Investigator Testifies Governor’s Aides Crossed Out Inaugural Fund Number
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) _ Aides to Gov. Guy Hunt crossed out account numbers on checks sent to his 1987 inaugural committee and then moved some of the money to his personal accounts, a state investigator testified Wednesday.
Bob Frye, an investigator for Attorney General Jimmy Evans, said the transfer allowed Hunt’s political accounts to take in more than $380,000 meant for the inaugural fund.
Prosecutors allege he moved $200,000 from a tax-exempt 1987 inaugural fund to his personal accounts, where it was used to pay old campaign debts and personal notes and to buy cattle, furniture and other goods.
Hunt, 59, Alabama’s first Republican governor this century, was indicted Dec. 28 on a charge of using his office for private financial gain. He would automatically be removed from office if convicted of the felony ethics charge.
The charge also carries a penalty of from two to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Hunt’s chief counsel, George Beck, said Hunt was only repaying himself for personal money he spent on past political campaigns. But Evans says the case involves the wrongful use of inaugural funds, not campaign funds.
Frye said two indicted associates of the governor, Edna Earle Hicks and Rosie Blocher, opened an account in the name of Hunt’s political fund at Union Bank and Trust Co. in Montgomery days before Hunt was sworn in in 1987.
About $395,000 was deposited into the account between Jan. 8 and Feb. 12 of 1987. Only $10,000 of that total was in checks made out to Friends of Guy Hunt, Frye testified.
Frye said some checks were stamped with the endorsement of Hunt’s 1987 Inaugural Committee, but some of those endorsements were ″lined through″ and the number of a Friends of Guy Hunt account written in. Those checks were then deposited in a Friends of Guy Hunt account, Frye testified.
Two days after the last of $394,573 was moved into Hunt’s political account, a $100,000 check was written on the account, signed by Mrs. Blocher and Mrs. Hicks and deposited into an account at First Federal Savings and Loan of Cullman. Hunt and Mrs. Hicks had access to that money, Frye said.
The trial before state Circuit Judge Randall Thomas began Monday.