|Jennifer Powell Decker|
Another partner has bolted Birmingham's Balch & Bingham law firm as reports mount that the firm may be the target of a federal investigation. According to a post at banbalch.com, the probe could involve possible obstruction of justice and actions connected to Montgomery-based Matrix LLC. Writes Publisher K.B. Forbes, under the headline "Obstruction Destruction! Another Balch Legacy Partner Exits":
Jennifer Powell Decker, a seasoned Balch & Bingham partner and one of the top-ranking women at the embattled firm, has dumped Balch after 15 dedicated years.
The announcement follows the abrupt and suprising departure of long-time Balch legacy partner Rob Fowler who appears to have taken a step downward, becoming inside counsel for a coal company currently not operating due to the lack of permits.
Powell Decker is now “of counsel” at Baker Donelson in Birmingham according to news reports.
Last week, we learned from high-level sources that an alleged federal probe is looking at possible obstruction of justice.
Allegedly at least three smear artists paid through third-party entities and allegedly tied to the obscure political consulting firm Matrix have been interviewed by federal agents.
In the world of "Big Law," a move like Powell Decker's -- from partner to "of counsel" -- is a clear step down, sources tell Legal Schnauzer. That suggests she, and perhaps Fowler, just wanted to get away from the stench that now surrounds Balch.
As for a federal probe, what might it revolve around? The answer appears to be a smelly case that seems to get more pungent by the day. Writes Forbes:
Beyond the money trail and the Matrix Meltdown, sources claim that investigators are looking at alleged obstruction in the North Birmingham Bribery Scandal.
The question that observers are asking now: Is Balch and its sister-wife Alabama Power under federal investigation?
Mark A. Crosswhite, CEO of Alabama Power and a former Balch partner, was photographed inappropriately chugging cocktails with U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town allegedly at the height of the North Birmingham Bribery Trial.
Allegedly Alabama Power had a secret deal where they were “unmentionable” during the criminal trial.
Alabama Power was the only entity that donated to the money laundering entity known as the Alliance for Jobs and the Economy (AJE) that did NOT testify during the trial.
Was the utility and their agents “unindicted masterminds?” Alabama Power was briefed regularly about the North Birmingham shenanigans.
Last year, Town resigned in disgrace as U.S. Attorney. Is Crosswhite’s coming retirement or resignation next?
Is all of this tarnishing Balch's well-polished image? Well, it certainly seems to have the revolving exit doors spinning:
The apparent internal strife at Balch appears to have shattered the firm’s public relations fluff and may have doomed (Crosswhite), the most powerful man in Alabama.