Gilley Targeted Phenix City Before Landing in Dothan

Posted on January 30, 2010. Filed under: Corruption |

Deja VuAll Over Again

Whether it was an ironic twist of fate — or a cold calculated move — Ronnie Gilley targeted Phenix City, AL for establishing his casino empire.

Here is an interesting excerpt from the Phenix City Council Board Minutes Meeting, dated December, 1, 2008:

www.phenixcityal.us/Sites/Phenix_City/Documents/Leadership/Minutes%20120109.pdf

[Excerpt: p 8, 9]

“Most recently this Council addressed the Downtown Redevelopment Authority. Council member Wilkes and myself met with Developers, Financial Representatives, Real Estate Brokers, Economic Developers, and Board Members and have determined this Authority is not a functioning board. All the members we met with have told us the City didn’t need the board – it is a one person show. The Chairman meets privately with developers and others, makes deals, and only informs them when he needs a vote. The Chairman has met recently with the Gilley Corporation without informing or discussing with board members or City Council. The contract with the Gilley Corporation expired in 2007, yet Mr. Brannen has kept this river front property tied up and refuses to allow any other discussion concerning the use of this property. It is widely known that the Gilley Corporation has turned their focus to casino gambling and speculation is that Mr. Brannen and the Gilley’s have plans to bring electronic bingo, which is nothing more than casino gambling, to the Chattahoochee River Front. This is much too large a decision for Mr. Brannen and his handful of supporters to make without a vote of the people. I will never support casino gambling in Phenix City without the citizens of Phenix City making that decision!”

“As I said earlier, the decisions this Council has been making has not been without resistance. For months we have been harassed by anonymous letters containing lies and threats. Our City Manager has been harassed at football games by a board member. Most recently, Mr. J.W. Brannen telephoned our City Manager to ask him to relay a message to the Council that if we did not back off on dissolving “his board”, that Representative Vance would be in Montgomery drafting a bill to rescind the pay raise he passed, and to pass a recall bill on the City Council.”

“I want to say this morning, and I won’t attempt to speak for other Council Members, I intend to do the job that I was elected by the citizens of Phenix City to do. The election was over last fall! I do not intend to be bullied, harassed, or threatened by Mr. J.W. Brannen, any disgruntled past or present board member, or anyone else. Every time I enter the Phenix City Office Building, I see pictures of three of the people who fought to clean up Phenix City 55 years ago. As long as I’m part of the City Council, I intend to try to keep it that way!

So, why would Gilley risk blatantly repeating history?

Put simply, money…lots of money.

And, it has to do with the expansion of Ft. Benning. This is the same military base where in the 1950’s soldiers spent up to 80% of their income in Phenix City, AL on casinos and prostitution.

“Columbus area’s Top 10 business stories of 2009”

Ledger-Equirer, December 30, 2009

Excerpt:

“It was supposed to be a crummy year for the housing market, right? Tell that to the developers who set up camp outside the western entrance of Fort Benning, in the unincorporated Alabama community of Fort Mitchell.

“Betting that Fort Benning’s expansion — including the addition of the U.S. Army Armor School — will keep the Columbus and Phenix City area flourishing for years to come, struggling Atlanta homebuilders invaded the market and have been constructing a small city in the Alabama burg. Home sales are expected to increase into 2010, even as the Columbus market works to rebound to any semblance of pre-recession levels.”

http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/164/story/958373-p2.html

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