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Report: Decatur mayor caught with short-term rental despite city ban

Mayor Tab Bowling admitted to violating the ordinance, saying he would have to “man up” and deal with the fallout.

The AirBnb logo on a phone. STOCK

Despite a city ordinance prohibiting short-term rentals, Decatur Mayor Tab Bowling has been renting a guest house behind a Decatur property he owns on the websites Airbnb and VRBO, the Decatur Daily reported Tuesday. 

Bowling admitted to the Daily that he was in violation of the ordinance, saying that “… this is going to end up being embarrassing.” 

The property, which has been listed on the websites since at least October, is listed as being hosted by “Russell.” Russell is Bowling’s middle name. 

During a city council meeting in September, the Daily reported, Bowling bemoaned the city ordinance against short-term rentals and stated that so many people were in violation of the ordinance that “It’s almost like bootlegging before the city was wet.” He did not disclose at the time that he was in violation of the ordinance. 

Bowling said that he was not looking forward to dealing with the issue in the media, but he hopes that the ordeal leads to the ordinance being repealed. Until then, Bowling told the Daily, he might stop renting the property. 

“This is probably not going to be met with a lot of favor,” he said. “But I’ll just have to man up and deal with it.”

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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