Tuesday, April 5, 2011

AUBurgeddon: Forbes connecting the dots?

JailAubie What took them so long? Regular readers of IBCR have been “in the know” about this stuff since November 18 of last year. The people who have been following the failure of Taylor Bean & Whitaker and Colonial Bank, the indictment and upcoming trial of the McGregor Eleven and NCAA hanky-panky at Auburn University understand that there are bona fide reasons why these three cases intersect so well.  They fit together like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, whose picture doesn’t become clear until all (Ok, most) of the pieces are in place.

Forbes Magazine’s Walter Pavlo is one of the mainstream media pundits who seems to be getting the picture.

Four months prior to the Colonial Bank closing, its chairman and CEO, Bobby Lowder, announced his retirement.  Great timing.  No charges have been filed against Lowder, yet.   Lowder, who is on the Board of Trustees for Auburn University and graduate of Auburn, has seen his world crumble these past few years.  Besides the bank he founded in 1981 going bust, he had appointed Milton McGregor (Auburn Alum and good friend), to the board of directors of Colonial. 

McGregor, whose name is more synonymous with being an athletic booster of Auburn football, also owns gambling establishments in Alabama that go under the name of VictoryLand.  McGregor was arrested this past October on bribery and fraud charges along with 10 others related to buying votes on gaming laws in the state legislature.  Also on the board of Colonial was Pat Dye, former Auburn football coach, who left the program in 1992 under the shadow of NCAA violations for alumni paying players of the team.

Go read Pavlo’s entire article. He sees a lot of the same faces in very unusual places. Just like you have. You’ve read about it here for the last 4-1/2 months. Some of you have been shaking your heads and mumbling phrases like “conspiracy theories” and “black helicopterism.” Energy Vampires seem to be everywhere.

Maybe we weren’t so “out there,” after all.

Assuming that the Court allows a jury to hear and see the wiretap evidence at the heart of the  bingo case, McGregor and his merry band of lobbyists and legislators go on trial in June. Later this summer, both Taylor Bean and Colonial BancGroup will be liquidated under Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. As these legal proceedings wrap up, documents and other evidence currently under seal and/or protected by attorney client privilege will emerge to see the light of day and the scrutiny of the national media. The NCAA will continue to expand its ongoing probe into Auburn’s recruiting tactics and student-athlete academic matters.

When national media organizations like Forbes begin connecting the dots, it’s only a matter of time before others start digging and dispatching investigative journalists to the 334 area code. More dots emerge.  More pieces of the puzzle fall into place and the picture becomes clearer with every story that gets published.

The coming weeks and months are certain to produce even better imagery that what Pavlo is seeing.

Exit Question: What would happen if a criminal organization gained control of a major college athletics program?

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