The CDLU met with residents of Vincent, Alabama who allege adamantly that Balch & Bingham lawyers (and their public relations stooges) spearheaded the strategic purchase of farm land and the fast-as-lightening re-zoning of said land, and oversaw the lucrative transactions for a client called White Rock Quarries, starting almost a decade ago.
The outrage they allege is that only white land owners were approach for land purchases while African-Americans were not; worse many of these African-Americans were older, senior citizens, descendants of slaves.
In a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice from May, 2012, Wanda Threatt, an African-American resident of Vincent, wrote:
“The River Loop” is predominately Black-owned property. Many of the inhabitants are slave descendants. Prior to the rezoning of the property by the Vincent Council, White Rock Quarries had surreptitiously bought the property under various names for highly inflated prices for the reported purpose of growing corn for conversion to gasoline. No offer at any price was made to a Black. The quarry bought what has become known as the purposed quarry site right up to the boundaries of Black-owned property (ours included). White Rock bought land bordered by Blacks, but never from Blacks. White Rock bought land bordered by Evangel Temple, but left the Black-owned church untouched and devalued. The economic worth of White sellers increased. They moved away. The economic worth of Blacks decreased, leaving us trapped by inequities. Our land is devalued—un-saleable.
Interestingly, local politicians, including a zoning official, allegedly sold their farmland for a nice bundle of cash as if “the fix” were in.
Like the allegations in the Oliver Robinson Bribery Scandal and Newsome Conspiracy Case, the methodology appears to be the same: line-up the politicians, grease the wheels, hammer through needed results, and trample anyone in the way.
A pillar of integrity, Balch’s first ever Chief Compliance Officer Stephen Feaga must clean up another mess that looks like a cesspool of political corruption and institutional racism.