Joe Perkins, the diminutive consultant to Alabama Power and founder of Matrix, LLC, the obscure political consulting firm, is embroiled in yet another scandal.
This time Perkins and his Matrix firm are in the middle of a lawsuit in the heart of Alabama that alleges libel and slander.
This latest scandal out of Tuscaloosa raises the serious question: Who would ever want to hire Perkins, the Oompa Loompa of Alabama politics, if you could end up getting sued, fired, or investigated?
Look at Florida.
Matrix, LLC, was officially terminated by Florida Power & Light (FPL), one of the largest utilities in the United States, in December. A few weeks later, FPL’s CEO was ousted in January.
Last August, an FPL company spokesman said in a statement. “Learning about the surveillance of the CEO of Southern Company further reinforces our decision to have severed all ties with Matrix, a consultant we regret ever having associated ourselves with.”
And who allegedly approved that surveillance? Alabama Power CEO Mark A. Crosswhite who was also ousted last November.
Now let’s look at the latest scandal out of Tuscaloosa.
Stan Pate, Tuscaloosa businessman and political donor, subpoenaed Joe Perkins, founder of Montgomery-based political consulting firm Matrix LLC, last month in a libel lawsuit.
Pate filed a civil lawsuit in Tuscaloosa County Circuit Court in February against William L. Stephens, Jr., Gary Simpson, and Alvin Ray Grayson over statements made about Pate and various real estate projects on an Alliance for Responsible Growth website and Facebook page.
Pate filed the lawsuit for libel/slander, harassing communications and invasion of privacy/false light. Stephens filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit in April.
Pate also subpoenaed Perkins for the following information related to his involvement with Alliance for Responsible Growth:
Any and all contracts, communications, or correspondence between any representative of Matrix, LLC and William L. Stephens, Jr.
Any and all contracts, communications, or correspondence with any representative of the Alliance for Responsible Growth and any representative of Matrix, LLC or any representatives of Matrix, LLC.
Any and all advertisements or fliers created for the Alliance for Responsible Growth.
Any and all invoices, bills to, or payments from the Alliance for Responsible Growth or William L. Stephens, Jr.
Perkins is listed as the media contact on Alliance for Responsible Growth’s website. Perkins and Matrix represent a variety of powerful interest groups in Alabama. The consulting group has been in the headlines in recent months for their work in Florida, Alabama, and a settled lawsuit between Perkins and former Matrix CEO Jeff Pitts.
So who is REALLY funding this alleged smear effort?
Is William L. Stephens, Jr. of the Alliance for Responsible Growth another “fall guy” like David Roberson was for the Alliance for Jobs and the Economy during the North Birmingham Bribery Scandal?
Is Alabama Power or another deep pocket entity behind this effort to smear Stan Pate?
Was Balch & Bingham in any way involved in the creation of this alliance?
Jeffrey Smith, Pate’s attorney, said in the lawsuit the Alliance for Responsible Growth’s website is “replete with malicious and false information related to Mr. Pate, his projects, and business interests.”
“The website is evidence of Mr. Stephens’ malice toward Mr. Pate in referring to Mr. Pate, among other slanderous and libelous statements, as ‘greedy.’ Stephens also made false and misleading statements about another project proposed by Mr. Pate on Rice Mine Road,” Smith said in the lawsuit. “It is clear that the Alliance for Responsible Growth Facebook page was initially created not for any legitimate civic discourse but, again, to paint Mr. Pate and his businesses in a false light and to cause damage to Mr. Pate in his business efforts and damage his plan for the project at the McFarland Mall site, the Rice Mine Road project, and other projects.”
So who is Stan Pate?
He is a successful businessman, philanthropist, and political donor.
According to BhmWiki, Pate was an A-student in Tuscaloosa’s public schools, graduating from high school in 1975. Though he had planned to enlist, the close of the Vietnam War led him instead to enter college with an eye toward a medical career. He earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering at the University of Alabama in 1981.
After briefly working for local chemical companies, Pate determined to go into business for himself and invested in rental property. His ventures were immediately successful, leading him to pursue business opportunities across the country. In addition to buying, leasing and selling property, his Pate Holdings offers real estate management, development and construction services.