On Friday afternoon, Judge Tamara Johnson issued an order that forces Drummond Company to stand trial for the alleged set up of “fall guy” and ex-Drummond executive David Roberson. The order also allows Roberson’s attorneys to begin discovery of the darkest secrets surrounding the North Birmingham Bribery Scandal that should help Roberson’s $75 million lawsuit against his former employer and embattled law firm Balch & Bingham.
A can of slimy worms has been opened.
Some believe that the order is a devastating blow to Drummond Company and their political allies like Alabama Power and Balch.
What former or current executives and subordinates will be subpoenaed? Former Drummond CEO Mike Tracy? Alabama Power CEO and former Balch partner Mark A. Crosswhite? Drummond General Counsel Blake Andrews? Drummond’s entire Board of Directors?
But now, today, the transcripts from the hearing debating the motions to dismiss are providing fuel for another possible criminal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Drummond’s attorney threw a hand grenade when he testified at the hearing. This is what he foolishly said:
With respect to the argument that Drummond’s general counsel was not giving legal advice, I think [Roberson’s attorney] just made the argument for me. Their theory is that Drummond’s general counsel formed a legal opinion that this whole plan was illegal and did not tell Mr. Roberson about it, and in fact told him things that would basically make him be the fall guy, I think is their theory. That is — the formation of a legal opinion as to whether something is legal or illegal is the definition of what a lawyer does. So I don’t know that I can state it any better than [Roberson’s attorney] did. That is legal services.
Problem is that Drummond’s General Counsel Blake Andrews allegedly never, ever told Roberson the scheme was illegal.
Roberson’s attorney Burt Newsome rips Drummond’s argument to shreds. From the transcript:
[Drummond’s attorney] did a great job summing up Balch and Drummond’s legal services argument in a nutshell. He just told you because Blake Andrews formed in his head that this lobbying scheme was illegal and decided, I better not pay these invoices to the foundation because I’ll go to jail, then I’m going to — so I’m going to get David Roberson to pay these so he will go to jail, that that was providing a legal service to Mr. Roberson. That is absurd. Blake Andrews making a legal opinion in his head that this is illegal, I better not pay these, I better get somebody else to do it, that’s not giving legal advice to Mr. Roberson. That doesn’t make David Roberson his client. That makes David Roberson him and Balch’s fall guy.
As we wrote last year about the disbursements from the money laundering entity Alliance for Jobs and the Economy (AJE):
In the five years that Roberson worked for Drummond, he never, ever reviewed or signed-off on any Alabama legal invoices. Ever.
Why then, did Blake Andrews, General Counsel of Drummond, allegedly have Roberson sign-off and approve all the legal invoices from Balch & Bingham seeking reimbursement for expenditures on the AJE project?
Mind you, Roberson is not a lawyer; he is a biologist.
Why then did Mike Tracy allegedly have Roberson sign-off and approve all disbursements to AJE without Tracy’s approval when Tracy allegedly was known to have to sign-off and approve all major outgoing expenditures?
Was David Roberson truly the “fall guy” for a network of corrupt nodding and winks?
A year ago, when Drummond CEO Mike Tracy abruptly “retired,” we thought that Drummond’s newly appointed CEO Richard Mullen would bring an end to the foolishness. We wrote at the time:
Richard Mullen, a long-time Drummond executive and we are told a man of absolute integrity, will ironically take over on All Saints Day, November 1st .
We hope Mullen ends the cozy, cuddling relationship with Balch & Bingham and reinstates Drummond as a fiercely independent and loyal company as it always has been.
And then Mullen can saintly wrap up the Roberson matter quietly behind closed doors.
A year and a day have passed since Mullen took over and now a can of slimy worms is emitting horrific smells and noises for further federal investigations just as the company is set to stand trial.