TUSCALOOSA, Ala., Aug. 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- After filing a federal lawsuit against Alabama public officials nearly two months ago alleging conspiracy and abuse of power emanating from Gov. Robert J. Bentley's office, Alabama One Credit Union today added Governor Bentley and his Deputy Legal Advisor to the lawsuit as defendants. The lawsuit alleges that public officials, enabled by the personal and direct participation of Gov. Bentley, conspired to attempt to coerce tens of millions of dollars in legal settlements from the credit union through improper and unwarranted regulatory sanctions after it received clean bills of health from state and federal regulators.
Defendants now include Governor Bentley, the Governor's Chief Legal Advisor David Byrne, Deputy Legal Advisor Carrie McCollum, State Sen. Gerald H. Allen, Administrator of the Alabama Credit Union Administration Sarah Moore, attorney Justice D. "Jay" Smyth III, attorney Albert G. Lewis III, former Alabama Credit Union Administration Administrator Larry Morgan, former Alabama One Credit Union employee Lori Ramos Baird, and attorney Bobby Cockrell.
The suit alleges that the public officials grossly abused their power and state positions solely to enrich a political and personal friend – Tuscaloosa plaintiff's attorney Justice D. "Jay" Smyth, III, who allegedly orchestrated the scheme to attempt to pressure and coerce Alabama One into settling five frivolous lawsuits that he and cohorts had filed against the credit union.
"We have continued to examine the evidence and it points to the inescapable conclusion that Governor Bentley personally and directly participated in the conduct we allege in our Complaint and that the scheme we allege emanated from the Governor's office," said Jeven Sloan, an attorney representing Alabama One Credit Union. "The evidence that we have seen also demonstrates that the regulatory and governmental actions aimed at Alabama One and Mr. Carruth had nothing to do with any legitimate public purpose or government function, but rather were intended to further political and personal agendas.
"We will continue to gather and examine all of the relevant evidence and to hold all responsible parties accountable," Sloan continued.
The lawsuit highlights secret meetings held at the state Capitol with the Governor and his Chief Legal Advisor, who is a former law partner and longtime friend of attorney Jay Smyth. These secret meetings, which also included State Senator Allen and other high-ranking officials, were held to directly discuss Alabama One and Smyth's clients' lawsuits against the credit union.
As the Complaint details, "Smyth's campaign had one objective: convince his personal and political friends in powerful positions – Governor Bentley, Senator Allen, Byrne, and others – to use improper and unwarranted state regulatory pressure as a lever to coerce and extract settlements from Alabama One for Smyth, his partners, and his clients."
Evidence of this campaign and improper use of state resources is found in more than 100 email communications and accounts of numerous in-person meetings replete with defamatory falsehoods levelled against Alabama One. Copies of these emails are available to interested media upon request.
The suit was filed in Federal Court in Tuscaloosa on behalf of Alabama One and its CEO, John Dee Carruth, following threats that the Alabama Credit Union Administration (ACUA), which was allegedly being used as "weapon of destruction," would place Alabama One in conservatorship – the agency's harshest sanction. Alabama One and Mr. Carruth filed the lawsuit to seek recovery for the injuries they have suffered as a result of the alleged sustained and relentless campaign of regulatory and governmental overreach to push a nongovernmental agenda.
Alabama One's lawsuit contains allegations that it must prove by a preponderance of the evidence.
SOURCE Alabama One Credit Union