Racism and Corruption in Alabama Casino Scandal

07/17/2011
By Pamela PattersonGoogle

In an Alabama courtroom this Monday, racist remarks were heard while the prosecutors played recordings of phone conversations made by a pro-gambling lobbyist accused of bribery.  Jarrod Massey, employed by the Country Crossing casino, was speaking with spokesman Jay Walker about refuting the anti-casino remarks being made; Massey suggested that other casinos must speak up, though not Greenetrack of the primarily African-American Greene County for “we don’t need to blacken this thing up any more than possible.”

 

Massey admitted to bribing politicians, four senators, in exchange for receiving their vote on a casino-friendly constitutional amendment.  

 

Massey further remarked that, although he might have not chosen his words wisely, he does associate gambling problems with the black community, and that his interest was in convincing white republican voters to support the amendment.

 

The FBI wiretapped and recorded the conversations during a state-wide corruption investigation in 2010.  Senator Scott Beason, an unabashedly outspoken legislator against casinos, recorded meetings that he participated in and then gave the tapes to the court.  While in court, however, the tapes turned out to be a double-edged sword when Beason was recorded calling the Greenetrack patrons “aborigines.”  

 

Ronnie Gilley, one of the heads at Country Crossing, also pleaded guilty.  He and Massey are both testifying on the prosecutions behalf.  They gave detailed testimonies explaining how senior casino executives (including themselves) gave significant campaign contributions to various lawmakers in exchange for their support of the amendment.  Several casino employees and state lawmakers are still in trial.

 

With the exposure of such corruption, the casino amendment vanished from Washington without ever being voted upon.

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