July 7, 2016
State of Alabama Ethics Commission
First let me say I have taken your online ethics course and it is pretty clear that elected officials should not be engaging in municipal contracts in their districts, particularly if said contract directly and positively contributes to the direct income of that official. Mr. Hubbard has just been convicted for doing the exact thing.
Senator Pittman has maintained debris removal contracts with the city of Fairhope since 2004, except for one period where his business partner Bob James held the contract. Mr. Pittman and the Mayor of Fairhope has been subject of BP fraud investigation. The FBI conducted an investigation and that investigation is now in the hands of special prosecutor for the Alabama Attorney General’s office, Mr. Matt Hart. During the FBI investigation Mr. Pittman admitted that it was poor judgement on his part and that he would not in the future obtain contracts from his district or constituents. He broke that promise and again bid on Fairhope debris removal contracts. He supported his efforts by producing a letter from the Ethics Commission rendering an opinion. That letter was an opinion based on Ethics Commission rules; however the Mayor of Fairhope said the letter was permission for the Senator to go ahead. Everything was legal. That is not what the letter stated. The Mayor and Senator have also said the Ethics Commission has exonerated them of any guilt relating to the BP Fraud claim, again untrue.
The problem is the Mayor and Senator work in tandem to convince the public that the Ethics Commission has signed off on any conflict of interest. They have also persuaded the Fairhope City Council. who does not think for themselves, that they MUST approve the contracts because the Ethics Commission has said everything is legal.
A whole community has been lied to for years by their Mayor and State Senator. The Debris removal contracts are controlled by the Federal Emergency Management Agency; the city is responsible for 10% of the contract and the balance paid by state or FEMA funds. The contract can be worth millions. The Senator is using his private business and his position as Senator to secure contracts that personally enrich him and his family. I am including one of the many articles about the most recent contract,
I will be contacting federal officials and informing them that an Alabama Senator is securing municipal contracts that are predominantly paid for by the Federal Government.
The citizens of Baldwin County and Fairhope deserve an honest answer from the Ethics Commission, if what Mr. Pittman is doing is legal then I submit Mr. Hubbard is innocent. Please bring an end to this insanity and give us a clear and honest answer. Please specifically address Mr. Pittman and the Mayors claim that the Ethics Commission APPROVED the contracts, and confirm or deny that an Ethics letter exists that exonerates them from BP Fraud claims.
Francis Paul Ripp