Amplifying their alleged unscrupulous conduct, a partner at the embattled law firm of Balch & Bingham was allegedly involved in a bribery scheme that funneled money to an alleged corrupt politician, Oliver Robinson, according to the AL.com (Alabama Media Group).
Robinson, who entered a plea agreement on June 22, 2017 to federal bribery, conspiracy, fraud, and tax evasion charges, allegedly suppressed and discouraged African-Americans from testing their property for toxic and contaminated property. Balch funneled $360,000 to Robinson.
From Columnist John Archibald of AL.com:
“Conspiracy. Bribery. Fraud.
“Three ugly words. And they aren’t even strong enough. Not nearly. What former Alabama Rep. Oliver Robinson was charged with today – what he agreed to plead guilty to – is taking filthy money. From polluters and their lackeys.
“To keep poor people – mostly poor black people in and around his own district – from having the toxins pulled from the ground beneath them. There has to be a special circle of Hell for that. A poor, polluted circle of Hell, where some horned devil convinces you to trust him, and then makes you live on a pile of poison for eternity.”
“Former Alabama Rep. Oliver Robinson has entered into a plea agreement to federal bribery, conspiracy, fraud, and tax evasion charges that he received bribes through his foundation from a coal company and [Balch & Bingham] law firm to advocate against EPA efforts to expand the number of polluted areas slated for cleanup in and around north Birmingham. According to a court document, Robinson has been charged with conspiracy, bribery, honest services wire fraud, three other counts of wire fraud, and tax evasion.
“As part of the overall strategy, Balch & Bingham paid Robinson, through his non-profit foundation, to represent Balch & Bingham’s and its clients’ interests, exclusively, in matters related to EPA’s actions in North Birmingham. Over the course of the contract in 2015 and 2016, Balch & Bingham paid $360,000 to the foundation.”
“‘This case gets at the heart of public corruption in Alabama,’ Acting U.S. Attorney Robert O. Posey said in a statement. He called it an example of a public official taking the side of those who pay him over those who elected him. ‘Here a public official betrayed his community to advocate for those who polluted their neighborhoods,’ Posey said.”