Ex-Balch & Bingham partner Joel I. Gilbert has been assigned gardening responsibilities at the Federal Prison Camp located at the Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery.
Now that legacy Balch partner Rob Fowler dumped the once-prestigious firm for a job at a coal facility that currently is not operating, insiders are curious what internal strife is happening at Balch to cause Fowler to run to the emergency exit.
Sources tell us that Gilbert may have been intentionally screwed by his own law firm, just like ex-Drummond executive David Roberson appeared to be screwed as the “fall guy” by Drummond.
The “lone wolves” theory peddled by disgraced ex-U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town appears to have been a line of crap.
And federal investigators agree.
The Ketona Lakes secret, the Miller Steam plant ash pond, and the alleged involvement of up to 20 other Balch lawyers may have been the hidden pillars of the North Birmingham Bribery Scandal.
Gilbert, the father of two beautiful young children, was sentenced to 5 years in federal prison, and Balch appears to have blamed him for the scandal after his conviction three years ago. Stan Blanton, managing partner at Balch, had the audacity to try to pivot the bribery scheme away from the firm, saying “our firm was not a party to the case.”
But is that the truth? Wasn’t the criminal scheme born at the offices of Balch & Bingham? Did other Balch attorneys and representatives lie or perjure themselves? Were documents manipulated or evidence destroyed? What did the executive committee at Balch know?
One of the items we discovered that has bothered us is the possibility of evidence tampering. We wrote at the height of the criminal trial in 2018:
On December 1, 2014, indicted Balch & Bingham partner Joel Gilbert dispatched a letter of intimidation to GASP, the health and environmental public charity that they tried to undercut by allegedly buying a politician for $360,000.
It appears that Gilbert may have been on vacation the week of Thanksgiving, because his last billing is for Friday, November 21, 2014. The letter is dated December 1, 2014, a Monday, but nothing shows up in the December billings.
Evidence tampering or we just can’t find it?
Then again, maybe prosecutors need to look at an example of the alleged alteration of evidence in the Newsome Conspiracy Case—Balch & Bingham’s other quagmire.
Nothing should surprise them. Nothing.
Now outsiders believe someone else could have paid for the letter of intimidation. Could it have been Alabama Power or a related entity?
And what about those alleged indemnity deals to cover-up and protect alleged unsavory if not criminal misconduct?
Michael S. Regan of the EPA needs to send his investigators to Montgomery and interview Gilbert. Then they need to knock on the door of embattled Alabama Power CEO Mark A. Crosswhite and find out more about the Miller Steam Plant and the alleged toxic ash ponds. Finally, the investigators need to visit with the “confused’ General Counsel of Drummond Company, Blake Andrews.
In return, Gilbert should get time shaved off for his cooperation.
Inherent goodness needs to prevail. For the sake of the residents of North Birmingham and for the sake of Gilbert’s young children.