I’m sure you’ve seen or heard about the MEGATHREAD at www.tidefans.com (link fixed).
Maybe you’ve also seen and heard about the ATPB thread at www.tigerdroppings.com. (UPDATE: Thread restored)
Together, these two forums have combined for thousands of pages, tens of thousands of posts and quite literally millions of page views. If there is ever going to be an entry in Websters for “Going Viral,” right next to the definition would be links to these two URL’s.
It’s also worth noting that loony conspiracy sites like Alex Jones’ Infowars and Dylan Avery’s Loose Change have also generated tons of traffic for their owners by hyping the black helicopterism of global plots to take down the US of A, or something.
One of the things that allows Jones and Avery to perpetuate their loony theories is the narrative that they are “just asking questions.” That sounds legitimate enough, until you realize that as soon as they’re given real answers (by reputable scientists and writers at Popular Mechanics), they dismiss the answers and come up with a whole new set of questions. Much like a video game villain or monster comes back after you mash the RESET button.
So what’s the difference between the black helicopterists at Jones’ and Avery’s sites and the theories spun by the denizens of the MEGATHREAD and ATPB? Aren’t they both wildly speculative and don’t they all describe a plot that’s just too crazy to be true?
There is some stuff out there that stretches the limits of credibility, and some folks have taken speculative reasoning as Gospel truth. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t factual information there, nor does it mean that because it all can’t be true, none of it is.
In truth, some of it is certainly true and it can be documented by court filings, media reports and other credible sources. Here are five reasons showing that the Auburn recruiting scandal surrounding Cam Newton, the pay-for-play allegations and political corruption in Alabama are all part of the same monster:
- Milton McGregor’s ties to Auburn University, Colonial Bank and politics in Alabama. It is no secret, nor is it speculation, that the one-time statewide political powerbroker has connections to all three sides of the AUBurgeddon triangle. McGregor and former Colonial CEO Bobby Lowder are tight. Or, they were tight. McGregor sat on Colonial’s Board of Directors. McGregor has given millions to Auburn. McGregor will stand trial for attempting to corrupt the legislative process by conspiring with lobbyists and bribing politicians. He is of course, innocent until proven guilty but the prosecution is confident.
- The FBI’s interview with John Bond. The FBI does not go on fishing expeditions. They did not just wake up one chilly morning in November and decide to go hassle a former Mississippi State quarterback about possible violation of NCAA recruiting regulations. The FBI doesn’t do NCAA investigations. They do criminal investigations, and during the conduct of those investigations, they only interview witnesses that they believe have legitimate, useful information in developing a criminal case against one or more defendants. Each and every interview with such persons of interest is documented on federal form FD-302.
- Business relationship between AU Athletic Director Jay Jacobs and indicted co-defendant Robert Geddie. Again, no speculation, no secrets. Auburn graduate Robert Geddie used to head up the lobbying firm Fine-Geddie (along with an Alabama graduate, Joe Fine). As documented by his seminal piece in the Tuskegee News, Paul Davis outlines the relationship between Geddie’s firm and Auburn’s Tigers Unlimited Foundation. TUF paid millions to Geddie’s firm over several years. Current AU Athletic Director Jay Jacobs was TUF’s first president and resigned that post when he was selected as AU’s AD. For the naysayers and skeptics out there, let me lay it out for you: The current athletic director of a major college sports program has a demonstrated business relationship with a man indicted on charges of conspiracy, money laundering and bribery. Like McGregor, Geddie is innocent until proven guilty and deserves his day in court.
- Bobby Lowder. Duh! If you’re running a improper benefits scam, where’s the money gonna come from? How about the former CEO of the once mighty Colonial BancGroup, who also happens to be a sitting Auburn Board of Trustees member, who chairs the BOT’s finance committee, who has poured millions into the school, who has been fingered by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools as a micromanager of both academic and athletic affairs at Auburn, who cements alliances with other BOT members through loans and other business relationships, who provided the aircraft in the infamous JetGate scandal? Like I’m telling you something new here, right?
- Sam Franklin is the Golden Thread, tying it all together. Sam Franklin is a senior partner in the Alabama Powerhouse law firm of Lightfoot Frankin White. Sam Franklin represents Bobby Lowder in the class action lawsuit filed by former Colonial employees. Sam Franklin represents Auburn University in the Cam Newton case, and has represented the school in all NCAA compliance matters, dating back to AU’s most notorious run-in with the NCAA, the Ramsay Tapes Scandal. But on November 30, 2010, Franklin got a new client—Robert Geddie. But Franklin doesn’t practice criminal law, so his hiring as Geddie’s lead counsel in a criminal proceeding is an eyebrow raiser at worst and at best, slam dunk evidence that the cases are all tied together.
We also know that federal investigators are wrapping up an expanded probe that goes beyond the scope of the original documents and, judging from the language in the prosecution’s court filings and statements from BingoGate defense attorneys, there is a likelihood that a new round of indictments is forthcoming. DOJ is notoriously tight-lipped about ongoing investigations and only disclosed the expanded probe’s existence because they had to in order to avoid compromising it and protect the evidence. But going back to the FBI’s interview of John Bond and media reports that the FBI was also exploring ties between McGregor and the Newton recruitment, it is not black helicopterism to suggest that investigators are making their way up I-85.
In their court filings, the prosecution indicated that the picture would become clearer on January 31, 2011. That date is now less than a week away and by this time next week, we should have a much better idea of who, and what comes next.