top of page
  • Writer's pictureDonald V. Watkins

Shattered Facades: Ulysses L. "Junior" Bridgeman's Manna Capital Partners Seems to Function as a Minority "Front" Company for Sanctioned Managing Partner Kevin Randall Attkisson

Updated: Apr 16

By: Donald V. Watkins

Copyrighted and Published on April 13, 2024

IMAGE: Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (front and center) is surrounded by Manna Capital Partners' Ulysses L. Junior Brigeman , various political figures, and other dignitaries as she announces the company's construction and operation of a $600 million beverage manufacturing plant in Montgomery.

An Editorial Opinion

On October 18, 2022, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey surrounded herself with retired NBA player Ulysses L. “Junior” Bridgeman and other dignitaries to announce that Kentucky-based Manna Capital Partners planned to invest nearly $600 million to construct an advanced beverage production and distribution complex in Montgomery, Alabama.

Manna Capital Partners was formed in Delaware on June 22, 2015, and registered to do business at its headquarters in Louisville on June 16, 2022.

In her press release, Gov. Ivey claimed Manna Capital Partners was a "minority-owned business enterprise and investment firm." She also claimed its Montgomery “beverage park” would create 280 full-time jobs and would be owned and operated by its affiliate Manna Beverages & Ventures.

Based on Gov. Ivey's representations, an elated group of local black political figures and business leaders in Montgomery celebrated the announcement with press releases and a show of support. The city of Montgomery even used the event to promote itself as "the best city for black-owned businesses."

Those in attendance at the announcement ceremony assumed that Junior Bridgeman, who is black, was running the show at Manna Capital Partners. He was not! Kevin Randall Attkisson was/is.

IMAGE: Kevin Randall Attkisson

Who is Kevin Randall Attkisson?

Kevin Randall Attkisson is the co-founder and designated Managing Partner of Manna Capital Partners. Attkisson, who is white, was formerly the Managing Partner of Bluegrass Financial Holdings, a capital management firm investing in real estate, privately held companies, and publicly traded stocks.

Prior to Bluegrass Financial, Attkisson was a Managing Partner of Bluegrass Global Assets Fund, L.P., a commodity pool operator that invested in global futures and commodities with a heavy focus on metals. Attkisson also spent 10 years as Chief Executive Officer of an alarm technology business he co-founded in Chicago.

In addition to serving as the Managing Partner of Manna Capital Partners, Attkisson serves on the board of directors of First Southern National Bank in Stanford, Kentucky. First Southern is an affiliate of First Southern Bancorp.

Ten months prior to Gov. Ivey’s press announcement, the Kentucky Department of Financial Institutions issued a regulatory enforcement action that resulted in a “cease and desist” Order against Kevin Randall Attkisson.

The Order followed a multi-year regulatory investigation into certain business activities and conduct by Attkisson, including: (a) his failure to maintain true, accurate, and current financial statements, policies, and reports, (b) his failure to deliver updated brochures to clients for the 2017 and 2018 fiscal years, (c) his failure to maintain policies and procedures to prevent a breach of fiduciary duty and conflict of interest to clients, (d) permitting an unlicensed representative to render advice to clients, and (e) providing incomplete and inconsistent responses to regulators during the course of the investigation into Attkisson's conduct.

The investigation began on June 26, 2019. Attkisson was working at Bluegrass Capital Advisors, LLC, when the questionable activities and conduct occurred.

The regulatory matter was completed on January 19, 2022, when Attkisson was placed under a “cease and desist” Order. Attkisson is no longer a licensed and registered financial services adviser. Additionally, Attkisson personally paid $9,500 of the total $35,000 fine in the case.

The enforcement action against Attkisson is reported on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Investment Adviser Public Disclosure website and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority website. This information was readily available to Gov. Ivey at the time she announced Manna Capital Partner’s beverage plant project in Montgomery.

Is Junior Bridgeman a Minority “Frontman”for Kevin Randall Attkisson?

Junior Bridgeman was present at Gov. Ivey’s October 18, 2022, press conference announcing Manna Capital Partners’ planned $600 million project in Montgomery.

IMAGE: Gov. Kay Ivey (left), with Junior Bridgeman.

Manna Capital Partners does not appear to have a company website. While the company has a LinkedIn page, Junior Bridgeman is not listed anywhere on this page.

Kevin Randall Attkisson is listed as the Managing Partner for Manna Capital Partners on his personal LinkedIn page. Strangely, there is no website for Manna Capital Partners listed on Attkisson's LinkedIn page.

Junior Bridgeman appears to be a “frontman” for Attkisson's beverage manufacturing project in Montgomery, which has a well-known black mayor who enjoys substantial influence throughout Montgomery County.

Interestingly, Gov. Ivey’s Office of Minority Affairs does not list or promote Junior Bridgeman's $600 million project anywhere on its website, even though Manna Capital Partners was touted at Ivey's press conference as a “minority-owned business enterprise and investment firm.”

Established in 2016 under Executive Order 15, the Alabama Office of Minority Affairs (AOMA) is a cabinet-level agency. One of the Office's listed missions is to support minority-owned businesses in Alabama.

Questions About Manna Capital Partners' $600 Million Project Persist?

Is Kevin Randal Attkisson the person who is actually running Manna Capital Partners? According to Attkisson's LinkedIn page and various industry trade publications, he is.

What is the status of this company's $600 million project in Montgomery? Nobody seems to talk about the project anymore.

Has Manna Capital Partners broken ground on the Montgomery construction project? Apparently not.

Was Gov. Ivey hoodwinked into supporting and announcing this project, or did she know about Attkisson's "cease and desist" Order? Kevin Attkisson's "cease and desist" Order would have turned up during the course of Kay Ivey's customary due diligence on this showcased $600 million economic development and "minority affairs" project.

Is Manna Capital Partners a “minority-owned business enterprise and investment firm,”as claimed by Gov. Ivey? Based upon the objective evidence, it appears that Manna Capital Partners is little more than a minority "front" company for Kevin Randall Attkisson's business ventures. If the company's status as an "investment firm"depended on Attkisson's possession of a registered financial advisor's license, that license is gone.

1 Comment

Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
Donald V. Watkins
Donald V. Watkins
Apr 15

All Alabamians need to support the real estate development project announced by Birmingham Mayor Woodfin on March 8, 2022 and pictured below. Omar Harvill, one of the project developers overseeing the Birmingham project, has been transparent throughout his team's project development activities. It is clear that Harvill's project development team is NOT "fronting" for anybody.

For the reasons stated in my article, I do NOT believe that Manna Capital Partners' $600 million beverage plant in Montgomery is going to happen. The January 19, 2022 "cease and desist" Order issued by the Kentucky Department of Financial Institutions to Kevin Randall Attkisson will likely kill the Montgomery deal. Attkisson is the Managing Partner of Manna Capital Partners. Other prominent individuals tied to…

bottom of page