By: Donald V. Watkins
Copyrighted and Published on July 7, 2023
An Editorial Opinion
On Wednesday, AL.com published a “hit” piece on my fight against a recent effort by the all-white, nine member, Alabama Supreme Court to induce the U.S. Supreme Court to disbar me as an attorney.
Last month, I filed a formal response in opposition to this racially motivated and retaliatory effort by the Alabama Supreme Court.
The article in question is titled, “Donald Watkins challenges US Supreme Court law license suspension after Alabama disbarment.” The article is riddled with false and inaccurate statements of fact.
This article was written by AL.com reporter Howard Koplowitz, who filed a personal bankruptcy petition in a Birmingham federal court on April 22, 2019.
Howard Koplowitz's personal bankruptcy filing has never been publicly exposed until today. This is true even though Koplowitz co-wrote a nationally circulated article about the city of Fairfield, Alabama's May 2020 bankruptcy filing. Koplowitz's article on Fairfield's bankruptcy subjected the city and its residents to scorn and ridicule inside the state's predominantly white communities.
In contrast to Howard Koplowitz, I have NEVER filed a personal bankruptcy petition.
After Koplowitz published his character assassination article, I learned that his “hit” piece had been orchestrated by operatives who are closely tied to the Atlanta-based Southern Company and the Alabama Supreme Court. In recent months, I have been critical of both entities in my news reporting.
Over the past four decades, The Birmingham News, together with its management company (Alabama Media Group, LLC) and its parent company (Advance Local Media), has repeatedly tried to assassinate my character and destroy my international businesses. This journalistic misconduct has now morphed into a crusade.
Howard Koplowitz's article was not the first time an AL.com reporter has tried a drive-by character assassination attempt on me.
On December 11, 2016, AL.com columnist/reporter John Archibald published an unprovoked "hit" piece on me. After I called Archibald out publicly for his unethical piece of journalism, he publicly apologized to me on my Facebook page and I forgave him.
The News' editorial cartoon below epitomizes AL.com's non-stop effort to discredit me as an international entrepreneur and a competitor in the news business.
As you can see, the News published the same kind of racist cartoon on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1967.
Both cartoons are designed to appeal to the worst instincts in the News' white readers.
We must always remember that the News has a long, ugly, and well-documented history of participating in Department of Justice/FBI official and unofficial COINTELPRO counter-intelligence activities that were designed to discredit and destroy black civil rights leaders from 1956 to the present. Dr. King was one of the News’ earliest targets of the program.
I became a target of the News in 1988 due to my legal representation of the city of Birmingham and Mayor Richard Arrington, Jr., in a long string of successful court cases and the multimillion dollar attorney's fees I was paid for winning all of my cases.
In 2019, John Archibald made up a fake racist quotation and attributed it to me in a published story. After I threatened to sue the Alabama Media Group, AL.com formally retracted Archibald's fake racist quote and publicly apologized for publishing it
The Alabama Supreme Court's Strange "Disbarment" of a Law License that Had Expired
I retired from the active practice of law in 2019. However, I renewed my Alabama state Bar license twice after I retired. The last renewed license expired on September 30, 2021.
Many readers are surprised by the fact that I renewed my license for two consecutive years while I was incarcerated as a well-known "political prisoner" from 2019 to 2022.
On November 25, 2019, the Alabama Bar Association issued me License No. 12959 and a Bar ID card for the period of October 1, 2019, through September 30, 2020. On September 1, 2020, the Alabama Bar Association also issued me License No. 532 and a Bar ID card for the period of October 1, 2020, through September 30, 2021.
The Alabama Supreme Court "disbarment" order that was referenced in Howard Koplowitz's article was strange because it was issued on December 27, 2021 -- three months after my Alabama Bar license had expired. In effect, the Court disbarred a law license that was no longer in effect.
What is more, the Court's purported “disbarment” of me occurred only after I openly challenged the all-white makeup of the Alabama Supreme Court in a September 2021 Notice of Appeal I filed with the Court.
The Alabama Supreme Court is led by Confederate-flag waving Chief Justice Tom Parker, who is still fighting for the South in the Civil War. I fully understand that I am NOT the kind of "Negro" that Tom Parker and his band of fellow justices find acceptable, nor do I want to be that "Negro."
Fortunately, I am a retired attorney who lives in California and works on energy-related projects around the world. As such, I have no need for an Alabama Bar license.
AL.com’s Undisclosed $16 Million Conflict of Interest
AL.com has never publicly disclosed that it has a $16 million conflict of interest problem with Donald V. Watkins.
This conflict of interest arises from a $16 million arbitration award that I entered (as an arbitrator) on December 30, 2002, in favor of plaintiffs Sherry Horn, Hugh Stewart, Kameron Hyde, Jesse Glass, and James and Teresa McLendon and against The Birmingham News Company.
My arbitration award was affirmed on appeal by the Alabama Supreme Court in 2004.
Both the arbitration panel and Alabama Supreme Court found that the News defrauded the plaintiffs by intentionally, repeatedly, and falsely misrepresenting to them that their dealership franchises would be renewed so long as they performed their work satisfactorily. These franchisees performed their contractual obligations in an outstanding manner.
In making this material misrepresentation repeatedly, the News committed multiple acts of fraud against the plaintiffs, who distributed the News throughout the state of Alabama.
The fraud committed by the News was so egregious that more than $10 million in punitive damages were awarded to the plaintiffs and affirmed on appeal.
The $16 million award made this case one of the largest fraud cases in Alabama history. Yet, the News never published a story about its judicially determined fraudulent conduct.
The white senior management executives at the News who perpetrated this massive fraud scheme against the plaintiffs were not criminally prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's office in Birmingham because the News had been a longtime, reliable, and highly trusted COINTELPRO media participant. The federal law enforcement establishment in Birmingham had always been able to count on the News to attack the credibility of strong black activists for social, economic, political, and environmental justice.
Southern Company Money Controls AL.com Reporting
AL.com bills itself as the state's largest media organization. In reality, AL.com is little more than a sports rag sheet and public relations tool for the Southern Company and its Alabama Power Company affiliate.
AL.com, which begs for donations at the beginning of its so-called “news” stories, is a dying news media platform that is often propped up financially by laundered money that is sourced from the Southern Company and its affiliates.
This previously undisclosed Southern Company-AL.com financial relationship is the subject of an upcoming article.
I am the journalist who investigated the Southern Company this year and reported on its greed, corruption, accounting fraud, and racketeering activities. AL.com did not do so.
In 2017, I extensively covered the reported rape of University of Alabama honors student Megan Rondini, which is referenced in Howard Koplowitz's “hit” piece. AL.com did not do so.
I have frequently exposed the continuing role played by the Birmingham U.S. Attorney’s office in the informal but ongoing COINTELPRO program. In 2019, AL.com’s continuing role in this program was confirmed by a former top prosecutor in the office.
Because of the News' soiled reputation as an active COINTELPRO participant, AL.com has never endeavored to expose or criticize the misconduct of Birmingham-based FBI agents and/or Department of Justice officials.
Since 2021, I have aggressively attacked the all-white makeup of the Alabama Supreme Court in a state that is 26% black. To me, the state's all-white Supreme Court represents a form of modern-day apartheid within Alabama's court system. As expected, AL.com has steered completely clear of this thorny subject.
Negative media stories about me usually emanate from white controlled, Alabama-based media organizations that are funded directly or indirectly by the Southern Company and its extensive network of business partners and major vendors. The Alabama Political Reporter, Yellowhammer News, AL.com, and Steve Flowers' Blog are a few of the media organizations in this captive and compromised group of online news platforms.
Given Howard Koplowitz's shaky financial condition, he is a prime candidate for those who want to lure reporters at these weak media organizations and entice them into writing and publishing drive-by character assassination articles.
Howard Koplowitz is the latest bankrupt AL.com reporter who has written and published character assassination articles on me. As mentioned earlier, John Archibald was the first AL.com reporter to do so.
Archibald filed his personal bankruptcy petition on October 23, 2003. Archibald tried to keep his bankruptcy filing on the "down-low." In 2011, Archibald was finally busted for lying about his bankruptcy filing. Ironically, it was a Southern Company operative who busted Archibald publicly.
As my readers know by now, I am “unbought” and “unbossed.” My news reports are the result of rock solid investigative journalism. They are also free of cost, free of ads, and free of spin.
I am financially independent and no one can buy my loyalty or compromise my journalistic integrity.
There is nothing AL.com can do to stop me from reporting the cold, hard, truth on matters of significant public interest.
Occasionally, AL.com will provide an Internet platform for financially struggling reporters like Howard Koplowitz and John Archibald to throw spit balls at me. So be it!
Today, AL.com serves in the drum major role for a Confederate-flag waving Chief Justice Tom Parker and his merry band of 18 all-white, Old South, appellate judges and justices as they whistle "Dixie" and march proudly into Alabama’s second “Redemption” period.