Banking committee chairs resist calls to step down

On Saturday, I posted House banking committee chair joins his Senate counterpart in the FDIC spotlight, so check out that post if you need more background on this.

Today, the AJC is giving prominent coverage to the fact that both state senate banking committee chair Jack Murphy and state house banking committee chair Greg Morris have been directors at failed banks. Curiously, the piece does not mention that Morris was once fined by the FDIC, but there’s more on that in my post.

From the AJC’s Failures familiar for banking committee leaders:

Morris, R-Vidalia, is not accused by regulators of any wrongdoing in the failure [of Montgomery Bank & Trust in Ailey]. But a fellow board member, Aubrey Lee Price, disappeared last month and is being sought by federal authorities for allegedly embezzling at least $17 million, and possibly more than $21 million, from the bank where he was once seen as a savior.

Morris defended himself and his board colleagues for battling for several years to save Montgomery Bank. Employees invested their retirement money and directors ponied up to keep it afloat.

“We didn’t just walk away,” Morris said. “We fought. We fought to the bitter end side-by-side.”

Given the nature of the fraud perpetrated by Price, this image of the bank directors as heroic soldiers seems a little ridiculous.

9 comments

  1. Calypso says:

    “Given the nature of the fraud perpetrated by Price, this image of the bank directors as heroic soldiers seems a little ridiculous.”

    And by “seems a little ridiculous” I assume you mean “is bullsh!t.”

  2. fishtail says:

    I continue to be amazed that so little attention has been paid to Pete Robinson’s role in the Montgomery Bank & Trust debacle. Pete Robinson is a high-profile lobbyist at the State Capitol. He represents Georgia banks that are clients of his lobbying group, which is a subsidiary of Troutman Sanders. So who does Pete Robinson lobby at the State Capitol? He peddles his influence with the Chairman of the State House Banking Committee, Greg Morris, who also just happens to be Vice-Chair of Montgomery Bank & Trust, where Pete is his boss as Chairman of the Bank Board. Incestuous? Of course, but apparently that’s the way Pete rolls.

  3. Backwoods Philosopher says:

    We moved to Montgomery County a few years ago (not originally from here). I have never seen so much corruption, fraud and lack of law enforcement. Now, I understand why people are so unfriendly down here and pretty much stay to themselves……you can’t trust anyone down here …….and now, this bank debacle………. This entire story stinks. It’s very difficult for me to believe that Lee Price pulled a lot of this off without any assistance whatsoever.

    I also found it interesting that The Vidalia Advance had very little coverage on the entire story, and the story is in their backyard, with a Montgomery Bank branch in Toombs County, to include another branch on Highway 292 that was closed. This was the same branch where Janice Knowles worked, who is now in federal prison in Florida, charged with embezzlement (and again……who is related to State Rep. Morris).

    The Advance basically had a picture of the new Ameris Bank in Ailey and the announcement of Montgomery Bank’s closing. A lot of information was noticeably left out, whereas the Montgomery Monitor wrote a long account, to include Price’s confessional letter. The Vidalia Advance has never had any problems savaging the Montgomery Board of Education, which is a constant source of contention down here………so why the obvious lack of coverage about this Montgomery-Toombs County bank debacle. Are they trying to cover for certain people?

    • Calypso says:

      Keep your eye out for any other ‘community leaders’ who go missing in the next several months.

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