MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The owner of Alabama’s largest casino, four state senators, and several lobbyists face federal charges of conspiring to buy and sell votes for millions of dollars to get electronic bingo legalized, according to an indictment released yesterday.
One lobbying firm employee has pleaded guilty to offering $2 million for the vote of one of the senators indicted.
The indictment, which lists 11 defendants, became public as FBI agents made arrests across the state. It accuses casino owners and lobbyists of making payments and campaign donations and legislators of soliciting bribes to affect progambling legislation. One senator was accused of seeking $100,000 for his vote.
Lanny Breuer, the head of the Justice Department’s criminal division, said the criminal activity was “astonishing in scope . . . a full-scale campaign to bribe legislators and others.’’
Milton McGregor, VictoryLand casino owner, was among those indicted. His casino, now shut down, has more than 6,000 electronic bingo machines. His lawyer, Joe Espy, said his client is absolutely innocent.
Also indicted was Ronnie Gilley, Country Crossing casino developer, and state Senators Harri Anne Smith of Slocomb, James Preuitt of Talladega, Larry Means of Gadsden, and Quinton Ross Jr. of Montgomery.
All four senators voted for the unsuccessful legislation designed to keep electronic bingo casinos operating.
Also indicted were lobbyists Tom Coker and Bob Geddie, who represent VictoryLand; lobbyist Jarrod Massey and public relations executive Jay Walker, who represent Country Crossing; and Ray Crosby, an attorney for the Legislature who helped write gambling legislation.
Federal authorities said yesterday that one of Massey’s employees, Jennifer Pouncy of Montgomery, pleaded guilty Sept. 28 to conspiracy. She admitted that at Massey’s direction, she offered Preuitt $2 million for his vote and that Massey authorized her to offer $100,000 to Means for his vote.