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Monday, October 23, 2017

Perjury conviction of elected Jefferson County DA Charles Todd Henderson shows Riley-driven corruption hangs over Alabama courts like slime

Charles Todd Henderson hugs his wife, Yareima,
after Friday's guilty verdict was announced.
(From al.com)
Just when it seemed the Don Siegelman political prosecution would go down as the smelliest court case in Alabama history, along comes the Charles Todd Henderson case to emit an odor almost as foul. Evidence strongly suggests -- surprise! -- the Riley GOP Political Machine is at the heart of both cases.

Henderson, the duly elected Democratic district attorney of Jefferson County, was convicted last Friday of first-degree perjury in a case that would have to improve significantly to reach the level of "putrid." The case against Henderson reeked from the moment his indictment was announced on Jan. 13 of this year. That's because it came roughly two months after Henderson had the audacity to beat Republican Brandon Falls, who held the position for nine years, after Gov. Bob Riley appointed him in 2008.

As long as Falls was in office, ex-Gov. Riley -- along with children Rob ("Uday") and Minda -- did not have to worry about anyone in law enforcement taking a critical glance at their unsavory activities. But that changed with Henderson's unexpected victory, suggesting an unfriendly DA might investigate the Rileys, leading to possible prosecution, conviction, and prison time.

Modern Alabama history tells us that when an election does not go the Rileys' way, they resort to underhanded tactics to steal it. In the Siegelman matter, that meant overnight vote manipulation in the 2002 governor's race -- followed by a Karl Rove-driven federal prosecution to ensure Siegelman would not beat an unpopular Bob Riley in 2006. In the Henderson case, it meant turning to a political ally -- former Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange -- to bring a bogus perjury case that would keep Henderson from taking office. And with a conviction, Henderson is precluded by state law from serving in an office that he won fair and square.

Why do we say the case against Henderson was bogus? Well, it was clear at the time of indictment the case was driven by politics; after all, the indictment did not even specify the false statement Henderson allegedly made under oath in a divorce case involving his campaign worker, Yareima Akl. The role of politics in the case is even more clear now that Henderson has been convicted. That's because a review of the trial plainly shows the prosecution was not driven by facts or law. That leaves only one driving factor -- Riley-based politics.

First, two hideously corrupt political figures ramrodded the proceedings. Luther Strange, who brought the case, has so many ethics complaints pending against him that investigators can't keep up with them all. Sibley Reynolds, the Chilton County judge who was assigned after Jefferson County judges recused, has a documented history of making wildly unlawful rulings. (See here, here, and here.) My record on predictions is so-so, but I knew when the Alabama Supreme Court appointed Reynolds -- likely with the assistance of Riley bot Jim Main -- that Henderson would be convicted.

That, in fact, happened -- even though the conviction has zero support in fact or law. And that turns our attention to political chicanery, which is easy to detect in the Henderson matter because Alabama perjury law is so simple. Here is how it's defined at Code of Alabama 13A-10-101:

A person commits the crime of perjury in the first degree when in any official proceeding he swears falsely and his false statement is material to the proceeding in which it is made.

What about specifics in the Henderson case? It presented two straightforward questions:

(1) Did Henderson falsely reply "no" when asked under oath if there had been a time when he "spent the night" at Ms. Akl's apartment"? and

(2) Was that answer "material" to the proceeding in which it was held -- the divorce case involving Ms. Akl and her now ex-husband, Charbel Akl?

What does it mean for a statement to be "material" under Alabama law? Here is the definition under Code of Alabama 13A-10-100:

MATERIAL. A statement is "material," regardless of the admissibility of the statement under the rules of evidence, if it could have affected the course or outcome of the official proceeding. It is no defense that the declarant mistakenly believed the falsification to be immaterial. Whether a falsification is material in a given factual situation is a question of law.

The question in No. 1 above is the only issue of fact in the Henderson case. Question No. 2 is the only issue of law. Sounds simple, right? So, how did an Alabama jury reach a verdict that is so palpably wrong and unjust?

We can think of numerous possible answers to that last question. But even al.com columnist John Archibald, whose analysis of the trial was comically wrong-headed, suggested potential jurors showed the combined curiosity and intelligence of a potted plant, during the voir dire process.

Perhaps that's why they fell for bogus contentions from prosecutors and the press that Henderson had lied under oath about a romantic relationship with Ms. Akl? (The couple now is married.)

In fact, Henderson was not asked, in the question where he was alleged to have committed perjury, about a romantic relationship with Ms. Akl. And he was not asked throughout the relevant proceeding about such a relationship.

In other words, jurors apparently convicted Henderson of lying about a romantic relationship when he was not even asked about one.

That's what serves as "Alabama justice" in an age of crooked Republicans, such as Bob Riley.

How does Charles Todd Henderson stand convicted of perjury when the facts plainly show he did not "swear falsely" to the question put to him? We will address that question in an upcoming post.

(To be continued)

Friday, October 20, 2017

Modern Alabama history suggests the longer Jeff Sessions stays in office, the more likely Americans will see their free speech and property rights trampled

Al Franken and Jeff Sessions
(From politicaldig.com)
The most widely covered moment in Attorney General Jeff Sessions' testimony this week before the Senate Intelligence Committee involved a testy exchange between Sessions and U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-MN). But the most newsworthy moment, for those of us who care about the First Amendment, came when Sessions refused to say that his Justice Department would not arrest journalists for doing their jobs.

Sessions tried to apply some soft edges to his answer, but we don't have to guess about how this can play out on his watch. Journalists already are subject to arrest in Alabama, where Sessions served as a U.S. senator for 20 years before joining the Trump administration in early 2017. I know because I was unlawfully arrested and incarcerated in Shelby County, AL, in October 2013, part of the fallout from a defamation lawsuit brought by GOP operative Rob Riley and his one-time mistress, lobbyist Liberty Duke.

That made me the only journalist in the western hemisphere to be arrested in 2013, the first U.S. journalist to be arrested since 2006, and apparently the only journalist in U.S. history to be arrested because of a preliminary injunction that has been prohibited in defamation cases by more than 230 years of First Amendment law. Does Jeff Sessions respect the First Amendment or the rule of law? My experience indicates the answer is a resounding no. And my five-month stay in jail was smeared with the fingerprints of Sessions' allies -- including Rob Riley (son of former Gov. Bob Riley), former Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange (who was appointed to fill Sessions' Senate seat on an interim basis), U.S. Circuit Judge and former Alabama AG Bill Pryor, and Jessica Medeiros Garrison, one-time mistress and campaign manager for Luther Strange.

A prominent Alabama opposition researcher, activist, and whistle blower warns that Sessions has several tools he can use against those who speak out against him or the Trump administration. Jill Simpson, who played a major role in bringing the Don Siegelman political prosecution to light, says asset-forfeiture laws could, under Sessions, become little more than a license for law enforcement to steal.

The good news is that Simpson predicts Sessions will be indicted, convicted, and imprisoned for his role in the Trump-Russia scandal -- and hopefully, that will happen before Sessions can turn the United States into a greatly expanded version of Alabama.

As for Sessions' thoughts on a free press, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) asked if he would commit to not jailing journalists for doing their jobs. Here is Sessions' reply:

Well, I don't know that I can make a blanket commitment to that effect. But I would say this: We have not taken any aggressive action against the media at this point. But we have matters that involve the most serious national security issues, that put our country at risk, and we will utilize the authorities that we have, legally and constitutionally, if we have to.

Is this answer mostly horse manure? Well, let's look at the environment that Jeff Sessions helped create in Alabama. Was aggressive action taken against the media there? It sure as heck was. I had a cop enter our home -- without showing a warrant, stating he had a warrant, or stating his reasons for being there (all violations of state and federal law) -- knock me to a concrete floor three times, douse me with pepper spray, and drag me to my driveway, where one of his colleagues threatened to break my arms.

Oleg Deripaska and Paul Manfort
If that sounds aggressive to you, it sure felt aggressive to me. And consider this: One day before my arrest, I posted about an apparent sweetheart deal where Jessica Medeiros Garrison took ownership rights to a Mountain Brook house appraised at more than $400,000 after paying $30,000 at a foreclosure auction? For whom did Garrison once work? Jeff Sessions. Was my arrest sparked by reporting here that was getting too close to the truth about Garrison's house deal -- and did she solicit the help of Sessions, or one of his compadres, to make sure I was beaten and tossed in the slammer? My answer to both parts of that question is yes.

Sessions' statement on press freedom this week should not be a surprise. He hinted in early August that the jailing of journalists could be coming. Like me, Jill Simpson knows enough about Sessions to take his "out there" statements seriously. From her Facebook post yesterday about asset forfeiture (with editing for clarity and brevity):

Most people have no idea what can happen in Alabama when you cross the Alabama Gang. People around the nation need to be very worried of this asset-forfeiture deal, as Sessions and his gang take his road show from Alabama to nationwide. I suspect this will be used as a weapon against activists. . . .  I know during the days of fascism and oligarchs retaking Russia, this kind of thing happened, as it is designed to scare activists and make them fear speaking out. 
I don't think many people understand yet what is taking over our country.  Each day, we are moving further from being a democracy. . . . Sessions' crew may use this asset-forfeiture tool nationwide to take everything from folks who speak out against them. . . . . When you run the courts and police like the Sessions bunch does, you can do anything.

Is there hope for saving our democracy from a serious internal threat? Simpson suggests a major source of hope is Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his investigation of the Trump-Russia scandal. It should show, Simpson says, that Sessions and others from Alabama (Bob Riley, Bill Canary) long have engaged in unsavory dealings with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a close ally of Vladimir Putin. In the end, Simpson predicts, Sessions will wind up in "The Big House." From Simpson's Facebook post earlier this week about Russia-Alabama connections:

Jeff Sessions is a lying Russian-ass-kissing traitor, and Al Franken proved it. He called him on all his lies, and Jeff lied again, pushing the goal post further. When I came forward in the Siegelman case, I gave a detailed account to the press and a bunch of lawyers, showing that these Republican idiots connected to Riley and Canary's Alabama Gang (including Sessions) were wheeling and dealing with Oleg Deripaska, Vladimir Putin's top business spy on the EADS tanker deal. The U.S. Military knows it as well. (Also, Deripaska has $60 million worth of connections to former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort.)

If Mueller checks, he will find that Sessions got in bed with Deripaska when the Republicans were making money off Oleg. He is the sugar daddy for the Alabama Gang. Oleg is very powerful. His father-in-law was Boris Yeltsin 's KGB/FSB handler, and when they retired, Oleg became Putin's top FSB handler. It was passed on to him by his father-in-law.

Over the years, Putin has gained the upper hand but, they are a tag team. Oleg first started working years ago trying to get a visa to be able to come to the states, but the Clinton administration fought him and his lawyer, Bob Dole. Oleg next hired the head of the Republicans, Haley Barbour, who introduced him to the Alabama Gang (Canary, Riley, and  Sessions). Their representatives would meet Oleg at the Paris air show, where he . . . got Sessions to try to help them steal the tanker deal from Boeing and give it to the EADS/Airbus team, which had Russia as a minority shareholder. Since then, Sessions has been the go-to guy for Deripaska and the Russian government.

That is why Sessions meets with the Russians so much. Intel folks in every agency know Russia thinks Sessions is their guy, and they have been all over him for years. . . . It is well known in D.C. that Russia has a mole in the DOJ -- and it is Jeff Sessions. Yep, the evil elf of Alabama has really "elfed" up by lying so much in D.C.

He is caught, but the question remains: Does he realize they know what he has done for Russia, on behalf of his Alabama Gang? It is all going to come out, and the Keebler elf of Alabama is going to prison -- it is just a matter of time.

(Note: I was reminded of my time in the Shelby County Jail, with yesterday's reports about the FBI's annual nationwide human-trafficking sting. Operation Cross Country X1 rescued 84 children and netted the arrests of 120 suspected adult traffickers.

Antonio Key
One of the arrestees, Antonio Key, was apprehended in Shelby County, AL, and landed in the same jail where I spent five months. Let that sink in for a moment: I was arrested for blogging, and Key was arrested for human trafficking -- yet we wound up in the same place. I was held for five months, with no bail, and it's possible Key will spend less time there than I did. The Web site for the Shelby County Sheriff's office shows Key is being held on $20,000 bond, which probably means he can be released by paying $2,000.

(I was in an Alabama jail for five months because I was a blogger; Antonio Key likely will spend less time in the same jail, and he is accused of human trafficking. Is that what postmodern American justice has come to?)

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Ashley Madison customers revealed: David Armistead, with executive job at TekLinks and studies at London School of Economics, appears at notorious Web site

David Armistead
(From b-metro.com)
The director of enterprise sales at TekLinks in Birmingham appears as a paying customer at the Ashley Madison extramarital-affairs Web site. And he has a familiar name to those who follow Alabama politics.

David Armistead earned his bachelor's degree at Millsaps College in Mississippi before continuing his studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Armistead comes from a political background. He is a Facebook friend with Bill Armistead, former chair of the Alabama Republican Party and current campaign manager for U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore.

The two Armisteads appear to be related, but the exact connection is not clear. David Armistead originally is from Tupelo, Mississipi, while Bill Armistead lives in Columbiana, Alabama, home of the hideously corrupt Shelby County Courthouse and Sheriff's Office. For good measure, Columbiana also produced ousted and corrupt Alabama Gov. Robert "Luv Guv" Bentley.

David Armistead was featured in a recent b-metro article about millennials in the workplace. From the article:

David Armistead is a Gen-Xer who is now director of enterprise sales at TekLinks, a national tech company specializing in cloud services, managed services, and value-added resale. Armistead remembers what it was like to be the new guy on the block—and it wasn’t all that different. “Our generation heard some of the same things,” he says. “People said we weren’t as hard working and all that. I think every generation talks that way about the one that comes after.”

If they behave and work differently, Armistead adds, it’s because Millennials are a product of their environment, specifically the tech and social media environment. They just happen to be a little better at keeping up.

“We could try to stay stuck in the old way of doing business, but we would be the ones left behind,” says Armistead. “So it’s not necessarily the Millennials who are the ones changing the workplace, or that we’re having to cater to their needs. The way Millennials approach work is a reflection of how our lives are different today.”

Armistead was married to Laura Roy Armistead, they had four children together, and they bought a $425,000 house in Homewood in 2015. They now are divorced. Is that because Ashley Madison became part of Mr. Armistead's "social media environment"?

We're not sure. We sought comment from David Armistead for this post, but he has not responded to our queries.


Article with links to 1-20 in Ashley Madison series

(21) Craig Oliver, attorney, Springfield, MO (1/24/17)

(22) Craig Lowell, attorney, Wiggins Childs, Birmingham (1/26/17)

(23) Thomas Mancuso, tax attorney, Montgomery, AL (2/16/17)

(24) Nicholas Arciniegas, attorney, Washington, D.C. (2/21/17)

(25) Griffin McGahey, vice president, High Cotton USA, Birmingham (3/16/17)

(26) Matthew Couch, attorney, Cabaniss Johnson, Birmingham (3/23/17)

(27) Dr. Keron Vickers, chiropractor, Birmingham (4/4/17)

(28) D. Paterson Cope, president, wealth management, Birmingham (4/20/17)

(29) Shawn Baker, developer, Blackwater Resources, Birmingham (4/24/17)

(30) David Deusner, attorney/forensics, Control Risks, Birmingham (4/26/17)

(31) David J. Harrison, attorney, Geneva, AL (6/8/17)

(32) Michael Mullis, managing partner, Kelley and Mullis, Birmingham (4/12/17)

(33) David Healy, attorney, Ozark, MO (6/15/17)

(34) Tom Layfield, executive director of ALRBA, Montgonery, AL (6/19/17)

(35) Thomas T. Lamberth Jr., mortgage banker, BBVA Compass, Birmingham (6/20/17)

(36) Ron Ten Berge, exec. partner, Frontenac Private Equity, Birmingham (6/28/17)

(37) Andy Schroeder, president, South Central Steel, Harpersville (7/12/17)

(38) Richard Barsness, CEO, Incredible Pizza Co. Springfield, MO (8/3/17)

(39) Robert E. Tingle Jr., manager, Truitt Tingle accounting firm, Hoover, AL (10/12/17)

(40) Jeremy Crow, lawyer, Int. Fertilizer Dev. Center, Muscle Shoals, AL, (10/18/17)

Russia-based attack on Roy Moore's Twitter account is a glaring sign that Democrat Doug Jones is in bed with right wingers who use underhanded campaign tactics

Roy Moore
(From joemygod.com)
Just three days ago, we reported that Alabama pro-business elites -- including Jeff Sessions, Bob Riley, and Bill Canary -- have enjoyed long-standing ties to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a close ally of Vladimir Putin. Just nine days ago, we reported that Birmingham attorney Doug Jones, now a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, colluded with GOP operative Rob Riley to funnel damaging information about defendants in the Alabama bingo case to federal prosecutors.

Those two stories collided with a bang yesterday, with reports that the Twitter account of Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, Jones' opponent, came under a Russia-based cyber attack. The Moore campaign said more than 1,000 fake Twitter accounts, originating from Russia, started following him over the weekend. A Moore spokesperson promptly pointed a finger at the Jones campaign, and a prominent Alabama opposition researcher and whistle blower says they probably are on target.

Jill Simpson, who helped bring the Don Siegelman political prosecution to light, says TwitterGate is a sign that Jones is not running a typical Democratic campaign, the kind that normally focuses on issues that matter to progressive voters. Instead, many of Jones' influential backers are Republicans, who long have resorted to underhanded campaign tactics, such as the cyber attack on Roy Moore. Simpson said three weeks ago that if Moore beat Luther Strange in the GOP runoff -- and he did, handily -- Strange's pro-business supporters would fall in line behind Jones.

Well, that already appears to be happening, with the attack on Moore's Twitter account. From a post yesterday at Jill Simpson's Facebook account (with editing for clarity and brevity):

It appears Doug's Republican friends at the Canary and Riley camp thought they could dump a bunch of . . . Oleg Deripaska Russian spy bots on Moore's Web site and get away with it.

Well Roy has caught them and apparently reported those bots immediately. And the way he knew it was caused by Doug's sorry bunch is they had alerted the press within minutes of it happening. Everyone should watch closely as Doug Jones is not running the typical Democratic campaign in Alabama; even his ad says that he will work with Republicans to get stuff done. He does not say that about Democrats; in his ad, he specifically mentions working with Republicans.

[Jones] is the big Alabama Business Council and Chamber of Commerce candidate; they have let everyone know through the press in the past week they don't support Moore. Doug Jones is their swamp monster in the race, and both the religious right and the progressives know it -- and it is disgusting what a fast trick the Canary team has pulled on the true Democrats in Alabama, who ought to throw Canary and his gang out of Democratic headquarters. Doug has been the Riley-Canary pick all along.

How did Doug Jones come to be a Republican Trojan Horse? Simpson explains:

The corrupt Riley-Canary bunch love Old Doug Jones, the so-called Democrat who in his ad says he will go to Washington to help Republicans get things done. Democrats in Alabama are nuts if they vote for this very corrupt Riley-Canary Democrat. 
Why do the Republicans like Jones so much? Because he helped them send our beloved Progressive Democratic Governor Don Siegelman to prison -- and helped them harass Milton McGregor, a person they see as an opponent to their big casino donor, the Poarch Creek Indians. And I might add Milton always funded Democrats when they were winning, but Republicans have tied him up in court messes.

Doug is a snake in the grass. Just ask real progressives and grassroots folks in Alabama;  we have being dealing with his Rob Riley and Bill Canary bullshit for years. The problem for us is that Jones is big buddies with the Clinton and Biden DNC elites crowd. Doug must have them fooled and probably will snitch on them, as well, before all is said and done -- and yet, they came down here and told our state leadership to support him,  along with Canary saying this, so we are stuck with him, but he is not a good progressive Democrat.

If elected, how might Jones benefit from his cozy relationship with Alabama Republicans? Simpson spells it out:

Jones is going to go to Washington and do exactly what his ad says -- work with Republicans like Riley and Canary; we all know it, and Jones will help fill the Riley and Canary coffers with Senate lobbyist money from out of state, to be use against our true progressive candidates in 2018 and 2020, if we don't stop him. 
Hell, he has been working with them for years down here. They have given Jones one government-assignment job after the next, under the Republican administration, run by Karl Rove. 
Jones made his money working with Rob Riley in a $51-million civil case against Mr Siegelman's co -defendant, Richard Scrushy. All the while, Jones was screwing up  Siegelman's criminal defense. Jones is the famous dumb-bell lawyer who extended the statute of limitations for the prosecution. No lawyer you ask know would agree to extend a criminal statute of limitations, but Doug did, and it was for Bill Canary and Rob Riley. About six weeks before old Don's case came up, Doug got out of it.

As we've reported here, Jones charged Siegelman $300,000 for a criminal defense he did not perform -- and we've seen no signs that Jones ever returned a penny of that money. Evidence is overwhelming that Doug Jones repeatedly stabbed Don Siegelman in the back -- helping to support the most gross political prosecution in American history. Now, Jones apparently is counting on Alabama Democrats to be blind enough to think he actually backs their interests. Joe Biden already has come to the state, touting Jones' "integrity."

Doug Jones
(From wkrg.com)
Even the one positive on Jones' record -- his participation in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing case, resulting in Bobby Frank Cherry's conviction -- is tainted with grimy Republican fingerprints. Writes Simpson:

We now pretty much know when Jones started snitching [for Republicans]; it was when Canary gave the go-ahead to Bill Pryor [then Alabama's attorney general] to hire Doug on the Cherry case. Ever since then, he has been in the Republican's good graces, doing their bidding and selling out his own clients -- and it's our belief he did it for his personal benefit, to eventually run for office.

As for me, I have zero doubt -- knowing the Canary and Riley clan's connections to Oleg Deripaska -- they pulled a dirty trick on Roy Moore, to benefit Doug Jones. Most folks don't realize it, but Paul Manafort's partner was Rick Davis, and he is very good friends with Canary, Riley, and Sessions -- what we call the Alabama Gang. Got to hand it to them; they tried a very nasty trick and Roy called them on it.

What was the purpose of the attack on Moore's Twitter account? It apparently was designed to con the public into thinking Moore had support from Russia. The Jones campaign, Simpson says, is the one actually tied to Russian interests:

Most folks in the nation don't realize it, but the Russian problem in the Republican Party is rooted in Alabama's Riley-Canary bunch. They got in bed with Oleg Deripaska years ago, and we progressives in Alabama have been talking about Manafort for eight or nine years loudly -- and two years before that, when I came forward [in the Siegelman case]. Roy Moore has for years stood up against the corrupt Canary bunch, which is why they go after him so hard. I don't agree with Roy's views, as they are too conservative for my taste, but many Alabamians believe as he does, and they don't want a corrupt leader from the Canary-Riley team. And well, Doug Jones is corrupt to the core, and progressives know it, so what the heck do we do on election day?

Simpson suggests the best course of action for Democrats is to stay home on Dec. 12:

I know many of my friends are writing in progressive names, and some are writing in Don Siegelman. But folks really need to think here. We have to ask: Do we vote for Doug, who is supported by corrupt Republican wolves -- and they plan on sending him to D.C., so he can make them a bunch of money to run against our good progressive candidates we are grooming? I hope the answer becomes: We stay home and don't vote for a Republican snitch; after all, he is the very person responsible for helping ruin the Alabama Democratic Party, snitching for Republican masters like Canary and Riley. . . .  
[Republicans] made him rich enough to run, thanks to his HealthSouth case with Rob Riley, but do we want a Republican snitch representing Democrats and progressives in D.C.?

Simpson already has seen signs of threats coming in her direction for speaking out against Jones:

I, too, had an ugly trick played on me, in that I was called and told Doug Jones was going to be endorsed by Siegelman on November 2, which broke my heart. But then I learned it was not so and just a dirty Doug supporter trying to cause trouble. 
I also was told, when I confronted the person about it, that Doug, with his connections since being formerly connected to the DOJ, could have me investigated and harassed by all kinds of regulatory folks, like the IRS. So I think folks should know Jones and his people are up to no good, and one of his supporters warned me what was next if I don't shut up. 
I told the person who called me I am not scared of Doug Jones. Plus, I pointed out that when Jones offered, through the same person many months before, to get my law license off disability -- a trick Rob Riley and his Republican buddies came up with -- they could kiss my ass. I wasn't helping and would do everything in my power to beat the jerks, as I have known all along what they did. I missed a hearing for a broken neck, awaiting surgery, and that  never should have been a cause for threatening to disbar me, which is why I went out on disability. . . . 
By the way, I've enjoyed being away from the practice of law, as it has gotten so corrupt; if a fairy showed up and gave me three wishes, not one of them would be about practicing law in a corrupt system like Alabama, where Canary and the BCA rule the roost. 
On a positive note, Alabama Republicans are between a rock and a hard place -- with Roy Moore, who holds some way-out beliefs on the Christian-right fringe, and Doug Jones, who is basically the corrupt Republican running as a Democrat, who has been their snitch for years. 
My suggestion to progressives is stay home, don't vote for either, and send a message to D.C. to give us real progressive candidates. We can't let them make a bunch of lobbyist money to use against us in 2018, when we will have a great slate of real progressives. 
Doug Jones is not the answer for Alabama progressives. He will make a bunch of lobbyist money for Bob and Rob Riley and Canary. I might add they had their voters stay home in the Roy-Luther race, but will turn their folks out for Doug Jones. They think progressives will turn out for Doug, but we have to say no. Doug is not a progressive, and he will not help us. Watch his ad; he says he will work with Republicans.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Ashley Madison customers revealed: Alabama lawyer Jeremy Crow works as contracts officer at fertilizer center, and now, he's in another form of "deep s--t"

Jeremy Crow
(From facebook.com)
A lawyer, who works for an Alabama-based organization that promotes effective use of fertilizer to boost agricultural output in developing countries, appears as a paying customer at the Ashley Madison extramarital-affairs Web site.

You could say Jeremy D. Crow deals with sh-t -- and you would not be joking. He works as a senior contracts officer at the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) in Muscle Shoals. IFDC was established in 1974 as an outgrowth of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). Its Muscle Shoals headquarters opened in 1976, with division offices opening in Togo (1987) and Bangladesh (1992). Today, IFDC operates four divisions in more than 20 countries.

What does IFDC do? This is from its Web site:

Since 1974, IFDC has focused on increasing and sustaining food security and agricultural productivity in over 100 developing countries through the development and transfer of effective and environmentally sound crop nutrient technology and agribusiness expertise. . . .

The organization’s collaborative partnerships combine cutting-edge research and development with on-site training and education. IFDC has contributed to the development of institutional capacity building in 150 countries through more than 700 formal training programs, primarily as part of IFDC’s long-term agricultural development projects. Demonstration plots, farmer field schools and in-field trainings have assisted millions of farmers in developing countries.

Crow grew up in Hamilton, AL, and graduated from Birmingham School of Law, working in construction law at Najjar Denaburg before landing in sh-t (you might say) at IFDC. Crow's Facebook page provides few personal details, although his profile photo indicates he likes hunting and hunting dogs. Based on public records currently available to us, his marital status (past or present) is unknown.

We tried to contact Crow, seeking comment for this post, but he has not responded to our queries.


Article with links to 1-20 in Ashley Madison series

(21) Craig Oliver, attorney, Springfield, MO (1/24/17)

(22) Craig Lowell, attorney, Wiggins Childs, Birmingham (1/26/17)

(23) Thomas Mancuso, tax attorney, Montgomery, AL (2/16/17)

(24) Nicholas Arciniegas, attorney, Washington, D.C. (2/21/17)

(25) Griffin McGahey, vice president, High Cotton USA, Birmingham (3/16/17)

(26) Matthew Couch, attorney, Cabaniss Johnson, Birmingham (3/23/17)

(27) Dr. Keron Vickers, chiropractor, Birmingham (4/4/17)

(28) D. Paterson Cope, president, wealth management, Birmingham (4/20/17)

(29) Shawn Baker, developer, Blackwater Resources, Birmingham (4/24/17)

(30) David Deusner, attorney/forensics, Control Risks, Birmingham (4/26/17)

(31) David J. Harrison, attorney, Geneva, AL (6/8/17)

(32) Michael Mullis, managing partner, Kelley and Mullis, Birmingham (4/12/17)

(33) David Healy, attorney, Ozark, MO (6/15/17)

(34) Tom Layfield, executive director of ALRBA, Montgonery, AL (6/19/17)

(35) Thomas T. Lamberth Jr., mortgage banker, BBVA Compass, Birmingham (6/20/17)

(36) Ron Ten Berge, exec. partner, Frontenac Private Equity, Birmingham (6/28/17)

(37) Andy Schroeder, president, South Central Steel, Harpersville (7/12/17)

(38) Richard Barsness, CEO, Incredible Pizza Co. Springfield, MO (8/3/17)

(39) Robert E. Tingle Jr., manager, Truitt Tingle accounting firm, Hoover, AL (10/12/17)

What was Prosecutor Dan Patterson thinking when he brought State v. Carol Shuler, a criminal case that provides no evidence of a crime being committed?

Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson
Like many Americans, I have supported the death penalty at some point in my life. I once thought, contrary to substantial evidence, that it served as a deterrent to violent crime. I assumed cops, prosecutors, judges, and juries were competent and honest enough to pretty much always get it right in capital cases.

My views on the death penalty began to change about 17 years ago, when the legal travails described in this blog began. That's when, for the first time in my life, I came face to face with our "justice system" in a personal way. I saw the system is riddled with dishonesty, fraud, self-dealing, back-stabbing, criminality, and utter disrespect for the rule of law. I saw that our justice apparatus is so broken that it routinely turns out judgments that are unreliable, unjust, and contrary to facts and law. I learned our appellate courts too often are unwilling to correct the grossly unlawful outcomes that trial courts spew out.

Such a system has no business taking anyone's life, no matter how heinous we think their crimes, so I have become an ardent opponent of the death penalty. I've come close to concluding that such a system has no business taking anyone's freedom either, so I'm almost anti-incarceration, across the board. On top of that, such a system has no business depriving citizens of their money, their homes, their real property, their personal property, their children, and much more. In other words, I've pretty much concluded our civil-justice system has become such a sewer that it needs to be drained and closed.

It would be fine with me if we turned our jails and prisons into racquetball courts, community health centers, technical colleges, manufacturing plants. I'm fine with turning our courthouses into rec centers, schools, primary-care clinics, museums.

What are we to do about crimes and other wrongs? I'm starting to think Charles Bronson might have had the right idea with his "take matters into your own hands" approach.

Nothing drives home these points quite like the pending criminal case against my wife, Carol, here in Greene County, Missouri. We've written a string of posts that show there was no probable cause to arrest Carol, much less prosecute her. The so-called officer/"victim" in the one remaining charge against Carol admits he "caused contact" with her, not the other way around, meaning she did not assault him.

The court docket shows Carol, acting pro se, filed documents in March, April, and May 2017, that should have, by law, forced dismissal of the case. (See case.net, 1631-CR07731 - ST V CAROL T SHULER.) And yet, Judge Margaret Holden Palmietto told Carol in open court that she was not going to consider Carol's motions until she had a lawyer or waived her right to an attorney. Carol chose to have an attorney, and that's how we wound up with a public defender who seems to be developing a personal view of the law that is wildly out of touch with the real law.

Aside from that, Carol's representation issue has been resolved for quite some time, and we still see no sign that the judge has even read motions that have been sitting for four to six months.

How bad is the case against Carol, how much of a farce is it? Not only does the "victim" acknowledge that he wasn't victimized at all, a key element of the offense has been missing all along. (More on that in a moment.)

Those who fondly remember the classic TV sitcom Cheers, might recall public reaction when Shelley Long left the series for a movie career that proved to be stillborn. Many wondered, "What was she thinking?"

A similar question might be asked of Greene County Prosecuting Attorney (PA) Dan Patterson. "What was he thinking when he brought State v. Carol Shuler?" His case looks like a balsa-wood shed after an encounter with Hurricane Irma. Let's review where it stands:

The Probable Cause (PC) Statement and Misdemeanor Information (MI), taken together, more or less brought three charges against Carol:

(1) In the PC Statement, Officer Debi Wade claims Carol "barreled into her head-first." I witnessed this supposed event from about 15 feet away, and nothing even close to that happened. Patterson apparently agrees with me because his office did not bring the claim against Carol in the MI, its charging document.

Can Wade's claim, as an attorney close to the case has suggested, be incorporated into the charges against Carol -- even though the MI charging document makes no mention of it? The answer is no. (See State v. Metzinger, Mo. Ct. of App., 2015.) That means Wade's claim is dead on arrival; in fact, it never arrived at all because the prosecutor didn't bring it.

(2) Count 2 in the MI was a charge for trespass. It had a slight problem: The PC Statement, which is supposed to provide evidence to support the charge, said not one word about it. Public Defender Patty Poe moved for dismissal, and despite Assistant PA Nicholas Jain's spirited argument, Judge Palmietto booted that charge.

(3) Count 1 in the MI was for Assault of a Law Enforcement Officer, Third Degree. Under Missouri law, the issue in such a charge is: Did the defendant cause contact with a law enforcement officer? Carol is alleged to have pushed Officer Jeremy Lynn. But Lynn admits in his incident report that he "caused contact" with Carol, by grabbing her. This is the one remaining charge against Carol, but it should be booted soon.

What about that element of the offense that has been missing all along? Under RSMo. 565.083, a defendant commits the offense when "such person knowingly causes or attempts to cause physical contact with a law enforcement officer . . . ."

Notice that word in yellow: knowingly. It must be present for this offense to have been committed. What does "knowingly" mean? The answer is found in RSMo. 556.061 (Code Definitions), which reads, in part:

(31) "Knowingly", when used with respect to:

(a) Conduct or attendant circumstances, means a person is aware of the nature of his or her conduct or that those circumstances exist; or

(b) A result of conduct, means a person is aware that his or her conduct is practically certain to cause that result;

Was Carol aware that she was "assaulting" Jeremy Lynn? Hell, Officer Lynn's own words show HE wasn't aware she was assaulting him. So how could Carol be aware of it? Plus, court documents show we timely filed a Notice of Appeal (with fees), and the Missouri Court of Appeals had received our notice. Carol had a reasonable belief that put a stay on the eviction, and in fact, it did.

Despite that, Carol found a strange man breaking into her home -- without lawful grounds for doing so -- and grabbing her. Under those circumstances, Carol "knowingly" was trying to protect her home and its inhabitants -- as she is entitled to do under Missouri's Castle Doctrine Law. Jeremy Lynn probably is lucky he didn't get a frying pan smashed into his cranium, which Carol was entitled to do under the law. Either way, the "knowingly" element is missing, meaning the assault charge is kaput.

So, what does PA Dan Patterson have to show for bringing State v. Carol Shuler? He has:

(1) A "sort of" claim from Debi Wade that never even made it into the charging document;

(2) A trespass charge that had no evidentiary support, and was dismissed;

(3) An assault charge that even the "victim" admits, in so many words, isn't supported by evidence.

The people of Missouri, whose tax dollars support such prosecutorial nonsense, have every right to ask Patterson: "What in the hell were you thinking?"

And this is a guy who surely has helped send people to death row. He can't handle State v. Carol Shuler; he certainly should not be handling matters of life and death.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Wife of Birmingham attorney James F. Henry admits he's on Ashley Madison list, and attorney David M. Deutsch is not licensed in Alabama -- so double Oops!

James F. Henry
Birmingham attorney James F. Henry claimed our Ashley Madison post about him was false, apparently not realizing his own wife had left a comment on the post, admitting that his name was among the paying customers at the extramarital-affairs Web site. Oops!

Henry communicated his concerns via an e-mail from a lawyer named David M. Deutsch, whose name appears nowhere at the Alabama State Bar. Oops, again!

I did make one mistake on the post in question. I reported that Henry -- who is with the firm Cabaniss Johnston Gardner Dumas and O'Neal -- was married to Kelly Jo Henry. In fact, they had been divorced for several years, and Linda Henry -- the new Mrs. Henry -- corrected me on that matter via a comment on the post. Linda Henry had a number of interesting things to say in her comment, which her husband and his lawyer apparently had not read:

Linda Henry said...

Hi there! :)

When I heard you'd written an article about Jim, I came right on over to your little blog to see for myself! All in all, it's not bad! You know what they say about there being no such thing as bad press! ;)

I really am appalled to see that you've listed Jim's wife as Kelly, when I'm Jim's ACTUAL wife, Linda! Jim and Kelly divorced nine years ago. We've been married for almost 7 wonderful years! Call it silly, but these things matter to a girl!

I think it's nice that you included some info from his bio, and that you referenced a case of his. Heaven knows he's the hardest working man I know. He has definitely stepped away from many a family meal or outing to meet the needs of his clients! We understand, of course, we're just so blessed that he gets to do what he loves every day! :)

I suppose the purpose of the article was sort of "exposing" the Ashley Madison thing, but everyone's had access to the list for ages, so it's hardly news! I'd seen something on Ashley Madison on TV, was showing Jim, and so I'm the one who actually registered! Fortunately, Jim has a sense of humor about it! I'm a lucky girl! :)

Warmest regards,

Mrs. Linda Henry

March 23, 2016 at 10:11 PM

Mrs. Henry sounds like an awfully good sport, with a delightful sense of humor. I'd probably get a kick out of interviewing her for a Legal Schnauzer post. What would be the subject? I don't know, but it sounds like Mrs. Henry would be a hoot, regardless.

It turns out that Mr. Henry's lawyer should have visited with Mrs. Henry before dashing off an e-mail to me. That way, he would have known that Mr. Henry's name is, in fact, on the Ashley Madison list.

As for David M. Deutsch, I saw that he was not a member of the Alabama State Bar, so that prompted further research. I found a lawyer by that name at The Deutsch Law firm, with offices in New York City and Boca Raton, Florida -- with admissions in New York and Florida, and no other states.

Upon learning this information, I got back to Mr. Deutsch via e-mail:

Mr. Deutsch:

Is this you at the following link?


If so, your bio indicates you have bar admittance in New York and Florida, but not in Alabama. Why then, have you sent correspondence to me, indicating you represent James Henry, an Alabama resident? Are you practicing law without a license in Alabama?

That apparently caused some throat-clearing on Mr. Deutsch's end, because I received this response:

Mr. Shuler,

Thank you for your note.

I passed along the contents of your previous email to Mr. Henry.

Should Mr. Henry wish to pursue this matter further within the Court system, I have advised him to retain an attorney that is a member of the Alabama bar.



Did I let it rest at that? No, I did not. After all, they call me Legal Schnauzer for a reason. If someone encroaches on my territory, with bad or thoughtless intentions, I bark and I dig -- or maybe both. If the encroachment is serious enough, I might respond with a, "Get the hell off my lawn!" So, I fired back at Deutsch, thusly:

My question:

By sending correspondence to me, claiming to represent Mr. Henry, were you practicing law without a license in Alabama? You claimed to represent him and took action on his behalf, even though you are not licensed to practice law in Alabama. That sounds like a problem to me.

Did that draw a reply from Deutsch? Nope. Did he actually practice law without a license? Well, he claimed to represent Mr. Henry, an Alabama resident. And he took action on Mr. Henry's behalf by sending a law-related e-mail to me. Does that constitute practicing a law without a license? The answer is, "I don't know." That's a fairly murky area of the law, and my research has not led me to any solid conclusions.

But I'm going to keep digging -- and we plan to provide an update in a follow-up post.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Child drowns from falling into grease pit at Auburn, AL, ice-cream parlor, raising the tricky legal questions that are central to our nightmarish experience

Sadie Grace Andrews
(From al.com)
A 3-year-old girl died over the weekend when she drowned from falling into a grease pit at an Auburn, AL, ice-cream parlor. It's hard to imagine a more horrific form of accidental death, and it raises all sorts of legal issues -- many of which are present in our personal tale of trying to keep a criminally inclined neighbor and his brethren off our property.

Sadie Grace Andrews died about 1 p.m. on Saturday when the accident happened at Bruster's Real Ice Cream on East University Drive. A 911 call was placed about a missing child, and a quick review of surveillance video at the store showed what happened: Sadie and two of her siblings were playing when she apparently stepped or jumped on an unsecured lid that came loose and caused her to fall into the grease pit. From a report at al.com:

The grease trap is a six-foot deep, in-ground container. Sadie was playing in the area, which has picnic tables and a grassy area where children play, an official said. It wasn't the first time the Andrews family had visited the ice cream shop for the children to play and have treats. Lee County Coroner Bill Harris said Sadie stepped onto the lid of the grease trap, which apparently wasn't locked or secured, and fell in when the door opened. The door closed on top of her, he said.

Police said officers had already been dispatched to the scene because the girl was missing. When officers arrived, CPR was being was being performed. She was taken to East Alabama Medical Center, where efforts to revive her were unsuccessful, police said.

The tragedy raises a number of social and technical questions. For example, why weren't Sadie's parents better able to look after her? She was one of six children, so did the parents simply have more kids than they could watch? Also, why was an unprotected grease pit in an area where anyone could step on the lid?

These and many other questions likely will be raised in court proceedings. That's because the incident raises a number of legal issues that can become a costly thicket for many home and business owners. My wife, Carol, and I know because such issues -- and our efforts to protect ourselves from them -- led to the personal legal saga that is chronicled on this blog. All of the horror stories with which regular readers have become familiar -- my unlawful incarceration of five months, loss of our home in Birmingham to a wrongful foreclosure, Carol's broken arm here in Greene County, MO -- originated with issues like the ones present in Sadie Andrews' accidental death at the Auburn ice-cream parlor.

Why did such issues confront us? We had the misfortune of having a man named Mike McGarity move in next door to us in late 1998. McGarity has the trappings of a standard-issue suburban dad -- a wife, two kids, a job at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama. But his belligerent and threatening tone, which we encountered regularly, hinted that something dark was going on. We eventually learned that McGarity, in fact, has at least eight criminal convictions in his background.

Bruster's Real Ice Cream in Auburn
(From dailymail.co.uk)
And yet, this menacing fellow decided he, his kids, his kids' friends, other adults, and a veritable cast of thousands (other neighborhood kids, many of whom we didn't know, didn't know their parents) should be able to turn our yard into a playground -- without bothering to ask for our permission. When I instructed McGarity to keep himself and his minions off our property, I was greeted with "I'm going to sue you for harassment" and "We're going to keep on coming."

Why was that a concern, aside from the fact McGarity had proven he's an ass, the kind of person we didn't want to deal with? (When asked to control the ear-splitting barking of  his coonhound dog, McGarity's reply: "You just need to get ear plugs."). Well, it involved the kinds of legal issues that will be confronting Bruster's Real Ice Cream in the months ahead.

One such issue is called "premises liability." Here is how findlaw.com defines it:

When someone enters your property, they have a reasonable expectation of not getting injured. This means that you, as a property owner (or non-owner resident), are responsible for maintaining a relatively safe environment. This is known as "premises liability." For example, a courier delivering a package may sue you for injuries if he slips and falls on an oil slick in the driveway.

Bruster's Real Ice Cream now faces major headaches over premises liability. Sadie Andrews and her family, under the law, had a reasonable expectation that the property owner would maintain a relatively safe environment. Instead, she stepped on the lid of a grease pit and drowned in the muck below.

What if McGarity, or another adult or child from his yard, had slipped and fallen on our property? The injured party likely would have sued us, even if we had maintained a safe environment. (Note: McGarity had already hinted that he was a litigious sort, threatening to sue us for harassment because we tried to exercise our right to keep him off our yard. This just added to the mountain of reasons we did not want him, or anyone affiliated with him, coming on our yard.)

What if a child had fallen on our concrete driveway and sustained serious head trauma? Our insurance rates likely would have skyrocketed, and we might have been dropped as an insured altogether.

Premises liability cases, under Alabama law, involve numerous variables, so its hard to predict the outcome of a particular case. But even if the homeowner prevails in court, the defense of such a lawsuit is likely to be expensive and might still count as a mark against you with an insurance company. The best idea is to try to prevent injuries on your property, and that's exactly what we tried to do. Little did we know, at the time, that McGarity was a hardened criminal, he has access to attorney Bill Swatek and his lengthy disciplinary record, Swatek receives favors from corrupt judges in Shelby County, and Swatek has ties to the national Republican political establishment (through his son, Dax, a GOP "consultant.")

A classic Alabama premises-liability case is styled Tuders v. Kell, 739 So.2d 1069 (1999). (Ironically, Rob Riley was one of the plaintiffs' lawyers in the case.) It involves two couples and a mother with two children (Tuders), who were passengers on a boat at Neely Henry Lake when a severe thunderstorm approached. With lightning beginning to strike, they sought the nearest available shelter in a pier and boat house, still under construction, belonging to Kell. About 15 minutes into the storm, the boathouse collapsed, killing three members of the Tuders party and injuring others.

The Tuders filed a wrongful-death and personal-injury lawsuit, based largely on principles of premises liability. The case went to the Alabama Supreme Court, and the landowner (Kell) prevailed. But one can only imagine how much it cost to defend the lawsuit, and it's likely Kell's insurance rates went way up or he lost his insurance altogether -- all because individuals decided to use his property without permission.

Another common legal issue, especially where children are involved, is called "attractive nuisance." Here is how it is defined at insurancequotes.org:

This law states that landowners can potentially be held responsible for a child injured on the landowner’s property due to an attractive nuisance. This is normally any kind of object that is potentially dangerous while simultaneously being inviting to children.

This likely will be an issue in the Bruster's case. Was Sadie Andrews attracted to the loose lid that wound up costing her life? Our situation also involved kids, and if one had gotten hurt on our property, could a lawyer have argued that trees in our yard served as an attractive nuisance? The answer is yes. That argument might not have prevailed in court, but the cost to Carol and me would have been enormous, either way.

A classic attractive-nuisance case in Alabama is styled Foster v. Alabama Power Co. 395 So. 2d 27 (Ala: Supreme Court, 1981). It involved a 15-year-old boy, who climbed on a transmission-line tower, came in contact with a high-voltage wire, and fell to the ground, sustaining permanent personal injuries. The power company prevailed at trial, upheld on appeal, but the cost of defending the case likely was huge.

The Andrews family
(From dailymail.co.uk.)
Our situation involved one issue that was not present in the Bruster's case: trespassing. As a business operating at midday, Bruster's was open to the public, so Sadie Andrews and her family had every right to be there. Our private property was not open to the public, so McGarity and his gang had no right to be there; they were trespassers.

In general, a landowner has no duty to trespassers, other than to refrain from wantonly or intentionally injuring them. That can change, however, when children are involved. Courts have wrestled with age as a factor with trespassing children -- some jurisdictions holding that liability adheres only when the child is under a certain age, such as 16 or 14.

Alabama has removed age restrictions, but a landowner still can be held liable for injuries to a trespasser, as spelled out in Lyle v. Bouler, 547 So. 2d 506 (Ala: Supreme Court, 1989):

A possessor of land is subject to liability for physical harm to children trespassing thereon caused by an artificial condition upon the land if

(a) the place where the condition exists is one upon which the possessor knows or has reason to know that children are likely to trespass, and

(b) the condition is one of which the possessor knows or has reason to know and which he realizes or should realize will involve an unreasonable risk of death or serious bodily harm to such children, and 
(c) the children because of their youth do not discover the condition or realize the risk involved in intermeddling with it or in coming within the area made dangerous by it, and

(d) the utility to the possessor of maintaining the condition and the burden of eliminating the danger are slight as compared with the risk to children involved, and 
(e) the possessor fails to exercise reasonable care to eliminate the danger or otherwise to protect the children.

Notice item (a), highlighted above. It says a landowner has a special duty to act if he knows children are likely to trespass. An article at alllaw.com says pretty much the same thing, calling it "Exceptions for Discovered Trespassers":

When people trespass with some regularity, property owners may begin to expect continued trespassing. In such a situation, the rationale of the general rule [that landowners owe no duty to trespassers] is destroyed. Now, the property owner can anticipate that dangerous conditions could pose safety hazards to people on the property. Thus, many states require property owners to warn discovered trespassers of dangerous conditions.

Mike McGarity and his gang of trespassers put us at significant legal risk, and we got cheated over and over again because we tried to protect ourselves from a menace with a criminal record.

Bottom line: We weren't aware of any dangerous conditions on our property, but what if McGarity or a child stepped in a hole that a ground squirrel had dug.? I saw such holes on our yard fairly regularly, and tried to fill them as soon as I spotted them. But what if I didn't get to such a hole in time, and a trespasser broke a leg? We likely would have been liable for damages -- and we certainly would have incurred major expense to defend a lawsuit from a belligerent criminal -- with access to a corrupt lawyer and crooked judges in Shelby County.

Is it any wonder we tried everything we could think of, under the law, to keep McGarity and his minions off our property? Is it any wonder Bruster's -- while not having to worry about the trespassing issue -- is likely to spend millions to settle a case that will revolve around issues of premises liability and attractive nuisance?

Reports of a $60-million connection between Paul Manafort and Oleg Deripaska could lead Mueller investigators to Sessions, Riley, and the Alabama Gang

Oleg Deripaska and Paul Manafort
Revelations last week that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort has $60 million of financial connections to a Russian oligarch could shine light on corruption involving some of the biggest names in Alabama politics, according to a prominent whistle blower and opposition researcher.

That's because Alabama GOP luminaries such as Jeff Sessions (Trump attorney general and former U.S. senator), Bob Riley (former governor), and Bill Canary (head of the Business Council of Alabama) have worked with Manafort on a $40 billion-dollar Air Force refueling-tanker deal that was to include the oligarch, Jill Simpson says.

If Special Counsel Robert Mueller digs deeply on the ties between Manafort and Oleg Deripaska, it could lead to Jeff Sessions' office -- and from there to any number of individuals connected to Bill Canary and Bob Riley, Simpson says. Canary already has fallen out of favor with a number of business elites, including executives from Alabama Power, so any ties to the Trump-Russia scandal are not likely to help his standing.

Simpson, who testified before Congress about a Republican plan to conduct a political prosecution against former Democratic Gov. Don Siegelman, said Manafort worked closely with Alabama officials on a proposal that called for the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. (EADS) to build the Air Force tanker, in part, at a planned construction facility in Mobile, Alabama. Deripaska, a billionaire, is part owner of a company that was to provide aluminum for the project.

The Pentagon wound up choosing U.S.-based Boeing over EADS, perhaps in part because of EADS' ties to seedy characters, including the Gaddafi family in Libya and individuals tied to Vladimir Putin in Russia. From a 2011 post on the competition:

The Russia Connection -- The Gaddafi family reportedly developed ties to EADS through big-money interests in Russia. Prime among them is Oleg Deripaska, a Russian billionaire who partly owns a company that was to provide aluminum for the EADS planes. Deripaska has close ties to Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin, and Russian interests reportedly have a significant stake in EADS. Was the Pentagon comfortable with this arrangement, given the rise of organized crime in Russia? Probably not.

Did Alabama political figures jump in bed with Russian organized crime, tied to Putin, in an effort to land the tanker project for EADS? Are Alabama officials still connected to the Russian mob, now that Donald Trump appears to be Putin's chosen puppet in the White House?

An NBC report late last week could shine white-hot light on those questions.  From the report:

Paul Manafort, a former campaign manager for President Donald Trump, has much stronger financial ties to a Russian oligarch than have been previously reported.

An NBC News investigation reveals that $26 million changed hands in the form of a loan between a company linked to Manafort and the oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, a billionaire with close ties to the Kremlin.

The loan brings the total of their known business dealings to around $60 million over the past decade, according to financial documents filed in Cyprus and the Cayman Islands.

Manafort was forced to resign from the Trump campaign in August 2016, following allegations of improper financial dealings, charges he has strenuously denied. He is now a central figure in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Investigators have said they are looking into Manafort's financial ties to prominent figures in Russia.

The Manafort-Deripaska relationship shows signs of money laundering. Reports NBC:

Lawyers specializing in money laundering said the loans appeared unusual and merited further investigation.

“Money launderers frequently will disguise payments as loans,” said Stefan Cassella, a former federal prosecutor. “You can call it a loan, you can call it Mary Jane. If there's no intent to repay it, then it's not really a loan. It's just a payment.”

The documents go on to reveal loans of more than $27 million from the two Cyprus entities to a third company connected to Manafort, a limited-liability corporation registered in Delaware.

In a recent post at her Facebook page, Simpson describes her research on Manafort and Deripaska:

This past winter and late last fall of 2016, I laid out exactly how Oleg Deripaska had washed (laundered) millions through Cyprus and the Caymans. Well turns out the grand total was $60 million, which was about what I thought. When folks got to looking closely at the $19 million Manafort was sued over -- which I had the paperwork on, as I track . . . Oleg for press folks . . .  well, oh my, it became obvious what was going on.  Oleg would give Manafort the money as a loan then mark it off the books for deals but never clear it for tax purposes, and when folks started looking at how Oleg sued Manafort in the Caymans but never filed a bar complaint, it was slowly becoming apparent that [the lawsuit] was all a big hoax.

How did Manafort and longtime GOP consultant Richard H. Davis develop connections to Alabama. Simpson says it developed via EADS and former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour:

I first started tracking Manafort and Rick Davis when they started dealing with Riley, Sessions, and Canary through Haley Barbour on the EADS tanker deal for Oleg Deripaska. I might add I went all the way to Russia to track what was up in 2008 with Manafort and Oleg and did a ton of stories. It will be fun to watch what the FBI does now that they realize how much Manafort was making working for Russian Government against our country.

Simpson has not been quiet about the ties between Manafort, Russia, and Alabama. She spelled them out to reporters who were looking into the Siegelman case:

I might add when I came forward [on the Siegelman case], I explained all this operation with Russia to 60 Minutes; it was how I got on the show. Folks said ugly things about me back then, but I told the truth on all I knew about Manafort and Rick Davis and the Riley/Sessions/Canary gang -- and their involvement with the top Putin Russian Business Spy Oleg Deripaska, who at that time was cooking a deal to get to supply the aluminum for U.S. tankers for EADS. 
I [talked] with reporters in New York and at the National Press Club about this. I might add I am the source that outed that whole story in 2008. Had I not known how they operated, from being a Republican back then, I never would have been able to out their whole Russian operation for progressives to push the FBI to investigate in 2016.

Simpson practiced law for 20-plus years, but she no longer is a member of the Alabama State Bar, thanks to a peculiar chain of events she apparently traces to the Alabama Gang, led by Jeff Sessions. She is firing back now as an opposition researcher, with information that could help FBI and Mueller investigators put Sessions and his cronies in a very bad place. She wrote the following to her Facebook readers:

Now y'all know how Oleg Deripaska became my hobby, as I have said many times in the last year -- since I was hired to [research] it . . . in late 2016 and early 2017, it is a heck of story and goes right to Jeff Session's doorstep. I might add that is why he and Russian ass-kissing buddies tried to destroy me in 2014 and 2015, but all the a-holes did was make me more determined than ever to see they went to jail. If I never work again, I am still satisfied I kicked their ass with my research in 2015, 2016, 2017.

Could that research, in fact, cause Sessions, Riley, Canary, and other Alabama politicos to wind up in federal prison? Stay tuned.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Ashley Madison customers revealed: Robert E. Tingle Jr., co-founder of Hoover-based accounting firm, appears at notorious extramarital-affairs Web site

Robert Tingle Jr.
The managing member of an accounting firm in Hoover appears on the Alabama list of paying customers for the Ashley Madison extramarital-affairs Web site.

Robert E. Tingle Jr. co-founded the Truitt Tingle Paramore and Argent firm in 1990. The firm's office is on Stadium Trace Parkway in Hoover. Tingle is married to Melanie N. Tingle, and the couple lives in Shelby County. They have two daughters. From Robert Tingle's bio at the firm Web site:

Robby co-founded the firm in 1990. As the managing member, he oversees business and personal tax management for clients. Robby also manages software implementation and instruction. He has deep expertise working with clients in several industries, particularly car dealerships and auto parts suppliers, veterinarians, manufacturing companies, closely-held businesses, and other professional services companies.

Truitt Tingle markets itself as a firm that clients can count on as a "friend":

Our mission is to earn clients for life by offering sound, proactive financial guidance, focusing on solutions that will help you manage and grow your operation. Equally important to us is building lasting relationships with our clients that reach beyond professional ties. We care deeply about you and your success.

Perhaps Mr. Tingle, via his activities on Ashley Madison, has taken that "friendly" notion a bit too far. Here is more about his background:

Robby earned his bachelor of science in business administration from Auburn University. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Alabama Society of Certified Public Accountants. Robby is active in his church, including service on the church finance committee. He is married with two daughters. In his free time, he enjoys travel and golf.

According to her Facebook page, Melanie Tingle has a B.A. in English from UAB and an M.A. in secondary education from the University of Montevallo. and she has taught at Thompson Middle School for 12 years. From her bio at Alabaster City Schools Web site:

Melanie Tingle
I have been married for twenty-eight years to Robby Tingle. I also have two grown daughters and a son-in-law. In addition, I have a quirky, old dog named Nikki. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, writing, and cooking.

We sought comment from Robert Tingle for this post, but he has not responded to our queries.


Article with links to 1-20 in Ashley Madison series

(21) Craig Oliver, attorney, Springfield, MO (1/24/17)

(22) Craig Lowell, attorney, Wiggins Childs, Birmingham (1/26/17)

(23) Thomas Mancuso, tax attorney, Montgomery, AL (2/16/17)

(24) Nicholas Arciniegas, attorney, Washington, D.C. (2/21/17)

(25) Griffin McGahey, vice president, High Cotton USA, Birmingham (3/16/17)

(26) Matthew Couch, attorney, Cabaniss Johnson, Birmingham (3/23/17)

(27) Dr. Keron Vickers, chiropractor, Birmingham (4/4/17)

(28) D. Paterson Cope, president, wealth management, Birmingham (4/20/17)

(29) Shawn Baker, developer, Blackwater Resources, Birmingham (4/24/17)

(30) David Deusner, attorney/forensics, Control Risks, Birmingham/Washington, D.C. (4/26/17)

(31) David J. Harrison, attorney, Geneva, AL (6/8/17)

(32) Michael Mullis, managing partner, Kelley and Mullis, Birmingham (4/12/17)

(33) David Healy, attorney, Ozark, MO (6/15/17)

(34) Tom Layfield, executive director of ALRBA, Montgonery, AL (6/19/17)

(35) Thomas T. Lamberth Jr., mortgage banker, BBVA Compass, Birmingham (6/20/17)

(36) Ron Ten Berge, exec. partner, Frontenac Private Equity, Chicago/Birmingham (6/28/17)

(37) Andy Schroeder, president, South Central Steel, Harpersville, AL (7/12/17)

(38) Richard Barsness, CEO, Incredible Pizza Co., Springfield, MO. (8/3/17)