• Donald V. Watkins

Convicted Felon Serves as Matrix's CFO

Updated: Sep 3

By: Donald V. Watkins

Copyrighted and Published on: July 3, 2022


SPECIAL INVESTIGATIVE REPORT


Most people have never heard of Kimberly G. Hines. She functions as the chief financial officer for Matrix, LLC, a public relations and crisis management firm owned by perennial Alabama "dirty tricks" operative, Joe Perkins. Before Matrix became the focus of media and law enforcement investigations two years ago, Hines was actually listed as "chief financial officer" on Matrix's organizational chart.


Kimberly G. Hines is a convicted felon. It is believed that Hines signed Jeff Pitts' name on a $90,000 per month contract with Alabama Power Company that authorized monthly payments, without invoicing. After this agreement was executed, Alabama Power money came gushing into Matrix.


At the time, Pitts was Matrix's chief executive officer. In December 2020, Pitts left Matrix. By September 2021, Pitts had publicly accused Joe Perkins of engaging in extortion, racketeering activities, and abuse of the Alabama legal system.


Hines' Criminal Background


On August 4, 2000, Ms. Hines was indicted by an Autauga County grand jury on an ethics charge of using her position for personal gain and first degree theft of property. Both charges are state law felonies. Hines faced the prospect of a criminal trial in State of Alabama v. Kimberly G. Hines, Case No.: CC-2000-000283. If convicted on both counts, Hines could have received up to 20 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.


The charges grew out of a state audit conducted by the Alabama Department of Examiners of Public accounts, which found about $18,000 missing from a cheerleader fund Hines managed. Auditors determined that Hines spent the missing money on personal vacations, haircuts, and clothing.


Ms. Hines was the paid sponsor for both the Prattville Junior High and High School cheerleader programs. Against school board policy, Hines maintained a separate bank account for monies raised for the cheerleader programs. The funds were supposed to be deposited into a school bank account.


On October 24, 2001, Ms. Hines pled guilty to using her position for personal gain. On December 14, 2001, Autauga County Circuit Court Judge John B. Bush sentenced Hines to 30 days in jail, a suspended sentence of 4 years and 11 months, 3 years of probation, and restitution in the amount of $16,540.48. As part of her plea deal, the theft of property charge against Hines was dismissed.


In early 2002, Ms. Hines served her 30 days in jail. Joe Perkins helped Hines transition into her probationary period by hiring her as a Matrix employee. Perkins also assigned a Matrix employee to serve as the contact person with Hines' probation officer.


Today, Ms. Hines handles all invoicing, payments, wire transfers, and anything else relating to Matrix's finances and banking relationships. She also reviews budgets with Matrix's anchor clients. Hines' work brought her into direct contact with Zeke W. Smith, the Alabama Power Company official who countersigned APC Agreement No. 3-18-00487.


Perkins' Close Ties to Other Convicted Felons


Alabama Power and its parent company, the Southern Company, are two of Perkins' anchor clients. He has been representing these companies for many years, with contracts between the parties placed in the names of various Perkins corporate affiliates. These contracts have netted Perkins' companies tens of millions of dollars.


Two of these agreements are: (a) APC Agreement No. 3-18-00487, which paid Matrix $90,000 per month from January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2018, and (b) APC Agreement 3-18-00552, which paid Perkins Communications, LLC, $124,000 per month from August 1, 2018 through July 31, 2019. Both agreements were concealed from the public until www.donald watkins.com published them in an exclusive December 26, 2021 article titled, "Alabama Power Co. Paid $2.5 Million to Joe Perkins, 'Without Invoicing'."


Both agreements contained highly-suspect scopes of work and unusual payment terms. And, both of them have red-flags that warrant a criminal investigation.


These agreements were executed at a time when Alabama Power Company was implicated in a bribery scheme involving former state Representative Oliver Robinson (D-Birmingham), a close political friend and ally of Perkins. Alabama Power provided $30,000 of the $360,000 that was used to bribe Robinson.


Robinson was indicted on felony bribery charges, along with three co-conspirators. He pled guilty in the case. Two of the other defendants were convicted by a jury. The fourth defendant had his case dismissed during the trial.


The backstory on the Oliver Robinson bribery scheme was reported in my June 19, 2022 article titled, "Why Did Federal Judge Abdul K. Kallon Resign?" This article outed many of the participants in the bribery scheme who escaped prosecution because of their political and financial connections to U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) and their clout within the state's corporate and law enforcement communities.


The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is investigating why Jay Town, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama who oversaw the criminal investigation, gave prosecutorial passes to certain politically connected participants in the Oliver Robinson bribery scheme, including Alabama Power, its CEO (Mark Crosswhite), the Drummond Company, its former CEO (Mike Tracy) and general counsel (Blake Andrews), and 21 attorneys at Balch & Bingham law firm who played a key role in the scheme. The investigation was triggered by complaints filed in 2019 and 2020 by Kevin B. Forbes, the co-founder and CEO of Consejo de Latinos Unidos, relating to Town's misconduct in the bribery case.


Agreement No. 3-18-00487 Banned Felons from Performing the Contracted Scope of Work


Section 10 of APC Agreement No. 3-18-00487 required Matrix to "notify [Alabama Power Company] in advance of Representatives that it proposes to use to perform Services under this Agreement." Kimberly Hines is one of these "Representatives." Joe Perkins is another one.


Matrix was required to complete background investigations for these "Representatives" on a form for "Southern Company Contractors." It is not known whether Matrix submitted a completed form to the Southern Company/ Alabama Power for Hines and Perkins, or whether Alabama Power waived this requirement for Hines and Perkins.


Matrix agreed that it would "not allow its Representatives to perform Services for [Alabama Power Company] until after the Representatives have been determined to be Compliant." Alabama Power reserved the "sole and exclusive right to determine [Matrix's] and [Hines'] eligibility" to perform work for the company. Matrix also agreed to "notify [Alabama Power] immediately in the event [Matrix] or its Representatives become the subject of any criminal or regulatory investigation."


Perkins became the "subject" of state and federal law enforcement officials investigations of a money laundering scheme that allegedly funneled campaign contributions from Florida Power and Light (FP&L) through 501(c)(4) dark money charities and into the campaign coffers of several "ghost candidates." The goal of the scheme was to siphon off enough votes from Democratic candidates in Florida's state senate races for FL&P-supported Republican candidates to win. The scheme worked, and Republicans now control the Florida senate.


Perkins has blamed the scheme on Pitts and rogue executives at FP&L. Other credible evidence points to Perkins, a known micro-manager, as the true ringleader of the scheme.


The background investigations required under Agreement No. 3-18-00487 included a "State criminal history." The first disqualifier in Section 10 of the Agreement is a "Felony conviction." Ms. Hines is disqualified under this category.


Joe Perkins appears to be disqualified under category number 6: "Pattern of behavior in the past that may not have resulted in a conviction, but that indicates involvement in criminal activity." As reported in our article titled, "Joe Perkins Confessed to Breaking Federal Election Laws," Joe Perkins is a federal lawbreaker. Perkins confessed to violating 2 U.S.C., Sections 441b(a) and 441(f) in a "Conciliation Agreement" he executed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on March 30, 1992. In addition to paying a $5,000 civil penalty, Perkins agreed to a lifetime ban on providing consulting services for candidates in federal elections.


This FEC information was available to Alabama Power when Agreement No. 3-18-00487 was signed on December 18, 2017. The FEC file in Perkins' case is labeled: "In the Matter of Joseph W. Perkins, MUR 2797." MUR stands for "Matter Under Review." [Click here to read the FEC file.] The FBI's flow chart of Perkins' illegal campaign contributions to the Roy Johnson Congressional campaign is depicted at Bates Stamp No.92040901172. Perkins' confession is located at Bates Stamp Nos. 92040901499 to 92040901502. A copy of Perkins' $5,000 check for the penalty payment is located at Bates Stamp No. 92040901486.


As is the case with Kimberly Hines and Oliver Robinson, Roy Johnson is another convicted felon and close pal of Joe Perkins. Johnson pled guilty to accepting bribes and kickbacks in a separate case.


The FEC received Perkins' case from DOJ's Criminal Division on August 24, 1988. Perkins escaped a criminal prosecution in the case solely because the applicable statute of limitations expired before DOJ could complete its investigation.


It is unknown whether Ms. Hines disclosed her felony conviction to Alabama Power before Agreement No. 3-18-00487 was executed by the parties. If she did not make this disclosure, the disqualifier in category 7 of the contract also applied to her. This disqualifier states: "Willful omission, misrepresentation, or falsification of personal data provided for background investigation purposes (e.g., omitted criminal conviction ...").


There are also questions as to whether Joe Perkins disclosed his FEC confession to Alabama Power before performing his work under Agreement No. 3-18-00487. It appears that Disqualifier No. 7 applied to Perkins, as well.


The section on background checks is NOT included in Agreement No. 3-18-00552, which funneled $124,000 per month directly into Perkins Communications. Perkins formed this company after he was banned by the FEC from consulting for candidates in federal elections. Despite this lifetime ban, Perkins recently managed Republican Senatorial candidate Katie Britt's 2022 campaign from behind-the-scenes. According to inside sources, Perkins, a Democrat, enjoys bragging about his influence over Ms. Britt.


After www.donaldwatkins.com published Perkins' secret agreements with Alabama Power, his 39-year-old daughter, Taylor Lea Perkins, voluntarily came forward and publicly accused her father of: (a) committing serial acts of childhood incest and rape against her and (b) arranging hotel room abortions for pregnant women. Perkins has not publicly denied his daughter's allegations.


Perkins' Press Statement


Last week, Joe Perkins issued a rambling, nonsensical statement to Yellowhammer News in which he said Jeff Pitts has attacked him by "paying fake journalists to call our clients asking accusatory questions; sending altered documents to clients and others; and allegedly collaborating with Donald Watkins, Lisa Swoboda and K.B. Forbes to attack and defame me personally and our company." Yellowhammer News is one of several news outlets in Alabama that receives principal funding from Alabama Power.


Perkins has succeeded in silencing Alabama's traditional media organizations and muzzling local investigative reporters like John Archibald, Kyle Whitmire, and Josh Moon. Perkins is trying to silence the best-known online journalists who regularly cover Alabama's political scene. True to form, Perkins has targeted Kevin Forbes, Lisa Swoboda, and me for retaliation.


Perkins' threat against our news team at www.donaldwatkins.com is an exercise in futility. He joins a long list of powerful officials who have tried to shut down www.donaldwatkins.com since 2013. These officials include former Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller (Montgomery), former Alabama governor Robert Bentley, retiring U.S. Senator Richard Shelby, former First Assistant U.S. Attorney Lloyd Peeples (R-Birmingham), outgoing Federal Bureau of Prisons Director Michael Carvajal, former president Donald J. Trump, political surrogates of President Joe Biden, and a host of other state and federal officials. None of them has succeeded in this kamikaze mission.



IMAGE: Joe Perkins and Kimberly Hines


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