Friday, March 17, 2023

Watkins' revelations about prostitutes and "party pads" throws King & Spalding for a loop as probe of Southern Company heads into uncharted waters

Southern Company's meeting before the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission about Reactors 3 and 4 at the Vogtle Nuclear Plant in Georgia was cancelled yesterday for the second time, according to a report at

Meanwhile, attorneys at Atlanta's King & Spalding law firm might be realizing that they bit off more than they realized upon taking on the task of investigating allegations of wrongdoing at Southern Company. King & Spalding lawyers have been working diligently on issues you might expect to surface in a fraud case. But they were not expecting the latest stunning revelation from longtime Alabama attorney and businessman Donald Watkins, reports K.B. Forbes (publisher of the Ban Balch blog and CEO of its parent organization, the CDLU public charity and advocacy group.) 

Under the headline "Come Hell, Hookers, or High Water, Southern Company Desperately Seeks Resolution and Reset, Forbes writes about the surprises Watkins had in store for the sleuths at King & Spalding:

Another week and another cancellation today of Southern Company’s public meeting with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission about Vogtle Nuclear Power Plant Reactors 3 and 4.

The cancellation comes on the heels of this week’s sensational allegation from that Alabama Power’s new CEO Jeff Peoples allegedly spent up to $30,000 a month in corporate funds on hookers and party pads. writes:

Reportedly, Alabama Power CEO Jeff Peoples had a propensity to spend up to $30,000 per month of the company’s money on party pads and black prostitutes at a time when this utility company was raising rates on its customers. These expenditures were reportedly funneled through … black subcontractors. None of this corporate misconduct was disclosed in the company’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Were the folks at King & Spalding expecting to deal with activities involving prostitutes? Not exactly, Forbes writes:

Sources claim that King & Spalding was unprepared for the alleged accounting fraud tied to the hookers and cost overruns at Vogtle and Kemper.

King & Spalding was following the alleged web of corruption, bribes, deceptive misconduct and inappropriate relationships with law enforcement,  including disgraced ex-Alabama Power CEO Mark A. Crosswhite’s secret deal with ex-U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town.

Southern Company will need to hire a forensic-accounting firm to review what their independent accounting firm, Deloitte and Touche, missed and overlooked.

Southern Company officials reportedly want their problems wrapped up quickly and stored away in a nice, neat box. But that seems unlikely to happen:

Sources claim that Southern Company is trying to resolve the extreme turmoil and chaos at the utility giant, obtain a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice, and hit the reset button before the change of command in two weeks.

Outgoing Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning wanted to have a smooth transition, but multiple complaints filed with the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission by victims of Southern Company’s criminal RICO enterprise have ended that dream.

On top of that, several national news outlets reportedly are sniffing around the story, with at least one major investigative piece expected soon. That won't make Fanning's tap dance any less complicated, Forbes writes:

The rocky transition and controversies swirling around the company have now spilled over. Beyond law enforcement and regulatory probes, Southern Company has now garnered the attention of national media.

As Southern Company desperately seeks resolution and a reset, observers agree that if the sensational allegations prove true, Alabama Power CEO Jeff Peoples needs to be immediately terminated.

And regardless of what criminal misconduct he may or may not know, Joe Perkins, the shadow president of Alabama Power, and his affiliated entities need to be fired now, today, this very moment.

Who, or what, will lead the charge? Fanning? incoming CEO Chris Womack?

Or a criminal indictment?

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