Corrupt Lobbyist Makes Racist Comment
- 07/20/2011By Debra SaundersGoogle
Racist comments were heard Monday in an Alabama courtroom as the prosecution played wiretapped phone calls during a corruption trial against a pro-gambling lobbyist. The phone conversation was between lobbyist Jarrod Massey, a Country Crossing employee, and Jay Walker, their spokesmen; the two were discussing how to rebut statements made by casino opponents. Massey suggested that other casinos must speak out, however, Greenetrack casino from the mostly black Greene County should not, because “we don’t need to blacken this thing up any more than possible.”
Massey pleaded guilty to bribery and explained before the prosecution that he offered campaign contributions to four senators in exchange for their favorable voting for a pro-casino constitutional amendment.
Massey frankly stated that, though his word choice was poor, gambling problems are often associated with the African-American community, and that his goal was specifically to win over the hearts and minds of white republican voters.
The wiretapped phone calls were recorded during an FBI investigation into state corruption in 2010. One of the opponents of the amendment, Senator Scott Beason, taped meetings about the legislation. When Beason testified, the defense provided evidence in his own tapes in which he calls Greenetrack customers “aborigines.” Beason was recorded saying that the casinos could lure black voters to the polls with free food, casino credit, and bus rides.
Country Crossing casino developer Ronnie Gilley also pleaded guilty. Several others casino developers and state legislators are still in trial. Massey and Gilley are both testifying on behalf of the prosecution; they both gave specific testimonials about senior legislators accepting large campaign contributions in exchange for supporting the amendment.
After the embarrassing incident, the gambling amendment disappeared from Capitol Hill without ever going to vote.