Was Matrix Hired by Auburn University to Investigate and Smear Coach Bryan Harsin and his Family?

Was Matrix hired by Auburn to find cause to fire Coach Harsin and save $18 million?

Investigative journalist Rob Holbert of Lagniappe has broken the hottest story in Alabama this week: Auburn University is paying diminutive political consultant “Sloppy Joe” Perkins, the Oompa Loompa of Alabama Politics, over $1 million a year in consulting fees through the controversial firm he founded, Matrix, LLC.

Matrix, LLC and Perkins have been accused of allegedly orchestrating smear campaigns, allegedly conducting inappropriate surveillance efforts, allegedly paying off envelope journalists, and allegedly laundering money and pay-offs through a network of not-for-profit entities.

Holbert writes:

When Auburn University’s McCrary Institute signed a $67,700-a-month retainer with Matrix, LLC late last year, it pushed the state-funded university’s annual payments to the controversial consulting firm to more than $1 million a year.

But what exactly Matrix has been doing for Auburn since late 2019 isn’t clear, and the university has ignored multiple requests to divulge who actually made the decision to hire Joe Perkins’ firm.

According to public expenditure records, Auburn began paying a $15,000-a-month retainer to Matrix in November of 2019, giving the firm a base of $180,000 annually that was bumped up to $220,000 for 2024, according to a contract addendum. The new McCrary contract added at the beginning of last October clocks in at $812,400 a year, bringing base contracted payments from Auburn to Matrix for FY 2024 to $1,032,400.

More interesting in the story is the reaction by “Sloppy Joe” Perkins who appeared to be angry and unhinged by the questioning of the contract, and outlined what looks like a delusional and make-believe conspiracy.

Holbert writes:

When contacted for this story and asked questions about who at Auburn hired his firm, examples of specific work Matrix had done for the university and also about a defamation lawsuit filed against his firm on March 15, Perkins responded angrily with accusations Lagniappe’s reporter is a “ghost writer” who can be paid off to bury stories. Perkins also warned he had “evidence” a so-called “political operative” had contacted the subject of a Lagniappe investigation three years ago and promised that for payment they could make the story go away.

“I am aware of the questions you have been asking clients of my firm and I regard those questions as malicious accusations designed to interfere with the contractual relationships of my firm,” Perkins wrote in an email. “You say you are a ‘ghost writer’ and as such you get paid for writing words for someone else based on their willingness to pay you. A political operative in Alabama, in 2021, contacted the target of malicious articles you were writing and informed that person that for a price they could make your articles stop. There is evidence of this communication.”

Asked to provide the evidence of such a communication, Perkins did not respond. Asked whether Perkins’ hostile and threatening response to simple questions about his involvement with Auburn is what the university expects from a highly paid media specialist,  [an Auburn University spokesman] said she would look into the matter but did not follow up prior to publication of this article.

So who at Auburn hired Matrix? Who recommended the firm?


Two members of the Auburn University Board of Trustees are closely tied to Perkins: Zeke Smith and Quentin P. Riggins. Zeke Smith served as Executive Vice President of External Affairs at Alabama Power, but was ousted last year.

Riggins is the Senior Vice President of Government and Corporate Affairs at Alabama Power.


Zeke Smith allegedly approved over $318,000 in expenditures through Matrix in Southern Company’s campaign of fear and terror against us, the CDLU, and the Newsome and Forbes families during the summer of 2020.

Riggins, too, allegedly was approving work orders and contracts in the same campaign of fear and intimidation, funneling millions to Matrix and related entities.

Alabama Power was paying Matrix and related entities tied to Perkins over $2.5 million a year in secret contracts without the need of invoicing, according to news reports in late 2021.

Zeke Smith’s name on the Matrix expenditure report

The controversy and exposure surrounding the secret million-dollar contracts allegedly caused Perkins to explode in anger, and his lawyers quickly dispatched letters to media demanding that the contracts be removed because they were “trade secrets.”

His lawyers foolishly and inadvertently confirmed the contracts were real and authentic.

So what has Matrix really been doing for Auburn since 2019? Specifically what?

An Auburn spokesperson gave Lagniappe a paragraph of worthless, vague, generic, and canned fluff.

Although Sloppy Joe appears to fly off the handle when his ego is bruised, the reality is Matrix has allegedly been involved in some dark and unsavory misconduct.

Megan Rondini

Matrix and Perkins have been accused of allegedly targeting the family of a rape victim, Meagan Rondini, who committed suicide after law enforcement and others allegedly dismissed or ignored her accusations against the son of a prominent family in Alabama.

The suicide garnered national headlines in 2017 when Buzzfeed wrote a detailed and lengthy story of the young woman’s plight and eventual suicide.

In August of 2022, court filings in the Matrix Meltdown between Matrix founder “Sloppy Joe” Perkins and his once-protégé Jeff Pitts exposed Perkins’ alleged misconduct.

“Defendant Pitts was compelled to resign because of Perkins’ inappropriate and unethical business practices, including, but not limited to, initiating and directing the creation of an explicit video used in an attempt to intimidate the family of Megan Rondini, a rape victim who had committed suicide, to settle a civil claim….”.

Targeting the Rondini Family. Targeting the Newsome Family. Targeting the Forbes Family.

Who else was targeted?

In February of 2022, then-Auburn football head coach Bryan Harsin was attacked viciously in a smear campaign.

ESPN reported, “Social media message boards were filled with ugly rumors about Harsin and his family and their personal lives. ‘Everything we were going through — these players, this program, the attacks on my character and my family — was bulls—,’ Harsin stated.”

As Sports Illustrated reported at the time, “Harsin’s representatives have resisted attempts by Auburn officials at settling for a price lower than the coach’s full buyout, about $18 million. This has forced Auburn into a corner: fire the coach for cause, hoping evidence for such is strong enough; pay the full buyout; or retain him.”

Was Matrix hired by Auburn to find cause to fire Coach Harsin and save $18 million?

Sport Illustrated wrote at the time, “The source tells SI the leaked information around Harsin was an ‘attack on his character,’ adding ‘there’s a contingent of people trying to make stuff seem worse than it is.'”

In July of 2022, after he was retained, Coach Harsin called the investigation “an opportunity for people to personally attack me, my family and also our program.”

Targeting the Harsin Family?

In October of 2022, Harsin was fired as head coach after a long and dismal losing streak. CBS Sports reported at the time:

“Harsin will receive $15.3 million (70% of the remaining amount on his contract) for his buyout. Half of that is due within 30 days to be followed by followed by four annual payments of the remaining balance, according to 247Sports’ Brandon Marcello.  Auburn is still paying off Malzahn’s buyout of $21.5 million as it embarks on yet another coaching search.”

Why in heaven’s name is Auburn paying millions to Matrix and Sloppy Joe? And when will Auburn University President Chris Roberts fire and terminate Matrix?

Will it take an NCAA investigation?


A Matrix Win? Alexia Borden Out at Alabama Power; Federal Probes Deepen

Did Alabama Power show unwavering loyalty to the diminutive political consultant “Sloppy Joe” Perkins?

With the looming mandatory retirement of Alabama Power Chairman and CEO Jeff Peoples, Alexia Borden, Senior Vice President, has left the embattled utility to become Executive Vice President at Brasfield & Gorrie, one of the largest construction firms in the United States.

Borden joined the construction company in January, but no official announcement has been made. Anonymous sources contacted us today to give us a heads up of the latest developments.

We always thought that Alexia was an honorable person and that, as a successful and intelligent woman, she would eventually be promoted to Chairman and CEO of Alabama Power.


Not to be.

Insiders claim she allegedly was overlooked, isolated, and sidelined by Peoples. Supposedly, she had had enough.

“Sloppy” Joe Perkins, the founder of the obscure political consulting firm Matrix, allegedly still has enormous influence inside the utility and is still pulling in millions in consulting fees.

Demoted from General Counsel to “Customer Engagement” a year ago, Alexia had allegedly sought Matrix and Perkins’ ouster, an end to the decades-long relationship, according to insiders.

The third-party risk of Matrix and Perkins appears to be a huge liability and has cost and will cost more Alabama Power careers to come to a crashing end like Mark A. Crosswhite, the former Alabama Power CEO who resigned in disgrace in November of 2022.

Ignored, Alexia finally left.

Others tell us several federal probes are ongoing looking at the Southern Company Criminal Enterprise. Sources claim knowing of a U.S. Department of Justice probe and a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigation.

The investigations are centered around the millions wasted carte blanche on covert political, surveillance, and investigative operations against perceived enemies that had no corporate purpose whatsoever.

The avalanche of request for documents, invoices, financial records, emails, and obscure work orders surrounding her time as General Counsel, Alexia was simply overwhelmed.

King & Spalding couldn’t even save Alexia.

With a fresh start, a more relaxing environment, we wish Alexia all the best!


And Then, Only One Was Left…

In March of 2018, embattled law firm Balch & Bingham announced the hiring of seven attorneys, three partners and four associates, in Jackson, Mississippi to “enhance [Balch’s] healthcare capabilities.”

Balch did a full-court press and public relations blitz just weeks after a massive exodus of money-making and seasoned partners who left the firm.

Balch rolled out their names and photos (above) with enthusiasm trying to counter the hemorrhaging:

[Balch]  announced the addition of partners Tom Kirkland, Allison Simpson and Andy Lowry, and associates Mary Jordan Fuller, Matt Sitton, Perry Taylor and Bea Tolsdorf.

All of them specialized, according to Balch, in a “wide range of regulatory, transactional, appellate and litigation matters in the healthcare industry.”


Sadly (and maybe a tale of Balch’s extreme difficulties), in the past six years, all three partners have left the firm along with three associates.

And only one was left: Bea Tolsdorf, who was eventually made partner.

Tom Kirkland, Allison Simpson, and Matt Sitton left to Butler Snow, joining the firm’s Health Law group in August of 2020.

Perry Taylor went into the private sector, Andy Lowry became a law clerk, and Mary Jordan Fuller, Kirkland’s daughter, appears to have become a full-time mom.

Balch partner Joel I. Gilbert was found guilty of bribery and money laundering just four months after these seven joined the firm.

Gilbert in happier times.

Imploding? Top Balch & Bingham Partners Flee; Houston Closure a Crushing Blow

Is Balch & Bingham on life support? Near death?

Is the government pork trough of Mississippi and Southern Company’s unholy allegiance keeping the firm alive?

The legal circles are on fire 🔥 speculating about Balch’s future after the once prestigious and feared law firm shut down their Houston office, as we were the first to report last week.


Now even more damning news:

Balch legacy partner Brandon N. Robinson of Birmingham has fled the firm after 15 years and has jumped ship to Maynard Nexsen. Robinson is a leading and respected legal expert on cybersecurity and privacy.


Two top Balch partners in Austin appear to have resigned in the past week. Stacie Bennett and highly-regarded lobbyist Aaron Cole Gregg have seen their profiles wiped from Balch’s website.

Bennet joined the firm less than two years ago as a partner in their energy practice group while Gregg joined the embattled firm in November of 2021, with great fanfare.

Balch issued a news release at the time, writing:

Aaron, who joins the firm as a partner, is an attorney and lobbyist with demonstrated success working on matters before the Texas Legislature and executive agencies on behalf of corporations, non-profits and trade associations.


“Aaron’s experience, long-standing relationships in Texas, respect by his peers and clients and accomplishments are impressive and will add value to our practice, while also enhancing our ability to serve as strategic partners  to our clients as we continue our Texas expansion.” said Stan Blanton, managing partner. 

Obviously Balch’s Texas expansion has become an apparent implosion.

Who would want a strategic partnership with Balch & Bingham where two former Balch attorneys are currently sitting in federal prison?


The stench must be so bad that yet another Balch partner, Andy Lowry, left the firm last year after five years, eventually becoming a law clerk in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Mississippi.

A law clerk appears to be a move up, step up, promotion away from the imploding manure lagoon created by the late Schuyler Allen Baker, Jr., and amplified by the collector of make-believe diversity awards, Balch’s Managing Partner Stan Blanton.


Texas Meltdown! Balch Closes Houston Office; Austin Crumbling; Rising Star Flees Montgomery

Balch & Bingham is in a Texas meltdown and has shut down their Houston office. Balch’s website has removed Houston from their footprint.


As we reported last month, Balch & Bingham partner Audrey F. Momanaee, who unexpectedly became the Office Managing Partner in Houston last June after four top partners and attorneys fled the firm, left the firm herself after eight months.

The news out of Austin is no better in that four Balch attorneys remain.

In 2021, Balch predicted they would grow to 25 to 30 attorneys in the Lone Star State. Instead, Balch looks like they have collapsed.

The Texas exodus appears to be fatal.


This morning, a source close to Balch & Bingham alleged that Aria Allan, a civil rights, labor, and employment attorney who joined Balch & Bingham half a decade ago, has dumped the embattled firm.

Balch’s website has erased any traces of Aria Allan’s profile from their website.

Allan was based in Montgomery. Sources claim she is headed to work at Auburn University. We wish Aria all the best in her new position. War Eagle!!

We are not surprised of the collapse and exodus as Balch has lost numerous legacy partners and seasoned professionals, only to be replaced by inexperienced junior attorneys.

And so desperate for experienced attorneys, Balch rehired and pulled a former partner out of retirement to join the firm last August.


Bought and Paid For! Southern Company Criminal Enterprise Buys Civil Rights Advocates and African American Activists

In January, Refuge In Troubled Times Community Development Corporation held its fourth candlelight vigil in Birmingham to memorialize the murdered victims of violence.

AL.com reported:

Brenda Paige Ward, founder of Refuge In Troubled Times, said her goal is to bring the community together and set a path for change.

“We need to come together in unity and do something about all of the deaths, and the murders, and the homicides and all of the things that are going on around our city. This is our city and we have to do something for our children,” Ward said.

Ward created the nonprofit in 2011, after the fatal shooting of her eldest grandson RaSheed Ali Ward, 19, on June 17, 2010. Keith Hilson, 24, was also killed in the shooting. No one has been arrested for their deaths.

But Ward (pictured above) is more than a heart-broken grandmother.

She’s also an alleged stooge for the Southern Company Criminal Enterprise.

Ward is the alleged driver of the van entering Forbes’ community.

In 2020, self-anointed Apostle Brenda Paige Ward, rented a large van from Budget Rentals at the Birmingham Airport, showed up in CDLU’s Chief Executive Officer K.B. Forbes’ neighborhood.

Ward, along with a dozen or so African American actors, held a two-minute “shoot and scoot” fake protest adjacent to Forbes’ home, terrorizing neighbors and Forbes’ then-eight-year-old daughter who cried thinking they were killing an innocent African American like George Floyd.

Ward and others were part of Southern Company’s campaign of terror and intimidation against Forbes and Burt Newsome, the attorney who took on Balch & Bingham, the sister-wife of Alabama Power, a wholly owned and most profitable subsidiary of Southern Company.

Ward, showed up, without apparently knowing who she was protesting or for what reason.

The buffoons couldn’t even spell Forbes’ last name correctly, calling him Forger, Forges, or Forgis. Even the Apostle Brenda Paige Ward couldn’t spell Forbes’ name.

Ward telling a friend on Facebook that the target was Forges.

The Southern Company Criminal Enterprise utilized Matrix, the obscure political consulting firm founded by the diminutive “Sloppy Joe” Perkins.

An investigation by Spotlight, recently published in The Guardian, revealed that Matrix funneled resources to influence Civil Rights groups and leaders.

Entities controlled by Matrix paid $115,000 to Charles Steele Jr, the head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and about $170,000 to the Rev Deves Toon, national field director for the National Action Network (Nan), according to verified internal Matrix documents and tax records.

The SCLC was a desegregation pioneer in the south and active in the first protests against environmental racism. Nan, founded by the Rev Al Sharpton, spotlights violence faced by people of color. In 2023, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and the leader of the Environmental Protection Agency spoke at Nan events.

In an interview last year, Steele confirmed one payment from Matrix but categorized it as a contribution for civil rights work. Neither he nor his organization responded to additional questions. Toon did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Even Southern Company Chairman Tom Fanning acknowledged greasing the wheels.


Tom Fanning… confirmed in a May interview with Floodlight that the company at the time was still working with Matrix and with civil rights groups including the SCLC. The company did not respond to later requests for comment.

“There’s a real business reason why we do this,” he said, claiming a mutual benefit for the company and the civil rights groups.

The Southern Company Criminal Enterprise has bought and paid for Civil Rights advocates and African American activists to attack other minority activists like Forbes.

Fanning, Perkins, Ward and others demonstrated total ignorance about Forbes, who lived in Chile as a child, is the son of a Hispanic immigrant, and is fully bilingual.

Forbes and the CDLU were working with the U.S. Department of Justice in 2020 as informants about the misconduct in Alabama, and the criminal enterprise did not like the fact.

And now, today Forbes and the CDLU are working to hold Fanning and the Southern Company Criminal Enterprise accountable for wasting millions of shareholder resources on campaigns of fear and intimidation that had no corporate purpose whatsoever and violated the civil rights of innocent victims, including children.


Dumb Career Move! Former Mississippi Speaker Joins Balch Firm with Two Former Attorneys Currently Sitting in Federal Prison

A former speaker, a child predator, and a money launderer enter a bar near the Pearl River…

The former Speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives has made the dumbest career move.

Philip Gunn has joined Balch Policy Advisors, LLC, a subsidiary of embattled law firm Balch & Bingham, according to news reports today.

Gunn joins the firm of the former esteemed Balch partner Joel I. Gilbert, federal inmate 35504-001, who was convicted in 2018 of bribery and money laundering among other crimes in the North Birmingham Bribery Scandal. He also joins the firm of the former eight-year Balch attorney Chase T. Espy, federal inmate 04104-510, who was convicted for possession of kiddie porn.

The move comes three months after the public disclosure that Balch’s top client, Southern Company, had been sued for fraud in Mississippi in regards to the Kemper Plant debacle. The false claims suit was unsealed five years after it was filed and seeks up to $1.1 billion in damages. The suit alleges that Southern Company and its subsidiary Mississippi Power repeatedly defrauded the U.S. Department of Energy.

Note that the law firm has set up a subsidiary to funnel money to the former Speaker. Why is that? To hide transparency? To obscure clients? To live off more government pork?

Balch appears to be seeking more contractual cronyism.

As we reported last August:

In Mississippi, Balch, has obtained 76 government contracts worth over $43 million since 2014, according to a state transparency website.

However those financial numbers have plummeted, too.

In 2020, Balch obtained over $12.2 million in Mississippi state contracts that included $2.1 million in consulting fees related to the rental assistance debacle.

In 2021, Balch was given $5.7 million in state government contracts in Mississippi when The Washington Post investigative report was published, rocking the Magnolia State.

Last year, in 2022, their reputation damaged while in the spotlight, Balch was only able to obtain a mere $1.6 million in Mississippi state contracts.

That equals less that a third of what they earned the year before and a mere 13 percent of their 2020 contract numbers.

Contractual cronyism appears to be coming to a chilling close.

Will Gunn turn the tide for Balch and expand contractual cronyism? Will Gunn and others cash in I.O.U.’s and bring in clients?

Time to pull out the magnifying glasses and alert the watchdogs.

A former speaker, a child predator, and a money launderer enter a bar near the Pearl River…


Whores of Babylon! Southern Company’s Grip on Alabama Media, Smear Sites, and Paid Stooges Affirmed

The Guardian has published a damning investigative report by Floodlight that shows unequivocally that Southern Company’s wholly-owned subsidiary Alabama Power has allegedly bought, manipulated, and infiltrated media coverage throughout the State of Alabama.

The Guardian writes:

For decades, Alabama Power has sowed influence across the state, according to interviews with more than two dozen former and current reporters, civil rights activists, utility employees and environmentalists.

What’s happening in Alabama is an example of how special interests have taken advantage of the diminishing reach and influence of shrinking mainstream newsrooms in the US. In their place have sprung up fake “pink slime” news sites operated by political interests; a utility that secretly created news outlets to attack its critics; and a Florida publisher who accepts payments for positive coverage.

This investigation into power companies infiltrating local media follows Floodlight’s revelation earlier this month about how utilities wield influence among civil rights groups.

In the last decade, nearly a dozen local reporters and editors were hired to staff the two Alabama news outlets. A Floodlight review of the content since the utility founded the Alabama News Center in 2015 shows it publishes overwhelmingly positive stories about the power company.

Coverage of the utility by the Birmingham Times, which was funded with money from Alabama Power’s charitable arm the Alabama Power Foundation, consists of reprinted stories from the News Center and the utility’s own press releases.

The Southern Company criminal enterprise used these same tactics and venues in the campaign of fear and intimidation against Burt Newsome and his family, us (the CDLU), and our CEO, K.B. Forbes and his family in the summer of 2020.

That summer, the Alabama Political Reporter (APR) viciously and repeatedly attacked Forbes, this website, and the CDLU.

Josh Moon, a once-respected journalist, amputated his brain and did a series of orchestrated hit jobs through 2021 attacking the CDLU, K.B. Forbes, and Burt Newsome.

Moon even allegedly stalked the CDLU, showing up to our headquarters.

Moon with hair and Moon showing up to CDLU’s headquarters

Southern Company paid APR $120,000 through Matrix, the obscure political consulting firm, according to documents we obtained anonymously, to attack and smear Forbes and Newsome.

The Guardian affirms the history of payouts to APR whose publisher appears to act like a forgetful Bangkok whore:

Two Alabama Political Reporter journalists recounted separate instances of a critical story they wrote about Alabama Power being killed without explanation by their outlet in 2013 and 2021. Each suspected the articles were held to appease Alabama Power. At least as far back as April 2013, the Alabama Political Reporter was being paid $8,000 a month by Matrix, the consulting firm employed by Alabama Power, leaked records show. The site’s publisher didn’t remember the stories and denied they were killed because of the utility.

And is this aggressive approach new? Not, says The Guardian:

Even before Alabama Power created its own news entities, four reporters in the state said the utility was aggressive in squashing negative news coverage, including frequently challenging reporting by demanding to meet with top newsroom leaders or threatening lawsuits.

In 2001, Birmingham’s Fox6 station killed a story about an elderly woman who died after life-sustaining equipment was turned off in her home when Alabama Power halted her electric service over failure to pay. Three former newsroom staffers who asked not to be named said a station executive – who later went to work for Alabama Power – spiked the story.

Lovely. Isn’t the Southern Company criminal enterprise just lovely?


Balch & Bingham’s Managing Partner in Houston Dumps Firm After 8 Months

Balch & Bingham partner Audrey F. Momanaee, who unexpectedly became the Office Managing Partner in Houston, Texas last June after four top partners and attorneys fled the firm, has now herself left the embattled law firm.

The exodus of Momanaee leaves Balch’s Houston Office with only one full-time attorney. How embarrassing!

We are not surprised as Balch has lost numerous legacy partners and seasoned professionals, only to be replaced by inexperienced junior attorneys. So desperate for experenced attorneys, Balch rehired and pulled a former partner out of retirement to join the firm last August.

Globe Newswire reports:

Blank Rome LLP is pleased to announce that Audrey F. Momanaee has joined the firm’s Houston office as partner in the Commercial Litigation group. As an accomplished litigator, Audrey focuses her practice on matters involving business disputes, commercial and contract claims, catastrophic property claims, construction defects and delays, and matters involving trade secret protection and litigation. 

Balch suffered a massive exodus in Texas last summer as we reported in August:

Two years ago, after opening a new office in Austin, Balch predicted they would grow to 25 to 30 attorneys in the Lone Star State. Balch crowed that they had seven lawyers in Houston in a news report published that June of 2021. Now, today, Balch has been decimated and only three lawyers remain in Houston, with one of them actually based in Birmingham. From seven to three. Balch’s total number of attorneys in the Lone Star State is in the single digits, nowhere near 25 or 30.

Who else at Balch & Bingham is dusting off their resume? What carrots are being offered to other lawyers at Balch’s satellite offices?

The undisputed fact is that the North Birmingham Bribery Trial, the Newsome Conspiracy Case, the Elderly Exploitation Scandal, the Matrix Meltdown, and Southern Company’s “fear and intimidation” campaigns appear to have taken their toll and permanently damaged Balch & Bingham’s reputation.

Balch originally hired Momanaee as a partner in May of 2022. She didn’t last two years at the alleged unscrupulous firm, and quit eight months after abruptly taking over the managment of Balch’s Houston office.

Federal inmates Gilbert and Espy

With two former Balch attorneys sitting in federal prison, Momanaee made the intelligent decision.

Now in 2024, Balch has shrunk again and is still in the single digits in Texas.

We wish Audrey the best of luck!


We’re Back! Get Ready for Retirements, Resignations, Regulatory Investigations, More Alleged Racism, and a Rebirth of the North Birmingham Bribery Scandal.

Happy New Year!

After a brief hiatus, BanBalch.com is back. A lot of news is happening in the background and the Southern Company criminal enterprise appears to be trying to clean up (or cover up) their trail of carcasses and human excrement in their million-dollar campaign of fear and intimidation against innocent families, minorities, and us, the CDLU.

New Balch partners: Diverse as a jar of mayonnaise

Balch & Bingham, the embattled and alleged racist law firm, is still in turmoil as Managing Partner Stan Blanton gloats about make-believe diversity awards while promoting four all-white attorneys as partners this month.

Southern Company CEO Chris Womack has hit, and Alabama Power CEO Jeff Peoples will hit, the magic “mandatory retirement age” of 65 . Insiders claim that Alexia Borden, current Senior Vice President and General Counsel at Alabama Power, will replace Peoples, while Kim Greene, CEO of Georgia Power, will replace Womack.

2024 may be the Year of the Woman.

Speaking of women, Kristine L. Svinicki, the former Chair of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) who became a Member of the Board of Directors of Southern Company in 2021, may have spurred two investigations at the regulatory body: one by the OIG to see if there has been any form of illegal contact or communication between Svinicki and staff at the NRC. (Svinicki has a lifetime ban.)

We have learned there may be a second probe by the Office of Investigations at the NRC that is looking at outside alleged criminal conduct by Southern Company, including the false claims acts out of Mississippi that were unveiled in November.

Will Svinicki resign in 2024 from the Southern Company Board of Directors?

Finally, we understand through sources in the environmental movement, that allegedly an appeal has been filed by the Energy and Policy Institute to open and unseal David Roberson’s $75 million lawsuit against Drummond Company and Balch & Bingham.

The rebirth of the North Birmingham Bribery Scandal may happen in 2024, as ex-Balch partner Joel I. Gilbert still sits in federal prison. We will have a lot to write about in the forthcoming weeks and months.

Wishing you, our dear reader, good health and prosperity in 2024!


A Year Later: A Prelude, Not an Aftermath, as Southern Company Faces the Music

A year ago, the embattled CEO of Alabama Power Mark A. Crosswhite was ousted in disgrace. The surveillance efforts and scandalous acts of the Southern Company criminal enterprise were exposed in the public arena.

A few days after the announcement, we, the CDLU, received anonymously spreadsheets and documents outlining how Southern Company spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in the summer of 2020 attacking us, the family of our CEO, K.B. Forbes, and Burt Newsome and his family.

Both Forbes’ and Newsome’s young children were targeted and at times cried in fear by the foolish acts paid for Southern Company.

Newsome’s and Forbes’ children targeted.

Southern Company’s campaign of fear and intimidation worked: the Forbes family fled their home, and Newsome had to hire and install new security and safety measures.

In recent days, speaking to insiders and seasoned law enforcement officials, Crosswhite’s resignation was not an aftermath but a prelude of what is coming down the pike.

Southern Company is facing the music.

Last month, the whistleblower lawsuit filed in 2018 over Southern Company’s boondoggle Kemper Plant in Mississippi was unsealed.

It took 5 years for the big reveal, but the chickens have come home to roost.

Insiders and officials say that more federal probes are in the works, confirming what we wrote last month: “The Southern Company Criminal Enterprise is being held accountable, and the investigations currently underway are deep, massive in nature, and slowly coming together.

Matrix, Balch & Bingham, Alabama Power, and their goons appear to be in the middle of this firestorm.

The long-ago Newsome Conspiracy Case, from a decade ago, ended with a $242,000 judgment against Burt Newsome, but cost Balch & Bingham between $40 and $100 million in clients and fees in the aggregate.

Now Balch’s sister-wife, Southern Company maybe on the hook for billions in fines, liabilities, and regulatory settlements for, in part, partaking in the foolish criminal acts against Newsome and his family that had no corporate purpose whatsoever.

We now ask Southern Company the same question we asked Balch: Have you lost your minds?


Jax Axe? Balch Partner Krechowski “Old Enough to Know Better”

Civil Rights champion Ernesto Pichardo, who won a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision for Civil Rights and religious freedom in 1993 against the City of Hialeah, demanded today that the Jacksonville City Council table the appointment of Patrick Krechowski to the Downtown Investment Authority Board of Directors.

“Patrick Krechowski is a partner at the alleged racist and embattled law firm of Balch & Bingham. Two former Balch attorneys are sitting in federal prison, now, today this very moment: one for bribery and money laundering; the other for possession of kiddie porn. As a partner, Mr. Krechowski cannot say he doesn’t know about the deplorable misconduct at the firm,” declared Pichardo who serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Consejo de Latinos Unidos (CDLU), a public charity and national advocacy organization.

Pichardo added, “Just recently, the Town of Orange Park rejected the hiring of Mr. Krechowski and Balch & Bingham, a humiliating defeat for a seasoned attorney. Mr. Krechowski is old enough to know better and should have the wisdom to leave Balch & Bingham and their baggage behind. There are many other, more honorable law firms in Jacksonville.”

Gilbert before the prison uniform

In October of 2021, ex-Balch partner, Joel I. Gilbert reported to federal prison to serve a five-year sentence for bribery and money laundering in the North Birmingham Bribery Scandal, which targeted low-income African American children and their families from having the EPA test their toxic and contaminated property. The bribery scheme was born at the offices at Balch & Bingham. North Birmingham is 92.5 percent African American, and Balch has yet to apologize or make amends with the community.

Espy before being caught soliciting a child for sex

In March, Chase T. Espy, a long-time Balch attorney was sentenced to 97 months in federal prison for possession of child pornography. In 2021, Espy was arrested for allegedly soliciting a child online. The CDLU immediately reached out to U.S. Department of Homeland Security which investigates child trafficking and exploitation. CDLU’s advocacy led to the federal indictment of Espy in June of 2022.

Because of CDLU’s advocacy, Balch has seen 18 of 18 major clients in Washington, D.C. terminate them.  Balch & Bingham appears to have lost between $40 and $100 million in the aggregate as the firm has lost clients and seen an exodus of legacy and money-making partners since 2017.

In 1993, Pichardo won a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision for religious freedom and Civil Rights after his Afro-Caribbean faith came under attack due to blatant intolerance and discrimination by racists and religious bigots. Pichardo has been a member of the Board of Directors of the CDLU since 2003.


$1.1 Billion in Damages? Southern Company Sued for Alleged Fraud in Mississippi; Federal Probes Continue

The first shoe has dropped! As we reported in May of 2019, Southern Company was under federal investigation in Mississippi.

An excerpt from four years ago:

Atlanta-based Southern Company disclosed it is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice over a power plant that already has caused the company years of heartburn and billions of dollars.

Southern said it learned of the probe by the DOJ’s Civil Division on Monday and that it involved the Kemper County plant owned by the utility’s Mississippi Power subsidiary.

The trifecta of alleged criminal misconduct by Southern Company done in Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi is starting to come into the public light.


Southern Company allowed Alabama Power and then-Alabama Power CEO Mark A. Crosswhite to do whatever they pleased because the most profitable subsidiary was helping pay for the billion-dollar cost overruns at two boondoggles: the Kemper Plant in Mississippi and the Vogtle Nuclear Power Plant in Georgia.

Now the first of three major actions against Southern Company has begun.

The Associated Press reports:

A former employee is suing to force a Mississippi utility to repay $382 million that the federal government gave to build a failed coal-fueled power plant.

Kelli Williams, a former construction manager for Atlanta-based Southern Co., filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the company and its subsidiary Mississippi Power Co. in 2018. That lawsuit, unsealed Monday, alleges that the two firms defrauded the U.S. Department of Energy and state regulators in a failed quest to build a $7.5 billion power plant.

Williams says the company lied repeatedly about the plant’s cost overruns and spiraling delays, enticing the U.S. Department of Energy to keep delivering subsidy payments and persuading the Mississippi Public Service Commission to not revoke its permission for construction.

“If DOE had known that defendants were intentionally deceiving the agency about the state of the Kemper project and were intentionally withholding accurate data about the project’s progress and viability, DOE would have ceased funding and supporting it,” an amended complaint filed Monday alleges.

If Williams wins, the company could be forced to pay triple damages, or more than $1.1 billion. 

It has taken five years to unseal the whistleblower lawsuit against Southern Company, but we are not surprised.

The Southern Company Criminal Enterprise is being held accountable, and the investigations currently underway are deep, massive in nature, and slowly coming together.

In Georgia, expect possible criminal charges and litigation against Southern Company regarding the other boondoggle: the Vogtle Nuclear Power Plant.

In Alabama, look for potential RICO litigation, SEC fines, and criminal charges surrounding the years of illegal surveillance, harassment, and alleged corruption of the judicial branch by the Southern Company Criminal Enterprise.

Federal investigators are allegedly looking at obstruction of justice and accusations of criminal concealment.

In April of 2022, Federal Judge Abdul K. Kallon resigned and fled to Seattle.

The next day, two Assistant U.S. Attorneys allegedly left the Northern District of Alabama, followed by the shocking suicide of William “Bo” Lineberry, a Balch & Bingham partner who hanged himself.

Seasoned law enforcement authorities told us in 2022 that the Lineberry suicide spoke volumes about the depth and seriousness of the alleged federal probe.


Manure Lagoon: Zeke Smith Out at Alabama Power

So bad is the stench, Southern Company went outside the usual norm and did not promote an insider after Zeke’s exit.

In between writing two hit pieces about F.L. “Bubba” Copeland, the Mayor of Smiths Station, Alabama who committed suicide last Friday, Craig Monger of 1819 News squeezed in a short fluff piece about the “retirement” of Zeke Smith, the Alabama Power executive who allegedly approved over $318,000 in expenditures to the obscure political consulting firm Matrix in Southern Company’s campaign of fear and terror against us, the CDLU, and the Newsome and Forbes families during the summer of 2020.

As we wrote last December:

With the numerous documents we have received anonymously, we have now been able to confirm that the anonymous financial documents we received show Excel spreadsheet meta data that exposes the fact that “special” expenditures by Alabama Power against us, the CDLU, appear to have been authorized and allegedly supervised by Zeke Smith, Alabama Power Executive Vice President of External Affairs.

Zeke Smith

The Excel workbook titled APC CDLU SPECIAL, lists the report for “Zeke 82520” or in other words, a financial report dated August 25, 2020 for Zeke Smith. The report was allegedly generated by “Sloppy Joe” Perkin’s obscure political consulting firm, Matrix, for their top client, Alabama Power.

The data on the spreadsheets shows numerous line items that were heavy expenditures in the hundreds of thousands to terrorize the Forbes Family and their two young daughters, and to smear Burt Newsome falsely as a rapist.

The data line up chronologically to independent sources and events.

This is the third leadership change at Alabama Power in less than a year, and like disgraced ex-CEO Mark A. Crosswhite, Zeke Smith, too, is “retiring.”

King & Spalding was hired by Southern Company last year to investigate the criminal misconduct and surveillance efforts, but as sources have told federal investigators, the law firm appears to be covering up instead of cleaning up Southern Company’s alleged egregious misconduct that had no corporate purpose whatsoever.

In June, Southern Company foolishly told The Wall Street Journal that the internal investigation could not find who authorized the surveillance efforts of for what purpose. Southern Company declared that they had “moved on.”

Mumbo jumbo

No one believed Southern Company.

Their mumbo jumbo smells like a stack of fresh cow manure.

So bad is the stench, Southern Company went outside the usual norm and did not promote an insider after Zeke’s exit.

Instead, they hired Clay Ryan, the former Senior Vice Chancellor of External Affairs at the University of Alabama.

The first thing Mr. Ryan should do is fire Matrix, Mark White, Joe Perkins, and Balch & Bingham.

Time to haul off the manure.

Mr. Ryan should also solidify and build bridges with external community groups including the North Birmingham African American community.

Communication and community alliances would be a healthy reset after years of egregious misconduct.


Media Whores Fighting Over Doing Tricks for Clicks and Cash; Smear Job Leads to Tragic Suicide

The horrific suicide of Smiths Station Mayor F.L. “Bubba” Copeland happened last Friday after a series of articles exposing his secret and private life by media outlet 1819 News, a mouthpiece for Southern Company and their wholly-owned-subsidiary Alabama Power.

Yesterday, another Southern Company mouthpiece, Alabama Political Reporter viciously attacked 1819 News. Bill Britt, Editor-in-Chief, hypocritically wrote:

1819 News has demonstrated a brazen disregard for these nuances, seeking instead to brandish sensationalism under the guise of public interest.

In the shadowed corridors of power and influence, those who finance 1819 News and similar organizations may prefer to remain unnamed, but in doing so, they contribute to a culture where transparency is undervalued. This dynamic has detrimental effects on public trust, particularly when the news outlet becomes the story itself due to questionable reporting practices.

Bill Britt should look in a full-length mirror.

Hypocrite Britt

Alabama Political Reporter (APR) was paid $120,000 by Alabama Power in 2020 to attack us, the CDLU, this blog, and Burt Newsome. APR wrote five smear pieces, and Hypocrite Britt himself shot the first salvo without even reaching out to us as any real journalist would have done.

The five APR articles brandished sensationalism under the guise of public interest. APR, in the shadowed corridors of power and influence, was paid secretly by Alabama Power until anonymous documents were unveiled last year.

A Stalking Media Whore?

Britt and his colleague Josh Moon, who amputated his brain for Southern Company, appear to be nothing more than a bunch of Bangkok whores who sold themselves and their integrity for $10,000 a month.

At the time, Moon was a failed real estate agent who had no listings and eventually let his real estate license lapse. Not only did Moon smear the CDLU, Burt Newsome, and K.B. Forbes, he appears to have become obsessed, allegedly stalking us, our offices and allegedly driving in front of Forbes’ family home.

Like many envelope journalists, the $10,000 a month was good enough to turn tricks.

Now Donald Watkins reports another bombshell about the 1819 News reporter, Craig Monger, who wrote the devastating piece that led to the tragic suicide.

Watkins reports:

October 26, 2023, is the day the Monger family’s world crashed. According to the two bankruptcy filings, Tricord and Bobby Monger [Craig’s father and co-owner of Tricord] are flat broke.

Craig Monger

Six days after the collapse of Tricord, Craig Monger published an online article in 1819 News that ended the world of Smiths Station, Alabama Mayor Fred Lavon ”Bubba” Copeland in every way.

In addition to serving as Smiths Stations’ Mayor, Fred Copeland was a successful businessman who owned and operated The Country Market in the Salem community. Copeland also served as a pastor at the First Baptist Church of Phenix City, Alabama.

On November 1, 2023, Craig Monger “outed” Fred Copeland’s secret lifestyle as a cross-dresser. It appears that Copeland occasionally dressed as a woman and posted photos and comments about his feminine alter ego and persona as a woman.

On November 3, 2023, an emotionally distraught Fred Copeland killed himself with a firearm. Fred Copeland leaves behind his loving wife, Angela Copeland, and three children.

Craig Monger knew, or reasonably should have known, that his article would make Copeland’s life unbearable in a deep “Red State” that is filled with hatred toward its LGBTQ+ citizens

People are asking: Was Monger paid to do this hit piece? If so, who paid Monger? 
Over the weekend, an X exchange (formerly known as Twitter) between Josh Moon of APR and Jeff Poor of 1819 News, led to each other blasting each other for the same crime: journalistic prostitution also known as envelope journalism. 

The tweets were deleted, but the alleged media whores came out severely battered, with their egos bruised, and their stiletto heels broken.

APR, 1819 News, Moon, Britt, and Monger appear to be paid smear artists, media whores, who cross-dress as journalists, not in private, but out in the open.