Day 2: 2 Hubbard staffers not aware of contracts - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Day 2: 2 Hubbard staffers not aware of contracts

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Mike Hubbard talks with wife Susan Hubbard and attorney Bill Baxley during a break on day 2 of the Mike Hubbard trial on Wednesday, May 25, 2016 in Opelika, Ala. (Source: Todd Van Emst/ Opelika-Auburn News/ Pool photo) Mike Hubbard talks with wife Susan Hubbard and attorney Bill Baxley during a break on day 2 of the Mike Hubbard trial on Wednesday, May 25, 2016 in Opelika, Ala. (Source: Todd Van Emst/ Opelika-Auburn News/ Pool photo)
Matt Hart questions Barry Whatley on the second day of  Alabama speaker Mike Hubbard's trial on Wednesday, May 25, 2016 in Opelika, Ala. (Source: Todd Van Emst/ Opelika-Auburn News/ Pool photo) Matt Hart questions Barry Whatley on the second day of Alabama speaker Mike Hubbard's trial on Wednesday, May 25, 2016 in Opelika, Ala. (Source: Todd Van Emst/ Opelika-Auburn News/ Pool photo)
Matt Hart questions Barry Whatley on the second day of  Alabama speaker Mike Hubbard's trial on Wednesday, May 25, 2016 in Opelika, Ala. (Source: Todd Van Emst/ Opelika-Auburn News/ Pool photo) Matt Hart questions Barry Whatley on the second day of Alabama speaker Mike Hubbard's trial on Wednesday, May 25, 2016 in Opelika, Ala. (Source: Todd Van Emst/ Opelika-Auburn News/ Pool photo)
LEE CO., AL (WSFA) -

Day two of Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard’s ethics trial focused on Hubbard’s businesses and his consulting contracts with several companies. The State is trying to show Hubbard used his position as chairman of the Alabama Republican Party to bring in money and business to his companies, Craftmaster Printers and Auburn Network.

Hubbard is also accused of using his position as speaker to obtain consulting contracts and represent several companies in violation of the state’s ethics laws.

BARRY WHATLEY

The prosecution called Barry Whatley to the stand first. Whatley is the president and co-owner of Craftmaster Printers. Hubbard and Whatley bought the company along with one other person in 2000.

At the time, the company was $8.8 million in debt, Whatley testified.

Whatley testified the company hasn’t been financially successful from the beginning.

“It’s been like raising the Titanic. It’s been a struggle since day one,” Whatley said.

Whatley testified that in 2011 they decided to recruit investors to save the company. The plan was to find 10 wealthy people who could invest $150,000 for a total of $1.5 million.

Hubbard recruited eight of the 10 new investors, Whatley said.

Much of Whatley’s testimony centered on Craftmasters’ relationship with a political marketing company called Majority Strategies out of Florida. Majority Strategies has used Craftmasters for printing and mailing for political campaigns. Whatley described the relationship as a “roller coaster.”

Whatley testified Craftmasters didn’t make much profit off the business from Majority Strategies, and Hubbard didn’t take any profit or commission from the business from Majority Strategies.

However, the money that came in would’ve paid for equipment, employees, the company’s lease and other expenses. Craftmasters leases its building from a company that Hubbard and Whatley also own.

On cross examination, Whatley testified that Craftmasters has a good reputation, and they did work for many large companies like Microsoft and Ralph Lauren and a number of universities.

CHRIS HINES

The second witness the state called was Chris Hines who was once senior vice president of Auburn Network.

Hines testified that Hubbard had contracts with four entities, Southeast Alabama Gas District, Robert Abrams with CV Holdings, Edgenuity, and the American Pharmacy Cooperative, that each paid from $5,000 to $12,000 per month for consulting services.

Hines confirmed he received checks from these groups for the amounts listed in the contracts. Hines testified he didn’t know exactly what Hubbard did for these companies.

One of the checks from Edgenuity listed lobbying in the memo line.

On cross examination, Hines testified that the contract included wording that nothing would take place in Alabama in accordance with the state’s ethics laws.

JEFF WOODARD

The state’s third witness was Jeff Woodard, the clerk of the Alabama House of Representatives, whose testimony focused on a bill during the 2013 legislative session.

Hubbard is accused of voting for Senate Bill 143 when he knew he had a conflict of interest.

Woodard testified that Hubbard voted yes for the bill that included language that would give American Pharmacy Cooperative a monopoly on Medicaid prescriptions in the state.

APCI was one of the companies Hubbard was under contract with for consulting.

Under cross examination, Woodard testified the budget that ultimately became law didn’t include all of the additional language.

JOSH BLADES

The final two witnesses of the day were on Hubbard’s staff in 2013.

Josh Blades is Hubbard’s former chief of staff. He called Hubbard a friend and sometimes got emotional on the stand.

Blade testified that during the 2013 legislative session, when he was chief of staff, he was involved in meetings and discussions about adding the APCI language to the general fund budget.

He testified that on the day of the vote, he was told for the first time that Hubbard was in a contract with APCI. Blades said he asked Hubbard about it, and Hubbard confirmed he did have a contract with APCI but only for work outside the state.

Blades said he then tried to have the extra language removed at the request of the speaker, but it wasn’t possible. He then advised Hubbard to not vote for the budget because it would look bad.

Hubbard went on to vote in favor of the budget. According to Blades, Hubbard said not voting would raise too many “red flags.”

Blades testified he was upset after the vote because he was concerned there would be legal ramifications.

During cross examination, Blades testified that the speaker knew the language would eventually be removed and that was the reason he voted for the budget.

Blades’ testimony then turned to a trip he took with Hubbard. The two were going on a work trip and flying out of the Atlanta airport. While on the way to the airport, they stopped at the Chick-fil-a headquarters where Hubbard said he had a meeting planned.

The two were traveling in a state issued SUV with a security guard.

Blades said he had the understanding that Hubbard was there to talk to Chick-fil-a about a company that was in his district, and Blades believed that company was Capital Cups.

Blades testified he didn’t know Hubbard had a consulting contract for $10,000 a month to do work on behalf of Capital Cups.

Blades then testified that later Hubbard asked Blades to help get a patent through the US patent office for Robert Abrams, who had an interest in Capital Cups.

Blades testified that through his role as chief of staff he made contact with the staff of a Mississippi congressman to find a contact at the patent office. He then communicated with a man at the patent office to try to push the patent through.

The process was taking time, and sometime later, Abrams was flying overseas, and the speaker told Blades it was very important the patent get through, Blades testified.

“Mr. Hubbard told me he had 100,000 reasons to get this done,” Blades said. “It made me uncomfortable when I heard it. I immediately thought the speaker meant money in some form.”

JASON ISBELL

Another former employee in the speaker’s office testified Tuesday. Jason Isbell was the chief counsel in the speaker’s office in 2013.

Isbell’s testimony focused on the language added to the general fund budget during the 2013 legislative session.

Isbell said he transcribed the language and made sure Hubbard was aware of it because of the length of the additional language and the stage it was being added. Hubbard said the additional language was fine, Isbell testified.

Isbell said he didn’t know at the time that Hubbard was working as a consultant for APCI.

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