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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Kathy Johnson to Resign

Kathy Johnson, executive director of the Alabama Broadband initiative and wife of Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Johnson, will have her last day as gubernatorial appointee Jan. 15.

In a letter to Gov. Bob Riley dated Jan. 4, Johnson doesn't give a reason for her departure. Instead she thanks the governor.

"Thank you for the opportunity to organize, launch and advance your statewide broadband effort," she wrote. "We have seen enormous successes since its inception in May 2008."

Johnson's husband has been in a public feud with Riley over the last few months regarding campaign contributions that Bill Johnson says Riley took from Mississippi Indian casino interests. Bill Johnson, who was forced to step down from his position as director of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, alleges that Riley took money from Mississippi gambling interest during his 2002 campaign for governor. Riley has denied all allegations.

Both Johnsons have received threatening and harassing mail since Bill Johnson announced he was running for governor. The controversy even sparked an after hours Facebook dispute between Kathy Johnson and Alabama Medicaid Commissioner Carol Steckel.

But Johnson addresses none of these issues in her resignation letter. She closed out her letter to Riley by writing, "It's been an honor helping you advance Alabama through this effort, and I wish you and ALBI's new director continued success as they carry the project through year two and beyond."

-- posted by Markeshia Ricks


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