Author: Jason Johnson

Moore urged to ‘drop out’ after sexual misconduct allegations

Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore continues to characterize a string of sexual misconduct allegations as “a desperate political attack,” even as a fifth woman has come forward claiming Moore sexually assaulted her when she was a 16-year-old in Gadsden, Alabama. While Moore’s campaign is threatening legal action against The Washington Post, which published a bombshell article last week detailing the first four allegations, some in the GOP have shifted from “waiting to see all the facts” to urging Moore’s exit from the race, with some even threatening action to remove him if he wins the Dec. 12 election against Democrat Doug Jones. The latest allegation was brought to light at a Nov. 13 press conference at the New York office of attorney Gloria Allred. There, Anniston resident Beverly Young Nelson told reporters she knew Moore when he was an Etowah County prosecutor in the late ‘70s from the Olde Hickory House restaurant where she worked after school as a waitress. Nelson said Moore had shown “flirtatious behavior” toward her and would “sometimes pull the ends of [her] long hair” and “compliment [her] looks.” She produced her 1977 yearbook from Gadsden High School where Moore appears to have written: “To a sweeter, more beautiful girl I could not say ‘Merry Christmas’ — Christmas 1977. Love, Roy Moore D.A.” Nelson said it was “a week or two” after he wrote those words that Moore...

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County rejects ‘residency requirement’ for top staff

During discussions about filling top public works and engineering positions — a process that’s moving into its second year — two-thirds of the Mobile County Commission soundly rejected a proposal that would require whoever accepts those positions to live within the county. Commissioner Connie Hudson is said to have been floating the idea of such a “residency requirement” for weeks, but the first public acknowledgment came during discussions about the job description and pay scale for four top employees in engineering and public works. When former engineer Joe Ruffer retired after 42 years at the helm of a very consolidated department,...

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Police investigating rapes reported downtown

The Mobile Police Department is investigating two rapes reportedly committed by men the female victims met in downtown Mobile’s entertainment district. On Monday, Chief Lawrence Battiste confirmed MPD was investigating the pair of sexual assaults, which were reported the weekends of Oct. 1 and Nov. 11. While the investigation is still in its initial stages, Battiste said there are some similarities between the two reports. The chief’s comments came after a server at the LoDa Bier Garten restaurant on Dauphin Street detailed what she and other employees were allegedly told by an MPD investigator in a social media post that quickly went viral. So far, it’s been shared more than 700 times. “A detective just stopped by and let one of our servers know that he’s looking for two men; one white guy with blonde streaks in his hair, the other is a black guy and he’s bald,” the post reads. “They’re both between 20-30 years old, and they’re apparently hanging around downtown telling girls they’re in the military, coaxing them away and raping them.” Battiste confirmed most of those details but didn’t add much about the investigation, which has only recently been evaluated as a case potentially involving the same suspects. He did say that only the rape reported over the Nov. 11 weekend involved a second, Caucasian male, adding that the victim in October reported a single,...

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NFWF approves $33 Million of coastal restoration projects

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) has approved $33.5 million for five projects that will fund the acquisition of vulnerable parcels of coastal land and move forward restoration and conservation projects along Alabama’s Gulf Coast. Separate from the RESTORE Act and Alabama’s own civil settlements with BP, the funds for these projects are derived from the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund that NFWF uses to manage criminal fines BP has paid since the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Of the $2.5 billion settlement agreed to in those 2013 criminal pleadings, a total of $356 million is earmarked for projects...

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Judge: Lawsuit against Robert Bentley can continue

A lawsuit against Robert Bentley will proceed now that a judge has found the sovereign immunity enjoyed by state officials can’t shield the former governor from any liability he’d have if former Law Enforcement Secretary Spencer Collier’s legal action against him is successful. The lawsuit was filed in Montgomery County in April of 2016, shortly after Collier blew the whistle on Bentley’s long-rumored affair with his former staff member, Rebekah Mason. Prior to going public with his knowledge of the affair and the now-infamous recording of a phone conversation between Bentley and Mason, Collier and several of his top...

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Unclaimed court funds exceed $140,000: Any of it yours?

Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis is trying to get the word out about hundreds of thousands of dollars in unclaimed funds that could still be claimed by the interested parties involved in those cases or the heirs to those individuals estates. Derived from older judicial matters adjudicated before the Probate Court, these unclaimed funds — in most cases — stem from estates left by deceased persons whose heirs or next of kin couldn’t be located during the legal process. “If someone died leaving property to be distributed to their heirs, and those heirs, for whatever reason, can’t be located, we hold those monies for them at the conclusion of the estate administration,” Davis told Lagniappe. “We hold them for five years, and if they’re not claimed within that five-year period, we remit those monies to the county.” While the court makes efforts to notify interested parties while cases are still active, that can sometimes be a near impossible task. However, Davis said his office has historically tried to publish a record of those funds and the individuals the court believes have a legal claim to them. At the closing of each fiscal year, probate staff members tally up any unclaimed funds associated with cases that have been inactive for a period of at least five years before remitting monies associated with those cases to the Mobile County Commission....

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Corps of Engineers’ Mobile District assists Puerto Rico recovery

Two days after Hurricane Maria broadsided Puerto Rico in late September, a small team from the United States Army Corps of Engineers’ Mobile District was deployed to begin a massive and ongoing response to the monumental infrastructural disaster on the the island. According to Mobile District Commander Col. James A. DeLapp, in national emergencies the Corps is dispatched through the Federal Emergency Management Agency to perform public works and engineering tasks needed to move along recovery efforts. The district that gets assigned is based on geographic proximity to the event, and typically, DeLapp said, the Jacksonville District would cover...

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Bystander charged for firing on robbery suspect found shot to death

The Mobile man charged criminally after a bullet he fired at a fleeing robbery suspect accidentally struck a nearby home was found shot to death over the weekend — less than two weeks after his prompt arrest drew criticism locally. According to the Mobile Police Department, Tyrone Taylor, 23, was found deceased near the 4000 block of Cresthaven Road shortly after 2:51 a.m. Sunday morning. An MPD spokeswoman said officers were responding to reports of shots fired in the area when Taylor’s body was found. So far, very few details have been released about circumstances of Taylor’s death, though...

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