|Jessica Medeiros Garrison and Luther Strange|
How shady were Luther Strange's activities related to the North Birmingham Superfund bribery scandal? For that matter, what about Jessica Medeiros Garrison, Strange's one-time campaign manager and alleged mistress (per former State Sen. Lowell Barron) who happened to hold an "of counsel" position at the Balch and Bingham law firm, where "the plan" was hatched to defeat EPA regulations that threatened to present more than $100 million in clean-up costs for corporate polluters that reportedly had saturated the mostly black neighborhood with deadly toxins?
Answers to those questions, and many others, apparently were covered up during a criminal trial where U.S. attorney Jay Town reportedly protected powerful political figures and business interests. A $75-million fraud lawsuit from former Drummond Company executive David Roberson promises to shine light, much of it unflattering, on Strange and his associates in the new year.
The Roberson civil case essentially is a rebirth of the EPA scandal, and a report earlier this week from banbalch.com raised new questions about Strange's role in the seediness. Ban Balch Publisher K.B. Forbes, under the headline "Eye of Federal Investigators? Crosswhite, Drummond Family, and Balch’s Biggest Stooge,"focuses on the Alliance for Jobs and the Economy (AJE), the corrupt entity behind $360,000 in bribes to former state lawmaker Oliver Robinson. Writes Forbes:
The AJE was the alleged brainchild of Alabama Power and as we reported in 2017, Mike Thompson of Thompson Tractor was listed as a director of the money laundering entity.
Thompson was also the fundraising chairman in 2017 of Balch’s biggest stooge U.S. Senator Luther Strange and allegedly has had deep and close friendships with Crosswhite and the Drummond family.
Strange involved himself in the North Birmingham EPA matter, allegedly provoked by Balch, even though Strange had no authority to do so. At the time, the Governor had delegated the Alabama Department of Environmental Management to handle all issues related to the North Birmingham EPA matter.
- On October 13, 2014, convicted felon and Balch-made millionaire Joel I. Gilbert sent Luther Strange, then the Alabama Attorney General, a draft letter about the North Birmingham EPA matter.
- Four days later, on October 17, Strange accepted a $25,000 contribution from Drummond Company.
- Six days later after the money was deposited, Strange signed the ghost-written letter and dispatched it on his official letterhead to the EPA on October 23, 2014. (Read the source documents here.)
The Alabama Supreme Court has denied Drummond's request for a stay on discovery in the Roberson case, meaning evidence should start flowing in the weeks ahead. The court has released no ruling on Drummond's petition for a writ of mandamus, seeking to be dismissed from the Roberson case. As a practical matter, it's hard to see how the court could deny the stay on discovery but grant the mandamus petition -- especially given that state precedent clearly shows Drummond is not entitled to mandamus relief, as a matter of law.
As for Jessica Garrison, we know she beat a hasty retreat at Balch and Bingham-- and her social-media presence evaporated -- after Strange's name first was tied to the Superfund scandal.
As for Mike Thompson, a Ban Balch scoop raises questions that figure to resonate well into 2021:
We have now learned from sources that the $25,000 was allegedly hand delivered in 2014 to Attorney General Strange when Thompson brought him over to Drummond Company’s executive offices, circumventing government affairs (Roberson's department) and meeting with members of the Drummond family directly.
All that was missing was a brown paper bag.