Connect with us

Elections

Former ALEA Chief confirms Ivey’s emergency hospitalization and cover-up

Bill Britt

Published

on

Gov. Kay Ivey speaks at a bill signing ceremony in Montgomery. (Chip Brownlee/APR)

After then-Lt.Gov. Kay Ivey was rushed to a Colorado hospital with stroke-like symptoms, she and her staff attempted a cover-up to keep the public ignorant of her medical condition.

A year ago, when APR reported the emergency hospitalization, Ivey’s staff equivocated and then went to extraordinary lengths to deny, evade and mislead the public about the incident in which Ivey reportedly suffered a series of mini-strokes.

Ivey’s Chief of Staff hid hospitalization after stroke-like symptoms

In 2017, former Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Secretary Spencer Collier would not confirm APR‘s report, but with just weeks until the Nov. general election, APR contacted Collier and others about Ivey’s 2015 medical emergency, and this time Collier confirmed Ivey’s hospitalization, the cover-up and the steps taken to punish the trooper who sat by Ivey’s bedside in a Colorado Springs medical facility while she recovered from what was reported as mini-strokes.

Ivey’s hospitalization occurred while attending the Aerospace State Association Annual Meeting in Colorado Springs. She was reportedly hospitalized for three days or more. She was accompanied by Chief of Staff Steve Pelham and Security Officer Thomas Andrew “Drew” Brooks.

“I remember vividly; I was contacted by Jack Clark, who was chief of protective services, which is an appointed position. Chief Clark advised me that he was contacted by Lt. Gov. Ivey’s detail leader,” Collier said. “Chief Clark advised me that the detail leader contacted him and stated that he made the decision to rush Governor Ivey to the hospital after what he deemed was a medical emergency. And Chief Clark advised me that, ‘oh, she was admitted to the hospital and the initial diagnosis was stroke-like symptoms.’”

Shortly after Ivey replaced disgraced Gov. Robert Bentley, APR asked Ivey’s office about the crisis situation. At the time, her office first denied the event had taken place. Days later when other media outlets pressed the issue, Ivey’s spokesperson said that she had suffered altitude sickness.

This was a ruse Collier said that was first concocted at the time of her hospitalization.

Advertisement

“Initially the trooper was told, ‘don’t tell anyone,’” said Collier. Later, they changed the story by admitting to altitude sickness, according to Collier.

“Chief Clark said the trooper in charge of her security detail was later told to report that Gov. Ivey was suffering from altitude sickness,” Collier recalls. “That was not the case, and the trooper obviously knew that was not the case. And, pointed that out to Chief Clark, who then told me.”

The order to make a false statement to a superior officer was given by Ivey’s Chief of Staff Steve Pelham, according to Collier and others who were familiar with the cover-up.

Immediately upon being informed of Ivey’s hospitalization, Collier says he alerted then-Gov. Bentley who asked to be kept apprised of the ongoing situation.

Collier is currently suing Bentley for wrongful termination, and the Ivey administration has paid over $300,000 to protect Bentley in the suit, which is still ongoing.

Bentley has told close associates that he was fully aware of Ivey’s incident in Colorado as well as other things he claims to be holding.

When Trooper Brooks returned from Colorado, Collier said he was worried about his future because he had not hidden Ivey’s emergency and was afraid of reprisal.

“He [Brooks] did the right thing by notifying his supervisor, just based on what we call continuity of operations or continuity of government,” Collier said. “He followed policy, and he did the right thing by notifying his supervisor but being instructed not to tell anyone raised red flags for everyone.”

Collier strongly asserts that he is not trying to make an issue with Ivey’s health. “I can relate,” he said.

However, he says the decision to not be truthful was a political decision. “Executive Security Troopers are trained not to focus on political discussions and especially not repeat them. However, a line was clearly crossed when the Trooper was instructed also to be deceitful,” Collier said. “I think the Trooper showed integrity by recognizing that withholding information pertaining to continuity of operations from his chain of command outweighed his concern for maintaining his position as her detail leader.”

But not keeping Ivey’s secret did have consequences for Brooks.

“I received a call from her [Ivey] one morning not long after the Colorado incident, and I mean early, like six in the morning, to meet her at Balch & Bingham in Montgomery,” Collier said. The meeting at a private law office was unusual but that Ivey frequently called him directly on security matters rather than following the proper chain of command.

“Of course I immediately was concerned and thought it was a law enforcement issue. I got up, got dressed, and met her in a private office at Balch & Bingham,” he recalled. “She wanted that particular trooper [Brooks] transferred that day, effective. She stated that it was over a breach in her security protocol. She basically accused the trooper of trying to hack into her email. So she wanted him transferred.”

Collier also said he didn’t believe Ivey’s explanation for reassigning Brooks. “I did not believe Gov. Ivey’s explanation that he attempted to access her email. Such behavior would have warranted an internal investigation, and she very clearly did not want that to happen.”

Brooks was reassigned that day by noon, according to Collier. When Brooks was transferred, his pay was automatically cut 7.5 percent. Troopers assigned to Executive Security within the Protective Services Unit automatically receive a three-step raise while working on a protection detail. Brooks was transferred to a drivers’ license station in Houston County.

The Ivey administration’s claims of altitude sickness run contrary to medical information provided by the Cleveland Clinic.

Colorado Springs, located at the eastern foot of the Rocky Mountains is 6,035 feet above sea level. Ivey traveled to Colorado Springs from Montgomery where the elevation is only 240 feet. However, according to the Cleveland Clinic, “altitude sickness, also called mountain sickness, is a group of general symptoms that are brought on by climbing or walking to a higher and higher altitude (elevation) too quickly. Altitude sickness can affect anyone who goes to high altitudes without giving the body time to adjust to the changes in air pressure and oxygen level. High altitude is defined as 8,000 – 12,000 feet above sea level. Very high altitude is 12,000 – 18,000 feet and altitudes above 18,000 feet are considered extremely high altitude.”

According to the Cleveland Clinic, “Severe altitude sickness is an emergency situation, and the affected person must be taken to a lower altitude immediately.”

However, Ivey remained in Colorado Springs, 2,000 feet below what the Cleveland Clinic determines as high altitude.

Collier says the trooper’s report, which should still be on file at ALEA, list TIAs as the cause of Ivey’s three day emergency hospitalization. TIA stands for Transient Ischemic Attacks often referred to as “Mini Stokes.” The Stroke Association points out that these temporary episodes are more appropriately called “warning stroke…because they can indicate the likelihood of a coming stroke.” About 1 in 3 people who has a TIA goes on to experience a subsequent stroke.”

He also says text messages and emails between her office at the time of the incident will confirm his story. However, he expects the Ivey administration to deny his account. Collier says he is willing to take a polygraph test and challenges Ivey and Pelham to do the same.

During the Republican primary, GOP State Sen. Bill Hightower challenged Ivey and other gubernatorial candidates to release their medical records. Ivey, after brushing off Hightower’s challenge, did eventually provide a statement from a doctor who also happened to be one of her campaign contributors.

Why Ivey and her staff felt compelled to cover-up her hospitalization and then lie to the media is unclear. Perhaps more disturbing was her move to demote a trooper for following protocol to secure her safety.

Collier never mentioned Trooper Brooks by name.

Related reports:

Gov. Ivey’s office says she’s “healthy,” doesn’t dispute APR report

Gov. Kay Ivey promises she’s healthy: “I’ve never felt better”

Gov. Ivey refuses to answer our questions about her health

Governor’s Office says 2015 hospitalization was the result of altitude sickness

Why does the Ivey Administration continue to mislead the public and press?

Advertisement

Elections

Alabama Republicans upset with Jones’ “no” vote on coronavirus stimulus bill

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

Alabama Republican leaders on Monday condemned U.S. Sen. Doug Jones’ procedural vote to prevent the coronavirus stimulus bill from coming to a vote.

On Sunday, Democrats blocked action on the comprehensive stimulus package — the third of the legislative response to the coronavirus outbreak. The bill is still being negotiated and the vote was not a vote on whether to pass a final version of the stimulus package.

“I voted against it yesterday because I wanted to make a point,” Jones said. “We had lost the negotiating and bipartisan progress for about 24 hours. And I felt very strongly that we need to get that progress back. So I voted no on a procedural motion to proceed, and guess what happened, they got down to negotiating, and in the last 24 hours, more progress has been made in the last 24 hours and than there was in the 24 hours before that.”

By Monday, Jones decided to vote yes another similar procedural vote, a vote to move forward with the legislative process but said that does not mean he will vote for the final product if changes aren’t made.

“We need to get the clock ticking,” Jones said. “We have got to get this thing moving. I felt it very important to tell my leader as well as leader McConnell that we need to get it together.”

But Republicans in the state are not happy with Jones’s procedural vote. Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan said, “This is not the time for politics.”

“Senator Doug Jones needs to follow the example of Democrat New York Governor Andrew Cuomo – who has put his political differences aside and is working across the aisle with President Trump during this crisis – instead of being Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer’s partisan puppet,” Lathan said in a statement. “His NO vote Sunday night has had serious ramifications on the people of Alabama and our country. The Democrats helped craft this emergency unprecedented legislation and then, like Charlie Brown and the football, yanked away desperately needed help for America.”

Advertisement

The deal was originally negotiated by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Speaker Pelosi. Democrats had agreed, but the deal had been held up last week by conservative Republicans balking at the price tag – all of this will be paid for with deficit spending and no plan to pay any of it back in the foreseeable future.

The Republican position in the Senate was weakened further when Republican Senator Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, announced he was infected with the novel strain of the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, though he is showing no symptoms of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.

46,148 Americans have been confirmed as having the virus. The virus has killed 582 Americans, 140 of them on Monday alone.

“Doug Jones has let the majority of our state down in an uncertain time,” Lathan said. “We needed him – and he ignored us AGAIN. “

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, voted in favor of ending debate and bringing the stimulus bill to a vote.

“Thank you to President Trump and Senator Richard Shelby for putting America and Alabama first,” Lathan concluded. “We continue to lift our leaders up in prayer as their burdens and decisions weigh heavy.”

Republican Senate candidate Jeff Sessions said, “I’ve seen this play before too many times. Just as the Senate was ready to pass a bi-partisan bill providing support for American workers… Senator Chuck Schumer & House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blew it up at the last minute, trying to add unrelated spending to a bill with already too much spending. Amazingly, Pelosi wants to use this time of crisis to breath new life into the Green New Deal!”

Republican Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville said, “America is at war with an enemy we can’t see, and we currently have no weapon that can kill it. To win this war against the Coronavirus, salvage the U.S. economy, and provide needed financial help to millions of Americans, Doug Jones and other Senate Democrats are going to have to put their partisanship and hatred of President Trump aside and support a bipartisan stimulus package. Now is the time to work together as Americans first and save the partisan political battles for when this crisis is resolved.”

The president, with bipartisan support from Congress and the governors, issued recommendations that led states to shut down their schools and most businesses beginning a week and a half ago.

The question for most business owners now is will they make payroll or just lay off their workers. Mnuchin’s deal included loans that small businesses would not have to pay back if they used it to make payroll and pay overhead. It also included cash payments for Americans. The average family of four would receive about $3,000 under the plan.

“We need to get the money into the economy now. If we do that, we think we can stabilize the economy,” Mnuchin said on Sunday. “I think the president has every expectation that this is going to look a lot better four or eight weeks from now.”

“This isn’t the financial crisis that’s going to go on for years,” Mnuchin added. “We’re going to do whatever we need to do to win this war.”

Former State Representative and Member of the National Trump/Victory Finance Committee Perry Hooper said that he is confident the Coronavirus Stimulus Legislation will pass.

“One of the most important parts of the Bill is addressing the needs of Small Business and the employees,” Hooper told the Alabama Political Reporter. “Small Business is the backbone of America. Any Republican or any Democrat would be insane voting against the Trump Stimulus Legislation.”

Continue Reading

Elections

Hightower campaign accuses Carl of trying to politicize a national crisis

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

Bill Hightower’s congressional campaign Monday responded to charges from Jerry Carl that they were running campaign ads during the COVID-19 crisis. The campaign said that they have already pulled their political advertising and accused Carl of trying to politicize a national crisis.

“Bill Hightower has not been airing ads for nearly a week now,” said Hightower campaign senior strategist Matt Beynon. “Once it became clear that the run-off would be postponed, we stopped airing ads. So Carl is shouting about something that isn’t happening and he should be ashamed of himself for trying to politicize a national crisis. Carl lied in his ads about Bill Hightower and he’s continuing to lie about Bill Hightower, this time by trying to use a national emergency to his political advantage. It’s shameful.”

Beynon was responding to a story by the Alabama Political Reporter in which Carl chastised Hightower for not pulling his campaign commercials.

“Shamefully, Bill Hightower has decided to continue his deceitful television commercials that are nothing more than lies,” Carl said. “Apparently, he would rather put himself above the health of our community. At a time when our country must come together, Bill Hightower is continuing to tear our country apart.”

“Bill, it’s time to put politics aside and hit pause on the campaign,” Carl added. “There will be a time and place for politics, but right now, it’s time to help our neighbors. I call on Bill Hightower’s campaign to immediately end all paid advertising that is still running on television and focus on what’s important right now – helping our community through this pandemic.”

A source close to the Hightower campaign told the Alabama Political Reporter, “Jerry Carl cracks me up. He went up with an ad FILLED with lies and pounded Bill for ten days, but when Bill responds he wants the ads pulled and is using the crisis for it. Our paid advertising has been down for days now.”

Jerry Carl is a Mobile County Commissioner, while Bill Hightower is a businessman and former state senator. The two of them are running for the Republican nomination in Alabama’s 1st Congressional District. Incumbent Congressman Bradley Byrne, R-Montrose, is not seeking another term in Congress.

The Republican primary runoff was supposed to be on March 31 but due to the growing COVID-19 global pandemic, that has been postponed by Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey to July 14.

Advertisement

The eventual Republican nominee will face the winner of the Democratic party runoff in the November 3 general election. Kiani Gardner is running against James Averhart for the Democratic nomination.

As of press time, there have been 196 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alabama. Hardest his is Jefferson cases where there have been 86 confirmed cases. They are followed by Shelby County with 22, Madison County with 21, 19 Lee, 9 Tuscaloosa 6 Elmore, 4 Montgomery, 3 St. Clair, 3 Walker, 3 Lauderdale, 3 Baldwin, 2 Mobile, 2 Chambers, 2 Calhoun, and 2 in Cullman County. Marion, Washington, Jackson, Lamar, Limestone, Talladega, Tallapoosa, Franklin, and Houston Counties all have one case thus far. There have been no confirmed deaths from COVID-19 in Alabama.

Continue Reading

Congress

Jerry Carl “upset” that Hightower is still running ads

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

Jerry Carl, a Republican candidate for U.S. Congress in Alabama’s 1st Congressional District, has said he is suspending advertising due to the COVID-19 crisis.

COVID-19 is an often fatal illness caused by a novel coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City China late in 2019. Carl called on his Republican primary opponent former State Senator Bill Hightower to do the same.

“With the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) throughout Alabama and the uncertainty of the March 31st election now up in the air, I am suspending all paid advertising for my campaign,” Carl said. “I urge Bill Hightower and outside groups supporting or opposing either candidate to put politics aside and do the same at this delicate time. Although this is an important election, focusing on the health and safety of our friends, family, and neighbors is of the utmost importance. There will be a proper time to resume campaign advertising in the future, but for now, we need to focus on mitigating the effects of this virus in our communities and throughout our great nation.”

Following that statement, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey moved the primary runoffs back to July 14.

After Hightower and his supporting groups did not pull the ads, Carl chastised Hightower over not following Carl’s example.

“Yesterday, our campaign urged Bill Hightower and all other groups supporting candidates in this race to immediately suspend all paid campaign advertising so that the public can focus on the health and safety of their friends and families,” Carl said. “Since that time, the City of Mobile, as well as Mobile County, have declared states of emergency. And, our election on March 31st is in limbo as state officials are working through whether or not to postpone the runoff election. Restaurants are being forced to shut down. Schools are canceled. And our workers are being asked to stay home.”

“Shamefully, Bill Hightower has decided to continue his deceitful television commercials that are nothing more than lies,” Carl continued. Apparently, he would rather put himself above the health of our community. At a time when our country must come together, Bill Hightower is continuing to tear our country apart.”

“Bill, it’s time to put politics aside and hit pause on the campaign,” Carl added. “There will be a time and place for politics, but right now, it’s time to help our neighbors. I call on Bill Hightower’s campaign to immediately end all paid advertising that is still running on television and focus on what’s important right now – helping our community through this pandemic.”

Advertisement

As of press time, Alabama has 157 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Jefferson County has 71 cases, Shelby 17, Madison 16, Lee 16, Tuscaloosa 7, Elmore 6, St. Clair 3, Montgomery 3, Cullman 2, Lauderdale 2, Baldwin 2, Mobile 2, and Chambers 2. Jackson, Calhoun, Walker, Talladega, Limestone, Washington, Marion, and Lamar Counties all have 1 confirmed case. There are still no official deaths; but there are reports of deaths where COVID-19 is suspected of having playing a role.

The winner of the Republican primary runoff will face the winner of the Democratic primary runoff on November 3.

 

Continue Reading

Elections

Reaction to postponement of primary runoffs

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, Attorney General Steve Marshall and Secretary of State John Merrill announced that the Alabama primary runoff elections will be held on Tuesday, July 14, 2020, due to spread of COVID-19.

Here is some reaction from state officials and candidates.

“We support the administration’s prudent measures and decisions to protect Alabamians,” said Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan. “While these are concerning and unknown times, we appreciate our leaders implementing a safe atmosphere for our probate and election officials, poll workers, campaigns, candidates and voters. The old saying ‘better safe than sorry’ is truly applicable in these unknown circumstances.”

“Since President Trump’s declaration of National Emergency, our campaign has prepared for the potential postponement of the Alabama Republican run-off election for the 1st Congressional District,” said former State Senator Bill Hightower. “President Trump and his Administration have provided strong leadership in issuing guidance to states about the importance of public health vigilance during the coronavirus outbreak. This announcement is simply one more step in accordance with those recommendations.”

“On Sunday the CDC recommended canceling or postponing events or gatherings of more than 50 people,” said Republican Second Congressional District candidate Barry Moore. “Today the White House asked people not to gather in groups of more than 10 for the next 15 days, so that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to follow these guidelines, so most of our face to face events will be canceled for now. This is just common sense, not a reason to panic. We’ve already moved away from handshakes, so not holding political events where our supporters might be at risk of getting sick is the smart thing, the right thing to do.”

“I know that Governor Ivey has considered the health of Alabamians and that she has focused on their best interests in making her decision,” said Republican Senate candidate former Sen. Jeff Sessions. “The safety and health of Alabamians must take precedence. I am confident that Secretary of State John Merrill and Circuit Clerks across the state, in consultation with public health officials, will work hard to ensure a safe and orderly runoff election on July 14th. It is important that every voter’s voice has a fair chance to be heard, whether the vote is cast via an absentee ballot, or at the ballot box on election day.”

“I am glad that our elected officials are finally taking the threat of this virus seriously,” said Democratic First Congressional District candidate Kiani Gardner. “This decision, in conjunction with our success in expanding absentee ballot access to ALL Alabamians (without excuse) during the pandemic, is a big step towards ensuring that Alabamians can simultaneously protect their health and their right to vote.”

“I understand Governor Ivey’s decision to postpone the runoff and join her in encouraging all Alabamians to stay safe, be kind, and follow all guidelines related to the Coronavirus,” said Republican Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville. “I pray that the current health crisis will be brought under control and that lives will be saved.”

Advertisement

“President Trump has taken bold steps that no other President would have taken to ensure our safety,” said Republican First Congressional District candidate and Mobile County Commissioner Jerry Carl. “This is just more evidence that we need to not only re-elect President Trump but to also flip the House Red!”

“As the COVID-19 virus continues to spread throughout the country, our government has taken action to protect every citizen,” said Republican Second Congressional District candidate Jeff Coleman. “Now, that means postponing our run-off election until July 14th when it is safe for every Alabamian to make it to the polls. Stay tuned for more news.”

“We applaud the governor for looking out for the safety of all Alabamians, especially our senior citizens, poll workers, and those most at risk for the Coronavirus,” said Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Beth Kellum (R) who is running for re-election. “First and foremost, we want everyone to have the right to vote and to be able to do so safely. As announced this morning, the run-off election will now be held on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. We encourage everyone to go ahead and request an absentee ballot. Additionally, please look at CDC’s website for the most up-to-date information regarding procedures for COVID-19.”

“Many of you are aware that Governor Ivey announced that the primary election will be postponed until July 14, 2020,” said Democratic First Congressional District candidate James Averhart. “We should also receive guidance from the Secretary of State informing citizens that we will be allowed to vote absentee starting today, and until July 13, 2020. I’ve presented guidance to our campaign staff and they are committed to managing expectation. Until further notification, our staff will be tele-working and staying engaged with current events on all levels.”

“We intend to maintain our vigorous campaign up until the last day, even as we are careful to do so in a manner that puts the health and safety of the public first,” Sessions said. “It will be very difficult for Tommy Tuberville to hide from debates for four months. He will have to conquer his fears, and face me and the voters.”

“We’ve had a great social media presence during this campaign, and we’re going to ramp that up,” Moore said. “We’re going to be doing a lot of live streams on Facebook so people can still get to know Barry Moore and where I stand on the issues without risking their health.”

“My campaign is maintaining our position of suspended face-to-face events,” said Gardner. “But, we continue our work of keeping the citizens of South Alabama informed, engaged, and connected throughout this trying time. So, mark you calendars for July 14, apply for your absentee ballot, wash your hands, and stay at home. We will weather this storm together, Alabama!”

“America has faced daunting challenges in the past, but one of the characteristics that has made our nation uniquely exceptional is our resiliency and ability to overcome what is put in front of us,” said Hightower. “This includes the coronavirus. We must all be mindful to heed the President’s direction, and take appropriate precautions with all social interactions. Together we will overcome this challenge as well.”

“During this unprecedented time in history, we are praying for our nation and all Alabamians who have been impacted,” said Judge Kellum. “Now is the time for us all to do our part to be one nation and one Alabama.”

“Fellow citizens, I hope all is well and you are following safety guidance from our city, state and federal officials as it pertains to COVID-19,” said Averhart. “This pandemic is real and has fatal consequences if we don’t take care of ourselves and our fellow man. Now more than ever, we must remember that we are ALL in this together. Please be mindful to:- Wash your hands, Practice #SocialDistancing, Disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, Call the doctor if you’re sick.”

“We ask all to be in deep prayer for our president, state leaders, candidates, their families and our fellow citizens,” said Lathan. “We also lift up our health care workers, first responders and those who keep our nation and state safe. This opportunity of working together will showcase our great state’s resilience with a focus on our fellow Alabamians’ safety and health. Americans are tenacious and tough people who have risen to many trying times and we have no doubt that we will all rise together again in this chapter of our nation’s and state’s history.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Authors

Advertisement

The V Podcast

Facebook

Trending

.