With the explosive and deadly events in Charlottesville, hate and racism are vividly alive in the United States.
Southern Company, the large and innovative utility company based in Atlanta, should take a strong and unequivocal stand against racism, against unscrupulous behavior, and dump Balch & Bingham as their outside counsel and lobbyists.
On June 23, 2017, the day after corrupt politician Oliver Robinson made a plea agreement in the $360,000 bribery scheme involving Balch & Bingham in which Robinson suppressed and discouraged poor African-Americans in North Birmingham from having their toxic and contaminated property tested, we wrote to Southern Company CEO Thomas A. Fanning, asking him to reach out to Balch directly:
What you have Mr. Fanning is the power to provide a voice: a voice to those poor African-Americans in North Birmingham, a voice for people like Burt Newsome who were treated with apparent injustice. We want you to take charge and ask you to please call or email M. Stanford Blanton the Managing Partner [at Balch & Bingham]…and ask him to bring an end to this alleged unscrupulous behavior. Let him know that Southern Company does not want to be associated with this type of behavior at any level, no matter how professional or productive Balch’s lobbyists may be.
The economic racism and environmental injustice that occurred in North Birmingham led the Trump Administration to revoke their consideration of Jeffrey H. Wood, a former partner and lobbyist at Balch & Bingham, for Assistant U.S. Attorney General; Trump simply nominated someone else.
Alabama Power, a Southern Company subsidiary, has relied on Balch for decades, paying them millions in legal and lobbying fees.
Now is the time for Southern Company’s executive leadership and Board of Directors (pictured above) to take the high road and let their customers and the public know they will not stand by idly while Balch & Bingham engages in what appears to be repugnant and unscrupulous behavior to the alleged detriment of African-Americans and others.
There are many other law firms in the Southeast who can match or exceed Balch’s expertise without the embarrassing baggage, without the alleged shenanigans, and without two ongoing federal probes.