First, Auburn University board member and busted banker Bobby Lowder withdrew his name for reappointment to the university’s board of trustees. Now, Gov. Robert Bentley is withdrawing the rest of names submitted by an Auburn committee on which he serves.
The ruckus might have qualified as a scandal if Auburn alumni and Alabamians weren’t already accustomed to this sort of thing. (Don Siegelman supporters: If you want to draw a comparison, now would be the time to do so.) Last year, Lowder’s wife contributed $25,000 to Bentley’s campaign. Subsequently, Bentley voted to reappoint Lowder to another 12-year term on the board. Bentley’s office denied that the two had anything to do with each other. Instead they insisted that it was Lowder’s leadership that earned him the reappointment. (Yes, apparently the same leadership he gave at his bankrupt bank and the same leadership that has caused legions of Auburn alumni to hate his guts.)
Lowder was one of nine names the five-member committee submitted to the Alabama Senate for appointment to the board.
No sooner had the committee nominated Lowder, than Auburn alumni howled in protest. Former Alabama Deputy Finance Director Andy Hornsby — also a former AU alumni president — sued the governor and the search committee. Hornsby claimed the committee violated the Alabama Open Meetings Act, first by not giving proper notice for the meeting and second by going into executive session without first stating the grounds for doing so.
Altogether, the process smelled and Alabama Sen. Pro Tem Del Marsh had said the Senate would be looking closely at the appointments. Rather than face more scrutiny, both Lowder and Bentley balked.
This morning the Opelika-Auburn News reported that Hornsby had agreed to withdraw his lawsuit after meeting with the governor.