MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP/WSFA) - Several hours after a judge issued an order blocking any raid at VictoryLand by Governor Bob Riley's Task Force on Illegal Gambling, an official response from Task Force commander John Tyson.
"This order is exactly why the Riley Administration has been fighting corruption for years. This order is a poster child for corruption. It takes us back to a time when a few people were allowed to violate the rights of many. The order is wrong and it is dangerous. It denies the people of Alabama, the protection of the Governor, the Supreme Court, the Legislature, and the rule of law, not to mention the Alabama Department of Public Safety and the Alabama Beverage Control Board. The order was orchestrated to cripple law enforcement in its service to the public until a higher court can correct it. That is why it is extremely dangerous. It attempts to provide protection for all the casinos illegally operating in Alabama. We are not going to stand for it, neither should the people of Alabama. We are moving to immediately deal with it, and we are going to do that lawfully, just as the task force always has."
Circuit Judge Tom Young of Alexander City issued the order Friday shortly before VictoryLand, the state's largest casino, reopened.
Young ruled that the task force commander, John Tyson, has no authority in Macon County because Tyson is the district attorney in Mobile County. The judge, whose circuit includes Macon County, said the order was necessary to prevent the "unequal, invidious and discriminatory" enforcement of the law by Tyson.
Several hundred customers were in VictoryLand shortly after it reopened. Owner Milton McGregor also surrendered the liquor license for the business to block any action by liquor officials who can act without a search warrant.
As of Friday evening, Tyson, who is in Mobile at this time, hadn't filed any paperwork regarding the restraining order. He said he hadn't been officially notified of the order until 3:45pm when an attorney from the other side faxed him a copy.