Tuesday, January 18, 2022

What's that smell? Alabama Power pays "dirty tricks" firm Matrix LLC, of Montgomery, $2.5 million for services that are not described in itemized invoices


Alabama Power paid $2.5 million to Montgomery-based Matrix LLC for services that are not described in invoices, according to a post at banbalch.com (BB). Matrix is known in political circles as a "dirty tricks" outfit, raising this question; Were some of its tricks for Alabama Power so dirty that power-company executives did not want them described in invoices?

The BB post is based, in part, on original reporting at donaldwatkins.com. Writes BB Publisher K.B. Forbes, under the headline "Smoking Gun! Crosswhite, the SEC, and $2.5 Million Carte Blanche to Matrix":

What a miserable start of the new year for Southern Company’s wholly owned subsidiary, Alabama Power and the subsidiary’s embattled CEO Mark A. Crosswhite.

The Matrix Meltdown is causing a storm of documents to be leaked and now a published report outlines how Alabama Power allegedly dished out $2.5 million to Joe Perkins, the founder of the obscure political consulting firm Matrix, without the need to provide itemized invoices.

Website donaldwatkins.com writes (providing links to the contracts in question:

[Alabama Power] has made Perkins its perennial contracting partner. We have obtained copies of two recent APC contracts with Perkins. [Click here to read contracts APC Agreement No. 3-18-00552 and No. 3-18-00487]. The agreements cover an 18-month period from January 1, 2018 to July 31, 2019. Perkins pocketed $2,568,000 from these agreements.

In an unusual and highly suspect departure from standard billing procedures for public companies, Joe Perkins was relieved of the obligation to submit itemized monthly invoices for his payments. APC’s $2.5 million flowed to Perkins automatically.

Perkins’ “Scope of Professional Services” under the agreements was likely intentionally vague and ambiguous. The agreements required Perkins to establish and maintain direct contact with federal elected officials, which is the political zone Perkins pledged to avoid in a “Conciliation Agreement” he executed after he confessed to making $8,000 in illegal campaign contributions to the 1986 Congressional campaign of close friend and ex-felon Roy Johnson.

The APC agreements also authorized Perkins to cultivate and maintain direct relationships with state and local elected and appointed officials, federal and state regulatory bodies, news reporters, grassroots community organizations and their leaders, the Alabama Education Association (AEA) and other educational associations, trade unions, civil rights groups, Black Belt officials, environmental justice groups, aspiring politicians, and any other individual or entity that might pose a threat to APC’s business monopoly and growing political influence.

(Note: Agreement No. 3-18-00552 includes the following language in Sec. 5.(a) -- Fees and Expense Reimbursement: "Company will remit fee payments to Consultant on or before the 10th business day of each month, without invoicing by Consultant." The same language appears in the same section of Agreement No. 3-18-00487. The "without invoicing" language also appears in Exhibit A, Sec. 3. Fees to be Paid. for both contracts.)

A public utility's payment of a substantial sum, without itemized monthly invoices, raises a number of troubling questions, Forbes writes:

Now with these new allegations and documents, we, the CDLU, are reaching out to our law enforcement contacts at the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission and a list of institutional investors of Southern Company, a publicly traded corporation.

Investors won’t like the fact that Alabama Power is pouring out millions without detailed invoices.

Did Crosswhite or Southern Company mislead or rip-off investors?

For years, incredible rumors and colorful innuendo circulated around Matrix, now in the middle of an ugly, two-state divorce between founder Joe Perkins and his once-protege Jeff Pitts.

The allegations include using actors, smearing political opponents, setting up AstroTurf campaigns, hiring brain-dead journalists, and engaging in fear-tactics that could appear to be criminal acts.

And these alleged fear-tactics and criminal acts, could they include these worrisome allegations?

Let’s see what the SEC and other law enforcement agencies find.

Happy New Year Mark!


Anonymous said...

Donald Watkins has had enough success in law, banking, and other endeavors that he is well connected. Looks like those connections have turned into solid news sources.

legalschnauzer said...

That Alabama businesses see the need for a "dirty tricks" firm says something about the state's corporate environment -- and it isn't good.

Anonymous said...

You'd think a company like Alabama Power would be run by an engineer or a business person. Instead, it's run by a lawyer, joined at the hip to a law firm, and relies on a political dirty tricks hit team. That might explain some of ZPCO's problems.