Monday, July 8, 2019

Former Drummond exec's lawsuit could reopen North Birmingham scandal and and blow the masks off some of Alabama's most hideous political bottom feeders

Birmingham Superfund site

Some of the biggest names in Alabama politics might be breathing a sigh of relief now that the North Birmingham Superfund scandal seems to have blown over. But several of them could be developing tightness in the sphincter if recent developments prove the scandal remains very much alive, as reported at (BB).

What could bring the Superfund scandal roaring back to life? According to a recent post at BB, the answer is a lawsuit that former Drummond Co. executive Dave Roberson filed in March against Balch and Bingham and others who helped make him the fall guy in last summer's criminal trial. From a recent BB post titled "Roberson planning to sing like a canary":

Facing 30 months in federal prison, bankruptcy, the loss of the family home, and the insurmountable emotional toll he and his family have suffered, ex-Drummond Commpany executive Dave Roberson is prepared to talk with federal prosecutors about the intricate details of the North Birmingham Bribery Scheme.

Roberson never testified in his criminal trial and has never told anyone outside legal counsel about the meticulous and unsettling details.

What could turn the tables and revive the Superfund matter? Roberson's attorney in the civil matter is Burt Newsome, who has seen Balch and Bingham attempt to steal his lucrative collections practice, take threatening actions against his wife and family, and pay a Jefferson County judge, apparently to make unlawful rulings in what BB calls "The Newsome Conspiracy Case."

Newsome, it appears, will not be playing softball with Drummond, Balch, or any of the other political predators involved in the Superfund scandal. Writes BB Publisher K.B. Forbes:

Just a few months back, Balch and Bingham and Drummond Company were not concerned because Roberson’s criminal lawyers were paid by Drummond and Balch’s grip on Jefferson County including federal probes was solid.

But all that changed when Roberson hired Burt Newsome as his civil lawyer. Newsome, who allegedly was wrongly targeted, falsely arrested and defamed by Balch and Bingham, is running circles around the Balch posse.

U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town has been intentionally avoided and overlooked due to his ties to former U.S. Senator Luther Strange, Balch’s biggest stooge.

Instead, Roberson’s civil lawyer is working with federal investigators in Washington, D.C. and Capitol Hill senior staff. circumventing the political cronyism and corruption of Birmingham.

Newsome is conducting an end run around compromised local U.S. attorney Jay Town? Yikes, that could strike fear into the hearts of certain Alabama crooks, who once enjoyed the cover provided by Mr. Town and like-minded prosecutors. Reports Forbes:

And who should be worried?

Our sources say management members at Alabama Power, Drummond Company, Thompson Tractor, and Balch and Bingham—corporate supporters of the AstroTurf and money laundering entity Alliance for Jobs and the Economy that funneled over $360,000 in bribes to disgraced State Representative Oliver Robinson—appear to have possibly given incomplete testimony or even perjured themselves.

More interesting now are the five-figure campaign contributions (to investigators: alleged bribes) paid to Balch’s biggest stooge Luther Strange and ex-Governor Robert “Luv Guv” Bentley after signing the multiple ghost-written letters to the EPA against the North Birmingham expedited clean-up efforts.

The ghost-written letters were allegedly drafted by convicted felon and Balch-made millionaire Joel I. Gilbert.

We can think of several other Alabama politicos who might have reason to worry if the lid is ripped off the Superfund scandal:

* Jeff Sessions --  The former U.S. senator and Trump attorney general pocketed hundreds of thousands of campaign-contribution dollars from Balch and Drummond during  his 20 years in Congress. Sessions also intervened to oppose Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) action in the Superfund bribery scandal -- and he did so just weeks after conferring with Balch lawyers.

* Richard Shelby -- Alabama's senior U.S. senator joined with other state scum suckers to send a letter to the EPA condemning the use of the “air deposition theory” at the 35th Avenue site.

* Luther Strange -- The former U.S. senator and state AG sent detailed letters to the EPA in October 2014 and January 2015 opposing its efforts in North Birmingham. Drummond gave Strange a $25,000 campaign contribution less than a week before the first letter and another $25,000 donation a month after the second.

Jeff Sessions, Luther Strange, Richard Shelby
* Jabo Waggoner -- The long-time state senator in 2015 successfully introduced a resolution opposing the EPA actions at the 35th Avenue Superfund site. According to the Justice Department, the measure was in fact authored by Balch’s Joel Gilbert.

* Gary Palmer -- The Republican U.S. representative joined with Sessions and Shelby to send a letter to the EPA condemning the use of the “air deposition theory” at the 35th Avenue site. Attached to the letter was a copy of Waggoner’s ghostwritten resolution. In July 2016, according to an EPA spokesman, officials from the agency briefed staffers for Sessions, Shelby, and Palmer regarding the status of the 35th Avenue site.

*Jessica Medeiros Garrison -- The long-time GOP operative, and one-time campaign manager and mistress for Luther Strange, has worked all around the Superfund scandal without (so far) being fully exposed. Reports Mother Jones: "[Jeffrey] Wood, [Ed] Haden, and other Balch lawyers spearheaded high-profile legal fights with the Obama-era EPA. Wood and Haden represented Republican members of Congress in a 2016 court filing siding with West Virginia as it fought EPA carbon emission standards at coal power plants. The lawsuit appeared to be coordinated by coal behemoth Murray Energy and the fossil fuel industry-funded Republican Attorneys General Association. RAGA’s executive director at the time, Jessica Medeiros Garrison, was simultaneously an attorney at Balch from 2011 through 2016. She has also worked for Sessions."

Public documents suggest Garrison has dropped out of Luther Strange World and aligned on with the Gaty Palmer Universe. We have received several reports that the Palmer-Garrison relationship has become quite personal, going well beyond political and professional issues. Palmer has a trail of sexual-harassment complaints, dating to his days at the Alabama Policy Institute, so a Palmer-Garrison match might be a natural. We are researching that matter for a possible series of posts.

* Doug Jones -- Most of the Superfund Sleaze has involved Republicans, but U.S. Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) largely has avoided scrutiny, even though he served as attorney for the money-laundering foundation of former State Rep. Oliver Robinson, who pleaded guilty to accepting bribes from Drummond and Balch. Prosecutors stated that Robinson, Roberson, and Gilbert developed a bribery contract through Balch, and Jones was serving as Robinson's lawyer during that general time period. Did Jones assist in preparing the contract, did he review it, does Jones have ties to Balch and Bingham that might cause him to become active in such a transaction? Would Oliver Robinson enter into such a contract without checking with his personal attorney?

Here is what Alabama political insider Jill Simpson wrote on Facebook in December 2017, noting Jones' propensity for working with unsavory characters:

Doug Jones did the legal work for corrupt black politician Mr Robinson's foundation that accepted bribes from Republican law firms and Drummond folks for toxic tort committed against the black community in Birmingham. Just looks to me like another corrupt republican deal Doug was involved in plus for years he has acted like he was for the black community but he doesn't fool me. I still remember hearing from old FEMA and Pentagon guys as a young storm gypsy stories sitting around a beach fire about how Doug Jones represented one of the head guys for the Klan, Tom Posey, and how that guy was trading airplane loads of guns and getting dope in the Contra deals and dumping on black communities all over our state -- and how Doug got him off, and the fellow was guilty as sin.

Does Doug Jones, in fact, have some ugly ties to Balch and Bingham -- perhaps a "special friend" with ties to the law firm? We have been working on that story for several months and expect to have it nailed down soon. It could throw a major wrench into Jones' hopes for re-election in 2020.

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