Country Crossing owner Ronnie Gilley is among a group of 11 individuals being indicted today as part of a federal investigation into political corruption in the state of Alabama. The indictment alleges that Gilley, along with casino and racetrack owner Milton McGregor, hired lobbyists to bribe state legislators into supporting proposed pro-gambling legislation. Four state senators—Larry Means, James Preuitt, Quinton Ross and Harri Anne Smith—are charged with agreeing to accept or demanding the bribes. One of Gilley’s employees and an employee of the state legislature are also being indicted.
Country Crossing has been beset with turmoil since its opening, as Alabama Governor Bob Riley is a staunch opponent of electronic bingo. Under threat of a federal raid, the facility has been closed since January 2010. A message on the Country Crossing website says “Because of recent threats from the Governor’s task force, Country Crossing has closed its doors to protect its employees and patrons. We are working diligently to solve the issue once and for all and will release more information as we move forward.” The Country Crossing complex is a part of Ronnie Gilley Entertainment, which includes Country Crossing Records and BamaJam Records and also produces the annual Verizon Wireless BamaJam Music and Arts Festival.
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