By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
It’s been a little over a week since the Speaker of the House was indicted by a Grand Jury of his peers on 23 counts of public corruption. While law enforcement has remained silent, due to legal restraints, Hubbard and company have been in full-throttled spin mode.
Hubbard’s denials, dodges and subterfuge have reached such a frenetic level, that over the weekend he released a campaign flier, featuring a Bible and a compass pointing North.
In other words, Hubbard, in just one week, has gone from denial to the “Full-Scrushy.”
So desperate is Hubbard to hang on to his power, that he is reportedly reaching out to Black lawmakers in the House, telling them he needs their support because his former boss and mentor Gov. Bob Riley has thrown him under the bus.
If Riley has cut a deal with the prosecution, it is almost certain that Hubbard’s life is ruined.
And what about wealthy businessmen like Jim Holbrook, Rob Burton, Will Brooke, Jimmy Rane and Bob Abrams, who are all named in the indictments? Does anyone think for a moment that any of these men would take a bullet for Hubbard? Well, maybe Rane, because he’s all about some fist-fights.
But the rest…..not a chance. Not one of these men will stand by Hubbard, now that his schemes have been revealed.
Does Hoar Construction, Harbert Management Corporation, Sterne Agee or CV Holdings really need the headache of explaining Hubbard to their customers? I doubt it.
Then there is BCA power player Billy Canary, who may just have too many problems with heavy weight association members not wanting to see their company names in headlines.
It is also interesting to note that Hubbard’s most trusted allies, Dax Swatek and Tim Howe, are named in the indictments, but not their partners, John Ross and David Azbell. Hmm….can you say, flipped? Perhaps.
But Hubbard keeps on spinning saying his felony arrest is part of a which-hunt, a political prosecution and that he has done nothing wrong.
What he has not done is sit with those named in his indictments, the press and the public, and refute each count in specific order. Of course, Hubbard hopes that the day he has to answer for his crimes will never come; but it will.
There are many people who believe that Hubbard will never be convicted. These are the same people who just days ago said he would never be indicted. Oh, ye of little faith.
Has our justice system become so politically tilted that we actually believe that there is separate justice for the rich and powerful? Are we to believe the political realities of our courts strip away the blindfold of justice? Heaven, please say it is not so.
The so-called mainstream media has suddenly awakened to the fact, that perhaps something nefarious has been afoot on the fifth floor of the State House. Some have even discovered that all of the facts the Alabama Political Reporter has been revealing for last two years are true.
The news business has always been occupied by two types of reporters: those who dig for the facts and those who try to cover them up. Add to that those who will report the facts once it becomes safe to do so, and a clearer picture of the State’s Press Corps comes into view.
What to make of Hubbard’s latest spin: that he is an honest citizen/legislator trying to make an honest living?
From the indictments, one could readily conclude that Hubbard is a failed businessman whose plan for solvency rested on his ability to bilk his party and wealthy men out of their money. Of course, Jim Holbrook, Bob Barton, Will Brooke, Jimmy Rane and Bob Abrams would have never given Hubbard a nickel, had he not been Speaker of the House.
It is expressly against State law to use ones office for personal gain…period.
Another of Hubbard’s misleading arguments is that the Ethics Commission approved all his business dealings. That is not exactly the truth. The Ethic Commission did review Hubbard’s contract with the Southeast Alabama Gas District, with this caveat: writing for the commission legal council Hugh Evans, III, said, “The only potential issue that we saw would be if something came before the legislature that uniquely affected the Southeast Alabama Gas District differently than it affected all other utilities around the State of Alabama. Should this happen we would expect that speaker Hubbard would have plenty of notice in which to remove himself from discussions, votes, etc.”
It is not yet certain if Hubbard worked to pass legislation or did other illegal things that “uniquely affected the Southeast Alabama Gas District differently than it affected all other utilities.” But we do know that he did just that for American Pharmacy Cooperative Inc. (See article here.)
We also know that Evans warned Hubbard: “The general prohibition continues to apply, in that the Speaker may not use his position or mantle of his office to assist him in obtaining consulting opportunities or providing benefits to his consulting business or his clients.”
Hubbard’s indictments would seem to clearly suggest that he did, in fact, “use his position or mantle of his office to assist him in obtaining consulting opportunities.”
As for the Ethics Commission approving the APCI contract…that is nonsense. Former Director Jim Sumner told this publication in 2013, that he never even saw the contract. If he never saw it how could he legally approve it. But this notion of approving or disapproving contracts by the commission is suspect at best. (See article here.)
Lots of ink and a few megabytes have been employed to allow Hubbard to once again spin his web of deceit, but only the Kool-Aid crowd is buying it.
Once the bootlickers see who and how many have turned on Hubbard, they too will disavow him.
And like many in the Press Corps, they will claim they knew there was trouble with Mike all along.