It’ll Be Fine (Collins)

Or maybe not, if journalists like John Archibald keep digging and reporting.

Just how did JeffCo Commission President Bettye Fine Collins escape censure by the State Republican Executive Committee on Saturday?  John fills in the blanks:

Among the committee members who defended Collins was Matt Lembke of Vestavia Hills, who said he was “shocked” at the “outrageous” attempt to condemn Collins.

Lembke is a lawyer with Bradley Arant Rose & White, by the way, which is paid by the county to help with the sewer debt. On Jan. 27, the commission voted 3-2 — with Collins on the “3″ side — to raise Bradley Arant’s pay cap to $3 million.

There’s more. Collins’ backers have repeatedly said her anything-before-bankruptcy stance trickles from Gov. Bob Riley, for whom she carries water.

Which is interesting. Because Lembke also has worked as counsel to Riley several times, including the bitter 2002 election contest. Lembke worked closely with the governor’s son, Rob Riley, before former Gov. Don Siegelman conceded.

For what it’s worth, the County Commission on Jan. 20 voted to pay Rob Riley’s firm $725,000 to represent the sheriff’s department.

For what it’s worth.

And while friends are great, a fearsome family is better.

For if Bettye Fine Collins’ name sends shivers down some backs, the name of her brother can make politicians full-on sweat.

Joe Fine, of Fine Geddie & Associates, is no partisan hack whose fortunes rise and fall on the wave of public opinion. He is a PACman and a kingmaker — one of the biggest purveyors of political cash in Alabama.

Fine Geddie’s 11 political action committees, with names such as BiPac, Leg PAC and CanPAC, gave out some $7.6 million in contributions since 2006, according to Secretary of State records. Not just to Republicans. Not just to Democrats. Everybody who was anybody got Fine Geddie money.

Larry Langford got it, and so did the Senate Democrats. Bob Riley got it, and so did the Republican Party.

In other words, follow the money.

Great work, John — you are performing real service to this community.  Keep it up!

11 Responses to “It’ll Be Fine (Collins)”

  1. Jennifer says:

    We LOVE John Archibald!! Altho, if he manages to put Bettye out of commission….haha, pun there…..what else will you have to blog about??

  2. Kathy says:

    I’m sure I’ll find something. :)

  3. Don says:

    Jennifer, if I were you, and I’m not because I don’t possess the right “equipment” :-) I wouldn’t worry about Kathy finding something to blog about because she’s rather innovative.

  4. Kathy says:

    Not to mention our public officials provide an endless supply of material. I haven’t even touched the whole Joel Montgomery domestic violence mess. Yet.

  5. Renee says:

    Yep, read that in this morning’s paper and had to shake my head and laugh at the same time. It’s pitiful. Thank heavens for Archibald!

  6. robert verdi says:

    you do now what is going on with your mayor is only one part of a nationwide municipal bond scandal that involves cdr financial products and various financial groups across the country, for more information check here

  7. robert verdi says:

    for example:

    CDR and the Democrats

    The withdrawal of Bill Richardson recently made the headlines. In his case CDR gave money to Si SE Puede, a PAC formed to help pay Richardson’s expenses at the 2004 Democratic Convention. In exchange its argued that CDR received favorable treatment in regards to bids to do business for GRIP (Govenor Richardson’s Investment program), bid rigging in short.

    Another aspect of pay for play, and one more likely to land a politician in jail is CDR’s tactic of finding friends, fundraisers and associates of elected Democrats, and hiring them as “Consultants”. In New Mexico it was Richardson friend Mike Stratton who was hired by CDR. On a side note the Director of Si Se Puede Fred Duval was hired by UBS ,a Swiss bank, as a consultant. UBS was also one of several banks that ended up receiving a cut of the GRIP pie. The collusion of CDR, elected Democrat, and consultants that occurred in New Mexico is similar to other CDR linked scandals. In Philadelphia it was Ron White (now deceased) who received money and super bowl tickets from the company and was hired as a consultant. He was also an associate and fundraiser for Philly Mayor Sharpe. In Pennsylvania as a whole it was Alan Kessler who was the chief lobbyist for CDR and a top fundraiser for Ed Rendell. The most egregious example would be Mayor Larry Langford of Birmingham Alabama, who is accused in a 101 count indictment of using his friend William Blount and lobbyist Albert LaPierre to funnel money, jewelry, cloths, and watches into his hands in exchange for government favors while he was President of the Jefferson County Commission. Jefferson County, which includes Birmingham is on the precipice of the greatest municipal bankruptcy in history. There are also questions of CDR’s actions in Atlanta and several of municipalities and CDR is currently being sued by over 20 school districts and cities in addition to the criminal investigations.

  8. Susan says:

    Wow. Look who knows how to copy and paste. Hats off!

  9. Kathy says:

    There are a few little problems with your efforts to make this a Democratic issue, Robert. Bettye Fine Collins is a Republican, as were former Commissioners Mary Buckelew (took a plea) and Gary White (convicted but managed to get a new trial). Bill Slaughter, the attorney who advised the county on the bond deals, was a big McCain supporter. I’d have to classify this as a bipartisan scandal.

  10. Sansou says:

    John’s column has sparked quite a few comments! 34 at last count.

  11. alarob says:

    I never made the connection between Bettye Fine and Joe Fine until Archibald drew it for me. Explains a lot.

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