150 online
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 31 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
General News    H3'ed 4/24/09

Conservationists Win A Hollow "Victory" On Alabama's Gulf Coast

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)   No comments
Message Roger Shuler
Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer
Alabama conservationists appeared to have won a surprising verdict recently when the state Supreme Court blocked plans by the Bob Riley administration to build a luxury resort hotel at Gulf State Park.

But the Republican-dominated high court left a clear path for Riley to get the hotel built, meaning any victory for conservationists might be short lived.

That is one of the key findings in "Riley's Raid for the Rich on Gulf State Park Beach Continues," a major investigative report at Locust Fork News-Journal.

Glynn Wilson and yours truly teamed up to show that Riley still has plans to use state land for a privately run Ritz Carlton-style hotel. And the Alabama Supreme Court, while temporarily blocking the plan, cleared the way for the governor and his cronies to eventually get their way. And it might not take long.

The report spotlights several themes that have become familiar since Riley took office in 2002. These include:

* Efforts to favor and enrich Riley supporters, at the expense of the general public;

* A pliant and lackluster mainstream press, which tends to accept Team Riley's version of events without asking hard questions;

* A GOP-dominated court system that tends to ignore legal precedent by favoring Riley and his corporate buddies--even when judges appear to vote against them.

Who are some of Riley's supporters who stand to benefit from the Gulf State Park hotel? No. 1 on the list is Auburn University, which would lease the land and help operate the facility. And who helped get Auburn involved, pushing the project into the "luxury" category? According to depositions filed in the case, it was none other than Dr. Susan Hubbard, an Auburn faculty member who just happens to be the wife of Alabama Rep. Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn). Hubbard happens to be chair of the Alabama Republican Party and one of Bob Riley's staunchest political allies.

What about the somnolent Alabama press? It reported the following about Hurricane Ivan and its impact on Gulf State Park:

After the old lodge was wrecked beyond repair, Gov. Bob Riley’s administration came up with a plan to build an upscale park hotel in a partnership between Auburn University and Atlanta-based West Paces Hotel Group.

Court documents, however, show Riley had plans for the luxury hotel long before Ivan hit.

As for the Alabama Supreme Court, records show that it backs Riley even when it appears to be voting against him.

Press reports focused on one aspect of the recent Gulf State Park ruling, which blocked Riley's plans--for now. But the press did not show how the Supreme Court left a clear path for Riley, or a future governor, to get the hotel built.

How did it happen?

A trial court in Montgomery had ruled against the Riley plan on five grounds, saying it violated three state laws and two provisions of the Alabama Constitution. But the Alabama Supreme Court overruled the trial court on four of the five grounds.

The high court found that the Riley plan did violate the State Park Concession Act because it involves a lease for a term greater than six or 12 years. But the Supreme Court found for Riley on every other point.

Next Page  1  |  2

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Rate It | View Ratings

Roger Shuler Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

I live in Birmingham, Alabama, and work in higher education. I became interested in justice-related issues after experiencing gross judicial corruption in Alabama state courts. This corruption has a strong political component. The corrupt judges are (more...)
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Boy Scouts and the Horrors of Their "Perversion Files"

Bush vs. Obama on Spending: It's No Contest

Why Is Karl Rove Planning to Visit the Backwoods of Alabama?

What's the Real Story Behind Karl Rove's Divorce?

Is "Morning Joe" Scarborough a Murderer?

Rove Might Be Trying To "Pull A Siegelman" With Julian Assange

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend