice of losing this nation to the growing influence of Moscow.
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We Need More Women in State Government

March 31, 2014

By Minority Leader Rep. Craig Ford 

There is no doubt that I would not be the man I am today had it not been for the women in my life. From my mother to my wife and daughter, they have all shaped who I am. But more importantly, they have also helped shape the community we live in. I have seen in all of them a strength and wisdom that makes me proud, humble and grateful to have them in my life.
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