Civil Rights champion Ernesto Pichardo, who won a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision for Civil Rights and religious freedom in 1993 against the City of Hialeah, demanded today that the Jacksonville City Council table the appointment of Patrick Krechowski to the Downtown Investment Authority Board of Directors.
“Patrick Krechowski is a partner at the alleged racist and embattled law firm of Balch & Bingham. Two former Balch attorneys are sitting in federal prison, now, today this very moment: one for bribery and money laundering; the other for possession of kiddie porn. As a partner, Mr. Krechowski cannot say he doesn’t know about the deplorable misconduct at the firm,” declared Pichardo who serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Consejo de Latinos Unidos (CDLU), a public charity and national advocacy organization.
Pichardo added, “Just recently, the Town of Orange Park rejected the hiring of Mr. Krechowski and Balch & Bingham, a humiliating defeat for a seasoned attorney. Mr. Krechowski is old enough to know better and should have the wisdom to leave Balch & Bingham and their baggage behind. There are many other, more honorable law firms in Jacksonville.”
In October of 2021, ex-Balch partner, Joel I. Gilbert reported to federal prison to serve a five-year sentence for bribery and money laundering in the North Birmingham Bribery Scandal, which targeted low-income African American children and their families from having the EPA test their toxic and contaminated property. The bribery scheme was born at the offices at Balch & Bingham. North Birmingham is 92.5 percent African American, and Balch has yet to apologize or make amends with the community.
In March, Chase T. Espy, a long-time Balch attorney was sentenced to 97 months in federal prison for possession of child pornography. In 2021, Espy was arrested for allegedly soliciting a child online. The CDLU immediately reached out to U.S. Department of Homeland Security which investigates child trafficking and exploitation. CDLU’s advocacy led to the federal indictment of Espy in June of 2022.
Because of CDLU’s advocacy, Balch has seen 18 of 18 major clients in Washington, D.C. terminate them. Balch & Bingham appears to have lost between $40 and $100 million in the aggregate as the firm has lost clients and seen an exodus of legacy and money-making partners since 2017.
In 1993, Pichardo won a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision for religious freedom and Civil Rights after his Afro-Caribbean faith came under attack due to blatant intolerance and discrimination by racists and religious bigots. Pichardo has been a member of the Board of Directors of the CDLU since 2003.