CORRECTED Statement From Houston County Economic Development Authority - They Operate Center StageRickey Stokes
Posted by: RStokes
Date: Jul 25 2012 5:54 PM
STATEMENT BY ERNIE HORNSBY, LEGAL COUNSEL
FOR HOUSTON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION (HEDA)
I am surprised and disappointed by the Attorney General’s actions today. However, I am even more surprised and disappointed by the statement issued by the Attorney General’s Office that Center Stage had not been cooperative at all up until now.
I have the utmost respect for Attorney General Strange and whoever drafted this statement from his office was obviously seriously misinformed. When I first got involved with HEDA back in July of last year, the very first thing I did was to call the Attorney General’s Office to let them know we would fully cooperate with them in the operation of charitable bingo at Center Stage in coming up with an approach to identify those areas we could agree on and to resolve any disputes we had in a reasonable manner, as we believed our scaled back bingo games complied with Alabama law and the court order applicable to charity bingo at Center Stage. I had several follow up calls as well as a number of unreturned calls to the Assistant Attorney General handling the case seeking to move forward with our commitment to work with the Attorney General’s Office in this matter. I spoke with Attorney General Strange outside a federal courtroom in Montgomery back in December and reiterated to him personally our commitment to try and work our way through this in a reasonable manner so that what happened today would not be necessary, that HEDA could continue meeting the schedule for regular charitable contributions HEDA had established and that large numbers of employees would not lose their jobs. I thought I had an understanding that would be the approach so you can understand my disappointment at what happened today.
I have repeatedly assured law enforcement that our books and finances are always open and transparent for their review. It is just without any basis to imply that millions of dollars in “illegal gambling profits,” or any bingo revenue for that matter, are being pocketed by anybody out of HEDA operations.