Will Southern Co.’s Fanning Walk the Plank Because of Balch?

We believe Southern Company’s  CEO Tom Fanning failed institutional investors and waffled on leadership when the utility giant refused to suspend their sister-wife relationship earlier this year with embattled law firm Balch & Bingham that engaged in alleged institutional racism in North Birmingham.

Now revealed that poor African-American children were used (or abused) through free coat drives to peddle the repugnant objective of not having their family’s toxic property tested, institutional investors are listening.

Last week, news reports declared that Southern Company had another cost overrun of over $1 billion in the construction of the Vogtle Nuclear Power Plant in Georgia, eliminating second quarter profits. “The company reported a second-quarter net loss of $154 million, or 15 cents a share, compared with a net loss of $1.38 billion, or $1.38 a share, a year ago,” reports E&E News.

Not only does Fanning appear to have failed the children of the African-American community, he appears to be failing as a corporate financial leader.

But there is more bad news than cost-overruns and insidious free coat drives. There is a possible civil RICO action involving Fanning and others at Southern Company coming to life in the next quarter.

Now that Balch & Bingham ex-partner Joel I. Gilbert was convicted on all six federal charges including bribery and money laundering, Southern Company must come clean about their funding of the scheme that suppressed African-Americans from having their toxic property tested. (Gilbert and his cronies spearheaded the effort to target children. Sick!)

According to court testimony, Southern Company’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Alabama Power, was a founding member of the Alliance for Jobs and the Economy, the entity that laundered over $360,000 to bought-and-paid-for politician Oliver Robinson.

Southern Company has gravely ignored the third-party risk of Balch & Bingham, a federal RICO lawsuit could expose internal misconduct, liabilities and other risks to shareholders.

The civil RICO suit could also take a keen look at the alleged criminal obstruction of justice and alleged alteration of evidence in the Newsome Conspiracy Case by attorney Robert M. Ronnlund whose wife was a partner at Balch & Bingham when both incidents occurred. His wife was named General Counsel at Southern Nuclear, another Southern Company subsidiary, last December.

Either way, a civil RICO suit and possible risk exposure allegedly caused by Balch & Bingham may force investors to make Fanning walk the plank.

Fanning needs to show real leadership if he is to survive these times by immediately suspending or terminating the relationship with Balch & Bingham.

Children should have never been targeted, and Southern Company and its institutional investors must demonstrate that this repugnant, abhorrent behavior is unacceptable.