10 months ago

Bashinsky decries ’evil plan’ to seize Golden Flake fortune, warns Alabamians of threat to elderly

Yellowhammer News last week broke the story about the legal battle brewing over Joann Bashinsky’s fortune. Bashinsky, wife of Golden Flake founder Sloan Bashinsky, has become one of Alabama’s most faithful philanthropists.

On Tuesday, she released a new statement lambasting former allies allegedly currently trying to seize the fortune – currently estimated to be worth $200 million – through having her declared mentally unfit to manage her finances.

According to an email from Bashinsky, her former attorney and bookkeeper — who had been fired from their responsibilities by Bashinsky — on October 1 filed an emergency petition in the Probate Court of Jefferson County seeking to have her declared incompetent to manage her finances. They alleged that Mrs. Bashinsky had been diagnosed with dementia and that her grandson, her sole heir, has undue influence with her.

Affectionately called “Mama B,” Mrs. Bashinsky on Tuesday also released a letter from her personal physician, Dr. Robert Spiegel, stating that she does not have dementia. According to an email from Bashinsky, she has additionally undergone psychological testing from renowned University of Alabama psychologist Dr. Rebecca S. Allen, who has reportedly concluded that Bashinsky does not suffer from dementia.

After the October 1 filing, Bashinsky alleges that she was never served with a copy of the emergency petition and knew nothing about it until a court-appointed guardian ad litem showed up unannounced at her home on October 4. An emergency hearing was reportedly set on October 8 and ultimately held on October 17. The petitioners purportedly filed a motion to disqualify the attorneys representing Bashinsky and the court granted the motion, removing her attorneys from representing her. The court was said to have then immediately moved forward with the hearing on her competency without allowing Bashinsky time to hire new lawyers.

This meant that despite Bashinsky reportedly having medical experts and other witnesses present and ready in court to testify, she had no attorney to present those witnesses for her.

After the judge subsequently examined the court-appointed representative, the judge immediately ruled in the petitioners’ favor and appointed a temporary conservator and guardian who took control of Bashinsky’s vast fortune and personal affairs.

After this process, another hearing is not scheduled until March 2020. In the meantime, Mrs. Bashinsky has been removed from being chairman of the board of directors of her family’s company and charitable foundation and is living on an allowance dictated and controlled by the temporary conservator.

Bashinsky’s email stated that the petitioners never disclosed to the court that they have a financial interest in her fortune as beneficiaries of her will. They have now allegedly appointed themselves as controlling parties in the charitable foundation and company, which manages the family’s wealth. The petitioners also reportedly receive compensation from those entities and are now free to manage the wealth as they see fit. However, Bashinsky has no control over any of her own wealth and is forced to abide by the restrictions placed upon her by what she deems as former disgruntled employees and strangers.

“I’m heartbroken that I’m in danger of having control of my entire life’s work and personal livelihood seized by people whom I once believed to be close friends and employees of mine,” Mrs. Bashinsky said.

She outlined, “At one point these individuals were going to be large beneficiaries of my estate. Even after it came to light that they were not acting in my best interest and I terminated their services, I wanted to believe they would not take such actions against me for the sake of greed, but they have moved to have me declared unfit to manage my own affairs and the control of my money is in the hands of strangers… at least for now it is.”

Mama B certainly pulled no punches in her statement.

“I never imagined they would turn their grudges over money into such an evil plan,” Baskinsky lamented. “Even though my personal physician and [a] world renowned psychologist at the University of Alabama have declared me competent, they are still trying to leverage the court system to take away my rights as an American and as a human being.”

“I believe all Americans would agree that unless there is irrefutable evidence that someone is a threat to themselves or others, then they should be free to live their life and use their money and resources however they choose – right up until their last moment on earth,” she added.

Baskinsky concluded by warning this is about much more than her, as many elderly Alabamians and Americans with lesser means could face the same kind of alleged mistreatment.

“I have faith that justice will prevail but I also want to use my platform to raise awareness about what is happening to far more too many people as they grow older,” she advised.

“Every person deserves dignity, respect, and freedom, and anyone who threatens those American values should be held accountable,” Bashinsky emphasized. “I am requesting that the media keep a watchful eye on my case to ensure that it is conducted in a responsible and transparent manner. The public needs to know the dangers that I, and all older citizens can be subjected too, all too easily, by people who do not have our best interests at heart.”

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 hours ago

Alabama surge needed in 2020 Census participation

It’s the final week of the 2020 Census, and Alabama is counting on every household to submit its survey by Sept. 30. This quick, easy questionnaire collects information that determines Alabama’s federal representation in the U.S. Congress and funding levels for the next decade.

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Help shape Alabama’s bottom line by completing the 2020 Census in one of three ways:

  1. Online at my2020census.gov.
  2. By phone at 1-844-330-2020.
  3. By traditional paper form you received in the mail.

Any information given in the 2020 Census is strictly protected by federal law.

A reduction in Alabama’s census could have adverse impacts to federally funded public service programs that affect every single resident.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, lawmakers, business owners and other entities will use 2020 Census data to make critical decisions. The results will show where communities need new schools, clinics, roads and more services for families, older adults and children. The results will also inform how hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding are allocated to more than 100 programs, including Medicaid, Head Start, block grants for community mental health services, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP.

For information on the 2020 Census, get the facts here.

View the 2020 Census questions and learn why they are asked.

Visit Privacy and Security to read about how the U.S. Census Bureau protects your household information.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

4 hours ago

Racers coming to Alabama for world’s longest annual paddle race

Paddlers from across the United States will be racing each other down 650 miles of Alabama’s scenic rivers later this month in the Great Alabama 650, the world’s longest annual paddle race.

The second annual Great Alabama 650 begins Sept. 26 on Weiss Lake in Centre. Racers will have 10 days to reach Fort Morgan in Mobile Bay via the core section of the Alabama Scenic River Trail, the longest river trail in a single state. Laura Gaddy, communications director of the trail, said this year’s race will be different.

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“In 2019, racers with a wide range of skill level and paddling experience competed in the Great Alabama 650, but just three boats made it to the finish line,” Gaddy said. “Even advanced paddlers had to drop out of the race before finishing, underscoring that this race is best suited for paddlers with a proven record. Therefore, this year we limited registration to paddlers who have competed in previous races. As a result, this year’s class of entrants is even more competitive than the inaugural class.”

Paddlers compete in nation’s longest state river trail from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

The field features 16 racers, including 2019 overall winner Bobby Johnson, as well as female solo winner Sallie O’Donnell and Alabama native Ryan Gillikin. Johnson covered more than 85 miles per day to finish the race in seven days, 8 hours, 1 minute and 55 seconds.

“Several of our racers have not only completed some of the toughest paddle races in the world, they have won them,” Gaddy said. “Some are or have been professional paddlers. Others have represented the United States in paddling competitions abroad.”

Alabama’s diverse habitats are on full display during the race as competitors experience rushing whitewater, ambling river delta and everything in between. The course includes portages around several Alabama Power dams.

“The Great Alabama 650 elevates our state to the international stage and points to the 600-plus-mile Alabama Scenic River Trail as one of the premiere paddle destinations in the United States,” Gaddy said. “Even the most competitive athletes can be encumbered by the unpredictable challenges presented by the natural world. This is a race to watch.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced race organizers to restrict portages to race staff, crews and racers. Gaddy said there are still plenty of ways for fans to cheer on the racers.

“There are several ways to track the progress of the competitors without leaving your home,” Gaddy said. “Race updates are reported on our Facebook and Instagram accounts, and viewers can visit AL650.com to see our live map, which is updated at least every 2 minutes.”

Viewers can also track the race on social media using the race hashtag #AL650, which may link viewers to behind-the-scene photos posted by racers and their crew members.

“Last year several people with a waterfront property also stood out on their piers to cheer the racers,” Gaddy said. “Some even made signs. When the racers made it to the finish line, they said that the support they received from these spectators helped them to keep going when the race got tough.”

The race, which is sponsored this year by Cahaba BrewingMustang SurvivalMammoth Clothing and Alabama Power, begins Sept. 26 on Weiss Lake in Centre. The prize purse will be awarded across three categories: Male Solo, Female Solo and Team. To follow the progress of the competition or to learn more, visit al650.com.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

6 hours ago

Nick Saban: Time for Crimson Tide to flip switch from practice to game mode

Alabama coach Nick Saban said his Crimson Tide football team is showing the right effort and intensity in practice, but it’s time to flip the switch and start finishing plays like they would in a game.

“We haven’t played a game in a long time,” Saban said. “We’ve got to get out of practice mode and make sure we’re practicing to develop the habits that are gonna become a part of our DNA as competitors in terms of how we play in a game.”

Alabama opens the season on the road against Missouri at 6 p.m. Saturday. The game will be televised on ESPN.

Nick Saban: Crimson Tide focuses on finishing as season kickoff approaches from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

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7 hours ago

College football picks — SEC week 1 and more

The Season of Sankey officially gets underway today. The SEC takes the field for the first time this fall as a result of conference commissioner Greg Sankey’s well-planned approach to playing football amid COVID-19 conditions.

During the last two weeks, a parade of conferences have backtracked on plans to cancel their seasons and put in place schedules set to kick off beginning next month. If only they had followed one simple rule: be more like Sankey.

No doubt the season will be unusual. Expect the unexpected. And, as always, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Here are a few picks.

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THE BASICS

No. 2 Alabama (-29) at Missouri: The Crimson Tide have the fewest non-COVID questions of any team in the country. They also have the most talented roster. Missouri will have a tough time scoring while Nick Saban gets to pick his team’s score.

The pick: Alabama 41, Missouri 9

No. 4 Georgia (-28) at Arkansas: Not a lot of intrigue here, either. The D’Wan Mathis era begins. Georgia wins. Maybe the only real question is: how will Kirby Smart handle dipping and wearing a mask at the same time?

The pick: Georgia 34, Arkansas 7

No. 5 Florida (-14) at Ole Miss: Everyone loves Lane. We get it. But there is a difference in these rosters. Through rain, sleet or snow — or direct deposit — Kiffin will recruit better talent to Oxford in the coming years. Right now, Florida is a markedly better team top-to-bottom.

The pick: Florida 52, Ole Miss 20

No. 8 Auburn (-6.5) at Kentucky: Everyone and their momma is taking Kentucky and the points in this game, not to mention the number of people picking the outright upset. Is it bowl game fatigue? Is it Auburn’s losses on the defensive line? We don’t know. What we do know is that Chad Morris may be the best offensive coordinator in the country if Gus Malzahn lets him cook.

The pick: Auburn 35, Kentucky 24

BUYER BEWARE

No. 16 Tennessee (-3.5) at South Carolina: This is a “the barely proven head coach got a raise the week before playing the first game” pick. Plus, South Carolina finally has some actual structure on offense with the addition of Mike Bobo as offensive coordinator and a serviceable starter at quarterback in Collin Hill.

The pick: South Carolina 20, Tennessee 16

West Virginia at No. 15 Oklahoma State (-6.5): This pick breaks two important rules: 1) don’t make a pick because of a coach, and 2) be very wary of the heavily public side. Neal Brown is a rising star. Mike Gundy is something other than that. Neither team has played a game that matters yet, but they looked very different in their respective first weeks. Let’s join the crowd.

The pick: West Virginia 30, Oklahoma State 21

BONUS

Mississippi State at No. 6 LSU (-16.5): How can we not make a pick in the first-ever SEC game coached by two non-English speakers? All offseason we have heard people ponder about whether Mike Leach’s system will work in the SEC. Any system will work if you have good enough players. The Bulldogs currently do not. On the other hand, one can only imagine the carnage in Baton Rouge post-national championship. At least Coach O gave us this gem.

The pick: LSU 33, Mississippi State 16

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia

8 hours ago

Gus Malzahn: Auburn ready to host Kentucky, kick off delayed season

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said he is happy game week has finally arrived, even though he knows his Auburn Tigers football team will be tested by the visiting Kentucky Wildcats.

“It’s been a long time coming to get to this point,” Malzahn said. “We’re playing a really good Kentucky Wildcat team. When you look at them offensively, last year they were one of the best rushing teams in all of college football. To be able to do that in this league says a lot.”

But Malzahn said he is also impressed by his own squad.

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“Overall, I’m really excited about this year’s team,” he said. “We have all kinds of new faces out there. I believe we have 13 new starters, so I’m really excited to watch this team grow. I really feel that if we stay healthy, we’ll have a chance to improve each game, and of course with 10 SEC games, it’s important for teams to improve throughout the year. I’m really looking forward to watching our guys play. I’m excited.”

Auburn hosts the Wildcats at 11 a.m. Sept. 26 at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.

Gus Malzahn: Kentucky presents a challenge for Auburn’s opener from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)