Bobby Lowder pulls name from trustee pick - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Bobby Lowder pulls name from trustee pick

Bobby Lowder (Source: Auburn.edu) Bobby Lowder (Source: Auburn.edu)

AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - Former Colonial Bank chief executive, Bobby Lowder, has asked that his name be pulled from a pool of individuals recently selected to sit on the Auburn University Board of Trustees.

Governor Robert Bentley's communications director, Rebekah Mason, told the media Monday afternoon that Lowder asked the governor to remove his name from consideration.

It is believed that withdrawing his name will not change the governor's decision to delay consideration of nine appointments to the Auburn Board, but Senate president pro tem Del Marsh says he wants to wait while the senate considers a constitutional amendment to restructure the board that governs the university.

Marsh, an Auburn graduate told the press last week that he is working with the senator who represents Auburn, Tom Whatley, to develop legislation to change the makeup of the Auburn board to provide more positions that can be filled by Auburn graduates residing outside of Alabama. The bill would be a constitutional amendment that would require the approval of Alabama voters next spring.

Lowder has been a trustee since 1983. His selection drew criticism from some alumni who say he exerts too much control over the university. Some critics say Lowder micro-managed and was too involved in the Auburn Tigers football program.

Andy Hornsby, a former president of Auburn University's National Alumni Association, sued the governor and others after word spread that Lowder was a among nine to be selected as a trustee at Auburn University.

The suit was filed in Lee County Circuit Court last week.

Hornsby claims a meeting last month, where the nine trustees were picked, did not follow the state's open meetings law. Hornby's lawyer, Jay Lewis, argues the governor and others did not give enough notice for meetings.

"A meeting notice is supposed to be provided on the secretary of state's website no less than seven business days prior to the meeting of the governmental agency or the subset of the governmental agency which of course this would be. That information was not posted," said Lewis.

Hornsby hopes that his actions will legally invalidate the alleged unofficial trustee meeting. 

Meanwhile, the governor's office is not commenting on the specifics of the suit - only releasing this statement, "We have not been served with the lawsuit at this time. Once we do receive it, and out legal department has a chance to review it, we will issue a statement".

The nominations process does not end with the governor signing off on a list of people he wants to sit on the Board of Trustees. The Alabama senate has the final word and has to confirm every one of those nominees.

Lewis says this lawsuit has nothing to do with the reappointment of longtime trustee, Bobby Lowder - who has already served on the board for 28 years.

"This action has nothing to do with the selection of any particular trustee or group of trustees. It is purely a lawsuit about making sure that the public agencies of the state Alabama follow the law when they do what they're supposed to be doing," said Lewis, Hornby's attorney.

Lewis says he expects the governor to receive the lawsuit by the end of the week. 

Lowder was chief executive of failed bank Colonial. The FDIC took over Colonial Bank almost two years ago and was sold told to BB&T a month later. 

Former employees of Colonial Bank accused Lowder and other members of the board of directors of causing the retirement fund to lose as much as $50 million. Lawsuits surrounding the bank failure claimed the retirement plan lost millions because of ill-advised investments.

Copyright 2011 WTVM. All rights reserved. Max Reiss, Alabama Politics reporter and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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