A letter written in late 2014 by Joel Gilbert, an indicted Balch partner and one of the alleged masterminds of the Oliver Robinson $360,000 Bribery Conspiracy, appears to be now blowing-up.
In the two-page dispatch to GASP, an environmental and health advocacy group based in Birmingham, Gilbert demands “statements showing the sources of the organization’s income….”
The tactic is reminiscent of the 1960’s when segregationists and other racists demanded lists of supporters from the NAACP and other Civil Rights organizations to intimidate, and instill fear in those supporters.
Since those dark days of racism, public charities are and have always been protected. Even though they must provide an abridged version of their tax filing, a 990, to anyone who asks, the public charities do not have to provide anyone—no one— with their lists of donors.
Why did Gilbert foolishly try to obtain that list of donors? And why did Gilbert send a ridiculously long-winded letter when he could have simply obtained the 990s online through GuideStar.org? Who was he trying to impress or intimidate? Did Balch management and his boss, indicted Balch partner Steven McKinney, approve this unsavory tactic once used by segregationists and racists?
The letter should be Exhibit 1 in his criminal trial come this summer.