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The Millbrook Independent

Jun 01st
All the speakers men
Written by News Desk   
Thursday, 21 August 2014 09:40

artparkerBy Art Parker, Editor

It is really difficult for the public to know a great deal about people it elects. It's even harder to know about those that do not come from your district but are strategically placed in positions by the political bosses and party leaders. I use the word strategically because the bosses and leaders make sure they place their political soldiers at the right place to assure ongoing control of our legislative bodies.

I couldn't help but notice news last week from North Alabama regarding Mickey Hammon, a legislator from Decatur. Hammon is being sued, again, by a bank for failure to pay a loan on his Florida condo. The bank originally sued him a couple of years ago for failing to pay and in the latest suit the bank says he has not paid according to a previous settlement. Hammon is one of the key players in the Bob Riley/Speaker Mike Hubbard political regime. After the last election the regime made Hammon the Majority Leader in the House of Representatives.

After reading about Hammon a source told me I needed to check on a lawsuit that was filed in Birmingham regarding another key legislator. According to the Circuit Court of Jefferson County, Jack Williams, House District 47 (Vestavia Hills and Hoover), was named as one of several defendants in a suit with Cadence Bank. On April 1, 2014, the court issued a consent judgment against Williams and others for $4,937,990. Williams is a former tax collector for Jefferson County. My understanding of the business in which he was engaged is one that secures property of those who failed to pay their property taxes with the intent of selling the properties for handsome profits. In any event, Williams and others basically defaulted on the loan they had. Williams was re-elected in his district and spent more money than any house incumbent except for Speaker Mike Hubbard.

Williams is a big beneficiary of the Riley/Hubbard regime and Hubbard even went to the Birmingham area to help campaign for Williams and assist in raising money. The Speaker made Williams chairman of the House Commerce and Small Business Committee. Williams is also vice chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.

One would think that the Speaker may consider placing others in these key positions. In my opinion it makes the Republicans look bad, after all, the GOP is supposedly the pro-business party and the party of fiscal responsibility. Of course, none of that means anything when your priority is to keep your power and make sure the only legislation that gets considered are the bills that you and your regime approve.

Speaking of the Speaker, who is the obvious target or primary target of the famous Lee County Grand Jury investigation...while unconfirmed it has been mentioned quite a bit that Riley was subpoenaed and appeared before the Grand Jury less than a month ago, and that his stay on the witness stand lasted about six hours. In addition to Riley, Retirement Systems Chief David Bronner supposedly testified before the Grand Jury. Many people that I have talked to that know Riley lead me to believe Riley wouldn't hesitate to throw Hubbard under the bus. I'm willing to bet it will not be much longer before we find out.

The other news circulating on the Lee Grand Jury is that the prosecutors told the Lee County Courthouse the Grand Jury room will not be needed at the end of August. If true it probably means that the Grand Jury has concluded taking witnesses and one naturally assumes that any indictments should follow shortly thereafter.

All of the Grand Jury buzz has generated speculation about the future of Hubbard as far as his Speaker position is concerned. It takes a conviction to remove someone from office. An indictment generates no legal requirement for Hubbard to step down, but it is hard to imagine the Republicans allowing Hubbard to remain Speaker with an indictment hanging over his head. Two names have surfaced as potential replacements for Hubbard: Mac McCutcheon of Huntsville and Mike Jones of Andalusia, and the former seems to be mentioned more frequently.

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