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Opinion | Fake news? Not here

Screaming “FAKE NEWS!” has become a popular response from Republicans to any news story that relays information that reflects poorly on them or their viewpoints.

So, maybe it shouldn’t have been a surprise when Alabama Public Service Commission candidate James Bonner — not ever to be confused with former Alabama Congressman Jo Bonner or San Antonio Spurs player Matt Bonner or “WKRP in Cincinnati” actor Frank Bonner (Herb) — tried a similar approach after an unflattering story in APR on Tuesday.

James from Bear Creek Bonner (or someone from his campaign) ventured onto the APR Facebook page and claimed in a comment that the story was “littered with false info.” He also claimed it was “a hit job” and “not investigative journalism.”

Now, I’ll admit that the story wasn’t exactly the greatest piece of investigative journalism on my resume. It was a story about a troubled candidate polling well because of mistaken identity. How great could it be?

But I’ve grown tired of the empty claims of fake news and false info. So, James from Bear Creek, let’s break this down.

In the story, I reported that you posted an offensive Valentine’s Day card that read “My love 4 u burns like 6,000 Jews.” Here’s the card, posted by you, with the comment “Awwww I got a valentine.”

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I then noted that you have filed for bankruptcy. Here are those filings.

Bonner bankruptcy documents

In a radio interview on Wednesday, you said your bankruptcy was “set aside.” Here are the documents where you defaulted on the payment agreement. And while Bonner claims all of this was “old news,” you’ll note the May 2017 dates on these docs.

Material default in payment plan

Trustee Withdrawal Approved

And then I said you owed back taxes. Here is a document showing a federal bankruptcy court agrees with me.

Bonner Internal Revenue Service liens, et. al.

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Then I said you owed your ex-wife — God bless her — more than $40,000 in back alimony. And here’s where a circuit court judge provided me with that information.

Bonner Order to Pay Alimony

Then I said you have filed for disability and claimed your disability prevented you from paying your ex-wife the alimony due to her. Here’s the court document where you said that.

Bonner Request to Amend Divorce

Oh, and just to make sure she and the court knows, there are documents showing that while you were failing to pay your wife her alimony, you loaned your failed campaign $25,000.

Bonner Request to Amend Divorce, May 2014 FCPA Contributions, May 2014 FCPA Other Sources,

And finally, I said your campaign finance forms filed with the Secretary of State’s office are a mess. I’m not going to post all of those documents, because by now I think I’ve made my point. But I will post the comment from the office of Secretary of State John Merrill, who, when asked whether your accounts were problematic, stopped just short of saying yes. And instead, he said:

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“We have had a number of reports of inconsistencies and irregularities in these reports this year and are reviewing those. However, it is our policy to not comment on individual reports.”

So… receipts.


Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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