Is Balch & Bingham Polluting Southern Company?

Southern Company is a publicly-traded company and they don’t need Balch & Bingham or economic racism as a national sideshow, especially in this post-Charlottesville era.

Economic Racism? Environmental Injustice? How did we get here?

When we started our investigation into the Burt Newsome Conspiracy case, we never thought this would lead to questioning the moral compass of  Southern Company or their subsidiary, Alabama’s most powerful corporate institution, Alabama Power.

In an early morning news release today, the Black Warrior Riverkeeper organzation called on Alabama Power to “remove their coal ash from these unlined impoundments by the river and place it in lined landfills with adequate leachate handling.”

The Riverkeepers note that “coal ash is the waste that remains after coal is burned….contains toxic heavy metals…which are harmful to human health, water resources, and wildlife.”

Another toxic waste that could be affecting Alabama Power appears to be the remnants of the shenanigans involving the law firm Balch & Bingham, currently under scrutiny in two federal investigations, including funneling $360,000 to a corrupt politician, Oliver Robinson,  who in turn suppressed poor African-Americans from having their contaminated and toxic property tested by the EPA.

We have called on the Southern Company to dump Balch & Bingham for being linked to this act of environmental injustice and economic racism.

The current Chairman, CEO and President of Alabama Power is Mark Crosswhite. Calling him the “most powerful CEO in Alabama,”  Yellowhammer News recently noted that Crosswhite was an attorney at Balch & Bingham for 17 years before joining Alabama Power as their General Counsel.

Yellowhammer adds, “Every single politician in Alabama covets a meeting with Crosswhite. And if he calls, everything else stops. It is because of this that Crosswhite occupies a level of power and influence in such rarified air that it is too difficult for most to breathe.”

Regardless of revolving-door cronyism or possible conflicts of interest,  Alabama Power cannot overlook the alleged egregious actions by Balch & Bingham.  Even Crosswhite must be pondering what happened to his previous employer to be caught up in this web of deplorable conduct.

Besides the $360,000 bribery scheme, Balch is under scrutiny for the following:

As the “most powerful CEO in Alabama,” Crosswhite should call his friends at Balch and ask them to conduct a “top-to-bottom” review of their firm and hold any spoiled apples inside the firm accountable.

As we have stated since early this year, our hope is that Balch would start by focusing on their commitment to “mutual cooperation and openness and professionalism,” and that they would resolve all matters including those involving the North Birmingham African-American community, Mississippi BP-related subcontracts,  and the Burt Newsome conspiracy case.

If Crosswhite continues the status quo,  then Southern Company must override subsidiary management and force Alabama Power to distance itself from Balch & Bingham and the repugnant scheme to suppress African-Americans and others.

Southern Company is a publicly-traded company and they don’t need Balch & Bingham or economic racism as a national sideshow, especially in this post-Charlottesville era (pictured).

Resolutions truly are only a phone call away.

From a previous post:

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.