Monday, April 24, 2017

Ashley Madison customers revealed: Shawn Baker, of Blackwater Resources shopping-center development firm, appears at site for extramarital cheaters

Shawn and Sarah Vickery Baker
A member of perhaps Birmingham's "first family" of shopping-center development appears as a paying member of the Ashley Madison (AM) extramarital-affairs Web site, records show.

Shawn D. Baker, a developer at Blackwater Resources, appears on the Alabama list for AM. Blackwater spun off from AIG Baker in 2010, as the latter's partnership with AIG cratered amid the Wall Street crash and the imploding Bush-era economy. Blackwater, headed by president and CEO Alex Baker, has its headquarters at 700 Montgomery Highway, while AIG Baker remains in business, based at The Village at Lee Branch, which it developed.

Based on the limited Alabama public records available to us here in Springfield, Missouri, it appears Shawn Baker is Alex Baker's son. And Alex Baker is one of the major figures in the history of shopping-center development in Alabama -- plus some 20 other states. From a bio of Alex Baker:

In 1993, Mr. Baker and AIG Global Real Estate Investment Corp. (AIG Global) founded AIG Baker, then A.B. Shopping Center Properties, Inc. Mr. Baker has served as President and CEO of the company since its founding. Mr. Baker previously held the office of CEO for Polar-BEK and Baker, which is the predecessor firm of AIG Baker. He has also served as Senior Vice President for Aronov Realty Company. Mr. Baker has twenty-five years experience in the real estate industry and has been responsible for the development of over 22,000,000 square feet of retail space.

Thanks largely to Alex Baker's history, it did not take Blackwater long to become a major player in the development game. From the company's Web site:

Blackwater Resources was formed in 2010 by former executives of AIG Baker Shopping Center Properties, L.L.C. During their real estate careers, the executives of Blackwater Resources, LLC developed, leased and managed in excess of 25 million square feet of property in 36 different states. Borrowing on the experience of these seasoned professionals and their unique perspective on the market, the company was founded on the principle of seeking solid investments, opportunities and partnerships that produce enduring value and relevance, firm relationship, and optimal returns and outcomes for all parties.

Upon its formation, the company immediately procured leasing and management opportunities for over 1.6 million square feet of retail property, including several properties Blackwater Resources executives originally developed. The properties include regional power centers, grocery-anchored shopping centers and neighborhood centers. It additionally added to its portfolio recreational and residential properties, and continues to add to its portfolio by actively seeking investment, development, brokerage and management opportunities.

What does Shawn Baker do? It appears he mostly rides daddy's coattails -- and those coattails apparently are strong enough that Shawn felt secure in screwing around on Ashley Madison, even though he's married and appears to have at least two children.

Shawn Baker is married to Sarah Vickery Baker, who describes herself on Facebook as "Research Associate in Child Development and Human Relations at Baker Household." Sounds like she focuses on the domestic front. They live in a house at 7061 North Highfield Drive in the exclusive Greystone section of Birmingham. According to Zillow, the house has an estimated value of $650,099.

Based on published reports, Blackwater Resources does not appear to be out of the financial woods. According to a 4/6/16 article at The Auburn Plainsman, Blackwater is planning a 700-space parking garage, a 30,000-square-foot urban grocery and a 90–130-room boutique hotel. But Susan Hunnicutt, public-relations officer for the grassroots organization Keep Auburn Lovely, questions whether the company can pull it off:

"Five years ago they had a real string of bankruptcy projects, all of which were shopping center developments throughout the Southeast," Hunnicutt said.

According to Blackwater's website, Chairman Alex Baker founded Blackwater Resources from a previous company, AIG Baker Shopping Center Properties, along with several other former executives from the company.

Blackwater was built from what was left of AIG Baker after several bankruptcy filings in 2009 and 2010 following the Great Recession and the collapse of its equity partner and backer, the American International Group Inc., or AIG.

After over a year of untangling, Baker separated his company from AIG in spring 2010, according to an article.

But that was not before AIG Baker nearly lost two shopping centers in the Birmingham area to foreclosure: the Patton Creek shopping center — which was later sold by AIG Baker to a Miami-based real estate developer — and the Vestavia Hills City Center shopping center, which was put into bankruptcy protection in 2010 to prevent foreclosure.

The Chapter 11 bankruptcy was filed after the principal holder of the debt, Huntsville's Propst Properties, attempted to foreclose on the property, according to the article.

Alex Baker's image has taken a blow, and that has followed him to his new firm. From The Plainsman:

Chapter 11 bankruptcy often forces debt holders to renegotiate and restructure the debt of the filer, according to the article.

"If he's going to run out on his employees and his lenders, he might have no qualms about running out on the City of Auburn," Hunnicutt said.

AIG Baker also put two more shopping center properties in Deptford, New Jersey, and another called Fallschase in Tallahassee, Florida, into Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, according to public records.

The predecessor to Blackwater Resources lost one of its largest properties, The Wharf in Orange Beach, Alabama, after defaulting on a loan with JP Morgan Chase Bank, according to public records.

"Once that land is gone, they can sell it to any New York or out-of-state real estate development trust," Hunnicutt said. "Those guys, they're not going to care about what's going on in Auburn. They'll put anything they want to as long as it makes money for their line-item on their investment spreadsheet."

With the family business struggling to gain footing on rocky ground, you might think Shawn Baker would be too focused on financial matters to step in personal doo-doo. But he wound up fooling around on Ashley Madison, and one can only wonder how he was stupid enough to do that.

We sought comment from Shawn Baker for this article, but he has not responded to our queries.


Article with links to 1-20 in Ashley Madison series

(21) Craig Oliver, attorney, Springfield, MO (1/24/17)

(22) Craig Lowell, attorney, Wiggins Childs, Birmingham (1/26/17)

(23) Thomas Mancuso, tax attorney, Montgomery, AL (2/16/17)

(24) Nicholas Arciniegas, attorney, Washington, D.C. (2/21/17)

(25) Griffin McGahey, vice president, High Cotton USA, Birmingham (3/16/17)

(26) Matthew Couch, attorney, Cabaniss Johnson, Birmingham (3/23/17)

(27) Dr. Keron Vickers, chiropractor, Birmingham (4/4/17)

(28) D. Paterson Cope, president, wealth management, Birmingham (4/20/17)


Anonymous said...

Maybe ol' Shawn will wind up in a 1 BR apartment while his wife and kids keep the big house in Greystone. Hah!

Anonymous said...

Blackwater seems like a strange name for a shopping-center development company. I'm betting they borrowed it from that private military outfit that became infamous during the Bush years.

Anonymous said...

More white privilege.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to follow the story of that Auburn development, and anyone else who cares about the town of Auburn or the university should also follow it. Not sure Blackwater should be trusted with a project like this.

Anonymous said...

Just my view but I'm not getting all this reporting on Ashley's membership? Who cares? If they don't hold some type of public office why is it anybody's business. Like I said, it's just my view. I think this type of reporting is below your normal level of work. I mean your the guy that outed the governor. It's just I hate to see your talent wasted reporting about cheating husbands. Stick to what made you the most hated and feared man by those that hold high office. Just my views, hope you understand:-)

legalschnauzer said...

@3:22 --

Your view is different from mine, but it still has merit -- just as mine does. I certainly understand because a number of folks have expressed views similar to yours. In turn, I hope you try to understand why I view it as an important story. Thanks for reading.

legalschnauzer said...

@3:22 --

A point I forgot to mention: Because of the nature of the Web, the reporting on AM does not take away from my reporting on other subjects. In the old world of newspapers, you had limited space, and a report on Subject A meant Subject B might get left on the cutting-room floor. With the Web, space is unlimited. There never has been a post cut here at LS because of my reporting on AM.

It's ironic because the AM story is one about the Web, and the Web greatly enhances the opportunities for reporting on the AM story. Sorta of a circular thing.

Anonymous said...

heady stuff here.

"The son of an Alabama executive may have been on Ashley Madison around 2013. We think. According to public records (read: facebook stalking)" shudder. Pulitzer prize stuff, Roger. You've made something of yourself, boi. Your mom would be proud. Oh wait.

By the way, anyone else notice Roger always tips his hand (different from his paypal tip jar) that he is gonna post an AM article when he posts about his wife's misadventures? Gotta drive that traffic!

Anonymous said...

How about some Subject C?

As in Cooper Shattuck?

How is he faring since the Bentley ship of state shoaled?

Is the ACEGov lid back on with all the secrets still within?

legalschnauzer said...

@4:16 --

It must be heady stuff because it apparently went right over your head. You apparently can't grasp it, or at least, can't write a coherent comment about it. I'll try to help you out with a few facts:

(1) The publicly available records are info from the Ashley Madison database, which was not properly secured and got hacked and made public.

(2) Not sure what that has to do with "Facebook stalking." Not even sure what "Facebook stalking" means.

(3) My wife's misadventures? Is that your clever term for being a "victim of police abuse"? Is that sort of like "securing your arms" being the new term for "breaking your arm"?

(4) You think I intentionally run an Ashley Madison piece in conjunction with a post about Carol's case? Hah! I'd never thought of that, but maybe I'll give it a try.

(5) Gee, aren't you just a little bit obsessed with our blog and any financial support we might get. Why is that a concern of yours? Why would you care whether we get 50 cents or $50,000 via PayPal? What difference does it make to you? It obviously is a concern of yours because you've written similar comments before.

(5) You seem to be admitting there is a whole lot of interest in my Ashley Madison posts. That's the one issue where your brain is in touch with reality. And it's true, the Ashley Madison posts draw heavy interest -- as do posts about Carol and other victims of police abuse, as do my posts on a wide range of topics. I know that it must gall you to no end that we have attracted a major audience on important subjects, while you've accomplished nothing with your pathetic excuse for a life. (Oh, wait, I forgot the lake house -- very proud.)

(6) My mother should be proud. I publish one of the top 50 law blogs in North America, the only one on the list not affiliated with a law school, law firm, association, news organization etc. In essence, mine is the No. 1 truly independent law blog in the US and Canada. I don't care whether my mother is proud or not -- that's not why I do this, or anything else. But I've accomplished more in the field of law than her son who actually went to law school. He basically helps families break up and makes money off them, and he defends drunk drivers. Now, that's something to be proud of.

So your right, I guess we are in heady stuff.

legalschnauzer said...

@4:54 --

Good questions about Cooper Shattuck. Best I can tell, he's in a safe zone for now, perhaps making taxpayer dollars based on the legal contracts Bentley gave him. I wouldn't be surprised to see Cooper wind up back at U of Alabama, maybe on law faculty. I suspect he was forced out from UAB admin for a reason, to help convince Bentley to step down and ensure that ugly secrets of UA System would remain secret.

Anonymous said...

Hey, 4:16, you seem to think Mr. Schnauzer actually is Mr. Subliminal, the old character from SNL. I thought I had a creative mind.

Anonymous said...

Justa a thought or two…. I hope some of these wives will remember the old saying, " A leopard spots never change " Send this Fat Cat back home to live with Mama and Daddy and find somebody that has some morals. Better yet, maybe he and Mancuso can room together.

Anonymous said...

He who is without sin cast the first stone. Do you people have anything better to do than to focus on the splinter in this man's eye? Like, maybe focus on the plank in your own...? Also, personal transgressions do not represent an entire company nor do they define the transgressor.

Apparently REAL news is less appealing than the attempted destruction of family.

Go do something constructive with your lives instead of reading this dredge.

legalschnauzer said...

@6:21 --

Maybe others don't consider this to be dredge. If any family damage has been done, perhaps it was done by Mr. Baker.

Anonymous said...

This story is important because it serves as a warning to Mr. Baker's future "victims". You should do a story about his ongoing misdeeds--getting fired from his own family's company, run ins with the law, committing fraud on both a state and a federal level, not to mention the countless people he's victimized. Some people should come with a warning label

Anonymous said...

What run ins with the law. He is dating my ex wife which I have two sons with and need to know anything I can. I have several cases against the ex and need to know if this guy is bad

legalschnauzer said...

@9:47 -- The part about run-ins with the law was in an anonymous comment, so I have no way of knowing who sent that or what run-ins" they are talking about. Generally, you can look up information like this at You can type in Shawn Baker's name -- best if you know his full name and/or address, which is in the post, I think -- and any public records re: legal cases that involve him should appear. You can subscribe to and use it from your home computer. There is a charge for that, and I don't know what it is, but you probably can get contact info on Website and find out. Also, I'm pretty sure all county courthouses in Alabama have public computers, usually in the clerk's office, that you can use to look up info. You might call the courthouw3 dlow3w 5o you to make sure they have at least one computer for public use. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

He’s got two domestic violence charges against him—one of those charges was domestic violence against a child under the age of 14. Both cases were ruled guilty by the judge in municipal court and are currently pending a jury trial in appeals court