By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Report
MONTGOMERY—Four-term Republican Legislator Greg Wren from Montgomery has made another appearance before the Attorney General’s Special Grand Jury in Lee County. Wren, who recently announced he would not seek reelection in 2014, was spotted leaving the courthouse last week.
Wren is believed—at some point—to have given testimony concerning 23 words placed in the State’s general fund budget, that would have given American Pharmacy Cooperative Inc, (APCI) exclusive rights to administer the State’s multi-million dollar Medicaid pharmaceutical trade.
APCI is a client of Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn), a fact that was generally unknown until reported by the Alabama Political Reporter.
It is believed that Wren placed the language into the 2013 House General Fund Budget at the urging of Speaker Hubbard and APCI lobbyist, Ferrell Patrick.
In a story that almost directly mirrored one written earlier by the Alabama Political Reporter, (read here) Al.com published a story (read here) where Wren said, “…he sought the language to make sure that any overhaul of Alabama’s Medicaid pharmacy program was ‘community-led.’ ”
“We’re talking about keeping money in Alabama and saving money for the State,” Wren said.
Wren also told al.com that he never had “conversations” with Hubbard about the contract.
The statement that Wren made to AL.com has been called into question, but Wren has refused to answer repeated calls made to him.
However, it is documented that Hubbard did cast repeated votes in favor of the House versions the bill that would have given exclusive rights to manage Alabama’s Medicaid prescription drug purchasing to his client APCI.
Though he voted multiple times in favor of the legislation, Hubbard never publicly disclosed his financial ties to APCI. Nor did Hubbard declare a conflict of interest or abstain from taking official action on the bill, titled SB143.
Wren serves as the Chairman of the Joint Legislative Medicaid Committee, and was reported as being in constant contact with the lobbyist representing APCI.
It is not certain what Wren testified about as Grand Jury proceedings are secret.
It has been said that Hubbard’s attorney J. Mark White, has a “hissy fit” every time there is a reference to the Grand Jury proceedings in the media.
White, one of Alabama’s highest paid criminal defense attorneys, should know that any citizen or reporter can freely walk the halls of the Lee County Court House, so leaks are not necessary; only persistence and shoe leather are required.
White’s complaints about leaks to the media are silly and disingenuous. White, in my opinion, is a master of media manipulation. But like a good criminal defense attorney, he is going to use any means at hand to slow down the legal process, while continuing to run-up billable hours.