|Retiring Alabama Judge Alan King|
Alabama Probate Judge Alan King has retired in the wake of reports about his dubious handling of an estate case involving Birmingham philanthropist Joann Bashinsky.
King's retirement, which took effect Sunday, comes one working day after audio recordings of Bashinsky meeting with Birmingham attorneys Amy Adams (of corruption-riddled Balch Bingham) and Greg Hawley (former law partner of U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-AL) were published by Publisher April Marie Fogel at Alabama Today. (The audio can be accessed via a link at the end of this post.)
The retirement comes two working days after an Alabama legal source spelled out for Legal Schnauzer the eye-popping math behind the Bashinsky estate case and raised the possibility, in the state's toxic court system, that money could be funneled back to the judge in the form of a kickback. Our source says the audio recordings likely were enough to scare King away from the Bashinsky matter by announcing a conveniently timed retirement out of concern that the FBI or other agency might wind up investigating.
At the heart of the recordings are threats from Amy Adams that Mrs. Bashinsky is at risk of losing her house, even though her estate is worth an estimated $218 million. The audio also indicates Adams has access to Mrs. Bashinsky's financial and health information before officially entering the case.
Al.com broke the story of King's retirement Sunday morning but made no mention of his peculiar actions in the Bashinsky estate case. That was left to banbalch.com publisher K.B. Forbes in a post later Sunday:
Alan L. King, the Jefferson County probate judge who signed off on an order drafted by his longtime pal Greg Hawley that forced an alleged corrupt guardianship and financial control directive upon an 88 year-old grandmother worth $218 million announced his abrupt retirement this morning, according to al.com.
The announcement comes just hours after the release of damning audio files from media outlet Alabama Today of Balch Bingham partner Amy Adams allegedly telling Joann Bashinsky, known as Mrs. B and the widow of the founder of Golden Flake Foods, could run out of money, lose her home, and have to fire staff.
Greg Hawley, appointed as Conservator of Jefferson County by King in 2013, can be heard rejecting Adams about her alleged false claims, stating he has yet to get a complete, “whole financial picture” but “cannot say” what Adams told Mrs. B.
Even though Mrs. B allegedly refused to hire Balch partner Adams, Hawley hired her under his directive and authority at a cost of $425 an hour.
In January, the Alabama Supreme Court stayed all the shenanigans of King, Hawley and Balch Bingham.
What could drive such shenanigans? The answer, not surprisingly, appears to be money. A legal source spells out in stark terms the law and math in the Bashinsky case, while also providing insight into Alabama's nasty courtroom culture:
Judge King completely ignored the letter of Ms. Bashinsky’s personal physician of five years and instead used a report from a Dr. Carolyn Harada to declare her incompetent and appointed a conservator so that the conservator could hire out Balch and Bingham as the conservator’s attorney and they could all claim a fee of 4 percent of her $218-million estate--a total of almost $9 million and a complete scam. I wonder how much of that fee was going back to Judge King as a reward for his dirty deed.
Our source has little doubt about what drove judge King's retirement:
Judge King has resigned over the leaked Bashinksy tapes. I do not think he wants the FBI investigating how much of that 4-percent fee, which he was going to award to Balch on Ms. Bashinsky’s $218-million net worth, was going to be kicked back to him.
Bashinsky Audio (Via Alabama Today and Ban Balch)