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Will Poarch Creek casino money return Hubbard to power?

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

New information about a reported agreement between convicted felon Mike Hubbard and the Poarch Band of Creek Indians (PCI) came to light over the weekend. The Tribe has is believed to have agreed to pay all of Hubbard’s legal fees past, present, and future if the once-powerful Speaker of the House helps them elect a majority of like-minded lawmakers who will grant a Compact, giving them Vegas-style casino gambling rights in Alabama.

A spokesperson for the Poarch Creek Indians categorically deny this report.

Last week, PCI Vice Chair Robbie McGhee after receiving a call from Trip Skipper and associate of Hubbard’s close friend, US Rep Mike Rogers arranged a meeting with the Tribal council’s most influential leaders and gubernatorial hopeful (former Auburn coach) Tommy Tuberville.  It is believed that Hubbard wanted to give Tuberville a chance to make his pitch to be the Tribe’s candidate for Governor in the 2018 General Election.

But Hubbard, not being content to simply receive a pardon if Tuberville ascends to the Governor’s Office, wants to once again exercise his powerful grip over the State House by proxy according to a former Hubbard ally.

“This is becoming like a true mob enterprise where Mike with the aid of the Tribe’s billions will run the State House even from jail,” said the former ally. “He believes with their [PCI] money he can help his people win enough seats that he can be back in power. I know, I know it sounds crazy, but you have to give the man credit for having a plan.”

But this is not the first time McGhee and his lobbyist Allison and Phillip Kinney have employed Hubbard’s services. During the 2016 Regular Session, before Hubbard’s conviction, they met regularly with him to solicit his help in negotiating a compact with then Gov. Robert Bentley.

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In a text message inadvertently released as a part of the House Impeachment findings, a text message from Hubbard to Bentley intercepted by Dianne Bentley shows Hubbard telling the Governor, “Great I hope they meet with PCI lawyers. I gave them David’s number.” David is believed to be Bentley’s former in-house counsel, David Byrne.

During this time frame, Tribal Chief Stephanie Bryan also met with Hubbard privately. There were no witnesses on hand to say exactly what they discussed.

Recently Hubbard and longtime confidant Billy Canary, CEO of the formidable Business Council of Alabama (BCA) joined Charles Nailen, President/owner of BBG Specialty Foods Inc., of Dothan, and BCA treasurer met at one of his country estates for a spiritual retreat. Those with knowledge of the trip, speaking anonymously for fear of reprisal, say Hubbard claimed to experience a spiritual awakening during his time at Nailen’s. And, he extended his circle of friends who are ready to usher in his shadow government, should the Tribal casino owners back his grand scheme.

Hubbard’s closest friend, the wealthy lumber magnate Jimmy Rane, has reportedly set aside $5 million to defeat Senator Luther Strange’s bid to be elected US Senator in the 2018 Special Election. Rane allegedly wants retribution for Strange not helping Hubbard escape prosecution while he was Alabama’s Attorney General.

In what is being described by insiders as a weird twist of fate with Hubbard’s alliance with the PCI, which includes Canary and his former enabler Bob Riley and his machine, will find themselves on the outside looking in should Hubbard successfully gain full support from the Tribal gaming interests.


Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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