By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Wednesday, January 4, 2017, former State Representative Terry Spicer (D-Elba) was terminated from his new job with the Alabama Beverage Control (ABC) Board of Directors.
State Senator Paul Bussman (R-Cullman) said on social media, “Today, the former state legislator convicted of taking $100,000 in bribes has been terminated as an employee of an Alabama ABC store by Gov Bentley. I appreciate Gov. Bentley’s swift action on this inappropriate hiring.”
Spicer, who pleaded guilty to taking bribes from a state lobbyist, was hired by the ABC board in December as a sales associate at a State liquor store. He was released from federal prison in October.
Former State Rep. Spicer, along with Dothan gambling mandate Ronald “Ronnie” Gilley and lobbyist Jarrod Massey, pleaded guilty for bribery-related offenses in the 2010 bingo conspiracy. US District Judge Myron H. Thompson of the Middle District of Alabama sentenced Spicer to 57 months in prison.
According to a release from the US Justice Department, Gilley owned a controlling interest in the Country Crossing real estate, entertainment and gambling development in Houston County, Alabama. Country Crossing sought to offer electronic bingo gambling machines to the public. Massey owned a lobbying business, Mantra Governmental, and Gilley was one of Massey’s largest clients.
During the 2009 and 2010 Alabama legislative session, Gilley and Massey promoted the passage of pro-gambling legislation that would have been favorable to operating electronic bingo facilities. Specifically, Gilley and Massey corruptly gave, offered and agreed to give money and other things of value to Alabama State legislators with the intent to influence and reward them in connection with pro-gambling legislation. Gilley also pleaded guilty to money laundering for attempting to launder $200,000 in bribe payments to a state senator in order to disguise the illicit purpose of the money. Gilley and Massey both assisted in the government’s investigation, and the government recommended that each receive a reduction in his sentence as a result.
In a separate bribery conspiracy, Spicer pleaded guilty to a single count of federal program bribery for his solicitation and receipt of multiple things of value from Gilley and Massey, including cash payments ranging from $1,000 to $3,000 per month during a period of more than four years; an all-expenses-paid ski trip for his family valued at $10,000; a one-time payment of $9,000; a $20,000 campaign contribution and more than $22,500 in free concert tickets. In exchange, Spicer repeatedly offered official assistance, including by encouraging others to hire Massey as their lobbyist and by aiding Gilley as specific opportunities arose.
Despite the cooperation of Gilley and Massey, all of their indicted co-conspirators who denied the allegations (including four then State Senators and Shorter gambling boss Milton McGregor) were found not guilty.
In 2010, the Alabama Senate voted in favor of the gambling legislation that Massey and Gilley were promoting. The FBI made it public that they, with the cooperation of former State Senator Scott Beason (R-Gardendale), had been investigating corruption associated with the controversial legislation. This revelation was rushed to prevent the Alabama House of Representatives from passing the same tainted legislation that the Senate had.
It has been alleged that the ABC board of directors hired Spicer to help him qualify for a State pension.
Spicer was first elected to the Alabama Legislature in 2006. In 2010, he was defeated by Barry Moore (R-Enterprise). The revelations of corruption in the legislature helped the Republican Party obtain a majority for the first time in 135 years.