By: Donald V. Watkins
Copyrighted and Published on August 18, 2022
EXCLUSIVE BREAKING NEWS ---
On August 10, 2022, Jeff Pitts, the former CEO of Matrix, LLC, filed notices of his intent to issue a new round of subpoenas in his epic court battle with perennial Alabama "dirty tricks" operative and Matrix owner, Joe Perkins. The subpoenas are a roadmap to the inner workings of Matrix and the company's stranglehold on compromised politicians, judges, law enforcement agencies, utility regulators, media representatives, and grassroots organizations in Alabama.
In an August 3, 2022 court filing, Pitts stated that he was forced to resign from the beleaguered Matrix in December 2020 "because of Perkins' inappropriate and unethical business practices, including ....initiating and directing the creation of an explicit video in an attempt to intimidate the family of Megan Rondini, a rape victim who had committed suicide, to settle a civil claim [filed by her estate] ....".
Pitts' new subpoenas tighten the screws on Joe Perkins, his network of cronies, and Alabama Power Company. They come at a time when state and federal law enforcement agencies and media groups in Florida are ramping up their scrutiny of Perkins' and Matrix's business practices in the aftermath of Pitts' lawsuit against Perkins in a Florida state court. In his lawsuit, Pitts detailed riveting allegations of extortion, racketeering activities, and the abuse of Alabama's legal process by Perkins.
Whether they are ultimately produced, withheld, or possibly destroyed by the named recipients, the subpoenaed documents have important legal consequences in the civil lawsuits between Pitts and Perkins and the related criminal probes. It is expected that the ongoing criminal investigations in Florida will cause the named subpoena recipients to exercise prudence by lawyering-up with independent legal counsel of their own choosing.
In 1992, Joe Perkins confessed to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) that he made illegal campaign contributions to the 1986 Congressional campaign of his close friend, Roy Johnson, by funneling money through the bank accounts of his employees who, in turn, donated the laundered money to Johnson's campaign. Perkins' innocent and unsuspecting employees, who were duped into participating in his illegal campaign financing scheme, were eventually swept up in U.S. Department of Justice and FEC investigations into Perkins' scheme to violate federal election laws.
In June, Taylor Lea Perkins, Joe Perkins' 39-year-old daughter, publicly accused her father of subjecting her to a decade of childhood incest and sexual abuse. She also accused him of arranging hotel room abortions for pregnant women. Joe Perkins has not publicly denied or commented on his daughter's claims.
Paul Hamrick, Joe Perkins' close friend, former employee, and old client, took to Facebook on June 7, 2022 to publicly warn their mutual friends that Perkins has gone off the deep end. According to Hamrick, Perkins is attacking friends and foes, alike. In his post, Hamrick also acknowledged Perkins' role in the Megan Rondini rape-suicide case.
The New Subpoenas Spotlight Joe Perkins' "Dirty Tricks" and Identify His Network of Enablers
The subpoenas seek documents, records, and written communications from three categories of individuals for the period from 2015 to 2020.
In the first category of subpoenaed individuals, Pitts seeks records, documents, and other forms of written communications relating to Joe Perkins and Matrix from the owners, operators, reporters, and other individuals affiliated with the Alabama Political Reporter (APR). This media organization receives principal funding, directly or indirectly, from Alabama Power Company and its network of affiliates and corporate partners to: (a) generate and report positive articles about Alabama Power Company, the Number One industrial air polluter in Alabama, and the utility company's constellation of political and regulatory cronies, and (b) generate and report negative articles on individuals and entities targeted by Perkins/Matrix/Alabama Power Company.
The named recipients of subpoenas in this category are: Bill Britt, Susan Britt, Jacob Holmes, Joey Kennedy, Charlie Walker, Chandler Hines, Josh Moon, Eddie Burkhalter, Vincent Roccosalvo, and John Glenn.
The subpoenas seek: (a) records of payments from Perkins or entities controlled by him, (b) all communications between Perkins, APR, and Yellowhammer News, and (c) all emails, texts and other written communications relating to Matrix, Perkins, or Pitts.
Leaked Matrix financial records show an allocation of $8,000 per month for APR in a total budget of $96,000 designated for "Special Work Order/MTX." Payment to APR under this "Special Work Order," dated April 2013, required approval from Alabama Power Company executive Zeke Smith.
Bill Britt, the owner of APR, has denied any knowledge of this "Special Work Order" and has denied receiving the money budgeted for it. Britt was not under oath when he issued his denials.
[Click here to read the subpoenas to the individuals affiliated with APR: Bill Britt, Susan Britt, Chandler Hines, Charlie Walker, Eddie Burkhalter, Jacob Holmes, Joey Kennedy, John Glenn, Josh Moon, Vincent Roccosolvo.]
In the second category of subpoenas, Pitts seeks records, documents, and written communications relating to Joe Perkins from Five Star Preserve (Plantation). Five Star is a secluded hunting lodge with 13 extravagant rooms and a world-class shooting range. The Preserve is located near Kellyton, Alabama and was managed by Harry Pasisis during the period covered by the subpoena.
The named subpoena recipient is Harry Pasisis. He is required to produce all records, guest receipts, invoices, emails, letters, notes, electronic files, and text messages regarding Joe Perkins.
[Click here to read the subpoena to Harry Pasisis.]
In the third category of subpoenas, Pitts seeks records, documents, and written communications from Matrix employees Kimberly G. Hines (a convicted felon who serves as Matrix's CFO), Robert Taylor (who is directly implicated, via forensic evidence on a Matrix flash drive surreptitiously delivered to Rondini family attorney Leroy Maxwell, in a plot to intimidate the family to settle a civil lawsuit against the individuals and agencies that obstructed justice in her rape case), Summer Patterson (who participated in the creation of websites favorable to Matrix's clients and unfavorable to the company's foes), Lori Lindsey, and Tommy Kirkland.
Summer Patterson, a Matrix website designer and computer wiz, will be the focus of an upcoming article on her role in Matrix's clandestine work for Alabama Republican U.S. Senatorial candidate Katie Britt.
The subpoenas also seek information regarding 501(c)(4) "dark money" transactions that Matrix employees used to funnel money and perks to public officials, utility regulators, law enforcement officials, judges, and other individuals captured and controlled by Perkins and Matrix.
The subpoenas issued to the listed Matrix employees seek records, documents, and written communications relating to:
1. Jason Garcia (a Florida reporter),
2. The Orlando Sentinel (a Florida newspaper),
3. Michael Barfield,
4. Megan Rondini,
5. Mike Rondini (Megan's father),
6. The Rondini family,
7. Leroy Maxwell (the Rondini family's attorney),
8. The Maxwell Law firm in Birmingham, Alabama,
8. Donald V. Watkins (owner of www.donaldwatkins.com),
9. Terry Bunn (the deceased father of the local Tuscaloosa playboy known as "Sweet T')
10. Terry Bunn, Jr., a/k/a "Sweet T" (the designated rape suspect in Megan Rondini's rape case),
11. Tuscaloosa County Sheriffs Department,
12. Sheriff's investigator Adam Jones,
13. Tuscaloosa City Police Department investigators,
14. Digital records relating to work performed by Jeff Pitts for Florida Power and Light Company,
15. Documents distributed to Florida media,
16. Billy Canary,
17. Leura Canary, and
18. Mike Hubbard (a convicted felon and close Perkins pal).
Pitts requested that Kimberly G. Hines produce the following additional information: (a) all documents evidencing Matrix's disclosure of her felony conviction to Alabama Power Company and the Southern Company, (b) all documents evidencing her legal authority to sign contracts for Matrix and Perkins Communications on behalf of Jeff Pitts and Joe Perkins, respectively, and (c) a copy of all contracts she signed for Pitts and Perkins.
The Subpoenas Lay Out a Roadmap to Perkins' Apparent Perjury in the Matrix/Perkins v. Watkins Defamation Case
The documents subpoenaed from the Matrix employees lay out a roadmap to Joe Perkins' apparent perjury in an affidavit his lawyers filed in a 2017 case in which Matrix and Perkins sued Donald V. Watkins, P.C. (DVWPC) and me in Tuscaloosa County Circuit Court for defamation. The plaintiffs' defamation claims, which are vigorously disputed, arise from a series of articles I published in October and November of 2017 in which I described Perkins' and Matrix's role in the Megan Rondini rape-suicide case.
Perkins' affidavit was sufficient to hoodwink Circuit Court Judge Allen May into awarding Matrix and Perkins $1.5 million in damages against DVWPC and me, without conducting the required jury trial. The case is on appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court.
Perkins' court affidavit falsely stated:
"I have never taken any actions to obstruct the truth in any rape case, including the rape allegations raised by Ms. Rondini and her family. I have never made any false statement about Ms. Rondini or her family ....
Watkins has claimed that Matrix and I have worked to 'smear the name and character of Megan Rondini.' This claim is false. As stated previously, neither Matrix nor I has ever made any false statements about Ms. Rondini or her character."
Jeff Pitts and Paul Hamrick have gone public to dispute this testimony. The subpoenaed documents will likely support their version of the truth.
Joe Perkins is hopelessly trapped in a web of lies and deceit about his involvement in the Megan Rondini rape-suicide case and about his "dirty tricks" for Alabama Power Company and its CEO, Mark Crosswhite.
Donaldwatkins.com has followed the trail of Alabama Power Company money from the giant utility's coffers, to Perkins and his companies, and from Perkins and his companies to the intended beneficiaries. It was a painstaking process, but we did it. We were successful in this endeavor because Perkins is a creature of habit. Political money laundering has been the hallmark of Perkins' clandestine "dirty tricks" schemes since his days as a confessed federal lawbreaker.
The list of beneficiaries of Perkins' laundered money, in-kind tangible benefits, and undisclosed corporate perks is long and distinguished. It includes Republicans and Democrats. In Alabama politics, greed knows no party affiliation, racial classification, or gender identity. It spreads faster than the Coronavirus and has infected every institution of government.
Joe Perkins and Matrix tried to thwart my investigative reporting on his clients by: (a) suing DVWPC and me for defamation in a friendly Tuscaloosa County court venue, (b) collaborating, via intermediaries and on an undisclosed basis, with the lead prosecutors (disgraced former U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town and demoted former First Assistant U.S. Attorney Lloyd Peeples) in my federal criminal case, and (c) causing Federal Bureau of Prisons officials to place me in the "Hole," without just cause, for nearly one year of my three years in prison.
None of Perkins' obstructionist activities has stopped donaldwatkins.com from reporting the hard, cold truth on: (a) Matrix's role in the Megan Rondini rape-suicide case, (b) Alabama Power Company's role in compromising local, state, and federal public officials, law enforcement agents, judges, and utility regulators, (c) Matrix's successful efforts to silence Alabama's mainstream media organizations and grassroots advocacy groups, (d) Mark Crosswhite's aggressive efforts to succeed Tom Fanning as CEO of the Southern Company, using any and all means necessary, and (e) a host of other matters of significant public interest.
Stay tuned for more explosive developments in the Jeff Pitts v. Joe Perkins war!
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