By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—Rain showered the Capitol City on Monday, but the nasty weather did not dampen the spirit of the man bringing yet another ethic charge against Alabama’s Attorney General.
Tuskegee Mayor Johnny Ford once again stood in front of the door of the Alabama Ethic Commission to accuse AG Luther Strange of ethics violations.
In this latest round of filings Ford begins by cites three things.
One: “Luther Strange, the attorney general for the state of Alabama, the highest law official for the state, did not file a 2010 economic interest form. We are all required. As a mayor, any local or state official is required to submit the economic interest statement. That is a state law. In fact, it is the attorney general that enforces that law if the complaint comes from the ethics commission.”
Two: “The attorney general received that year consultant payments from a public institution Alabama State University. Alabama State did absolutely nothing wrong. As a public institution they have a right to contract with whomever they so desire. However, it is the attorney general that did not comply with the law. He received consultant payments from a public institution and did not report that.”
Three: “The chief law enforcement official of the state was sworn in as attorney general on January 17, on January 28 a sitting attorney general receives a consultant payment form a public institution in the state of Alabama, Alabama State University, again no problem with Alabama State University, had it been Tuskegee University it would have been the same thing. But the principle here is while sitting as the attorney general of the state of Alabama, he received a payment and it was not reported.”
Ford addressed the press corps saying, “ the law applies to all of us, black or white, rich or poor, local or state. The attorney general is not above the law nor is anyone else above the law who serves in a position of public trust.”
Ford said that he had also filed a copy of his complaint with the United States Justice Department. “I will not say anything about that further because having served as a United States Justice Department official positive not to talk about an ongoing investigation once it is turned over to them,” Said Ford.
In his statements Ford that there is a need for the Federal Government to look into the allegations because Luther Strange is Alabama’s top cop, saying, “when a state official is requested to investigate himself, we know that is probably not going to happen.”
Ford contends that Strange is working to prevent the reopening of VictoryLand because he is involved with those who sponsor Indian gaming and therefore has a hidden agenda.
“All of these people, Luther Strange, Bob Riley, Brian Taylor, all of these people who have gone on record saying that they are against gaming, yet they have, by PAC-to-PAC transfers and have tried to secretly take money from the Indians for the express purpose of closing down the gaming industry in Macon County,” Ford said.
It is Ford’s belief that only a Federal intervention will remedy the situation.
He said that he and his attorney’s are preparing for a Federal lawsuit, “I can assure you that is forthcoming because the citizens of Macon County, our voting rights have been violated. We voted on a constitutional amendment that would allow the gaming industry to be developed and operate in Macon County.”
Ford said he is requested a audience with Governor Bentley, “Because Governor Bentley and I both served in the legislature together. We served and sat on the back row together. He knows me and I know him. The Governor has stated that he does not plan to use his office to prevent the gaming from taking place in counties where constitutional amendments have taken place.”
During the press conference he strongly complained about the Attorney General trying to stop VictoryLand from obtaining a ABC license.
The Mayor continued to stress that the gaming industry in Macon County is a home-grown industry that has employed thousand of the areas citizens, “We have some 3,200 people in Macon County, primarily black people and African-American citizens who have applied for jobs…people who need to go to work to take care of their families. People who’s children need resources. Our schools are suffering, city government is suffering. Gaming is an industry for us in Macon County. We created the industry. This is not Milton McGregor’s fight.