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Reply #23: Hubbard makes himself a cool 4 million dollars. [View All]

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Elwood P Dowd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-23-08 09:57 PM
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23. Hubbard makes himself a cool 4 million dollars.
An old story I saved from a newspaper here in East Alabama....

AU sports contract at issue in House 79 race
Opelika-Auburn News
Mitch Sneed

**Opelika-Auburn News story on Jim Phillips news release on Mike Hubbard.**

The battle for the Republican nomination for the House District 79 seat heated up Thursday as a challenger to incumbent Mike Hubbard accused the lawmaker of "quarterbacking" a bill through the legislative process that benefited him financially.

Jim Phillips, who has qualified to run against Hubbard in the June 6 Republican primary, issued a release Thursday claiming that Hubbard and his Auburn Network benefited from "no-bid contracts for broadcast and merchandising rights for Auburn sports teams," as a result of passage of a bill that allowed some transactions by universities to happen without a bid. Phillips said Hubbard's action on a 2000 bill known as Senate Bill 260 is a violation of ethics.

"Anyone who works to pass a bill that directly benefits them financially is in violation of the state's ethics law," Phillips stated in his release.

"In 2000, Mike Hubbard knew that his broadcast contract was going to be up in 2002, and there was probably going to be intense competition for the broadcast rights. Hubbard then worked to exempt Auburn from demanding competitive bids. And in 2002, he gets a sweetheart no-bid contract for millions less than another company. If that doesn't cross the Alabama ethics law, I dont know what does."

Hubbard dismissed the claims as false, saying he abstained from a vote initially and that the rights were first won by the Auburn Network after a committee considered several competitive proposals.

"That bill applied to purchases of property and was designed to give Alabama companies a chance to compete," Hubbard said. "Broadcast rights are professional services contracts and aren't bid out anyway. It's not an expenditure; the person who has the broadcast rights pays the university. Just being realistic, Auburn University isn't going to take a deal if it's not the best possible thing for the university. The claim is way off base. We submitted a proposal, just as other companies did.

"It's not like buying a widget. What every company can bring to the table in terms of marketing is vastly different. You do a proposal saying what you can offer and they choose the one that they deem is best. I can assure you that's what happened in this case. To think that I somehow manipulated this is absurd."

Phillips alleges that the deal with Auburn Network netted AU $8.5 million, but said that Kentucky-based Host Communications would have meant $12.5 million to Auburn, a difference of $4 million.

Legislative records show that Hubbard did abstain from a vote of a bill due to a possible conflict of interest on May 11, 2000. But according to documents produced by Phillips, Hubbard did serve on a conference committee on the bill and did vote for its passage on May 15, 2000. "If he knew enough to recuse himself initially, he should have never served on the committee or voted on it in the end," Phillips said.

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