- Associated Press - Friday, May 27, 2016

OPELIKA, Ala. (AP) - Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard helped arrange and attended meetings with state officials as part of his economic development work for a municipal-owned gas utility, southeast Alabama officials testified Friday.

Dothan Mayor Mike Schmitz testified that Hubbard attended meetings Gov. Robert Bentley, Alabama Department of Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield and others about industries were trying to recruit to the area. Republican Rep. Paul Lee of Dothan testified that he thought Hubbard was acting as speaker during those meetings.

Testimony in Hubbard’s ethics trial turned to his economic development work for Southeast Alabama Gas District, a gas utility owned by 14 cities. The gas district for a time was paying Hubbard $12,000 a month through a contract. Prosecutors have accused Hubbard of using his political positions to obtain $2.3 million in work and investments and of improperly using his office as speaker to lobby the governor’s office on behalf of his clients. Bentley and Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield are expected to testify later in the trial.

The general counsel for the Alabama Ethics Commission sent a letter to the utility clearing Hubbard’s employment with the utility. However, the letter cautioned that Hubbard could not use the “mantle of his office” in the job.

Media outlets reported that Enterprise Mayor Kenneth Boswell testified that a search committee recommended Hubbard partly because of his political role.

“Actually it would be his position for the state of Alabama and his networking ability,” Boswell said, according to al.com.

Boswell, a member of the SEAGD board, testified that the board voted unanimously to hire Hubbard on the recommendation of a search committee.

Schmitz testified that Hubbard’s work included negotiations on getting Commercial Jet, a Miami-based aviation maintenance company, to locate to the area.

Testimony will resume Tuesday.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide