And the Bingo plot thickened today after another round of dueling press conferences between Alabama Attorney General Troy King and the Commander of the Governor’s Task Force on Illegal Gambling, John Tyson. Late in the day, a Macon County Circuit Judge weighed in on things and two gaming facilities bingo halls casinos?… um. Well they announced they would reopen.
And we’re off:
As Walt posted below, Troy King convened the press this afternoon to announce his takeover of the Task Force, saying he had “relieved” John Tyson of his position. Read King’s full statement here.
Two hours later, John Tyson convened the press to say: fat chance.
“Mr. King’s press conference today is yet another delaying tactic so gambling interests can keep raking in money which they use to try to frustrate law enforcement.”
He fired five bullet points outlining why he didn’t plan on leaving his post with the Task Force and why King had no power to intervene with cabinet-level agencies. Here’s the first two:
“1. The Task Force was created by the Governor of Alabama, and the Attorney General has absolutely no ability to dictate how it will be operated.
2. I was appointed as Commander of the Task Force by the Governor. I serve at the pleasure of the Governor. The Attorney General has no more right to replace me than do the casino bosses.”
Tyson always impresses me with his delivery but today he was more adamant than ever:
“Make no mistake. What the Attorney General is doing today is a cynical effort to protect a few of his gambling buddies from equal enforcement of the law. It is part of a long pattern of acts and omissions by the Attorney General to perpetuate this unlawful activity.”
Read Tyson’s entire statement here.
Also this afternoon, a Macon County Circuit Judge extended a TRO against the Task Force, which purportedly barred it from exercising authority in any county except Mobile (where Tyson is DA.) During hearings last week, that breadth of scope was limited to Macon County, where VictoryLand casino is located.
Also this afternoon, the Country Crossing and White Hall casinos announced they would reopen. But I’m pretty sure those announcements were drawn up after King’s presser, but before Tyson’s. Country Crossing, for instance, released a statement which reads in part:
We have sought a declaratory judgment in this matter since the antics and drama of the Task Force escalated in early January. We applaud Attorney General King’s decision to seek a civil declaratory judgment to resolve this issue in a court of law.
That would only make sense if Tyson hadn’t rebuked King’s efforts to take over the Task Force.
Clear as mud? Stay tuned…