When Balch & Bingham announced their first-ever Chief Compliance Officer, Stephen Feaga, we applauded the firm’s decision with high praise and kudos. And we still do.
Although Feaga has been quietly working in the background for almost five months, we have spoken to people in the the legal community, law enforcement officials, and esteemed members of the media, and the conclusion is always the same: Feaga is a pillar of integrity.
Before he joined Balch, Feaga was the Deputy Director of Enforcement and Litigation at the Alabama Securities Commission.He took on shady, unscrupulous, and criminal behavior. He is also a former Assistant U.S. Attorney.
We applaud his work because it aligns well with some of our most successful work in the past 17 years: fighting egregious business practices on behalf of consumers, and providing a voice to victims.
In November, before Feaga joined Balch we brought up some serious questions about Schuyler Allen Baker, Jr., the lead attorney representing Balch in the Burt Newsome Conspiracy Case.
- Why did Baker advocate for the creation of a Star Chamber at the height of two federal probes?
- Why did Baker foolishly lie about an independent, public advocacy group in a court filing?
- Why did Baker misquote an Alabama Supreme Court decision and describe Clark A. Cooper’s alleged “ruining a rival” actions as justified?
Now Feaga needs to look at additional issues:
- How was Baker involved with the insidious “Wham! Bam!” deposition of Verizon that was announced on the afternoon of Thursday, July 27, 2017 followed by what appears to be “the-fix-was-in” letter from Baker on Friday the 28th?
- When did Baker and his team begin to draft the motion to dismiss the Newsome case that was filed hours after the insidious “Wham! Bam!” Verizon deposition on Monday, July 31, 2017? What do the meta data and Balch servers show?
- Reviewing internal phone records at Balch from 2011 through 2016, how many times was the burner cell phone (205) 410-1494 called (or calls received) and by which associates and partners?
- Did Balch ever pay, compensate, reward, or support in any way attorney Robert M. Ronnlund, the spouse of a former Balch partner, who appears to have engaged in questionable conduct including alleged criminal obstruction of justice and alleged altering of evidence? If so, who approved those expenditures?
- Did Balch ghost-write the order for the resurrection of the expungement of Newsome’s bogus arrest that falsely stated Newsome had plead guilty and falsely said Newsome had signed a deferred prosecution agreement?
If Feaga wants to bring back the integrity, the lost soul at Balch, he must deal with these issues head on and get rid of any bad apples immediately.
He should encourage leadership to apologize to the African-American community in North Birmingham for conduct unbecoming of a law firm like Balch, and settle the Newsome Conspiracy Case once and for all.