Alabama Governor Robert Bentley cast the deciding vote to reappoint Bobby Lowder to a seat on the Auburn University Board of Trustees, saying that the $25,000 donation to his election campaign by Lowder's wife did not influence his vote.
Following the failure of Lowder's Colonial BankGroup in 2009, the sixth largest bank failure in U.S. history, his ensuing legal problems with shareholders and the federal government, and the longstanding controversy centered on Lowder's iron-fisted control of Auburn athletics, many observers assumed his influence over university affairs would end when his term on the BOT expired this year.
Those people appear to have underestimated Bobby Lowder and the power base he maintains in Alabama state politics and within the university hierarchy. It is notable that the two votes on the five member committee representing the alumni association voted against Lowder's reappointment.
Lowder's longtime associate with the bank and in the affairs of Auburn athletics, Jimmy Rane, was also reappointed to the Board. The appointments are still subject to approval by a vote of the Alabama state senate, (which means Lowder may have to make a couple of phone calls)
In other news related to the crumbling financial empire of Bobby Lowder, Lee Farkas, founder and former CEO of Taylor Bean & Whitaker, who went on trial this month for fraud in connection with the sales of huge quantities of packaged "warehouse" mortgages to Lowder's Colonial BankGroup operation, was found guilty on all charges, in what was a 3 billion dollar fraud.
Lowder has not yet been charged in connection with Colonial's collapse or in their dealings with Taylor, Bean. But from that last link, here is a brief description of the scam presided over by the man Alabama just reappointed to Auburn's board, where he will presumably remain the chair of Auburn University's Finance Committee:
They [prosecutors] said the fraud began in 2002, when Taylor Bean overdrew its main account with Colonial by several million dollars. Midlevel executives at Colonial agreed to transfer money into Taylor Bean's accounts at the end of each day to avoid generating overdraft notices, a process known as "sweeping."
As the hole grew to well over $100 million, Taylor Bean and a handful of Colonial executives concocted a scheme in which Taylor Bean sold hundreds of millions in worthless mortgages to Colonial - mortgages that had already been sold to other investors. More than $1 billion in such phony mortgages were eventually sold to Colonial, which listed them on its books and on its quarterly reports as legitimate assets, prosecutors alleged.
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