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David Byrne: #ALpolitics @GovernorBentley’s Consigliere – Part 3, Executive Betrayal

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, September 25, 2015

Executive Betrayal – Robert Bentley’s Fleecing of Taxpayers and Donors – Part 3

David Byrne – Governor Bentley’s Consigliere

By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on September 25, 2015
Used with permission

Bobby Lowder was the founder, President, CEO & Chairman of the Board of the failed Colonial Bank. During his tenure there, he was widely known as a manipulator, and micromanager of Auburn University, where he was also a member of the Board of Trustees, and donor. During his tenure there, the university experienced many scandals, including use of Lowder's private jet, and his undue influence upon the university president. He was named to be reappointed to the Auburn University Board of Trustees by Governor Bentley, though a a civil lawsuit in the Lee County Circuit Court asserted that Bentley's actions violated Alabama's Open Meetings Act. Under such pressure, Lowder withdrew his name from consideration, served the remainder of his term, and departed. Colonial BancGroup eventually came under Federal scrutiny & investigation for fraudulent practices, and on August 14, 2009, was closed by banking regulators, with all deposits and branches purchased by BB&T.

Bobby Lowder was the founder, President, CEO & Chairman of the Board of the failed Colonial Bank. He was widely known as a manipulator and micromanager of Auburn University, where he was a member of the Board of Trustees, and donor. During his tenure there, the university suffered many scandals, including use of Lowder’s private jet for recruiting an Athletic Director & Head Football Coach that violated NCAA rules. His undue influence upon the university extended even to the university president, who was fired after a No Confidence Vote by the Board of Trustees. Governor Bentley named Lowder to reappointment to the Board after Lowder donated $25,000 to Bentley’s gubernatorial election campaign. A civil lawsuit in the Lee County Circuit Court complained that Bentley’s actions violated Alabama’s Open Meetings Act, and under such pressure, Lowder withdrew his name from consideration, and shortly thereafter, the Alabama State Senate voted him off the board.

On August 14, 2009, federal and state regulators took control of Colonial BancGroup, a regional banking powerhouse based in Montgomery. The seizure of Colonial Bank’s 346 branches and $26 billion in assets made it the sixth-biggest bank failure in U.S. history, the worst of 2009, and the third largest during the credit crisis that plunged the financial markets into turmoil in 2008. Colonial’s collapse cost the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation $2.8 billion. Colonial’s shareholders lost billions of dollars in stock value. Thousands of bank employees lost their jobs.

David B. Byrne, Jr. David Byrne was admitted to the bar in 1966. He received his B.S. from The University of Alabama and his J.D. from the University of Alabama School of Law. David was a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, Jasons, Beta Gamma Sigma, Phi Eta Sigma, and Phi Alpha Delta. Professional Profile: Assistant U.S. Attorney, 1971-1974 Special Assistant Attorney General, State of Alabama, 1998 - Present Fellow, American Bar Association Fellow, American Board of Criminal Lawyers Fellow, Alabama Law Foundation Member, Advisory Committee on Criminal Procedure, Alabama Supreme Court, 1985 - 1989 Guest lecturer, University of Alabama (Criminal Procedure) Montgomery County Bar Association (President, 1985) Federal Bar Association (President, 1989) Member, Panel I State Bar Character and Fitness Committee Alabama Trial Lawyers Association Listed in The Best Lawyers in America (1991 - Present) United States Army, 1966 - 70, Captain, JAGC USAFR, 1971 - Present Military Judge, Colonel USAF Trial Judiciary, 1993 - Present

David B. Byrne, Jr. was admitted to the bar in 1966. He received his B.S. from The University of Alabama and his J.D. from the University of Alabama School of Law. He was
Assistant U.S. Attorney, 1971-1974, Special Assistant Attorney General, State of Alabama, 1998 – Present; United States Army, 1966 – 70, Captain, JAGC
USAFR, 1971 – Present
Military Judge, Colonel USAF Trial Judiciary, 1993 – Present

Although the public focused on the failed leadership of Bobby Lowder, Colonial’s founder and CEO, it was David B. Byrne, Jr., who was in charge of the bank’s legal affairs and regulatory compliance when the Colonial failed. Byrne was Colonial’s executive vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary. Byrne is the same man who would later emerge as Governor Robert Bentley’s chief legal advisor and consigliere.

After Colonial collapsed, Byrne was retained for a while by BB&T, the North Carolina-based bank that bought Colonial’s assets. He was eventually pushed out of BB&T and was looking for work.

Lowder, Byrne and other top Colonial executives worried about an investigation by the FBI and the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program into Colonial’s “warehouse” mortgage lending business. Colonial had applied for $550 million in TARP funds during the financial crisis of 2008, but the bank was never cleared to receive a bailout.

On August 3, 2009, just eleven days before regulators shut down Colonial, law enforcement agents raided the bank’s offices in Orlando, where the warehouse lending was managed. David Byrne was the man who signed off on the legal review of Colonial’s regulatory filings with the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission. He also reviewed Colonial’s highly suspect TARP funding application before it was submitted to the U.S. Treasury Department. Byrne worried that, as Colonial’s executive vice president and general counsel, he could face civil or even criminal charges if fraud was found in the bank’s TARP application or customary business operations.

Senior Vice-President of the now failed Colonial Bank, Catherine Kissick was Lee Farkas’ partner in crime and helped him sweep massive funds into TBW’s accounts to cover up staggering accumulated deficit and helped Farkas sell loans multiple times to hedge funds and other financial institutions.

Catherine Kissick was Senior Vice-President of the now failed Colonial Bank, and Lee Farkas’ criminal co-conspirator who helped him sweep massive funds into accounts in his now defunct and disgraced company, Taylor, Bean and Whittaker – a major player in wholesale lending – to cover up staggering accumulated deficit, and later helped Farkas sell loans numerous times to hedge funds and other financial institutions.

Federal prosecutors found a $3 billion fraud scheme operating during Byrne’s watch at Colonial. Senior vice president Catherine Kissick was charged, convicted, and sentenced to eight years in prison for her role in the fraud. Byrne escaped criminal prosecution. However, Byrne was deemed to be “unemployable” because the $3 billion fraud scheme operated right underneath his nose at Colonial and it was larger than the $2.7 billion accounting fraud discovered in 2003 at HealthSouth.

In 2012, Bentley rescued Byrne from the ranks of the unemployed by hiring him to replace R. Cooper Shattuck as his chief legal advisor. This action came after Byrne’s wife, Alice Ann Byrne, brokered a deal with Bentley to advance and protect the interests of Rebekah and Jonathan Mason as state employees in exchange for a job for David. Alice, who has served as the general counsel of the State Personnel Department since 2000, practically ran the Department from her lawyer’s position. The governor agreed to this deal.

After David joined Bentley’s staff, he and Alice took care of the governor’s wishes with respect to his favorite state employees. They arranged for former trooper Wendell Ray Lewis to receive a total of $799,285 in base pay and overtime as a member of Bentley’s executive security detail, as well as a highly questionable promotion from sergeant to lieutenant in 2014. They aided Bentley in directing $393,538 in total compensation to Jonathan, as the director of Serve Alabama. They also helped Jonathan increase Serve Alabama’s small staff to thirteen state employees.

David advised Jonathan on Serve Alabama’s distribution of $20 million in grants and program benefits to religious and service organizations across the state. These payments included substantial financial contributions each year to the First Baptist Church of Montgomery Foundation, where David Byrne serves as a board member.

David also cleared the way for Rebekah to operate her private public relations firm, RCM Communications, Inc., while working full-time as Bentley’s communications director. Undeterred by state ethics laws, Rebekah conducted RCM business from the governor’s office and used state resources to further her private business interests.

2702 Saratoga Lane, Tuscaloosa, AL 35406 Google Maps Street View

Google Maps Street View of 2702 Saratoga Lane, Tuscaloosa, AL 35406, the officially registered office and mailing address listed for RCM Communications, Inc., whose incorporator, and listed agent is Rebekah C. Mason. The image was made June 2013, shortly before RCM Communications, Inc. was officially registered as a domestic corporation on July 19, 2013. There is no listed phone number, email address or website for RCM Communications, Inc.

On August 26, 2015, David Byrne, along with Bentley and others, was accused in a federal court lawsuit of forcing Alabama One Credit Union, a Tuscaloosa-based financial institution with $598 million in assets, into settling hotly disputed legal claims for millions of dollars to benefit one of Byrne’s former law partners and close personal friends, attorney Justice D. “Jay” Smyth, III. Bentley and Byrne, who are named defendants in the lawsuit, pressured a state regulatory agency into facilitating the delivery of monetary benefits to Smyth and his clients. This was an unprecedented abuse of executive powers by Bentley and Byrne. Their actions pushed Alabama One into conservatorship under state control.

This was the second time in six years that David Byrne has been a central figure in the demise of a regulated financial institution. First, it was the 2009 collapse of Colonial Bank. Next, it was the conservatorship of Alabama One. Each time, the collateral damage to innocent parties was catastrophic.

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