Thornton steps down as chairman of the board of trustees at Alabama State

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MONTGOMERY, Alabama — The chairman of the Alabama State University board of trustees says he's stepping down to protect the school from a potential conflict of interest.

Larry Thornton said Friday his decision to resign immediately from the board was in the best interest of Alabama State, noting the university's contract for beverage services is being transferred from Coca-Cola Refreshments to the Coca-Cola Bottling Company, United, Inc., of which Thornton serves on the board.

Thornton says state laws prohibit a board chairman from having financial relationships with university vendors or suppliers.

Alabama State is one of the nation's oldest historically black universities and has been dealing with the fallout of an audit by the governor's office that questioned spending and a warning from the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges citing various issues.

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