Grand Jury Indicts 2 Lawyers, Drummond Exec in Corruption Probe

A federal grand jury on Wednesday indicted two Birmingham lawyers and an Alabama coal company executive on charges of conspiracy, bribery, wire fraud and money laundering.

The indictment charges the three paid former state Rep. Oliver Robinson to take official action favorable to their interests in connection with EPA actions in north Birmingham.

U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town this morning announced the six-count indictment against Joel Gilbert and Steven McKinney, both partners at Balch & Bingham, and David Roberson, vice president of government and regulatory affairs for Drummond Co. The indictment alleges they conspired to provide Robinson with a consulting contract in exchange for taking official action on behalf of Balch & Bingham and Drummond, which was a client of the firm, involving an environmental cleanup site in the Tarrant and Inglenook areas.

Robinson already has pleaded guilty in the case and agreed to cooperate with investigators. He admitted to advocating against the EPA proposal to expand the area covered by the current 35th Avenue Superfund site, which would have put more Birmingham neighborhoods on a priority list for cleaning up toxic chemicals that pollute the soil. Drummond could have been on the hook for tens of millions of dollars in cleanup costs if EPA had taken that action.

“It matters not on which side of the bribe one falls in public corruption. Those who pay and those who receive will be prosecuted to the fullest,” Town said in a press release.

“The allegations against these defendants show personal gain and agendas were placed above the overall health of the citizens who lived and worked in this community,” Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, Acting Special Agent in Charge James E. Dorsey said in the release. “Bribery of political officials is against the law and IRS Criminal Investigation will continue to assist with the ongoing effort to expose everyone involved in this conspiracy.”


This story will be update.