"He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it"
Martin Luther King
Dr. Christopher Warner encapsulates the in-broad-daylight crime that occurred in Baldwin County, Alabama and raises compelling questions about why the Senator, and BC Commissioner Bob James, (Pittman's business partner) have not been held accountable for the underhanded and devious manner they demonstrated in pilfering over half a million dollars of the $1.2 million allotted to the area from BP.
The horse of justice for Baldwin County has no rider.
Letter reprinted with permission from Dr. Warner and cross posted at BaldwinWatchdog.com which also has the "smoking gun" documents uploaded on their site.
March 8, 2011
From the Desk of:
Dr. Christopher E. Warner
510 West Chase Court North
Fairhope, AL 36532
On November 20, 2010, the Saturday preceding the Iron Bowl, Connie Baggett of the Mobile Press Register published an article titled, “Senator's company awarded $639,000 while he supervised grants for boom work.”
Prior to this revealing article, no one knew of the second set of
paperwork submitted in May 2010, naming Oil Recovery of Alabama and not Pittman Tractor, as the documented contractor of record for the Fairhope Oil Boom Grant. Record of Oil Recovery of Alabama as the contractor for this grant was forwarded by Baldwin County Emergency Management Director Leigh Ann Ryals to Alabama Emergency Management offices in Clanton, Alabama, the official repository for the said document.
The question of the second set of paperwork, to the best of my knowledge, has never been clearly answered by Mr. Lee “Trip” Pittman, state senator, or Mr. Tim Kant, Fairhope Mayor. The reason the second, submitted paperwork set exists, is because Mr. Pittman, who had been tapped by then-Alabama Governor Bob Riley to oversee the proper dispersal of the BP funds along the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay, was told by Baldwin Commissioner Gruber, Emergency Management Coordinator Lee Ann Ryals, Chief Legal Counsel Scott Barnett and Chief Administrator Michael Thompson that “they would have to file an Ethics Commission complaint within ten days” if he proceeded to attempt to give the grant money to his own company, Pittman Tractor.
In short, Mr. Pittman was told he could not proceed with the Pittman
Tractor paperwork and become the contractor. He thus obliged the same day with the second set of paperwork, explicitly citing Oil Recovery, and not Pittman Tractor—as he had agreed not to go forward with it after he was told of the possible Ethics Commission complaint.
THE SKINNY: At this point, after being advised by four (4) Baldwin County officials, Mr. Pittman certainly knew it was unethical for him to use his position and privileged knowledge of the situation (tapped by Governor Riley) to garner the contract. Nevertheless, moving forward he practiced to deceive for the simple sake of greed.
Moving forward, Mr. Pittman worked with the City of Fairhope to illegally secure the boom grant funds. We know that the City was complicit in this transaction because the return email dated May 8, 2010 from Lee Ann Ryals to City of Fairhope employee Ken Eslava initially asking about the status of the boom contract proves that the City knew Mr. Pittman submitted a second set of paperwork under a different company name, as detailed in Ms. Ryals’ response.
Moving forward, Mr. Pittman received checks totaling $639,000 from the City of Fairhope, even though he had been told by Baldwin County officials not to do so for obvious ethical concerns.
On February 17, 2011 I requested under the United States Freedom of
Information Act a copy of the submitted documents from Baldwin County Emergency Management to Alabama State Emergency Management in Clanton, Alabama. This request was made via email to Mr. Bryan Prescott, Chief Counsel for EMA in Clanton.
Mr. Prescott was unable to find the requested document in the grant file paperwork. He told me as much. I knew that Connie Baggett and F. Paul Ripp had previously unsuccessfully tried to get this document. However, I had given Mr. Prescott, along with my request, a copy of Ken Eslava’s email that contained Lee Ann Ryals’ response alluding to a second set of paperwork under a different company name being sent to Clanton. I asked Mr. Prescott to find this document, as we knew it existed. He informed me he would call Ms. Ryals for more information, and would get back to me.
Mr. Prescott called me back within minutes. He said he spoke to Ms. Ryals. She told him she filed the document electronically on their EMITS emergency information server. He found it there and sent it to me, forthwith.
The document file contained the boom grant contractor of record documents from Spanish Fort, Daphne and Fairhope. Again, Fairhope referenced “Oil Recovery of Alabama” and not Pittman Tractor, as contractor.
This is an extremely simple matter. Mr. Pittman was told “no” by county
officials doing their jobs when he tried to use his position for personal gain. He pretended to agree with them. Surreptitiously he and Mr. Kant and his city workers went against the warning of county officials, and wrote the checks to Pittman Tractor. Further, Mr. Bob James, Mr. Pittman’s business partner and County Commissioner, used his clout to fire and/or demote the aforementioned county employees who knew of the scam. Mr. Pittman, according to these named former County Employees, even scoured the Baldwin County offices and the Clanton EMA office, for incriminating documents, removing all that he found to cover up the crime.
One must ask oneself another question: “If Mr. Pittman would say one thing and do another regarding securing the illegal grant money, what leads one to believe that Mr. Pittman was honest after the fact and used the money as prescribed to purchase and place protective boom along the Eastern Shore? Further, why would the City of Fairhope do business with Pittman Tractor, which has no contractor’s license? The grant application repeatedly states that a true contractor is required.
The above information has been presented in various and sundry forms,
including a 130-page complaint compiled by multiple concerned citizens of the City of Fairhope.
The information of the particulars of this crime has been presented to the following law enforcement officials:
1) Fairhope Police Chief Bill Press
2) Hallie Dixon, Baldwin County District Attorney
3) Luther Strange, Alabama
4) The Alabama Ethics Commission.
As of this writing, nothing has been done to enforce the applicable laws of the City of Fairhope, Baldwin County and the State of Alabama.
For justice to be unequivocally served in this sordid case, the brazen,
corrupted, perpetrators of this crime against a disaster backdrop (11 people died in the Horizon Oil Spill Disaster) must be made to feel, in their hollow bones—the full power of the law. Further, the tax-paying public, which faithfully lives by this same law, must see clearly and unabashedly, that this is finally the case.
Dr. Christopher Edward Warner
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