An Alabama lawyer with roundabout connections to our Legal Schnauzer story was found dead at a Shelby County construction site late yesterday morning.
The body of Chace William Swatek, 35, was found behind a stack of metal pipes near the Shelby County Services Building in Pelham. Law-enforcement officials say the cause of death is not known, but they do not suspect foul play.
Swatek had powerful family ties to the Alabama Republican Party. His older brother, Dax, is head of the lobbying/consulting firm Swatek Azbell Howe & ?Ross. Dax Swatek was 2006 campaign manager for former GOP Governor Bob Riley--he of the ties to GOP felons Jack Abramoff and Michael Scanlon--and is a protege of Bill Canary, president of the Business Council of Alabama. Canary, of course, is the husband of Leura Canary, Bush-era prosecutor in the Don Siegelman case and instigator of the federal bingo prosecution, which is being retried at this moment in Montgomery. Dax Swatek also played a prominent early role in the bingo fiasco. (More on that in a moment.)
For good measure, Chace's sister is actress Barrett Swatek, an outspoken conservative (despite her less than "family values" lifestyle) who seems to be a serious bud of Sean Hannity.
What about ties to my personal legal story? Chace Swatek was the youngest son of Pelham attorney William E. Swatek, a central figure in the 12-year legal battle Mrs. Schnauzer and I have been forced to fight. As regular readers know, Bill Swatek was largely responsible for a bogus lawsuit that our criminally inclined neighbor Mike McGarity filed against me, bringing monumental legal heartache to our family unit and leading both of us to be cheated out of our jobs.
I've written extensively about the unethical (and probably criminal) stunts Bill Swatek and his judicial cronies have pulled against my wife and me. To say that I hold Bill Swatek and everyone associated with him in utter contempt would be an understatement. In fact, the Legal Schnauzer blog never would have started without the courtroom cheat job Bill Swatek set in motion.
Now in my 55th year of living, I've yet to meet another human being who comes close to Bill Swatek's level of wretchedness. At the risk of sounding cold-hearted, it's safe to say that I wasn't exactly broken up about news of Chace Swatek's demise. If ever a family deserved to have some bad karma come its way, it's the Swatek clan.
It's not just a matter of Bill Swatek screwing over the missus and me. He's been using his position as "an officer of the court" to cheat people for years. I've seen his file of professional misconduct at the Alabama State Bar office in Montgomery, and it's about a foot thick. Bill Swatek has been disciplined by the bar three times, including a suspension of his license for acts of "fraud, dishonesty, misrepresentation, and deceit." He was tried for perjury in a well-publicized criminal trial back in the early 1980s. A Jefferson County jury found him not guilty, even though court records include tape-recorded proof that Bill Swatek was guilty as charged--that he, in fact, lied to a committee of the state bar in an official proceeding.
We've laid out Bill Swatek's ugly history in probably close to 100 posts. Here are three pieces that pretty much sum it up:
Here's Why Americans Hate Lawyers
What Are These Wacky Alabama GOPers Up to Now?
Bill Swatek: A Portrait of Alabama Sleaze in the Age of Rove
The post at that last link was the introduction to a trilogy we produced, using video, newspaper clippings, and court documents to illustrate the depth of Bill Swatek's depravity. You can check out those three posts here and ask yourself, "How on earth does this guy still have a bar card?"
An Alabama Portrait of Sleaze in the Age of Rove, Part I
An Alabama Portrait of Sleaze in the Age of Rove, Part II
An Alabama Portrait of Sleaze in the Age of Rove, Part III
For good measure, we have video of Bill Swatek essentially stealing the full property rights to our home on the steps of the Shelby County Courthouse. My wife and I have an ongoing federal lawsuit against Mr. Swatek and various Shelby County officials over that little charade. You can watch the video at the end of this post.
If you think Bill Swatek caused us grief, just check out what he did to a Trussville man named Lawrence Weems. Mr. Weems wound up with numerous bullet holes in him, thanks largely to Swatek's corrupt handling of a divorce case.
Public documents indicate that Bill Swatek passed along nasty tendencies to his offspring. Dax Swatek, as we've noted, has strong ties to Bob Riley and Bill Canary. It's not so well known that Dax Swatek was deeply involved in Riley's anti-gambling campaign. We've shown that Dax Swatek has a habit of issuing threats against people he views as political enemies, even fellow conservatives and avowed Christians:
Aides to Riley Helped Drive Anti-Gambling Crusade in Alabama
Riley Aide Threatens Christian Coalition Leader Over Gambling
These two posts make it clear that Dax Swatek played a pivotal role in the unrest over gambling that led to the federal bingo prosecution currently unfolding in Montgomery. That first post shows that Riley aides, including Dax Swatek, pushed the governor to fight gambling initiatives:
According to a 2007 lawsuit filed by the chairman of the Christian Coalition of Alabama, several top aides to Riley played prominent roles in stirring the governor's anti-gambling passion. And that led to what some reporters have called "the bingo wars of 2010," the biggest political story of the year in our state--and that was before the recent arrests. . . .
Dr. Randy Brinson states in the lawsuit that Riley initially was neutral in 2007 when a bill to tax and regulate gambling was introduced in the Alabama Legislature. But when Brinson and the Christian Coalition threw their support behind the bill, HB 527, several Riley aides took quick action. And their concerns had nothing to do with a genuine opposition to gambling in Alabama. In fact, the aides and Riley were up to their necks in gambling interests.
In the lawsuit, Brinson states:
"These persons knew that Riley's connections with Las Vegas and Mississippi gambling entities, combined with his stance against gambling in Alabama that resulted from these connections, would make it easier to enlist his opposition."
Who were these associates? Brinson names them: Dax Swatek, Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh, Toby Roth, and Ken Wallis.
As for Chace Swatek, I didn't know a whole lot about him. Here's pretty much the extent of my knowledge,?from a July 2009 post:
Chace Swatek, another of Bill Swatek's sons, earned a law degree at Pepperdine University (home of Ken Starr) before flunking the California bar exam, flopping in a real-estate project on Alabama's Gulf Coast and slinking home to join daddy's law practice.
I went on in that post to describe my one interaction with Chace Svatek--and it was pretty strange:
I've never found interaction with a Swatek to be terribly edifying. Since my blog is grounded in uncomfortable truths, and the Swateks I've known seem to shun the truth like cockroaches avoid the light, I suspect they don't enjoy their interactions with me.
So imagine my surprise when I returned home the other evening to discover that I had a voice message from Chace Swatek. When I played it, the message was a simple "please call me."
My first guess was that Chace Swatek wanted to huff and puff and threaten me with a defamation lawsuit over a less-than-flattering post I recently authored about his sister, Barret Swatek, a wannabe actress who touts her "conservative family values" while living in a way that appears to be anything but "pro family."
So what happened?
I was prepared for Chace Swatek to threaten me with legal action. So what did he say when I called him back? Try this:
"Oh, I had a question I intended to ask you, but I have it answered."
Hunh? "OK," I said.
After bringing that scintillating conversation to a close, I checked my blog stats to discover that someone (or several someones) had been finding Legal Schnauzer by keying in the keywords "Chace Swatek." And several of those originated from the Alabama State Bar.
Has someone filed a bar complaint against Chace Swatek? If so, Chace is continuing a proud family tradition. Did Chace Swatek think I had filed the bar complaint?
Don't know why he would think that. I certainly have never been his client, and I've had no dealings with him at all. Was Chace concerned that I had come up with proof that he had sent me threatening e-mails, and I had reported him to the bar because of it?
I never did come up with answers to those questions. I hadn't thought much about Chace Swatek since writing that post until I checked my blog stats about 2:30 p.m. yesterday and noticed a lot of traffic from people keying in various searches about Chace Swatek. One of the queries was "Chace Swatek death February 2012."
Mrs. Schnauzer and I treated ourselves yesterday to a belated Valentine's date, a matinee showing of "The Descendants" (a great movie, by the way; four strong thumbs up), and I returned home to find that al.com had reported Chace Swatek's death about 6 p.m.
Before we went to the movie, I told Mrs. Schnauzer about the curious traffic regarding Chace Swatek on my blog stats. "That must be some sort of hoax," she said. "How could he turn up dead?"
Well, it wasn't a hoax, and Chace Swatek did turn up dead.
I'm guessing that the official finding will be a natural death. But if Chace Swatek treated people in the same manner as his father does, I would not be surprised if someone wanted to cause him harm.
Either way, we've all heard the phrase "what goes around, comes around." For those who know what the Swatek family is really all about, those words ring true today.