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Governor appeals White Hall decision to Ala. Supreme Court

Governor Bob Riley on Monday asked the Alabama Supreme Court to throw out a ruling in the White Hall gambling case because of the judge’s work for an Indian casino. Governor Riley and the Governor’s Task Force on Illegal Gambling have also asked the Supreme Court for an immediate stay of Judge Kennedy’s order until the Supreme Court has a chance to consider the appeal.

The Governor and the Task Force had asked former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Mark Kennedy to recuse himself from the case earlier because Kennedy at one time served as a project manager for the Wind Creek Casino in Atmore, and may have continuing financial ties to the casino. Kennedy issued a preliminary injunction on Saturday saying the White Hall gambling center can operate freely while the lawsuit goes forward. Under federal law, the ruling in this case could affect the legality of machines operated at the Indian casinos in Alabama.

“The judge has an obvious conflict of interest,” said Jeff Emerson, Communications Director for Governor Riley. “He has a business relationship with a casino and should never have of issued any kind of ruling in this gambling case. We have asked the Supreme Court to recognize that and we’re confident they will.”

The petition asks the Court to throw out Judge Kennedy’s preliminary injunction, which ordered the Task Force to return the property it seized, because Kennedy failed to recuse himself or fully disclose any ties he may have with gambling interests before ruling in the White Hall case.

David Barber, commander of the Governor’s Task Force on Illegal Gambling, said the case to prove the White Hall facility was operating illegal slot machines will proceed.