??Update March 8, 2023: Espy was sentenced to 97 months in federal prison. Read more by clicking here.
With the criminal arrest Wednesday night of Chase T. Espy, a former long-time Balch attorney who allegedly was seeking to have sex with a child, Balch & Bingham appears to be in disarray, and former attorneys and ex-partners are allegedly scrambling to distance themselves from the embattled firm, sources tell us.
The once prestigious, silk-stocking law firm appears to have become the cesspool of egregious misconduct, and observers are in disbelief that clients like Southern Company and Alabama Power continue to utilize the law firm engulfed in scandal impacting children to the elderly.
Balch, in sheer panic, stepped on a landmine last evening while trying to save face by telling the Montgomery Advertiser that they had terminated the alleged sexual deviant “nearly one year ago.”
If true, what did Balch know and did they report Espy’s misconduct to the state bar or local authorities?
After 8 years on the job, an attorney is simply not terminated like a novice.
And why in heaven’s name would Balch let Alabama Governor Kay Ivey hire Espy and put the Administration at risk if they knew Espy appeared to be trouble?
Someone seeking sex with a child online is usually an experienced predator.
Did Balch know of alleged acts or crimes “nearly one year ago?” Was there a cover-up?
Investigators need to probe the matter to make sure no children were victims of Espy’s alleged deviant and sick behavior.
Since 2017, Balch’s alleged unsavory and criminal misconduct has rocked the firm. And the list grows year to year.
- Espy was arrested for allegedly soliciting a child for sex two days ago.
- A Balch partner was recorded in 2020 telling alleged falsehoods to a senior citizen in an attempt to control the assets and financial decisions of the elderly grandmother who was worth $218 million.
- An ex-Balch partner was convicted of bribery and money laundering in 2018 and is headed to five years in federal prison in the next year.
- An ex-Balch partner was fired in 2017 for allegedly spearheading a conspiracy to steal a competitor’s business servicing banks.
- A former aerospace executive of a Balch client was indicted last year after allegedly ripping off the government and using unqualified personnel. Balch scrubbed their website in 2017 after links to the company were exposed.
And these alleged criminal acts add another black eye to the alleged historical and institutional racism associated with Balch.
- Balch & Bingham appears to have grown to power in the 1960s due to its close and inside connection to segregationist and racist Alabama Governor George Wallace.
- Schuyler Allen Baker, Sr., a top Balch partner and staunch segregationist, was part of Wallace’s inner circle and the legal team that attempted to block the school door in federal court and keep African-American students out of the University of Alabama.
- Balch was linked to a highway scandal in which the Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan Robert Shelton was hired by one of the engineering firms.
And sadly, the alleged systemic racism continues in the 21st Century.
- Of the over 200 attorneys at Balch & Bingham only seven attorneys are African-American or people of color. Engaging in alleged “tokenism,” each one of them is located in a completely different Balch office, except Birmingham which has two African-American attorneys.
- Only about 1 percent of Balch partners are non-white.
- This year, an African-American attorney hired with great fanfare in November of 2020 abruptly left Balch after only eight months.
- In 2019, Balch let go of their only African-American female attorney in Birmingham who headed diversity efforts at the firm. This year, Balch hired a Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, seen as a desperate act of window dressing.
- Balch & Bingham was the birthplace of the scheme targeting poor African-American children in North Birmingham and suppressing African-Americans from having their toxic property tested by the EPA.
- Balch was involved in the alleged abhorrent “whites-only” land grab in Vincent, Alabama that impacted the descendants of slaves. Voters revolted last year and tossed the Balch stooges out of office.
- Balch was allegedly involved in the “divide and dilute” effort against African-American voters in 2011.
The rap sheet against Balch is growing longer by the day and Chief Executives like Tom Fanning of Southern Company need to rid themselves of this embarrassing baggage.
Loyalty and tradition have no place when children, the elderly or minorities are taken advantage of, and said egregious acts appear to be foolishly protected, obscured, or hidden away.
Even Balch’s most honorable partners and professionals would agree.