Monday, July 9, 2012

Oil, Money, Politics, and the Death of a Prominent Alabama Lawyer

William Cobb "Chip" Hazelrig

According to the official finding, Alabama lawyer Major Bashinsky shot himself in the head and used duct tape and rope to create the appearance of murder.

The Bashinsky family, at the time of Major's disappearance and death, had been embroiled in contentious litigation involving questions about the whereabouts of tens of millions of dollars. Our review of that lawsuit, which involved proceeds from investments in Oklahoma oil and gas wells, indicates the story behind Major Bashinsky's death might not be as clean and simple as officials want us to believe.

Styled the Estate of Sloan Y. Bashinsky Sr., et al v. W&H Investments, et al, the lawsuit sought an accounting of at least $37 million Major Bashinsky's father had invested with a firm that has ties to gambling, Republican Party politics, and Alabama's toxic political environment.

Court records show that attorneys for the Bashinsky estate were playing legal hardball, aggressively seeking documents that might have shown blatant incompetence and malfeasance on the part of Fred Wedell and William Cobb "Chip" Hazelrig, the partners in W&H Investments. Records also indicate that lawyers for Wedell and Hazelrig were not anxious to turn over relevant information in the discovery process, forcing the estate to file at least six motions to compel, all of which were granted.

The lawsuit came to a strange conclusion. With numerous unresolved issues on the table--and with questions about Mr. Bashinsky's investments seemingly unanswered--the parties reached an agreement that was approved by the court on March, 1, 2010. Two days later, Major Bashinsky was reported missing. And 12 days after that, his body was found in a water hazard at Highland Park Golf Course on Birmingham's Southside.

Was there a connection between the bitterly contested lawsuit and the death of a Bashinsky family member? We don't have an answer to that question. But given that a coroner's report provided zero scientific support for a suicide finding, the question at least should have been asked. We've seen no sign that officials looked into it at all.

That's troubling because Chip Hazelrig, one half of the W&H Investments team, has some dubious distinctions in his background. He is a shareholder in Paragon Gaming, with documented ties to the supposedly anti-gambling Alabama GOP--and to former governor Bob Riley and his son, Homewood lawyer Rob Riley.

On the surface, plaintiffs in the lawsuit were asking a simple question: "What happened to Mr. Bashinsky's money? We now are in charge of his business affairs, and for tax and other reasons, we need to know what happened to the $37 million or more that he invested with you."

Slightly beneath the surface, the estate was making some serious charges against Hazelrig and Wedell. Via its first amended complaint, the estate claims in one document, it was "seeking an accounting with respect to Defendants' interactions and dealings with Sloan Y. Bashinsky Sr. ('Bashinsky') during his lifetime, and further seeking recovery of damages contended to be [owed], including but not limited to damages claimed by virtue of breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty . . . "

Nothing we've found in the court file seriously rebuts those allegations. And the record makes clear that Hazelrig and Wedell, as managing partners in various oil and gas partnerships, had a serious duty to Bashinsky. The estate spells it out, citing Code of Alabama 10-8A-403(b). (See court document at the end of this post.)

That code section "requires that a partnership and its partners furnish to the legal representative of a deceased partner all information concerning the partnership's business and affairs."

Mr. Bashinsky and his representatives sought this information while he was still alive. They received a two and one-half page summary that closed with the following statement: "[W]e do not have any documents pertaining to these investments."

Chip Hazelrig and Fred Wedell took $37 million of Sloan Y. Bashinsky's Sr.'s money and invested it in Oklahoma oil and gas ventures, yet they had no documents pertaining to those investments? I've heard of corner lemonade stands that are run with more financial precision than that.

It's easy to understand why Mr. Bashinsky's representatives were not happy with the response to their inquiry while he was alive. And it's even easier to understand why the estate, after his death, felt the need to pursue the matter in an urgent fashion. Assuming Mr. Bashinsky received a healthy return on his investments, more than $100 million might have been at stake. And it appears that Hazelrig and Wedell did not have ready answers for what happened to that money.

Did the estate's aggressive pursuit of an accounting for investments in oil and gas contribute to the death of Sloan Y. Bashinsky Sr.'s youngest son? We will continue to examine that question in upcoming posts.

(To be continued)
Bashinsky Lawsuit--Motion to Compel1


Anonymous said...

LS, thanks for your research on this. I'm not an expert on a motion to compel, but reading through this one sure makes it sound like the investment company was stonewalling for some reason.

I've long thought the suicide finding in the Bashinsky case smelled fishy.

Anonymous said...

They took $37 million to invest and have no documentation on what happened to the money? Incredible.

I don't know what happened to Major Bashinsky. But something funky happened with his father's money.

Anonymous said...

it is amazing to me that there was no accounting for what happened to the money and they got away with it in court -add to this the fact that they got away with MURDER. Alabama justice is as it always has been FOR SALE. Chip Hazelrig lives in a very large white house with columns and all on a tony road off Pump House in Mountain Brook. The neighbors tell stories of watching movies in his Media Room...did the Bashinsky money pay for the amenities and his grand residence? I am sure of it. I wonder if the stockbroker who was hit by the Mountain Brook cop knew something about the finances of Hazelrig and the Bashinskys? Just wondering.

Anonymous said...

This is the true face of America.

The insatiably corrupted greed.

It is the mirror of the bath salt zombies, the jackal lawyers in the US are stark raving zombified.

Too bad the numbers of lawyers, clearly broke back with the way the business of "money" is, do not go after the Federal Reserve Syndicate crimes against humanity globally and of course, America.

Computer digits do not build wealth and so what that "gold" gets to be bought with "toilet paper money." The value and even the amount of gold is in question.

Insanity is the only true abundant commodity at this time, it appears, in the layers of US.

Stop LS, we need only our Hollywood news because it sells us the stories to not see how dire our country truly is.

Anonymous said...

Spencer Bachus who came to Jamie Dimon's defense. Spencer Bachus is the congressman for the Birmingham, Alabama, region which has been decimated by the Jefferson County swap disaster, which was caused by Chase, which was fined $700 million by the SEC.

So here's a guy who represents the county that has been most affected by Chase's bad behavior, and he comes to Chase's defense in the hearing, which I thought was-- it set the tone for the whole thing.

the rest of the story above can be found at,

The fact is, the only PEOPLE in the US with LIVES are the criminally insane. It is criminally insane what is being committed in the name of computer credit fraud.

legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 2:25 a.m.--

Thanks for bringing up Chip's house. I've been by there, and it truly can be called a mansion, almost a plantation. His guest house is probably 2-3 times the size of most regular houses. After he got divorced, I heard that he and the new bride were building a new shack in the same general vicinity. Interesting that when Chip got divorced, the corrupt Jeffco DR judge sealed the file. That's the kind of favors that elites with money get in these parts.

Chip's mansion truly is the house that Bashinsky money built; Sloan Bashinsky Jr. has written that Chip told him the father was his No. 1 biggest client. And yet Chip had no documents on $37 million and one of the old man's sons wound up dead.

Do you know the address on Pump House Road? Maybe I can look it up. Folks really should go by there and check it out. Quite a sight. If you go, be careful, the road is very narrow and winding in places. When you see Chip's house, your likely to drive off the road in amazement.

The house should be decorated with Golden Flake logos and potato chip figurines. That's who built it.

Anonymous said...

Chip's house.

Hmmm, wonder whether or not the Dale is there, or ?

Money is the commodity for the haves' - the computer vouchers print automatically.

Again, check Abe Lincoln's profile. He was the icon for the lawyers to know that this time, just like in the past harvesting done on Americans, the class that preys upon the law are in control as always since Louis Brandeis made the money hidden via the Supreme Court and the "Fed."

Anonymous said...

the last comment by Anonymous sounds crazy...signed Anonymous32, I don't want to be confused with the other anonymous.