BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Even though they aren't his biggest fans, bingo hall owners are putting their hopes on the attorney general and the powers they believe he is given by the Alabama Constitution.
Alabama Attorney General Troy King asked the Governor Riley and his anti-gambling task force to cease their threats of raiding on bingo halls and instead, focus their efforts in the court system.
"I have never seen a more ill-advised and reckless approach to a legal issue than the current approach taken by the governor's task force," King said.
Hours later, the task force commander answered with a polite version of, "Thanks, but no thanks."
"The Attorney General (King) knows what his powers are and he basically announced today he was going to give advice and not going to do anything," John Tyson, commander of the task force said.
King said it was within his rights to command the task force, but out of respect for the governor he would hold off for now, but left that possibility open. That hesitation frustrated bingo operators in the Birmingham area.
"We were a little disappointed that the attorney general didn't recognize that under the Alabama Constitution, while the Governor has a generic authority to enforce the laws, the specific authority, the part that relates to supervision of law enforcement people was sliced off in our constitution and given to an office called the attorney general" said attorney Calvin Biggers, who represents the organization hoping to open Midfield's 1st bingo hall.
Biggers says his clients are considering filing a lawsuit to ask the Alabama Supreme Court to decide once and for all whether the governor has the authority to run any task force.
"The governor doesn't go into the various counties when the state troopers pull you over and prosecute cases, does he?" said Biggers. "The local DA is the one who prosecutes speeding cases. So where in the Constitution did the governor find the authority to appoint a task force to conduct criminal investigations?"
That new bingo hall in Midfield paid the city a $15K license fee but delayed its opening until this is resolved.
Biggers says his clients are moving forward with preparing their site so they could open as soon as some of these legal questions are resolved.
Victoryland's attorney said today the Macon County establishment will re-open as soon as the threat of their machines being seized is removed.