Alabama State University paid Attorney General Luther Strange's LLC $7,500 just weeks after he took the oath of office to become the state's top law enforcement official. The payments are recorded on Alabama State's open records website.
Now Tuskegee Mayor Johnny Ford is taking issue with the payments because according to a complaint he filed with the Alabama Ethics Commission, Strange never filed a Statement of Economic Interest for the year 2011, when he received the payments.
"Luther Strange did not disclose" Ford told a group of media in front of the commission's offices. "I don't care what it was for. It was a payment from a public institution to a public official who is required by state law to disclose."
[DOCUMENT: Ford's Ethics Complaint Against Strange (.pdf)]
According to public records, ASU made a pair of payments to Strange LLC, a company which lists the attorney general as the registered agent, on January 28, 2011, and February 8, 2011. Each payment from Alabama State's Center for Leadership and Public Policy was for $3,750 and was for consulting services. Strange was sworn in as attorney general on January 17, 2011.
WSFA 12 News reached out to the attorney general's office for a response to the claims made in the complaint, as well as the work that Strange LLC did for ASU, and his office wouldn't comment because it had not yet received a copy of the complaint.
By law, elected officials are required to file forms with the Alabama Ethics Commission detailing their financial interests and dealings.
Ford's lawsuit alleges that Strange violated sections regarding conflicts of interest and disclosure.
"He received consultant payments from a public institution and did not report that."
Ford has made it a habit of filing various complaints against state officials. He recently filed a formal complaint with the Justice Department alleging that the voting rights of residents of Macon County were violated by Strange, former Gov. Bob Riley, and others for attempting to block electronic bingo operations in the county, a measure voted on and approved by voters.
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