|Strange’s dubious payments from ASU|
|Written by News Desk|
|Friday, 07 February 2014 16:01|
By Bob Martin, Publisher
Between May 24, 2010 and February 8, 2011 Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange was paid at least $41,250 by Alabama State University (ASU), presumably for consulting services.
The time frame for the payments was during primary and general election campaigns for the state's top prosecutorial position in which Mr. Strange was a candidate and until almost a month into his first term in office after winning the election. He was paid $15,000 of the money after he took office as attorney general. The checks were made to Strange, LLC his Birmingham law firm.
The revelation came at a time Mr. Strange should have been exercising the duties of his office by investigating the potential corruption at ASU arising out of the selection of a new president; his attempted investigation into campus contracts; and his subsequent placement on leave by the university's board of trustees.
The acceptance of this money by Mr. Strange disqualified him from being involved in any part of the ASU investigation or prosecution and may create more problems than that for him. It should, however, also mean that no "pay to play" allegations can be made in the upcoming ASU probe since the Alabama AG's office should be totally disqualified in my opinion.
However, one must ask what the cost will be to the taxpayers of our state when outside prosecutors have to be assembled to handle what could be a massive investigation at the university. Frankly, I believe the cost, no matter who has to be hired to investigate, should be paid from the AG's budget.
Several months back, I was provided a 17-page document listing nearly 700 ASU payments by check in 2010 and 2011 and involving multi-millions of dollars. The seven checks to Mr. Strange were not on this list. The first check to Mr. Strange was in the amount of $18,750 dated May 24, 2010. The remainder included one dated July 9, 2010 in the amount of $3,750; on August 16, 2010 in the amount of $3,750; on January 28 2011 three checks each in the amount of $3,750; and on February 8, 2011, one in the amount of $3,750.
I also reported earlier about a $100,000 contribution Mr. Strange accepted from the Poarch Creek Indian Casinos in 2010. That should have confirmed Mr. Strange as the "gambling AG" but as he continues to threaten to close VictoryLand if it reopens, it merely confirms him as the newest pawn of the Poarch Creek Tribe.
I have been told from more than one source that Strange did little or no work for ASU which is now embroiled in a controversy over the attempted firing of its newly-hired president who was benched after he threatened to reveal bones buried on the ASU campus dealing with contracts and other matters.
A question must then follow as to whether or not some of those bones are associated with the attorney general, and if so, will they will be brought before his very own grand jury panel, a panel which was put together initially several months back to investigate possible illegal actions of state office holders.
In the Poarch Creek case the tribe laundered $100,000 to the Strange Campaign for Attorney General in 2010 through various entities. The money trail for the $100,000 amount went from the Poarch Leadership Committee to the Republican Leadership Committee on July 15, 2010; from the Republican Leadership Committee to the Alabama Republican Party on July 22, 2010, then from the Alabama Republican Party to the Luther Strange Campaign on August 4, 2010. This was all probably legal.
In the ASU case the funds came from a state university. No data have been provided for what they were paid.
The attorney general owes the citizens of Alabama an explanation of these Poarch contributions and with regard to the principle of equal justice, a clear recusal of his office in any action that might involve the Poarch Creeks or their competitors
Mr. Strange's office currently has the lieutenant governor and a host of lawmakers testifying before a Lee County Grand Jury.
Whether or not he has violated the law is a matter for outside legal counsel and a grand jury to determine.
When will it be Mr. Strange's turn?
Millbrook's Karen Baggett, a nurse by trade with a passion for art, took top prize in the Best Flora art category with Lilies on the Pond in colored pencil in last weekend's Alabama Wildlife Federation Flora and Fauna Art Show.
Photo: Bagget (center) with Tim Gothard, Executive Director of AWF and Ann Harper, AWF Develppment Director.
Photo contributedRead more...
Millbrook's Karen Baggett, a nurse by trade with a passion for art, took top pri...
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