Something is very wrong in the Land of Cotton



Dr. Robert Bullard
Environmental Justice Movement Founder

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Devil Went Down to Gurley

What's the difference between the Devil and Brian McCord...? The Devil doesn't think he's Brian McCord.

Update 12/13--Justice denied to Gurley. McCord prevails, town readies for appeal and bankruptcy filing

The Town of Gurley, Alabama is on the verge of bankruptcy after a multimillion dollar ruling of $4.9 million in favor of M&N Materials was awarded to the company. The judgement is the near-end result of a long, contentious battle to develop a quarry in the small north Alabama town of less than 1000 people. 

It's a sad end to a brave fight described by one reporter as similar to a scene from a "Hollywood environmental film."

Company founders, Brian McCord and Brian Nelson, are "elated" with the jury verdict and a further ruling by District Court Judge Karen Hall, who piled on more injury in the form of an additional $1.1 million judgement against the Town of Gurley to cover M&N's legal fees.

Gurley's annual revenue is only $850,000.00 and the town is now forced to prepare for the worst, bankruptcy, to continue to pay its debts and provide essential services to the residents. Unless Judge Hall comes to her senses and overturns the judgement and/or orders a new trial. 

Oral arguments will be heard in Judge Hall's court October 13th on the ruling.

Gurley has fought hard for its town. They did not (and still do not) want to become an industrial community. Citizens tell us that former Distinct 22 Representative Albert Hall, (now deceased) fought right alongside with them, and managed to get a Annexation Bill through the legislature and onto former Governor Riley's desk that allowed the town to annex in the M&N property from outside the city limits. (HB170--2004) In effect, stopping the quarry dead in its tracks.

'Devil' McCord fought back and presented his own petition to the Town Council who rejected it after less than one hour. McCord had a big fish on the line in Vulcan Materials, who had an option to buy the property for $3.75 million. After the legislative and council actions, Vulcan chose to let their option expire and the end selling price was much less than McCord had counted on--$1 million.

Construction is McCord's game and he was making bank on his heavy truck fleet getting the contract to haul material from the site, in addition to making millions from the land sale to Vulcan. (It's important to note that M&N paid $500K for the 269 acres and the price they eventually got was double their initial investment--a good return by most standards.) The 'Devil from Gurley' was not happy when his intentions were thwarted by the will of the people.

McCord decided to make Gurley pay and pay BIG. One man, a young man at 34 years of age, condemned an entire town to bend to his black-hearted greed: 'If I can't have what I want then I am going to break you and break this town.' We can imagine that's what he said based on what we've heard from the area. Sources also tell us McCord is 'suit happy' and has "sued everybody in his family."

What happens to a man, early in life, that makes him so evil he would sacrifice the well-being of an entire community and their children in his lust for money? And why has he prevailed so far? 

We hear from insiders the jury was made up of "people from Madison County we didn't know" and there wasn't a Gurley resident among them. Madison County is a big county and we hope the jury was fair and able to fully understand the seriousness of their decision.

Our opinion is they weren't and didn't. 

The judge is the only one who can intervene in the mess now and lots of lives depend on her decision. Bankruptcy will destroy the town financially, a town already in financial dire straits over sewer and waste-water debts they were struggling to meet before the hellish judgement from the jury and Judge Hall's bench.

But Gurley has an even bigger problem now because the powerful and deep-pocketed Vulcan Materials owns the site. Vulcan rarely loses, and if the company is determined to open a quarry on the site, then odds are they'll do just that and Gurley will be forever changed.

With the death of Rep. Hall, Gurley has no friends in the legislature willing to help, despite the fact that five could. When the 2004 Annexation Bill came up for signatures, Senator Arthur Orr-R refused to sign it, offering this as his excuse: "I'm not signing it because they didn't vote for my bill." Nice going Senator Orr. It's comforting to know that you don't let petty politics get in the way of real political leadership, sir.

Where's the governor? Isn't he the same man who thinks "bankruptcy for Jefferson County would give all of Alabama a black eye?" Is it okay with you that small town Alabama goes bankrupt instead, governor? The legislature is going into special session to address Jefferson County's woes, who among the five representatives of the Madison County area will step up for Gurley?

Ask any of these men if they will:
Representative Wayne Johnson-R--District 22
US Representative Mo Brooks-R AL District 5
Senator Paul Sanford-R--District 7
Senator Shadrack McGill--R District 8
Senator Clay Scofield--R Distinct 9

Whatever happens, the Devil jumped up on a stump in small town north Alabama when McCord and Co. hoofed it in and it looks like they found more than a few souls to steal in the process.

So Say We The Opinion Board Of The Vincent Alabama Confidential
photo credit before revisions: Huntsville Times
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  1. What a useless POS!
    waaah.. waaaah.. WAAAAAAAH....!!!!!
    it's all about
    me.. me.. ME!!!!!!
    Who's the judge, his nanny?

  2. Don't count on any of the green horned republicans to ride to the rescue. Ditto for Mo Crooks. Vulcan will shut them up in a minute.
    Rural Alabama had better get 40 shades of red hot mad or accept the fact that the powers that be consider them totally expendable when it comes to economic development.

  3. This is wrong.
    Everything about is unbelievable.
    The judge adding lawyer's fees to the judgement just takes the cake.

  4. What's the scoop on the opposition group? Are they still together? Is there another web site that's more current?

  5. The team is hot today!!

    Its absolutely amazing that the judge would do that! What a crook of a judge, its just sickening!

  6. Sounds like it's past time for a pitchfork and tar & feathers party to me.

  7. The judge was WRONG!
    She should be thrown off the case and let someone else hear the arguments on the 13th.
    Since when does a judge rule in such a way that a town will be wiped off the map?
    Wait--I forgot--this is Alabama after all.

  8. “Owners may not use their property in ways that will injure their neighbors. Here the Court has gotten it right when it has carved out the so-called nuisance exception to the Constitution’s compensation requirement. Thus, even in those cases in which regulation removes all value from the property, the owner will not receive compensation if the regulation prohibits an injurious use.”

    The trick, and it's a tough one to execute, is giving validation to the injurious nature of an intrusive operation such as mining.

    Judges often don't have the fortitude or gumption to use common sense in such cases and realize that by their very nature mining activities are by definition injurious in any number of ways.

    This judge clearly has strong contempt for the Town of Gurley and seems to be seeking a penalty against them far greater than necessary.

    In layman's terms: someone got to her.

  9. Annette in AlabamaOctober 11, 2011 at 6:56 PM

    Tortious interference, also known as intentional interference with contractual relations, in the common law of tort, occurs when a person intentionally damages the plaintiff's contractual or other business relationships. This tort is broadly divided into two categories, one specific to contractual relationships (irrespective of whether they involve business), and the other specific to business relationships or activities (irrespective of whether they involve a contract).

    This is the kicker. However, I am not certain this law would over-ride the will of the people looking at HB 170.

    This case could be used to set a precedence in this state and we all best be getting into this fight.

    HB170, Act 2004-19 – Gurley

    The bill, which became law on February 26, 2004, see Act No. 2004-19, Ala. Acts 2004, authorized the Town to annex M&N's property on the basis of a majority vote of the Town's residents in a special annexation referendum.

    I do not understand how the law has been bent so far as for the judge to have reached this decision.


  10. Southern and Sick Of ItOctober 11, 2011 at 7:18 PM

    He Devil McCord has caused enough damage to this small town, it would appear to me, the town could file suit against him for the mess he has made.

    I bet they could come up with something.

    Brainstorm time.

  11. Madison County is blowing through rich farmland like blue blazes, development here, more we really don't need it development there, development everywhere.
    Gurley is in the way of someone's big ideas.
    They don't give two rips about the simple folks who want to keep their way of life simple.
    It's a real head scratcher that the court is enabling the whole thing.

  12. I cannot believe Judge Hall came down against the town today. Then again, maybe I can, because payola in Alabama's judicial process is rampant.
    There is no logical explanation I can think of for Hall condemning the town of Gurley to certain financial ruin.
    She needs to GO!

  13. Outrageous ruling.
    No judge worth a pinch of ethical judicial salt would have made this conclusion given the facts in the case.


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