Massey: Here to apologize

Published 3:00 am Thursday, September 29, 2016

Former lobbyist Jarrod Massey took the stage at Wednesday’s meeting of the Pike County Republican Women to apologize to the community for his past actions.

Massey, a Troy native, pleaded guilty in 2010 to one count of conspiracy and five counts of federal program bribery. He was sentenced in 2012 to 65 months in prison and served 42 months.

“I’m here because I owe this community a major apology,” Massey said to roughly 70 people in attendance. “I regret what I’ve done. It’s a little bit awkward. You don’t envision coming back and giving this speech.”

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Massey didn’t come just to apologize to the community. He also told his story as an example of what happens when you take a wrong path and make bad decisions.

“When I established my own lobbying firm in 1999, there was no reason to begin doing the things that I did,” Massey said. “I was doing good. But I looked around and began seeing what my contemporaries were doing and it seemed that they were doing better. They had better clients, better incomes and were more prestigious. Before you know it, you’ve begun to justify some very bad decision making.”

In 2003, Massey became involved with state representative Terry Spicer and began giving him monthly payments to help influence votes.

“You convince yourself that the good outweighs the bad,” Massey said.

Eventually, Massey became a representative for Ronnie Gilley and Milton McGregor, two leaders of the pro-gambling agenda.

A meeting with Sen. Scott Beason in Birmingham in an attempt to buy his vote on pro-gambling legislation ultimately brought Massey down.

“I allowed competitive nature to tremendously cloud my judgment,” Massey said. “In that moment I was thinking about winning. I knew what I was doing, yet I went ahead and did it.”

The bill was passed by one vote. The next morning, Massey said that FBI agents arrived at his door. On October 4, 2010, FBI agents arrested him in his driveway.

“I was going to school with my son and suddenly I was laid out on the front of the car with guns in my back,” Massey said.

Massey said several times that the consequences that his family went through bothered him more than his own.

“The consequences are so severe for the people you love,” Massey said. “These are things you don’t want to go through for yourself, but you especially for your children.”

Massey and his wife decided that he would plead guilty so that they could heal with their children.

“Money aside, I’m going to have to look my children in the eye,” Massey said.

Massey then listed out the consequences he had in prison, including being hit over the head twice and receiving skull fractures and having a Christmas phone call to his family that only lasted 20 seconds.

“It’s another consequence of a stupid, stupid, stupid decision,” Massey said.

Massey said he also spoke at the meeting to share God’s grace and the power of caring people like Pike County residents Don and Sue Fraley, who wrote him letters while in prison that he said helped him make it through.

“I’d stand in the mail line for hours sometimes and all I’d have was their letter,” Massey said. “There were days I couldn’t put one foot in front of the other and those letters helped pick me up.”

In the question and answer session, Massey answered that the state government is very corrupt and that the flip from a Democrat to Republican majority has not changed that. He warned that there are politicians in the Republican Party that will check off voters that they know they have and take advantage of them.

“Don’t let them do that to you,” Massey said. “We have all got to be more engaged and hold people accountable.”

Massey now works for Gannett at the Montgomery Advertiser in advertising. Massey said that he was pleased to have a chance at a job.

Congresswoman Martha Roby will speak at the next meeting of the Pike County Republican Women in October.