• 73°

Corruption, not timing, is suspect

Concerning your article on Oct. 6, 2010, titled “Mitchell: Bingo indictment timing is suspect”, Senator Mitchell is quoted saying “It strikes me as political,” said Mitchell, D-Luverne. “This comes less than four weeks before the election. It’s going to have a very unfair impact on the election. They could have just easily done this in November.” Mitchell said he was “never approached” by anyone seeking to secure his vote in return for financial donations.

Senator Mitchell just doesn’t get it. He should have said that he wants the voters to know everything necessary to determine how they should vote before the election. He should have said that now is the time to clean up the corruption at the State Capitol that is shown in the recorded conversations stated in the indictment.

He should have said that it is time to stop the political action committee (PAC) to political action committee (PAC) transfers of hundreds of thousands of dollars stated in the indictment. He should have said that there should be limits on the amount of money that can be given to a state political candidate rather that the hundreds of thousands of dollars stated in the indictment.

He should have said we need a new strict ethics law. But Senator Mitchell did not, because he has never worked hard in his 28 years in the State Senate at making these changes in law a priority.

If the voters will take the time to read the bingo indictment on the internet at the WSFA or Montgomery Advertiser websites, they will see what was said in the recorded conversations and determine for themselves if the timing of the indictment was political.(Maybe The Messenger could provide a link to the indictment.) Voters will also be able to read paragraph 190 on page 40 of the indictment that is one of the “Additional Overt Acts in Furtherance of the Conspiracy” that states:

“ 190.On or about March 30, 2010, the day of the vote on SB 380, GILLEY called a campaign consultant to discuss a member of the Alabama Senate, who supported the bill but was unlikely to take part in the vote due to illness. During the call, GILLEY told the consultant, who was planning to see the ailing legislator that morning, that, if the legislator participated in the vote, GILLEY would secure the help of prominent country music stars to run the legislator’s campaign. GILLEY told the consultant to assure the legislator that GILLEY was going “to participate in his campaign and uh, in a big, big, big way” and that the legislator was “number twenty-one for us.” Later, GILLEY stated that “in excess of $500,000 is what’s already committed” if the legislator showed up and voted in favor of SB 380. The consultant assured GILLEY that he would forward GILLEY’S promise to the legislator. Later that day, the legislator voted in favor of SB 380.”

On the WSFA TV website, there is a story posted on May 21, 2010, titled “Senator Wendell Mitchell discusses his serious illness” that states “Even though he was ill, supporters of the bingo bill pulled him out of his sick bed and called him back to the state senate because they needed his vote for passage. Mitchell sat quietly in his seat during the bingo debate. ‘I was thinking that I think there’s something a little more wrong with me than just bronchitis’”.

SB 380 needed 21 votes in the State Senate to pass. GILLEY is Ronald E. Gilley who owned a controlling interest in the Country Crossing gambling development in Houston County, Alabama.

Even with this 65-page indictment full of recorded conversations indicating corrupt activities, Senator Mitchell, who is a “leader” in the Senate, doesn’t seem to see that corruption, not “timing” is suspect. Maybe it is time for a new State Senator representing Pike County and Senate District 30 who will take things more seriously when considering ethics.

Bert Fridlin

Troy