Lobbyist Pleading Guilty In Alabama Bingo Bribery Case

An Alabama lobbyist who the government alleged bribed Alabama legislators to support a bill that would benefit the gambling industry will plead guilty and has worked out a deal with federal prosecutors, according to court documents.

Jarrod D. Massey will plead guilty to conspiracy to several counts (including federal programs bribery and aiding and abetting) for allegedly offering $200,000 dollars in campaign contributions, $1 million dollars for legislator’s discretionary use, an undetermined amount in campaign contributions and $2 million in campaign support and services to legislators for their votes, according to a notice of intent to plead guilty filed by his lawyers on Monday. In exchange, federal prosecutors will recommend the honest services and fraud scheme charges against him be dismissed.Massey served as chief lobbyist to Ronald E. Gilley, who owns a controlling interest of Country Crossing real estate in Alabama.

According to the indictment, Massey told an unnamed state legislator that they “might miss an opportunity to really cut yourself a good deal” if that politician didn’t support the cause and said there was money “at play that could be had that, you know, could only be made available to certain candidates.”

He also discussed a plan to funnel $1 million per year through a public relations firm owned by “Legislator 2” in exchange for his vote in favor of the pro-gambling legislation, according to the indictment.

“I would suggest that that look something like — and, again, it is up to you for what you would want to use it for — but basically there is a million dollars of business that is going to come through that PR entity, one way or the another, you know, annually,” Massey said, according to the indictment.

“I’m telling ya, it’s a good deal… I mean, you in the catbird seat,” Massey allegedly told the legislator.

Lawyers for Massey did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment, and the Justice Department said they would be putting out a statement shortly.

Late Update: The indictment also features Massey recounting to Gilley a conversation he had with Republican State Senator Jim Preuitt, in which he criticized the talent featured at an event for a fellow state senator:

Look, you, you ante up with us,” I said, “We raised over a quarter of million dollars for [State Senator] Harri Anne Smith in one night with what I would tell you is not necessarily the, you know, most current artistry. Uh, if I bring in a [contemporary country music star] or somebody like that in your area, no telling what I can raise. “But,” I said, “Senator that was in one night.” I said, “That gives you just a little example of the type of stuff we’re committed to do for our friends . . .

Information on which music star Massey was referring to wasn’t immediately available, but in a 2008 ad paid for by Gilley, County singer George Jones asked voters to support Smith in her failed congressional campaign.

Late, Late Update: The Justice Department just put out a release on the guilty plea. “Jarrod Massey has admitted that he bribed members of the Alabama state legislature in exchange for their votes in favor of electronic bingo gambling legislation,” Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer said in a statement. “In a democracy, votes should be cast on the merits and in the best interests of constituents, and not influenced by bribes and the possibility of personal gain. Mr. Massey has admitted his wrongdoing, and will now face the consequences of his corrupt conduct.”

The Justice Department said in a news release:

During his plea, Massey also admitted he was involved with bribe payments to former State Senator Larry P. Means, who abstained from an earlier vote on the pro-gambling legislation in 2010, but after allegedly soliciting bribes, voted in favor of the legislation. In addition, Massey admitted that he gave $5,000 to State Senator Quinton T. Ross Jr. for his vote in favor of the pro-gambling legislation, and that Ross solicited an additional $25,000 from Massey for his reelection campaign in the weeks leading up to the vote. Ross ran unopposed in the election. Finally, Massey admitted that he gave State Senator Harri Anne Smith more than $13,000 between December 2009 and March 2010, in return for her vote in favor of the pro-gambling legislation.

Here’s the statement of fact in the case:

Pin Alabama Massey Statement of Fact

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