Here in Alabama, we have always understood our reality in the sense that New York, for example, has Broadway, and we have Montgomery in the sense that our state government often entertains us with drama and comedy to a high degree of theatrical education. Our latest show involves our state attorney general, our lust for gambling and our yearning for political victory through legal ingenuity.
I am thankful that The Montgomery Independent, a gutsy weekly with Bob Martin as its editor and publisher, is articulating the historical moments making up the latest chapter of the conflict involving our attorney general Luther Strange, our pursuit of happiness through gambling in a casino and our ability to manipulate the law with a skill akin to Shakespeare’s remarkable talent.
The factual threads that bind us, according to the Independent, are that the Poarch Creek gambling tribe paid our attorney general $100,000 via a political contribution to tomahawk the competition, which in this case is Milt McGregor’s casino titled VictoryLand.
This time the Creeks have the power.
And sure enough, Sir Luther somehow finagled our Supreme Court to issue a search warrant that led to the shut down of the casino and the confiscation of its “bingo” machines.
“Foul play” hollered Montgomery attorney Joe Espy, who rides the white horse for McGregor.
Indeed, how was it that our Supreme Court with the Ten Commandment judge, Roy Moore, now serving as chief justice, over-ruled a circuit court judge to issue the search warrant that led to the collapse of the house of McGregor?
A study of the case shows that our attorney general found an obscure case that gave the higher court the authority to do so.
And so it was that Alabama troopers, following the orders of the attorney general, initially searched the casino to find that it was operating illegally then confiscated the sinful machines.
A cameo role in this drama is being played by Johnny Ford, mayor of Tuskegee, who walked to center stage because his city is in the county of Macon, the home site of the casino. “Jobs,” yelled Ford, you’re taking jobs from our good people, who support their families with their paychecks from VictoryLand.”
Meanwhile, a good time is being had by all who chose to gamble in the Indian facilities across Alabama. How can the Indians run casinos in Alabama? While regular Alabamians cannot?
Because it is written that Indian Reservations are protected by the federal government. And somewhere it is written that when we gave some of the stolen land back to the Creeks we did so with the understanding that they can use the land without restriction from the states.
Every time The Montgomery Independent writes about this comedy of errors, emphasis is placed on the $100,000 political contribution to Luther Strange’s campaign for attorney general.
The implication is that the Creeks own Alabama’s attorney general.
Meanwhile, there may be those who remember it was Montgomery attorney Joe Espy, now the attorney for VictoryLand, who successfully defended a whole bunch of people charged with bribing legislators to support gambling interests.
Espy successfully defended most of these cases in open court. This was quite a show of legal strength.
This leads me to believe that if this case ever gets to open court, Strange things might happen. Pardon the pun, but there it was just waiting to be used.
So what does all this mean? New York has Broadway. We have Montgomery.
If this case ever gets to open court, it might just be the best play we have ever seen.
It would be a comedy if it were not so serious.
Gillis Morgan is an associate professor emeritus of journalism at Auburn University and an award-winning columnist. He can be reached at email@example.com