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Alabama: Orange Beach mayor indicted for bribery and campaign finance violations

The Mobile Register reports: Orange Beach Mayor Steve Russo was indicted Thursday on federal criminal charges that he violated Alabama elections laws by not reporting more than $33,000 in campaign contributions prior to his 2004 re-election and used the money to pay for vacations, casino trips, clothing, a computer and other personal expenses.

In addition, the mayor, former City Councilman Joe McCarron, City Attorney Larry Sutley and local developer Jim Brown were indicted on state charges alleging a web of bribery, conflict of interest and other ethics violations in which Russo wound up with a BMW automobile and 33 percent interest in a corporation that holds a $1.6 million beach property in Gulf Shores.

All four men were briefly jailed at the Baldwin County Corrections Center in Bay Minette on Thursday morning as they were booked on the state charges. McCarron, Sutley and Brown each were released after posting $10,000 bond while the mayor, who was also charged by the state for campaign finance violations in a separate indictment, was required to pay $20,000 before being freed, according to prosecutors. ...

he nine-page, seven-count federal indictment against the mayor was originally returned by a grand jury in late December but not unsealed until Thursday. In it, prosecutors trace how the mayor wrote checks drawn from his "Steve Russo Campaign Account" -- which he reported in required court filings as being empty -- to pay credit card bills he rung up shopping in New Orleans and gambling and dining in Biloxi. -- Orange Beach Mayor Steve Russo and three others indicted

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