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ALDOT chief John Cooper charged with harassment

GUNTERSVILLE — John Cooper, director of the Alabama Department of Transportation, was arrested and briefly jailed Monday on harassment charges in Marshall County.

Cooper, 75, turned himself in to the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office around noon after a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Sheriff Phil Sims confirmed that Cooper was booked into the Marshall County Jail at 11:53 a.m. on charges of harassment and intimidation. Jail records indicate he posted a $500 bond and was released at 12:35 p.m.

According to the Sand Mountain Reporter, Chief Deputy Willie Orr said a warrant against Cooper was issued for harassment – a misdemeanor charge –  possibly connected to a property line dispute Cooper was in with a neighbor near Langston.

Gina Maiola, a spokeswoman for Gov. Kay Ivey, referred to a statement from Barnett & Jolley, a law firm in Guntersville, which stated they were representing Cooper in his personal capacity.

“This morning (Monday), Mr. Cooper directed me to file a complaint for declaratory judgement cause of action in Marshall County Circuit Court regarding a land dispute with a neighbor who is falsely claiming an easement on Mr. Cooper’s property,” said the statement, signed by attorney George Barnett. “The clearest legal path to resolving this matter is to have the Court determine whether an easement exists, and we look forward to resolving this matter.”

RELATED: Judge halts bridge project, accuses ALDOT chief of bad faith

Cooper has been serving as the transportation director for ALDOT since 2011.

From 2002-08, Cooper was chief executive officer of Avocent in Huntsville and served as chairman from 2003-08.

From 1996-2001, he was chief financial officer and senior vice president finance and administration for Huntsville-based Adtran.

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