A Florida-based civil-rights leader has blasted banking giant BBVA USA for maintaining ties to Birmingham law firm Balch Bingham, despite its recent history of dubious actions related to race -- including playing a leading role in the North Birmingham Superfund bribery scandal. In a post titled "Terminate Balch Now! Civil Rights Leader Rips BBVA for “Desecrating the Memory of George Floyd,” banbalch.com publisher K.B. Forbes writes:
Civil Rights leader Ernesto Pichardo dispatched a scathing letter to [Javier] Rodriguez Soler, President and CEO of BBVA USA, for not terminating the alleged racist law firm Balch & Bingham.
“Over two months ago we called on you to immediately terminate alleged racist law firm Balch & Bingham as BBVA’s outside lawyers. You have done nothing,” Pichardo wrote.
In 1993, Pichardo won a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision for religious freedom and Civil Rights after his Afro-Caribbean faith came under attack due to blatant intolerance and discrimination by racists and religious bigots.
“Desecrating the memory of George Floyd for public relations purposes, BBVA ought to be ashamed to ‘stand in solidarity’ with a law firm that has been involved in alleged racist misconduct, targeting poor African-American children, allegedly disenfranchising African-American voters, and suppressing African-Americans in North Birmingham, Alabama from having their toxic property tested by the EPA,” Pichardo stated.
The CEO of BBVA USA has talked a good game on race, but he apparently has been short on action:
BBVA’s Rodriguez Soler announced in early June that the bank would “stand in solidarity” and “side-by-side” with the Black community after the murder of George Floyd.
Yet BBVA did not terminate Balch & Bingham even though the bank was provided with a detailed 14-page report, including details about a Balch partner who was convicted of money laundering and bribery in the North Birmingham Bribery Scandal that suppressed African-Americans.
Pichardo asks Rodriguez Soler, “Why won’t BBVA truly take a bold stand against racism? Were your words from June just public relations fluff?”
Pichardo has been a member of the Board of Directors of the CDLU since 2003.
In his letter, Pichardo describes how the community of Vincent, Alabama, united against Balch & Bingham political stooges and voted them out by a landslide late last month.
Pichardo closes his letter to Rodriguez Soler vowing, “We will continue the fight against racism and intolerance, and we will hold you and BBVA accountable for allegedly ‘standing in solidarity’ with alleged racist vendors.”