Alabama Legislature

Special Elections Set to Replace Former Rep. John Rogers; Rogers Officially Resigns

State Rep. John Rogers (Source: Solomon Crenshaw Jr.)

John Rogers officially has resigned from the Alabama Legislature after more than 40 years representing his district, and the governor Monday set a special primary election for June 18 and general election for Oct. 1 to choose his replacement.

Rogers announced last week that he would resign and plead guilty to fraud and obstruction charges involving money he received in kickbacks after allocating grants to a youth baseball league.

His resignation is effective March 13, although the letter did not reach the House of Representatives until after offices closed Friday, according to Clay Redden, public information officer for the House.

In announcing dates for the special election, Gov. Kay Ivey said, “Alabamians in House District 52 deserve fair and full representation in the legislative process, and this special election will ensure that is the case. To uphold public trust, integrity is imperative and accountability is non-negotiable.”

The deadline for candidates to qualify with major political parties to seek the office is April 16, and independent or third-party candidates have until June 18 to qualify with the state. The special primaries will be June 18, with runoffs set for July 16, if they are needed. The special general election follows Oct. 1.

Catch up on details of the case: Prosecutors Recommend Home Detention, Fine for Rogers on Fraud and Obstruction Plea

Rogers, an 83-year-old Birmingham Democrat, is accused in a kickback scheme that involved giving $400,000 from the taxpayer-funded Jefferson County Community Service Fund to the Piper Davis Youth Baseball League and then, along with his assistant, receiving $200,00 of that money back.

Two others previously pleaded guilty in connection with the case. Rep. Fred Plump, a Democrat from Fairfield who was executive director of the league, resigned from the Legislature and pleaded guilty to conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges in June 2023. Varrie Johnson Kindall, Rogers’ assistant and companion, pleaded guilty in February to conspiring with Rogers and Plump to defraud the fund.

Plump’s seat in the Legislature was filled by Travis Hendrix after a special election in October 2023.

Rogers has agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice in the scheme conducted between March 2019 and April 2023, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In return for his guilty plea, the U.S. Attorney’s Office agreed to seek 14 months of home confinement and an undefined length of time on supervised release, and Rogers agreed to pay $197,950.45 in restitution along with his two alleged conspirators, according to his plea agreement.

Under federal law, Rogers could have received a maximum penalty of 20 years on the fraud charges and five years for obstruction of justice. In asking for a lighter sentence, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the plea agreement cited Rogers’ age and physical condition.