Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer
The biggest story in Birmingham last week involved the University of Alabama Board of Trustees and its refusal to address plans for an on-campus football stadium at UAB--even though the chairman of the board's athletics committee had enthusiastically endorsed the plan in September.
Many UAB supporters are baffled and outraged, understandably so. After a presentation on the stadium proposal less than two months ago, Athletics Committee Chairman John McMahon said he thought the project would "get done and get done quickly." At last Thursday's board meeting in Tuscaloosa the project was pronounced dead.
What happened between September and November? UAB supporters tend to point angry fingers at Paul W. Bryant Jr., president pro tempore of the Board of Trustees and son of UA's late, Hall of Fame football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant. Blazer fans are correct to be suspicious of Bryant Jr.'s motives; he long has been seen as an impediment to UAB's aspirations in the sports arena. But UAB President Carol Garrison (photo above) should not escape scrutiny. Her weakness as a leader helped set the stadium fiasco in motion.
To be sure, Bryant Jr. is a shady character, and public documents show that Bryant is a businessman with deeply skewed ethics, as we pointed out in a post with a not-so-subtle headline:
Court documents from Pennsylvania show that one of Bryant's companies, Alabama Reassurance, engaged in a "wire fraud scheme" to deceive insurance regulators and "inflate financial statements." A Philadelphia lawyer/entrepreneur named Allen W. Stewart received a 15-year prison sentence in the case, but an investigation of Alabama Re was called off by U.S. Justice Department officials in Alabama.