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Ethics Commission to rule on Burkette complaint

The Alabama Ethics Commission is expected to rule on a complaint regarding allegations that Sen. David Burkette, D-Montgomery, misused discretionary funds when he served as a city councilman in Montgomery. 

The original complaint against Burkette, filed last October, alleged that while serving on the council, Burkette directed tens of thousands of dollars in councilmen discretionary funds to suspect charities — one of which was operated by campaign manager — and also directed funds to his wife’s sorority. 

Burkette declined to comment on Tuesday about the allegations or about the upcoming Ethics Commission meeting in October. 

The original complaint — a copy of which was obtained by APR — includes several pages of itemized expenses from Burkette’s discretionary fund expenditures over the course of at least three years. A number of expenses are marked and a synopsis provided with the spreadsheets states that Burkette “allocated over $40,000 to … Connecting the Body of Christ Fellowship,” which was headed by Bishop Roosevelt Crawford. 

Crawford also served as Burkette’s campaign chairman during his initial run for the state Senate against longtime Montgomery politician John Knight. Crawford and Burkette later had a very public falling out, and Crawford alleged to APR that Burkette had stiffed him and several campaign workers and vendors. 

Crawford also denied to the Montgomery Advertiser that the payments to Body of Christ by Burkette were improper. That story noted that the City of Montgomery had flagged the payments as improper after Body of Christ and another nonprofit, And Justice For All, failed to produce proper paperwork. 

Other council members also gave funds to both nonprofits, and Crawford told the Advertiser that he had worked in good faith with the city to clear up the confusion, provide the proper credentials and provide proof that Burkette’s funds had gone to pay for several computers. 

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And Just For All, however, was a different story. When the City of Montgomery inquired, the owner of that nonprofit, Juliette Bennett, claimed her house flooded and all records of the nonprofit had been destroyed. 

In total, the city flagged more than $40,000 in payments to the two nonprofits, with the majority of the money coming from Burkette. 

In addition, the ethics complaint shows thousands more from Burkette going Body of Christ and to two sororities, including his wife’s. 

The name of the person who filed the complaint is blacked out, but a stamp in the upper, righthand corner shows it was received by the Ethics Commission. The address of the complainant is 9225 Boyd-Cooper Parkway in Montgomery — the same address as the local Waffle House.

 

Josh Moon
Written By

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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