Alabama Sheriff And Brother’s Bingo Battle
Bingo is yet again at the centre of a controversial legal spat; this time round involving a US sheriff in office suspected of long-time connections with illegal gambling and unregulated Bingo games, family ties with a local businessman and a US Attorney General wanting to do right by members of the community.
Jefferson County Sheriff Mark Pettway, brother of businessman Bruce Pettway and the first black sheriff ever to have been appointed to office in Alabama’s largest county, is supposedly the reason for the state having frozen a bank account belonging to one of brother Bruce’s businesses. According to details provided about the order to clamp down on financial assets, funds totalling $240,000 have been seized; funds held by a brokerage bank account belonging to a business majority-owned by Bruce Pettway.
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Court documents recently filed in response to the freezing of funds allege that the funds were frozen because of a $15,500 deposit that had been credited to the account by a Jefferson County-based Bingo operation, and unlawfully so.
Earlier this year, Sheriff Pettway had lashed out publically at Attorney General Steve Marshall following a letter received from Marshall’s office requesting Pettway to “do his job” and uphold the laws of the office to which he has been appointed; specifically relating to his supposed failure to hunt down illegal Bingo operations in the state.
Sheriff Pettway’s response; perceived by many as a cunning side-step with regards to the actual issue at hand; was that he had bigger fish to fry than to hunt down unregulated Bingo games in the state, such as combating human trafficking and gun violence.
The Punishment Is Heavy
Brother Bruce Pettway’s attorneys have argued that not only does the punishment far outweigh the prescribed punishment for the alleged crime, but also that it was unreasonably and also unlawful to seize the money via a Madison County bank branch as Pettway has never actually lived in Madison County. He also has no clients in Madison County.
According to the businessman’s legal reply to the charges brought against him, the payment received by his business bank account was the result of his company having provided consulting services to two local Bingo operators, namely Brighton Ventures and Brighton Ventures II. Both operators are supposedly fully licensed.
The controversial bond between the brothers, coupled with Bruce having financed much of brother Mark’s political campaign, is now made all the worse by the latter supposedly having turned a blind eye to “illegal “ Bingo operations in the state.