McGregor defends character attacks in casino civil trial - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Attorneys work to establish timeline for casino civil trial with Lucky Palace President

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

The morning of the fourth day of testimony in the Macon County casino civil suit started with attorneys attacking Milton McGregor's credibility.

Attorneys accused McGregor of using influence to draft gaming regulations to favor VictoryLand. McGregor told the court he resented any claims that he would ever do anything inappropriate or illegal.

Attorneys also hammered on the next witness, Lucky Palace President Paul Bracy, Jr.

Bracy, through his testimony and the lawsuit, illustrated a timeline leading up to the filing of the lawsuit. Attorneys attempted to discredit Bracy by revealing large tax issues Bracy is still working to remedy and by pointing out that Bracy may not have understood everything related to the gaming regulations or to his own company.

Read the full lawsuit HERE.

Timeline of events:

1983- Gray Law Firm begins to represent VictoryLand on a $10,000 per quarter retainer.

November 4, 2003 - Macon County voters pass Amendment 744 to the Alabama State Constitution approving the operation of electronic bingo in the county for charity.

November 11, 2003 - McGregor told the court on Thursday, May 10, 2012 that he met with Sheriff Warren and his attorney, Fred Gray, Jr. regarding his intentions to operate electronic bingo for charity. At the meeting McGregor offered the "assistance" of two VictoryLand attorneys, John Bolton and David Johnston, to help draft the Bingo Rules and Regulations "should Gray and Warren want them." McGregor testified that Bolton, who did assist Gray, did so not from the point of view of VictoryLand, but did so to write rules that would be "fair and equally applied."

December 5, 2003- The "Rules and Regulations for the Licensing and Operation of Bingo Games in Macon County, Alabama" were promulgated by Sheriff Warren. These are known as the "Original Rules." This set of rules stated that a 'qualified location' to operate e-bingo would have a value of $5 Million, including land, building and improvements. Before it could be considered a 'qualified location' Sheriff Warren had to inspect it, because of this, only an existing facility could immediately open its doors to operate e-bingo - the only existing facility that met these qualifications at this time was VictoryLand.

December 17, 2003 - The first Class B Bingo License issued for the conduct of bingo games at VictoryLand to the Tuskegee Human and Civil Rights Multicultural Center. Fred Gray Sr., father of rule drafter Fred Gray Jr. and member of the Gray Law Firm, is the President of this charity. Milton McGregor is an officer for this charity.

December 2003 - Paul Bracy Jr., the eventual President of Lucky Palace, LLC., meets with Sheriff Warren at a business known as Harrison's Body Shop. At the meeting Bracy informed Warren of his intention to acquire a license to operate an electronic bingo facility.

February 11, 2004 - The Gray Law Firm catches fire. Many documents pertaining to this issue were lost in the flames.

February 17, 2004 - Lucky Palace formed.

April 5, 2004 - Lucky Palace received its first pledge from a charity to apply for a bingo license for Lucky Palace. Lucky Palace told the charity it would pay $42,000 a year. The application was for Shorter Community Development, Inc. which is one of the plaintiff charities in the lawsuit.

June 2, 2004 - The "First Amended and Restated Rules and Regulations for the Licensing and Operation of Bingo Games in Macon County, Alabama" was promulgated by Sheriff Warren. This set is known as the "First Amended Rules." This set of rules changed the value of a 'qualified location' from $5 Million to $15 Million. It also created the "Fifteen License Minimum" stating that the operator would not have a 'qualified location' without at least 15 charities applying for licenses for that location.

June 2, 2004 - Fred Gray, Jr. faxed a copy of the "First Amended Rules" to McGregor and John Bolton, at attorney for VictoryLand who is alleged to have helped draft the rules and regulations.

June 10, 2004 - The Tuskegee News publishes a copy of the "First Amended Rules" notifying the public of their existence for the first time.

June 11, 2004 - Lucky Palace notified Sheriff Warren by letter of its intention to "build, own and operate a 'qualified location' " to hold a Class B Bingo License. This letter gave Sheriff Warren a June 23 deadline to respond otherwise they would assume a license would be granted once requirements were met. Warren did not respond, nor did he have a legal responsibility respond. Bracy told the court he was aware of that during testimony on May 11, 2012.

June 15, 2004 - Lucky Palace notified Sheriff Warren by letter that it was continuing to operate under the "Original Rules." It was stressed to Warren in the letter that the process of land purchases, site development, environmental assessments and associated legal and consulting fees were all based on the "Original Rules" which stated a facility and improvements had to have a value of $5 Million. Warren did not respond to this letter.

June 2004 - Lucky Palace secures around 26 total charities to apply for licenses thereby exceeding the "Fifteen License Minimum."

July 21, 2004 - Bracy met with Sheriff Warren in Warren's office to discuss the concerns of Lucky Palace and the adoption of the "First Amended Rules" and any rule changes that may have been forthcoming.

July 30, 2004 - Bracy sent a letter to Sheriff Warren asking for his guarantee that should they build a facility under the "First Amended Rules" guidelines, providing it met all qualifications, licenses would be issued to charities for Lucky Palace to operate electronic bingo.

August 5, 2004 - Sheriff Warren replied to Bracy by letter stating he "reserved the right to amend the regulations as necessary" but "did not see any amendments to the regulations in the foreseeable future." Warren added that the "First Amendment Rules" were the guidelines in place and were to be followed.

November 10, 2004 - Bracy created and submitted his own Application for a Bingo Operator's License seeking Warren's signature on the documents of intent. Warren returned this application with "Return: Not Approved. Building not complete. Building not qualified." hand-written on the inner envelope of the letter. This was to say that Lucky Palace's location was not 'qualified' because it was not completed. A location cannot apply for a "Bingo Operator's License." There is no such thing as a "Bingo Operator's License." A Charity must apply for a Class B Bingo License to operate electronic bingo at a facility. That facility, under the rules, has to be standing for Sheriff Warren to inspect before Warren will grant the application for the Class B License.

November 23, 2004 - Lucky Palace sought clarification on what constituted "capital improvements" under the "First Amended Rules." This was in attempt to ensure that if Lucky Palace met all of this draft's qualifications, licenses could be issued. Bracy told the court on Friday, May 11, 2012 that he wanted Warren's signature and assurance.  In the meantime, Bracy attempted to attract investors including a company called Lever Securities for $50 Million. Bracy met with Planet Hollywood representatives to discuss branding parts of the facility as Planet Hollywood. Bracy also contacted Silver Slippers, a company he wanted to manage Lucky Palace. Bracy purchased land with his own money, and received options on land in Lucky Palace's name for the eventual facility.

January 2005 - Bracy met with McGregor to discuss electronic bingo. Bracy told the court on May 11, 2012, that he discussed splitting the cost of improvements to lines with McGregor since Lucky Palace was meant to be constructed across from VictoryLand. Bracy also wanted to share McGregor's billboards and the cost of advertisement. Bracy also hired Joe Turnham (Turnham has served as the Chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party) to lobby Sheriff Warren. Lucky Palace paid Turnham $50,000. Turnham learned from Warren that Warren was favorable to competition. At the time Turnham was also working with a different group trying to do the same thing for a company owned by a man named Frank Thomas who owned Macon County Investments (MCI). Bracy told the court he was never aware of Turnham working for MCI. The defense displayed a document originally produced by Lucky Palace of changes Lucky Palace wanted made to the "First Amended Rules." These changes were submitted to Sheriff Warren. Bracy says he was never aware of this document. These rules were drafted by Joe Turnham and Bobby Segall. Segall is an attorney - at the time of this case he was representing MCI's gaming interests. Segall was eventually recruited to serve on Milton McGregor's defense team for the 2011 Gambling Corruption Trial. Bracy claimed throughout testimony that he knew nothing of attempts to pilot a third bingo facility in Macon County and to turn the area into the "Tunica of Alabama."

January 6, 2005 - The "Second Amended and Restated Rules and Regulations for the Licensing and Operation of Bingo Games in Macon County, Alabama" were promulgated by Sheriff Warren. The "Second Amended Rules" were allegedly primarily drafted by Fred Gray, Jr., the son of a VictoryLand attorney on retainer. The "Second Amended Rules" set a cap on the number of charities that may apply for a Class B Bingo License at 60 charities. This became known as the "Sixty License Maximum." The plaintiffs in the eventual lawsuit claim that Warren promulgated this amendment with full knowledge that more than 46 Class B Licenses had been issued to charities associated with VictoryLand. This meant that Lucky Palace could no longer have the "Fifteen License Minimum." According to 2012 court proceedings McGregor had 53 charities holding licenses for VictoryLand. As of print date (May 11, 2012) all 60 licenses have been issued to VictoryLand.

July 25, 2005 - Bracy submitted "Application Packages" for 22 charities wanting to apply for Class B Bingo Licenses at Lucky Palace. These applications were returned by Sheriff Warren due to the fact that Lucky Palace did not have a 'qualified location.'

July 2005 - Bracy met with Sheriff Warren at Warren's home. Bracy told the court on May 11, 2012 that the Sheriff would not sign a letter to guarantee licenses for Lucky Palace. Bracy alleged Warren told Bracy that if Bracy wanted to do business in Macon County, that Bracy would have to sue him.

August 17, 2005 - Lucky Palace sent a letter to Sheriff Warren expressing concerns over Warren's "repeated dismissals" of efforts to acquire bingo licenses in Macon County. Pre-approval was again requested from Warren. Bracy told the court on May 11, 2012 that Warren told him he would "be a fool to build a facility" if he didn't have an assurance of a license. Warren never responded to this letter.

May 2, 2006 - Fred Gray Sr., VictoryLand attorney and father of Fred Gray, Jr., Sheriff Warren's attorney, drafted a memo to Gray Jr. regarding a Lucky Palace attorney (Gary Huckaby) and his request to see documents pertaining to Sheriff Warren and Lucky Palace. Gray Jr. told the court on Thursday, May 10, 2012 that Gray Sr. had a prior relationship with Huckaby and that's why Huckaby and Gray Sr. were in contact with matters regarding electronic bingo.

December 18, 2006 - Seventeen Macon County charities that had wanted Class B Bingo Licenses to operate at facilities at Lucky Palace filed suit against Sheriff Warren.

March 2, 2007 - Milton McGregor and his company Macon County Greyhound Park (VictoryLand) were added as defendants in the suit. Since this time, two of the charities were removed from the suit leaving 15.

 

Lucky Palace, LLC. and 17 Macon County charities are suing Sheriff Warren, VictoryLand and McGregor for lost profits after Lucky Palace and its charities were unable to obtain a license to operate an e-bingo facility. The group alleged conspiracy, tortuous influence, violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, better known as 'RICO' as well as violations of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Court will resume Monday morning with Bracy still on the witness stand.

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