Politics interrupts BCS Championship fun

Posted by: John Shryock - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP/WSFA) - Dothan's Country Crossing entertainment center remains open for business, but Gov. Bob Riley's task force on illegal gambling is taking matters to the Alabama Supreme Court.

Thursday the Riley administration asked the Alabama Supreme Court to let it raid the new bingo casino in Dothan before the search warrant expires Sunday, January 10.

The task force filed a request Thursday asking the court to lift a judge's order that blocked the raid planned for 4 a.m. Wednesday at Country Crossing near Dothan.

Task Force leader David Barber said Circuit Judge P.B. McLauchlin blocked the raid at the $87 million entertainment complex without any involvement by the task force. McLauchlin set a hearing for Jan. 20. By then, the search warrant will have run out.

"The machines we are using here at Country Crossing are the same as the thousands of other machines in operation across Alabama," said Country Crossing spokesman Jay Walker. "Yet, Governor Riley has singled us out as illegal and approved a raid, complete with machine guns and tactical gear to be aimed at employees and patrons.  Governors don't decide the legality of anything in Alabama, that is the job of judges, juries and courts.


Meanwhile, someone has taken the war of words to the skies over California. An airplane is currently flying a banner over crowds of Alabamians at the BCS National Championship game reading, "Impeach Corrupt Alabama Governor Bob Riley." The company flying the banner says it will not disclose the purchaser's name.

The Associate Press has learned the purchaser's name, however. A longtime Riley critic, Tuscaloosa businessman Stan Pate, said he paid for the sign. He said he wanted everybody to see that "Bob Riley is a phoney."

Country Crossing developer Ronnie Gilley issued a statement denying any involvement in the banner. "I found out about this through the news just like everyone else did," said Gilley adding, "While I disagree with almost everything Governor Riley has done over the past year or so, I would not go to these lengths to discredit or embarrass him."

"Gambling thugs assassinated Albert Patterson in Phenix City fifty years ago for trying to enforce the law, so we really shouldn't be surprised by character assassination from this generation's casino bosses," was the statement issued by Governor Riley's spokesman, Todd Stacy upon learning of the banner.

Riley is in California on an economic development trip.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. WSFA 12 News contributed to this report. All Rights Reserved.)