There’s no honor among FODs

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 4, 2002

MONTGOMERY &045; It would seem that there is no honor among &uot;FOD’s&uot;…Friends of Don Siegelman.

In a story broken by Eddie Curran, the Mobile Register investigative reporter who has become a thorn in the side of the Siegelman administration,

he reports that Lanny Vines of Montgomery and J. Wray Pearce of Birmingham are now at each other throats in some ugly litigation.

Vines, a super-successful Montgomery trial lawyer, is a close ally and major supporter of Siegelman’s; Pearce is best remembered as the man who paid $250,000 for the Siegelman home in Montgomery which was appraised at about $125,000.

Curran reported that court records in the litigation indicate Vines lost most than $25 million on the stock market during the past few years, and because of bad advice from Pearce, his accountant, he has been ordered by the IRS to pay some $15 million in taxes, interest and penalties.

In his response to Vines’ suit, Pearce has demanded that Vines disclose &uot;every bit of money paid to Gov. Siegelman in the past five years as legal fees, advances on fees and for any other purposes.&uot;

He also suggests that it was Vines who orchestrated the sale of the Siegelman home.

It is all very ugly and couldn’t come at a worse time for Gov. Siegelman.

There was a lot of tongue-clucking four years ago when gubernatorial candidates Don Siegelman and Fob James reported spending collectively more than $10 million in their campaigns.

The clucking is louder this year. Gubernatorial candidates Siegelman and Bob Riley have raised more than $18 million, and you can be sure not much of that will be left after election day.

Riley, the Republican challenger, leads the way with a fraction over $10 million raised.

While Siegelman trails in total money-raised he has more to spend in the final five weeks than his opponent.

I am not a fan of Shakespeare but I remember that one of his plays was titled &uot;Much Ado About Nothing.&uot;

That title pretty much expresses my feelings about the Charlton Heston donnybrook in Alabama.

You surely know the story. Heston came to Alabama to stump the state in behalf of Republican candidates Bob Riley, Jeff Sessions and Mike Rogers, but the night before he met with Gov. Don Siegelman and signed a letter endorsing him for governor.

It is a funny story … one that added a bit of levity to what has become and will continue to be an ugly campaign … but politically significant it is not.

Not a half dozen folks will go to the polls on Nov. 5 to vote for Siegelman or Riley based on Heston’s endorsement.

As to Heston’s inexplicable posture in the governor’s race, comes to mind my all-time-favorite story of a fence-straddling politician.

Way back in the 1900s, when prohibition was a heated issue, a candidate was asked where he stood on that issue.

His reply: &uot;Some of my friends are for prohibition, some are against it … and I’m for all my friends.&uot;

That seems to be the sentiments of

Mr. Heston in the Alabama governor’s race.

There is a secretary in the offices of Southern Poverty Law Center Director Morris Dees who must be most uncomfortable.

He or she mistakenly sent a letter written by Dees to the office of the opposing counsel in a lawsuit which seeks to have the Ten Commandments monument removed from the lobby of the State Judicial Building.

In that letter, Dees describes Chief Justice Roy Moore as a &uot;religious nut.&uot;

Dees has filed a motion

asking that the letter be stricken from the court record.

Nothing has been said about the fate of the secretary who mis-addressed the letter