Monday, December 23, 2019

Alleged secret meeting between Alabama Power executives and U.S. Attorney Jay Town might have ensured North Birmingham bribery trial was rigged

Mark Crosswhite

Hard evidence exists that two Alabama Power executives met with Jay Town, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, at the height of the North Birmingham Superfund bribery scandal, sources tell Legal Schnauzer. It appears, sources say, the meeting was held to determine who would be the fall guy in the summer 2018 federal trial -- and that no one at Alabama Power or Southern Co. would be touched.

The Alabama Power execs in attendance allegedly were CEO Mark Crosswhite and outside counsel Mike Cole. The fall guy wound up being former Drummond Co. executive David Roberson, who was convicted along with former Balch Bingham partner Joel Gilbert. Evidence of a meeting with Jay Town grew from a $75-million lawsuit Roberson brought against Drummond.

Much of this is covered in a year-end post at Writes publisher K.B. Forbes:

Is Alabama Power untouchable? What secret deal did Crosswhite allegedly have with the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, Jay E. Town?

More than that, did Crosswhite indeed have a secret meeting with Town and attorney Mike Cole in a downtown hotel in Birmingham? Is there hard evidence of, or witnesses to, that alleged secret meeting?

Evidence pointing to Alabama Power started surfacing because Gilbert wrote emails to keep power-company higher-ups updated on the Superfund scheme -- and he copied Roberson on those. Writes Forbes:

We learned recently that many of the emails that convicted felon and Balch-made millionaire Joel I. Gilbert wrote giving updates on the bribery/AstroTurf scheme in North Birmingham were sent to Alabama Power executives.

David Roberson, who was convicted of participating in the bribery scheme, was simply cc’d. (See the exhibit from the criminal trial below.)

Where is this story heading? That remains unclear, but it might rock the corporate/legal/political world in Alabama, and as Forbes notes, raises plenty of questions:

So was Balch Bingham’s siamese twin, sister-wife Alabama Power really calling the shots as a major backer of the money laundering entity Alliance for Jobs and the Economy (AJE)?

What would be the motive for Alabama Power to be allegedly involved in this corrupt campaign to suppress poor African-Americans from testing their toxic property and squash the tiny environmental group GASP?

Was Mark A. Crosswhite, the CEO of Alabama Power, and his peers concerned that Alabama Power’s polluting but money-making Miller Steam Plant would be the next target of GASP?

The Superfund bribery trial long has emitted foul odors, largely because it ended with a tiny handful of participants being held accountable, while most seemed to avoid scrutiny altogether. Writes Forbes:

Jay Town
We have never understood why Alabama Power never took the witness stand in the bribery trial during the summer of 2018 even though all the other major contributors to AJE did.
According to a report this April in The Washington Post, “Balch Bingham . . . has insisted that Gilbert, as a partner, acted alone and would not have raised any flags as he deposited $360,000 into the Robinson foundation account because the money went out at a moderate pace over many months. Roberson later said that 21 Balch Bingham attorneys ‘played at least some part’ in the anti-EPA campaign built on (former State Rep. Oliver) Robinson’s efforts."

Why weren’t the other 20 Balch Bingham attorneys investigated?

Then late last year, we learned that Jeffrey Bowers, a Lieutenant with the Columbiana Police Department in Alabama and the son of a retired Alabama Power executive was involved in the alleged “staged arrest” of a competitor of Balch Bingham, Burt Newsome, a sole-practitioner attorney who services and represents banks.

Clearly an apparent abuse under the color of law, why has there not been an active probe?

No comments: