Something is very wrong in the Land of Cotton



Dr. Robert Bullard
Environmental Justice Movement Founder

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Nightmare On Goat Hill--Starring Both of Alabama's Political Parties

We loathe corruption of any kind by either party despite our progressive leanings and we'll go after after our own if they engage in it with as much vigor as we do the crime-ridden Republican machine in Alabama. Sadly, we don't find that to be the case with some of our fellow progressives and we wonder why, especially in Alabama, the mother of all corrupt cesspools, our like-minded outspoken voices won't follow suit and slash and burn their own.

Exposing one half of a rotten onion doesn't mean the other half is fine.

Corruption is a disease that permeates this state like terminal cancer, but strangely enough it doesn't kill the host (the legislators) it kills the legislative process, it sickens the trust of the people, while the host thrives and grows stronger like some weird science fiction or horror movie where everything is upside down from normal.

One example that comes to mind is the unseemly relationship between current 5th Congressional candidate Steve Raby-D (though some yards signs he had printed up call him the Republican candidate) and former Lt. Governor Steve Windom-R, a vocal gambling opponent.

In 2006, this unseemly duo held ownership interest in a Macon County, Alabama bingo operation that was designed to compete with the big dog of Alabama gambling Milton McGregor, who was recently indicted with eleven others in the Department of Justice (DOJ) swoop down on Alabama that has been splashed across newspapers nationwide.
Macon County is one of the few counties in the state authorized by the Legislature to have electronic bingo casinos. Lucky Palace wanted to open a casino that would compete with Milton McGregor’s VictoryLand.
McGregor was one of 11 named in a federal DOJ indictment unsealed Monday. Four political action committees controlled by Raby until March 4 — and thereafter by his nephew from Raby’s Huntsville political consultancy office address — received $200,000 in contributions from Ronnie Gilley, developer of Country Crossing casino in Houston County. Gilley was indicted. Raby’s nephew testified to the grand jury, according to reports, but was not a target and was not indicted.
Testimony by Windom in a deposition last year details his and Raby’s roles, in an unsuccessful effort to allow Lucky Palace an opportunity to compete with McGregor in Macon County.
But Raby and Windom had a problem in the form of the Sheriff of Macon County who used a state statute to give McGregor's VictoryLand exclusivity in the area. The best way to get rid of an elected official is to corrupt the next election and these two cooked up a scheme to run the Sheriff out of office. Raby was charged with "looking after the sheriff's race" at his Lucky Palace partner's Windom's behest.
“I came to it because Windom and I have been friends for a long time. He asked me if I’d look at the sheriff’s race down there, and so I did. I developed a strategy for a race,” Raby said Sept. 30.
Lucky Palace had made numerous attempts to get a license from incumbent Sheriff David Warren, all unsuccessful. The company’s officers suspected McGregor had a hold on him that would make additional efforts futile. That’s when they contacted Windom for an alternative strategy.
The strategy was to oust Warren, and that’s why Windom needed Raby, owner of Huntsville’s Direct Communications.
“Steve (Raby) is a consultant and has great expertise in Democratic politics, particularly on the ground game,” Windom testified. “Getting out votes and ... doing campaigns.”
The first step was to find a candidate to oppose Warren. They interviewed Shorter Police Chief Sandor Maloy, and were satisfied.
“Once we interviewed Chief Maloy,” Windom testified, “we felt like he was a good candidate, had some fire in his belly and wanted to win the race.”
Also critical, he was receptive to another casino entering Macon County.
Maloy “indicated that he was interested in economic development for Macon County beyond having one (gambling) facility,” Windom said.
What Maloy did not have was money. Lucky Palace — using an assortment of PACs controlled by Raby and Mike Echols in Tuscaloosa — funneled about $250,000 into his campaign.
These two utilized the cloaking system of PAC to PAC transfers to cover their scheme and Raby took an additional step of creating the Macon County Citizens for Progress PAC formed under a 501 (c)(4) committee that would shield the monetary shuffling from public view entirely. This is the same man who has stated publicly to media "I haven't represented gambling interests."

When confronted with the sworn testimony of his partner Windom, that was part of the DOJs 19 month long investigation that resulted in the recent indictments, Raby changed his tune and pulled the old trick of wordsmithing that attorneys are so adept in;
“What I’ve told you,” Raby clarified Tuesday, “is that on having a gambling interest as a client — representing those guys before the Legislature or before a court or before anything — no, I’ve never had those.”
Windom sang like a canary and gave up Raby to save his own hide because of a pending federal lawsuit stemming from the DOJ gambling investigation.
The federal lawsuit in which Windom testified is still pending. John Tyson, who has been handling Gov. Bob Riley’s gambling task force, recently asked the judge to unseal various exhibits in the case. The judge refused.
Windom and Raby had another scheme in mind if the "buying of the sheriff's election" did not work--they would take it to court and force the sheriff to issue Lucky Palace a license.
Litigation also was viewed as a way to force Warren to license Lucky Palace. Even before the election, Windom and Raby were looking ahead toward the litigation option.
Before the election, Windom sent an e-mail to Raby.
“We need to watch for every opportunity to catch Milton’s (McGregor) troops — other than your friends, of course — up to things like buying votes and putting cash — non-reported money — and for that matter even large dollars PAC’d out. Anything that would look shady to a jury — not that we would do anything like that, of course. ... Just something to keep in the back of your mind as Milton (McGregor) goes into panic mode.”
The litigation strategy — a last-ditch effort to secure the $1 million success bonus — led to Windom and Raby obtaining an ownership interest in Lucky Palace. Windom, Raby and Jon Gray contributed a combined $50,000 that bought them a small interest in Lucky Palace, Windom testified.
The money was to be used as seed money in a lawsuit against Warren, hoping to force him to license Lucky Palace.
“The three of us (Windom, Raby and Gray) paid $16,666 each, $50,000 total,” Windom testified.
There would have been a $1 million dollar "success bonus" if these three had been successful through litigation to secure a license for Lucky Palace. Raby continued to lie like a rug and feign ignorance of his interest share, meanwhile his partner Windom, was seeing the writing on the wall and quickly transferred his interest to Jon Gray in an attempt to distance himself further from the coming explosion that went off with a bang in the DOJs "October Surprise."
Raby said he does not remember having owned part of Lucky Palace, but said he trusts Windom’s under-oath recollection. Raby said he does not currently own any portion of Lucky Palace. Windom testified when he realized the lawsuit included fraud allegations against McGregor, he transferred his interest to Gray.
Had Raby and Windom succeeded in obtaining a license for Lucky Palace, their contract would have given them a much larger ownership interest in the company.
What these men did was driven out of greed, it was a calculated move to take advantage of a community of unsophisticated voters (Macon County is poor and 80% black) and the acceptable license to steal that drives all of Alabama's legislative mindset no matter which side of the political spectrum they come from. They're all rotten at their core, it is not just one or the other and Steve Raby is currently for the 5th District.

In our opinion, he has forfeited all rights to be on the ballot, but his progressive supporters refuse to turn on him and are pulling hard for him to defeat his opponent and completely ignoring his sordid history.

So strong is the desire for money of Alabama's politicians that strange bedfellows occur from the opposite ends of the political spectrum, and the forming of unholy alliances between political parties, that are prominently diametrically opposed to each other when it's convenient for them (cameras rolling, microphones on) during election cycles, becomes commonplace.

During the 2006 election cycle, the Alabama Democrats crafted their "Covenant for Alabama" plan of which ethics reform was a core issue. But they never followed through on it and are now asking for a Special Session right before the November election to finally address the issue they could have taken away from the GOP four years ago.

The Republicans are equally as guilty when they point fingers at the Democrats and blame them for the failure of PAC to PAC transfer bills failing each session--the 2008 vote on the bill had every single one of the Republican senators voting "Nay."

Left in Alabama speaks the truth in the following passage on the failure of both parties to do anything effective on ethics reform in Alabama;
Many times over the last few years people at this blog have pointed out that the Republican plan for 2010 was to run against corruption and make hay out of the fact that the Democratic Legislature (primarily the Senate) had failed to ban PAC to PAC transfers, failed to give the Ethics Commission teeth, etc, in addition to making hay out of the whole 2 year college mess.  And we (correctly) pointed out that the best way for Democrats to counter this GOP strategy was to buckle down and pass meaningful ethics legislation and nominate at least a few candidates who would take a hard line on the issue and pledge to seek further reforms.  Neither happened.  Instead the feds blew the top off the cesspool so everyone can see what’s inside.
If one half is rotten then the whole thing is rotten...

It disturbs us that our progressive friends seem to balk and not consistently go after their own with the same ferocity they attack the Republicans with and the Raby story is a prime example of that. That said, we do understand why they set their sights primarily on the GOP because most of the truly dark, high crimes lie with Alabama's Republicans and what they do borders on absolute evil. 

Bodies pile up in the form of "mysterious deaths and suicides" and they have shown they will go to extraordinary lengths to achieve their goals. 

They're like the Freddy Kruger's of Goat Hill and if Hollywood were to do another remake of the Kruger series we suggest they come to Alabama and shoot a film called the "Nightmare On Goat Hill."

*Note-story excerpts from the Decatur Daily "Gambling on Lucky"
Windom video depositions:
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  1. As much as it pains the hell out of me to admit it you're rigth about Raby, he's a crook and should be thrown off the ballot. Same goes for Zeb Little, a crook and a drunk. You're also right that most leftists refuse to acknowledge this story and they will not talk about their own usually. Republicans do the same as we know. I can appreciate the fact that you don't pick sides and get after both parties when they deserve it.

  2. Have to agree with Leftem on all points. Reminds me of an old saying; "There are none so blind as those who will not see." Whose going to play Kruger? Riley?

  3. NORILEY--

    Consider yourself hired to do the casting. We were thinking the exact same thing for the lead character.


  4. voteout corruptionOctober 17, 2010 at 2:52 PM

    This WHNT video of Steve Raby shows a nervous, uncomfortable, evasive Steve Raby.

    Steve Raby is arrogant and deceptive attempting to charade as a good ol' boy that is "a political outsider."

    Steve Raby is part of the problem with corruption in Alabama politics. The media for the most part are not asking investigative questions. They are taking Raby's statements at face value.

  5. As far as the gambling issues, I see this sort of like back in the days when Walker County was dry.
    The county line and the First Baptist Church ($$$$$) joined hands and fought off the locals for a long time. In the end, when the county went wet, the politicians declared, there would be money for infrastructure, schools, and no new taxes.
    The liquor licenses and liquor sales was going to cure everything.
    It cured nothing except people don't drive to the county line to buy booze anymore.
    The AMA, UAB, the governor and all of the churches don't care that much to save the people. If they don't care enough to fix the crooked politicians, education and the tax problems, the idea the people need saving from a vice is a joke.
    That private prison system is making a good line of profit. Seems to me they wouldn't mind making a little more money.
    When they allow gambling in Alabama, it will be after the sweet deal has been made.
    The truth of the matter is for now, Riley took Choctaw money to keep his nose out of their (Indians) business. Has nothing to do with helping the people of Alabama.
    One day they will allow casinos here, but when that happens, it will be like Walker County going wet.
    Promises, promises.
    Schools will still need money and pro-ration will be a problem, the roads will still be in need of repair and the crooks will still be figuring out ways to get the money from the state's pockets to their pockets.
    I think the casinos are a little like building a new hospital and the certificate of need. Do they have enough gambling business ($$$$$) in order for the casinos to continue to boom? Isn't that what most of this is about now?

  6. I didn't even know about this story until a friend sent me a link to this site, but will confess I drink the liberal koolaid heartily because that's my choice and preference. I really hate the repukes, but this is compelling and through some fact checking of my own you have the story right. I am ashamed of myself and my self imposed blinders but now I see. What's really sad is there are no true progressive choices in Alabama, they're all just what you say they are, crooks and liars and I 'll have to decide which is the lesser of two evils realizing that statement is an oxymoron when it comes to Alabama politicians.

  7. Wasn't Windom the one Sensei Perkins and Matrix Group went after on a prostitute's charge that he beat and raped her?

  8. Raby claims he washed his hands of the PACs before he ran.
    Did he dissolve them? NO
    Did he transfer these to his nephew? YES
    Is anyone really stupid enough to believe that Raby and the nephew don't "discuss" business? PROBABALY
    The article you refer to in this post from the Decatur Daily blew Raby up and buried him, but he still has his defenders who must be devoid of any critical thought.


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