Riley leaves $7.9 million for Alabama AG's office

Former Ala. Governor Bob Riley
Former Ala. Governor Bob Riley

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA/WBRC) -  In his final days in office, Governor Bob Riley sent almost $8 million dollars in money from BP to the Attorney General's office.  The money was to cover expenses of the oil spill and the state's fight against gambling.  Many are wondering why all the money didn't go to folks who were victims of the spill.

Bob Riley authorized the transfer the Friday before Governor Robert Bentley took office.   A memo released by the Legislative Fiscal Office said, "According to the Office of Attorney General, it plans to spend those funds in FY 2011 and FY 2012 on salary, benefits, and professional services expenses incurred for litigation related to the oil spill and gambling."

Attorney General Luther Strange's office found there are no restrictions on the use of the money - even though it came from BP.

Former Attorney General Troy King said that's not the case.  And he said he knew nothing about the transfer.

"The state of Alabama represented to BP that any money we received from them were going to mitigate and pay for damages that was done by tem on Alabama's Gulf Coast," he told Fox6 WBRC.

A spokesperson for Governor Bentley said the Administration questions whether there are any restrictions on that money and has asked the Attorney General's office to return it.

If there are no restrictions on the use of the money, some people think it should go to help fund education.

"It such a big confusion now on how we're going to do things with the schools, closing the schools," said Kim Barnes, a teacher.  We need that money to make education a better place.  I really think we could have used that money toward education."

A spokesperson for the governor says the attorney general has agreed to return the funds.   So it's now up to Governor Bentley to decide where it will go.

Copyright 2011 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.