State Auditor Jim Zeigler files lawsuit against Gov. Robert Bentley over BP settlement spending

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Gulf State Park Alabama
Gulf State Park [Photo Credit: www.alapark.com]

Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler returned to court Tuesday attempting to halt Gov. Robert Bentley from using BP oil spill settlement funds to build a four-star beachfront hotel and conference center at Gulf State Park.

Joined by Red Bay Democratic state Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow, Zeigler filed the civil suit Tuesday in Montgomery court challenging what they call “unconstitutional and illegal disbursements and expenditures of state funds without required approval by the Alabama State Legislature” on the hotel and conference center as the spending was not authorized by state lawmakers as required.

According to court documents, only “project revenues, National Resource Damage Assessment funds or Restore Act Funds” may be expended on projects at Gulf State Park under state law.

They deem the use of BP block grant funds for the project “impermissible and illegal” in the lawsuit.

The suit comes four days after Montgomery County Circuit Judge Truman Hobbs dismissed a similar suit filed by former state Conservation Commissioner Charles Grimsley. Zeigler claims the new lawsuit is different because the plaintiffs are different.

This is the second lawsuit Zeigler has filed within a week against Bentley’s administration.

Last week he filed a lawsuit to try to void the contract for the state’s “failed” $47 million accounting software.

The governor’s office declined comment on the latest lawsuit.

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