Newly released audio of Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed shows him claiming to have threatened two lawmakers for legislative purposes, causing one to call for his resignation.
The audio is apparently part of a series of clips of the embattled mayor speaking candidly.
On Monday, 1819 News published audio of Reed espousing inflammatory comments surrounding the City of Montgomery, Gov. Kay Ivey, Maxwell Air Force Base and more.
On Tuesday, Reed said community activist Charles Lee secretly recorded and disseminated the audio. Reed also said he would be filing a criminal complaint against Lee. Lee responded by saying he would welcome for people to discover the truth.
The audio shows Reed claiming to have threatened State Sen. Will Barfoot (R-Pike Road) and State Rep. Reed Ingram (R-Pike Road), seemingly attempting to garner favorable terms in a piece of legislation.
Warning: Adult language
"Not a damn businessperson in this world could get Reed Ingram off that damn bill; he could have killed it himself; we threatened him," Reed said. "I'm just going to tell you straight up, he was threatened. Will Barfoot was fucking threatened; that's how that shit got."
1819 News reached out to Ingram and Barfoot, neither of whom recalled being threatened.
"I have never been threatened by the mayor," Ingram said. "But I just know he runs his mouth a lot, and I know when he runs his mouth, he doesn't like to tell the truth a lot. I'm not a big fan now. I wasn't a really big fan before, but I'm really not a big fan [now]."
Ingram stated he was not pleased with the content of all the leaked audio, saying that Reed should resign for his comments.
"Anybody who likes to lie like that and to have such a foul mouth does not need to be in public office. I think it would be great for him to resign on all this stuff. But he is an embarrassment to politics as a whole and [to] this state," Ingram said.
Both Barfoot and Ingram believe the audio shows Reed referring to a 2020 local bill that allowed a vote for an increased property tax in Montgomery fund schools, for which Reed vigorously campaigned.
According to AL.com, Reed said he believed the city was in danger of losing Maxwell Air Force Base if the tax increase referendum failed. However, the leaked audio tapes show Reed disregarding the need for Maxwell and claiming to use the base to bargain for benefits for the city.
"If I had been threatened by him or anybody, I probably would have killed the bill or paused it," Ingram said. "But we put so many amendments on the bill, and one amendment was to postpone it for three years, and the other amendment was to hold the school board accountable to make sure they can teach these kids with the money we're giving them, and if not, the money comes back. That was the amendment I handled in the House for Will [Barfoot], and Will handled the other one in the Senate for me."
"I can tell you I've never been threatened, especially by the mayor on that bill or any other bill," Barfoot said. "That sounds like some big talk. If they're talking about lobbying for a position, that happens quite often with some spirited debate. Threatening me would not be an advantageous way of going about getting me to concede or vote on a position."
Barfoot said any threats did not have their intended result since he and Ingram amended the bill to sunset in five years.
"If they did threaten me, they didn't do a very good job of it," Barfoot said. "…Half of that tax increase goes away in, I think, 2028 unless it's reauthorized by the House and Senate members. So whoever is in [the legislature] in 2028 will get an opportunity to look at whether or not those tax dollars have been worth spending and whether or not they've made strides in public education in Montgomery. So to any extent that they think they threatened me, I don't think it was a very good threat because, if it was a threat, they didn't get what they wanted."
Ingram said that the entire event has caused him to reevaluate his relationship with Montgomery-based bills in the future.
"I can tell you that I will not let a city of Montgomery bill pass without 100% resolution from the city council, and that's a promise, as God is my witness," Ingram concluded. "I am not going to let that happen. So I'm not going to take his word that everybody in the city council is okay with it, I'm just going to make sure that I get a written resolution from the city council, or I will kill every bill that comes from the city. He just doesn't know the truth."
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