The $602 million, Tuscaloosa, Ala.-based Alabama One Credit Union filed a federal lawsuit Monday against Alabama public officials – including Sen. Gerald H. Allen (R-Ala.), Gov. Robert Bentley’s chief legal advisor David Byrne and local attorneys – alleging conspiracy and abuse of power from Gov. Bentley’s office.

The suit, filed in federal court in Tuscaloosa on behalf of Alabama One and its CEO, John Dee Carruth, alleged the defendants attempted to coerce tens of millions of dollars in legal settlements out of the credit union despite state and federal regulators deeming it a safe and sound institution. The credit union stated in the suit that the public officials’ abuse of power began in November 2013 and stemmed from their desire to benefit their political and personal friend, attorney Justice D. “Jay” Smyth, III, whom Alabama One states put pressure on the credit union to settle five frivolous lawsuits filed by Smyth and others affiliated with him.

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Natasha Chilingerian

Natasha Chilingerian has worked in the credit union space for over a decade. She joined CU Times as managing editor in 2015 and was promoted to executive editor in 2019. Before that, she served as a communications specialist for Xceed Financial Credit Union (now Kinecta Federal Credit Union) in Los Angeles from 2013-2015, and as a CU Times freelancer from 2011-2013. She has been a professional writer and editor for more than 17 years, specializing in news and lifestyle journalism as well as marketing copywriting for companies in the finance and technology space.

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