By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY— There are growing concerns that new Ethics Chief Tom Albritton’s close ties to Speaker Mike Hubbard’s wife’s family, may have figured into his appointment as Ethics Director, and also led to the opinion that would provide reasonable doubt in the upcoming Hubbard trial.
A sea of controversy has risen following the suspect ethics opinion giving Rep. Patricia Todd (D-Birmingham) the right to lobby on behalf of her employer, an opinion that was cited in Hubbard’s latest motion to have his 23 felony charges dismissed. Hubbard argues that this proves he has a right to lobby just like Todd. Hubbard is accused of lobbying the Legislature and the Executive Branch.
Albritton, who oversaw the writing of the Todd opinion, has a long history with the Sorrells family, Susan Sorrells Hubbard’s family.
Before advancing to the chief caretaker of Alabama’s ethics laws, Albritton was a partner in the three person law firm of Albrittons, Clifton & Moody, P.C., based in Andalusia. Judy Sorrells Moody is a partner in the law firm with Albritton, and is also the sister of Susan Sorell Hubbard. Making her Mike Hubbard’s sister-in-law.
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley appointed Moody District Court Judge of the 22nd Judicial Circuit of Alabama, on April 1, 2014.
One of Albritton, Clifton & Moody’s biggest clients is MSJ Trucking, which was started by Hubbard’s father-in-law, Harold Sorrells, the father of Susan Sorell Hubbard and Julie Sorrells Moody.
Susan is listed with the Secretary of State as the company’s incorporator.
Their father, Harold Sorrell started the trucking company, and has also served as the chairman and member of the Alabama Ethics Commission.
Albritton closing ties to Hubbard has raised eyebrows in the legal community, especially given the Todd opinion. Hal is a partner at Bradley Arant.
Of course, Hubbard has a history of keeping business in the family. As reported by this publication in December 2013, Hubbard’s $12,000.00 a month contract with the Southeast Alabama Gas District (SEAGD) leads back to a Sorrells’ family connection.
Harold Sorrell is the brother of Peggy Ann (Sorell ) Henderson. Peggy is married to John Jake Henderson.
Greg Henderson the head of SEAGD is the son of Peggy and Jake Henderson, making Greg Henderson and Susan Sorrell Hubbard first cousins.
Albritton also has other high level government contacts. His brother Ben works in the Civil and Administrative Law Division of the Attorney General’s office and his brother Hal at Bradley Arrant. His father is Federal Judge Harold Albritton.