“Southern may not have been indicted, but the company could be doing more to distance itself from a firm whose web of cash sticks to every facet of a conspiracy to disenfranchise poor blacks.” — The Root
The bombshell report by The Root is slowly causing the African-American community to percolate with outrage that their utility bills are subsidizing Southern Company’s sister-wife and alter-ego Balch & Bingham, the embattled law firm that engaged in alleged racist and unscrupulous actions.
The allegations include:
- Suppressing the North Birmingham African-American community from having their toxic and contaminated property tested by the EPA. The area is 92.5 percent Black.
- Involvement in an alleged “whites-only” land grab for the development of a limestone rock quarry in a traditionally Black area of Vincent, Alabama.
- Dispatching a letter of alleged fear and intimidation against a public charity reminiscent of what segregationists and racists did against civil rights groups.
- Defending the alleged false arrest and defamation of a competitor as justified interference for “ruining a rival” as mentioned in a 1961 Alabama Supreme Court decision.
In a recent email to Tom Fanning, the CEO of Southern Company, we wrote,
If Balch & Bingham was involved in sexual harassment or discriminating against gays and lesbians, would Southern Company also take the approach of not interfering, not taking a stand against the alleged abhorrent, appalling, despicable conduct? Southern Company is subsidizing this alleged unscrupulous and racist conduct. Your institutional investors and the public are not going to stand for this.
And this is not only about Alabama and Georgia. Balch & Bingham is now a national problem for Southern.
The CDLU is working with civil rights and advocacy group across the country to spur investigations against Southern for associating with Balch & Bingham. For example, Southern has more utility customers in Illinois than they do in Alabama.
Fanning is under a lot of stress right now so we told him what to do in that same email:
With the Vogtle Nuclear Plant cost overruns, Kemper Natural Gas Plant debacle, and Atlanta airport transformer controversy, this is not the time to ignore us. This is the time for you to personally pick up the phone and call [Balch & Bingham]. End the racism. End the discrimination. End the “ruining a rival” mentality.