Electronic bingo continues to be a hot-button issue in Alabama.
Monday, Country Crossing developer Ronnie Gilley sat down for a one-on-one chat with news 4 to talk about his on-going feud with Alabama governor Bob Riley.
The whole electronic bingo issue certainly burned more than a few bridges between the governor's office and Gilley.
Gilley says despite the setbacks, he's ready to open for business.
“There's one word and one word only: bingo,”
That one word is at the center of a statewide controversy.
It's also the most crucial component to the Country Crossing project.
“You have to understand the bingo aspect of this is an absolute necessity. There's so much more here than bingo, unfortunately our governor is obsessed with bingo as we speak today,” said Country Crossing developer Ronnie Gilley.
Gilley claims governor Riley is trying to eliminate bingo statewide to keep funneling Alabama residents into Mississippi to spend money and gamble.
He alleges riley has financial ties to the Mississippi-based Choctaw tribe.
"I think governor Riley is honoring his commitments he made during the 2002 gubernatorial campaign. I didn’t see the governor take any money, I don’t know for a fact that he did."
Gilley says Riley doesn't have the authority to shut down operations in Alabama run by Native Americans.
“He's telling you and he's telling me that if he closes them down then I close the Indians down that's not going to happen he has no jurisdiction whatsoever over the native Americans,”
“He's been very disingenuous with the citizens of Alabama when he says that bingo is illegal here,”
A former Riley supporter, Gilley says the governor has abused his power.
“Unfortunately in my opinion he has maliciously abused his office for the past year and a half for his personal agenda and his personal agenda is to eliminate bingo in the state of Alabama,”
“I voted for Governor Riley twice, I’m not butting heads with him. I am just exercising my right as an Alabama citizen to bring a great project to fruition,”
A fired-up Gilley says, he won't stay quiet.
“My political advisors are having heart attacks right now cause they're saying be quiet be quiet you don't need to talk you just sit back and just let politics work itself out. That's what's wrong with our country today is politics, politics, politics!”
Here's a statement from the governor's office:
“Governor Riley isn’t shutting down bingo anywhere. That’s ridiculous.
He’s shutting down slot machines disguised as so-called ‘electronic bingo’.
There is nothing personal about enforcing the law. The state cannot pick and choose which laws to enforce and which ones to ignore. No one is above the law in Alabama.”
Gilley says the governor's office has yet to accept his invitation to tour Country Crossing and discuss the project.
Gilley says if it weren't for all the roadblocks they've experienced, country crossing would have been open nine months ago and 2,800 people would be employed.