A federal judge on Thursday sentenced former Alabama Rep. Oliver Robinson to 33 months in prison and three years of supervised release for his role in a bribery scheme to block the expansion of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency cleanup site in North Birmingham and Tarrant.
Robinson pleaded guilty to encouraging residents not to have their soil tested for contaminants in exchange for bribes. He also diverted money from his campaign account and nonprofit account for personal use.
After pleading guilty, he cooperated with federal prosecutors in investigations that led to the conviction of former Balch & Bingham attorney Joel Gilbert and David Roberson, a Drummond Company executive. They are scheduled for sentencing Oct. 23.
“Robinson betrayed his constituents and neighbors in north Birmingham and Tarrant, selling his elected office to special interests for personal profit,” Jay Town, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District, said in a statement Thursday. “An elected official can scarcely commit a more egregious crime.” Read more.
The sentencing of former state Rep. Oliver Robinson is scheduled for Thursday in federal court. Federal prosecutors asked the judge in a filing earlier this week to give Robinson a lighter sentence because he helped investigators.
Robinson was part of a scheme to block the expansion of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency cleanup site in North Birmingham and Tarrant. He encouraged his constituents there not to have their soil tested for contaminants in exchange for bribes. After pleading guilty, he cooperated with federal prosecutors in investigations that led to the conviction of a former Balch & Bingham attorney and a Drummond Company executive. Read more.
Alabama Rep. Randy Davis has been indicted on allegations he was involved in a plan to pressure Blue Cross Blue Shield to cover diabetes treatments at a string of health clinics with which he was involved.
Davis, a Republican from Daphne, was charged by federal prosecutors in Montgomery with several counts of bribery, according to the indictment.
The allegations are part of the corruption case brought against state Rep. Jack Williams, R-Vestavia Hills; lobbyist Martin J. “Marty” Connors of Alabaster; and G. Ford Gilbert of Carmichael, California, who owned the Trina Health company. Read more.
More stories about the new indictment:
• Rep. Randy Davis Indicted on Bribery Charges (Montgomery Advertiser)
• Outgoing State Rep. Randy Davis Indicted in Bribery Case (AL.com)
• Lawmaker Indicted On Bribery Charges (AP)
BirminghamWatch in April ran stories published by fellow nonprofit news site inewsource, which had spent months investigating Gilbert and Trina Health operations to produce its Hustling Hope series.
Just imagine: A nonsurgical treatment that helps millions of people with complications from diabetes restore vision, repair damaged kidneys, and reverse heart disease and cognitive decline. A treatment that heals wounds in their legs and feet, repairs damage from stroke, and eliminates a common type of diabetic nerve pain called neuropathy.
That’s what lawyer G. Ford Gilbert and his network of Trina Health clinics have been promising with his IV insulin infusions offered through his Sacramento-based company. The Trina CEO calls the procedure “miraculous,” and he has not been deterred by the nation’s top experts in diabetes, who aggressively debunk his procedure, calling it outright fraud and a scam. Read more.
Just about every Tuesday morning around 7:30, John McCreary of Poway can be found waiting for Dr. James Novak’s office to open. Almost always, McCreary said, he’s the first one there.
Novak’s practice is listed as the only one in the San Diego area offering Trina Health’s “Artificial Pancreas Treatment,” a four-hour IV insulin infusion procedure for people with diabetes. Some people like McCreary, 69, who has wrestled with diabetic nerve pain for years, said they think the procedure is working for them. Read more.
You can find more segments in the Hustling Hope
series on inewsource.org.
Updated – State Rep. Jack Williams, R-Vestavia Hills, and lobbyist Martin J. “Marty” Connors of Alabaster have been indicted on public-corruption charges, U.S. Attorney Louis V. Franklin Sr. of Montgomery announced Tuesday.
The two, along with G. Ford Gilbert of Carmichael, California, are charged with conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud and honest services fraud. Gilbert also is charged with wire fraud, health care fraud and interstate travel in aid of racketeering.
The alleged scheme involved efforts to require Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama to cover medical services provided by a company owned by Gilbert, Franklin said.
Williams in a statement released Tuesday said he had done nothing wrong and expected to be found innocent. He said he would continue to run for a seat on the Jefferson County Commission. Efforts to reach Connors for comment were unsuccessful. Read more.
Grand jury subpoenas arriving last week for Alabama legislators put the spotlight on how the officeholders spend contributions and whether their reports and expenditures comply with the state’s campaign finance law.
State Rep. Patricia Todd, D-Birmingham, one of the few legislators to acknowledge getting a subpoena, said it was from the Alabama Attorney General’s Office. Todd said she’s not the only legislator to receive a subpoena. House Speaker Mac McCutcheon also verified that subpoenas had been delivered.
“They seem to believe we are putting things on the Visa that are for personal use, but I don’t have anything to hide,” Todd said.
Other legislators were being close-lipped about the investigation, most of them either not returning calls or saying they had no comment.
Alabama election laws specify that candidates and officials must disclose the identification of each person or entity that has been paid more than $100 in a calendar year from their campaign accounts, along with the amount, date and purpose of each expenditure.
BirminghamWatch looked up financial records on Jefferson County’s 26 legislators and found several who had listed expenditures on their campaign finance reports without providing details about where the money went. Read more.