Healthcare CEO arrested, disaster grant funding and Hubbard legal fees

Feb 3, 2015

Jonathan Wade Dunning, former CEO of Birmingham Health Care and Central Alabama Comprehensive Health

The former CEO of two non-profit Alabama health clinics was arrested yesterday on federal charges.

The Birmingham U.S. Attorney's Office says Jonathan Wade Dunning was arrested on multiple counts of fraud, conspiracy, money-laundering and other charges.

Dunning was at one time CEO of both Birmingham Health Care and Central Alabama Comprehensive Health in Tuskegee. Prosecutors say Dunning left those clinics to run a private business, and are accusing him of funneling substantial amounts of government money from the non-profit health operations into his own company.

Dunning made headlines back in November when he asked the U.S. Attorney's office why he was being accused of illegal activity despite not being charged. His name came up in the indictment of the former CFO of Birmingham Health Care, Terri Mollica. Mollica and other Birmingham Health Care employees are facing similar charges of fraud.

Dunning's defense argues he is being mistakenly implicated for others' crimes.

Residents of Tuscaloosa will get the chance to offer their ideas on how to spend grant money that may be coming from Washington.

The city is competing for a share of a $500 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. A meeting is set for tonight at the Rosedale Court Apartment complex in Tuscaloosa to hear suggestions on how the city might use those dollars.

Megan Brantley is public outreach coordinator for Tuscaloosa’s Recovery Operations Division. She says there were good ideas from previous meetings in Alberta City Baptist church and Rock Quarry Middle School.

“I know that some ideas that were discussed included connectivity and walkability. Creating a community that is giving residents an increased access to recreational activities or businesses and creating stronger neighborhood connections.”

The grant would help areas like Alberta City. That community was hit hard by the April 27, 2011 tornado.

Indicted Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard has used campaign funds to pay nearly $300,000 in legal fees over the last year.

Campaign records show that the Auburn Republican spent almost $300,000 in legal fees since December of 2013. Most of the money was spent on the firm of his lead attorney.

A 2000 opinion by the attorney general's office advised that elected officials can pay criminal defense costs out of excess campaign finance funds if the accusations are related to how the person performed in office.

A grand jury indicted Hubbard in October on 23 felony ethics charges accusing him of using his public offices for personal gain. Hubbard has pleaded not guilty.

He is expected to stand trial in October.

  The state Attorney General's Office is trying a new tactic in their bid to keep a hold on the order legalizing same-sex marriage in Alabama.

Luther Strange's office in a new filing with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals says that the state will be thrown into confusion and conflict if same-sex marriages begin next week.

State lawyers say there may be disagreement over issuing marriage licenses if same-sex marriage is legalized. That's despite a clear position from the Alabama State Probate Judges' Association advising all probate judges to conform to the law and issue same-sex marriage licenses once the stay is lifted.

U.S. District Judge Callie Granade overturned Alabama's same-sex marriage ban Friday, January 23. She then put a hold on that decision until February 9 to allow the state time to appeal.

Alabama state attorneys want to extend that hold until the U.S. Supreme Court addresses the issue nationally later this year.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs who got the ban overturned argue that gay families in Alabama have already been waiting too long without the legal protection of marriage for the stay to continue.