North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL


August 9, 2012

Updated: Our Views: Gilley's ultimate gamble failed

AN NJN EDITORIAL — Editors note: The original editorial mistakenly stated that Milton McGregor had lost his casino and dog track business, which was incorrect. McGreggor still owns and operates Victoryland in Shorter. He decided to temporarily stop greyhound racing and remove the elecronic bingo machines until legal issues are resolved. The business is open for simulcast wagering and dining seven days a week.

Ronnie Gilley is a gambler, just as much as the customers he sought to play the so-called electronic bingo machines at his south Alabama casino. He was just playing much bigger stakes.

He gambled when he tried to bribe state legislators into voting for laws that would favor his project, as well as Milton McGregor’s Victoryland complex at Shorter.

Then he decided to play it safe, sort of, when he agreed to a plea deal in the federal investigation of corruption in the legislature. He assumed that the Justice Department had all the evidence it needed to convict McGregor and a rogue’s gallery of politicians, lobbyists and others, thanks to all the secret recordings made by State Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale. Gilley decided to cut his losses and take a lesser sentence.

In retrospect, he bet when he shouldn’t have, and didn’t when he should. While Gilley awaited his fate, the rest of those charged beat the rap after two trials.

Meanwhile, Gilley was sentenced to six years and eight months in prison, after pleas for home incarceration went for naught. Two others who copped plea deals got lesser sentences.

And at last, this sordid chapter of the state’s political history has come to an end.

So who won and who lost? Hardly anyone really won, actually. McGregor and friends won their continued freedom, but lost so much else. Beason lost his political momentum, and he will be forever linked to the word “aborigines.” The feds lost the case, and slithered back to Washington. Gilley lost the most. The only winners: the Poarch Creek Indians, who now have a monopoly on the state’s slot machines for the moment.

Maybe someday we will legitimately decide which kinds of gambling are truly legal in Alabama.

But don’t bet on it.

Text Only
  • Danielle Cater: What kind of banana are you?

    They say what goes in is what comes out. I’ve heard it said, “Garbage in, garbage out.” There’s a lot of truth to that statement right there.

    July 28, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Bass fishing is just in my blood

    I was born the daughter of a fisherman. My dad was the pastor of a local church and the manager at various Jefferson County Waste Water Treatment plants, but anyone who knows him, knows he is a fisherman at heart.

    July 21, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Making memories not that hard

    Do you spoil your kids? Do you spend enough on them? What really matters when it comes to the well-being of your children? These questions are real doozies and I think the answers vary according to the family.

    July 9, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Graduation leads to hard decisions

    The caps and gowns are ordered, the invitations have been mailed. Checks are being written all across the country, it must be graduation time.

    May 29, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Longevity in marriage still possible

    I have officially seen it with my own eyes. I have witnessed it with my own life. Yes, I have seen a couple who has been married 60 years and still love each other. Even more than that, they still respect each other and still genuinely love to be around each other.

    May 27, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: ‘Girl in the front’ loves her job

    I’m 33 years old. Yes, I just admitted that. The reason I throw this fact out there so freely is that I have now, officially, been working for the North Jefferson News for over 10 years. That’s right, almost 1/3 of my life has been spent behind this desk. (And yes, I’ve had the same desk all 10 years.)

    May 27, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: What memories are you leaving?

    Death hurts. It hurts when it hits close to home and it hurts when it hits the people who are closest to you.

    May 27, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Life is precious from the beginning

    The media is all abuzz this week over the story of a woman who apparently gave birth to seven babies in the last 10 years without anyone’s knowledge, then killed her babies and stored them in boxes in her garage.

    April 24, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Be strong in moments of weakness

    A sad scene took place on Sunday at a church in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The founding pastor of Calvary Chapel stepped down from his position of head pastor due to “moral failing which disqualifies him from continuing his leadership role at the church.” This church is home to over 20,000 members who worship together in 10 locations across Florida.

    April 15, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Old dogs can learn new tricks

    You’re never too old to learn something new. I’m of the opinion that you can, indeed, teach an old dog new tricks.
    So as an old dog, I’ve been trying to pick up a new trick.

    April 7, 2014