Tapes played in court on Friday morning revealed that gambling developer and Victoryland owner Milton McGregor and former Sen. Lowell Barron, a Democrat, hatched a scheme to trick then-Sen. Jim Preuitt (R-Talledega) into voting for a bingo bill.
In a March 23, 2010 wiretapped phone call, McGregor relays to Barron that Preuitt has yet to commit to vote yes on the bill, SB380, and says that Preuitt wants Barron to be neutral towards him in his upcoming bid for reelection.
“Number one, I ain’t backing off that son of a bitch,” Barron tells McGregor. “Whatever I’m for, Preuitt’s gonna be against. Whatever Preuitt’s for, I’m going to be against.”
With that thought in mind, Barron and McGregor plot a scheme to get Preuitt to vote for SB380 without Barron having to commit to backing off Preuitt.
Barron proposes a mock fight—he suggests that he say in public that he’s against McGregor’s bingo legislation. “Then you ought to cuss me up and down,” Barron says. Barron then suggests that they pretend he’s angry at McGregor, because McGregor refused to give the Democratic caucus a large sum of money. McGregor, Barron says, should tell lobbyist Tom Coker, a friend of Preuitt’s, that Barron hung up on McGregor after some harsh words.
“If I get a chance, I’ll cuss you to Means,” Barron says, referring to former Sen. Larry Means (D-Attalla). “Not to Preuitt, that’d be too obvious.”
“We got to make this thing look real,” Barron says.
After discussing the scheme some more, Barron tells McGregor to call Coker.
“Talk to Coker, let’s get the damn thing started,” Barron says.
“I’ll call Coker right now and tell him you’re pissed off at me,” McGregor replies.
“I’ll do whatever it takes to make my part look authentic,” Barron says.
McGregor, Means, and Preuitt, and six other defendants are accused of conspiring to buy and sell votes on a bill to legalize electronic bingo.