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  • Writer's pictureDonald V. Watkins

Southern Company Turned a Blind Eye to Electrical Contractor’s History of Racist Workplace Behavior

Updated: Aug 16, 2023

By: Donald V. Watkins

Copyrighted and Published on August 13, 2023; Updated on August 13, 2023 at 5:52 p.m. EST to add Southern Company revenue figures; Updated on August 16, 2023

IMAGE: Michael Munroe, a former contracts administrator and contracts compliance officer for a major Southern Company electrical contractor.


Many people think Christopher C. Womack is running the Southern Company because he was appointed as chief executive officer on May 24, 2023. In truth, Womack has no REAL executive authority or presence within the company. He is merely a highly-paid African-American figurehead who was appointed to the job for public relations purposes in the post-George Floyd “woke” era.

Former CEO Thomas A. Fanning runs the Southern Company from his perch as Executive Chairman of the company’s board of directors. Fanning is Womack’s boss. He continues to run the Southern Company with a strong presence and dictatorial grip over Womack and the company's board of directors.

IMAGE: Southern Company CEO Christopher C. Womack (left) and Executive Board Chairman Thomas A.. Fanning.

Against this backdrop, it is no surprise that Miller Electrical Contractors, Inc. continues to work as a major Southern Company vendor, despite its documented history of workplace racism, anti-gay behavior, and xenophobia banter.

Tens of millions of Southern Company dollars feed Miller Electrical Contractor’s brand of racist, anti-gay, xenophobic hatred.

Adding insult to injury, at least 25% (or $15 billion) of the Southern Company's nearly $60 billion in annual revenues is derived from its black customers.

An Documented History of Inappropriate Workplace Behavior

From 1993 to 2015, Michael W. Munroe was Chief Operating Officer and Corporate Secretary for D&N Electric Company (DNE). From 2015 to 2023, Monroe was Vice President of Miller Electrical Contractors, Inc., a company in which DNE owned 49% of the shares of stock. In his executive capacities, Michael Munroe served as a contracts administrator and compliance officer for DNE and Miller Electrical Contractors.

Munroe was also a prolific racist who enjoys writing and sending racist emails, caricature pictures, anti-gay jokes, and xenophobic satirical emails to: (a) his circle of personal friends, (b) former DNE employees, (c) Miller officials, including the company’s owners, its vice-president for operations, and senior project manager, (d) a former executive at SunTrust Bank, and (e) other cohorts who shared his warped values.

Munroe's steady stream of racist, anti-gay, and xenophobic emails, pictures, and jokes was tasteless, offensive, and sickening. Collectively, this cache of documents evidences a deep seated racism that is incapable of reformation.

The following documents, which were used in court proceedings, show how Michael Munroe and his cohorts wallowed in racist, anti-gay, and xenophobic behavior. Reportedly, the act of sending racist emails to his co-workers, bankers, and friends was Munroe's favorite pastime. It brought pure joy to his life.

On March 16, 2012, Michael Munroe wrote this email to Katie Davis, a SunTrust Vice President for Commercial Banking in Morrow, Georgia, and others:

Katie Davis, who was a 2011 member of the SunTrust Bank Chairman’s Team, was not limited to receiving a multitude of Munroe's racist emails. On December 19, 2011, she originated one of her own and sent it to Munroe, complete with a smiley face emoji and her SunTrust email address.

IMAGE: Katie Davis, a former SunTrust Bank executive.

Katie Davis departed SunTrust in January 2013. She is now an account manager at TaxCredible (formerly Alpharesults), a position she has held since June 2013.

In the run-up to the 2012 presidential election, Munroe sent Katie Davies, Miller Electrical co-owner Matt Armstrong, two company executives, and others an email that stated: “2012: Don’t Re-nig!” Within the context of the email chain, "Re-nig" was a dog whistle term that was used to encourage Southern white voters to vote against Barack Obama during the 2012 presidential election.

Munroe’s post-election December 5, 2012, email chain featured a picture of Obama's face on a food stamp coupon. This email chain began by showing the pictures of six white presidents on U.S. currency, with a laudatory description for each president.

Then, as Munroe's email recipients scrolled down, Obama’s picture appeared on a food stamp coupon, along with these derogatory comments.

Among the individuals copied on the Obama food stamp email chain was a Human Resources executive at Farmers and Merchants Bank, an executive at MillerCoors Beverage Company (now known as Molson Coors), an executive at Sasco Chemical Company (Atlanta), someone at Lanier County, and a Georgia public school executive.

Munroe's flaming white racism was searing in his June 9, 2011, email about "three male Niggers" who arrived at the "Pearly Gates." Banker Katie Davis was copied on this email, along with Munroe's other friends.

One of the sickest jokes discusses Munroe’s desire to become a trucker driver after an 18-wheeler truck speeding through an intersection killed a car full of “loud Muslims shouting anti American slogans.” Katie Davis was copied on this email, as well. Munroe also felt comfortable enough to copy Kathy Villanueva, an administrator at ADP Payroll Services.

Another disgusting Michael Munroe email describes how a “huge black man” beat a “gay man” after the gay man asked him, “Do you want a blow job?”

On June 13, 2011, Michael Munroe sent an email with his "Picture of the Year" to his cyberfriends. Here it is:

Birds of a Feather Flock Together

Michael Munroe's display of racism, anti-gay humor, and xenophobic banter was endless and authentic. What is worse, Munroe's conspicuous racism was tolerated by the Southern Company, which knew or should have known about his conduct.

Even though these Michael Munroe emails (and many others of the same ilk) were available in public court proceedings, DNE and Miller Electrical Contractors were able to pass the Southern Company's vetting and approval process to work as electrical contractors at the company's plants and facilities.

Since 2016, Miller Electrical Contractors has grown and thrived off the company's vendor contracts with the Southern Company and Georgia Power.

From 2014 to 2023, James Y. Kerr, II, served as the Southern Company's chief legal officer, chief compliance officer, and chief of staff to then CEO-Thomas Fanning. Kerr and his staff oversaw all compliance activities within the Southern Company's constellation of companies.

Under Kerr's leadership, the Southern Company evolved into a corporate culture where purveyors of racism felt welcomed. Kerr and his colleagues in management actually brought executives into the Southern Company who had a history of racial discrimination at other companies.

In 2020, Kerr summarily dismissed as a “proposition” or “hypothesis” the established fact that the North Birmingham (Alabama) Bribery Scheme of former state representative Oliver Robinson, which was organized and funded by Alabama Power and other Southern Company allies, was a racist scheme to suppress the environmental protection rights of blacks (and poor whites) in three 92.5 % black Birmingham neighborhoods. .

A secret 2015 attorney-client memo that we first published on July 13, 2023, showed Kerr lying to CDLU Executive Director Kevin B. "K.B." Forbes during an audiotaped telephone conversation when Kerr disclaimed any role in the bribery scheme by Alabama Power and the Southern Company. Take a listen.

James Kerr remains an executive at the Southern Company. In April 2023, Kerr became the CEO of Southern Gas Company, a Southern Company affiliate. Kerr is still Thomas Fanning's right-hand man.

Christopher Womack does not have the power or authority to fire James Kerr, regardless of his audiotaped racism.

The Racist, Anti-Gay, and Xenophobic Behavior was Discovered by an African-American Company After Its Purchase of DNE

In 2013, DNE was purchased by an Atlanta-based company headed by accomplished African-American businessman John F. Carter. After the deal closed, Carter owned 60% of the company and the original owners became minority owners.

IMAGE: Atlanta businessman John F. Carter at the New York Stock Exchange on April 13, 2023.

Prior to Carter's purchase of DNE, the company was owned by Robert Nix (60%), Matt Armstrong 30%, Larry Harper 5%, and Robert Starr 5%.

DNE also owned 49% of Miller Electrical Contractors. The other 51% was owned by McKendree “Ken” Miller, who was forced out of the company by former DNE shareholders Armstrong, Harper, and Charles S. Wallen in a 2017 hostile takeover.

Carter's acquisition did not include a change of ownership of Miller Electrical Contractors or his assumption of control over the company.

Prior to and after Carter's purchase of DNE, the company was an approved vendor for Georgia Power, Southern Company, Tennessee Valley Authority (in Knoxville), Tennessee, and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Georgia.

Separately, since 2000, Miller Electric Contractors has been an approved vendor for various industrial-scale projects in Chattanooga, Tennessee and Fairburn, Georgia. The company also performed work on projects for Georgia Power, Southern Company, Tennessee Valley Authority (in Knoxville), and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

After Carter's acquisition of DNE closed, his management team discovered a cache of racist emails and photos on the company's computer servers. The emails and photos in this article were among those found on the servers.

A forensic audit commissioned by John Carter also uncovered suspicious banking activities, including appeared to be fraud, forgery, and “insider” assistance and facilitation in connection with certain bank transactions involving DNE and the United Bank of Zebulon, Georgia. Carter promptly reported these suspicious financial activities to the East Point Police Department, Fulton County District Attorney’s Office, and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

These questionable banking activities will be the subject of Part II of my special investigative report into the conduct of this major Southern Company vendor.

Michael Munroe retired as a vice president from Miller Electrical Contractors in May 2023. The company continues to serve as a Southern Company approved vendor.

Matthew Armstrong, who was listed among the circle of former DNE executives receiving Munroe’s racist, anti-gay, and xenophobic emails, serves as Miller Electrical Contractor’s president.

John Carter has disassociated himself from all of the shenanigans caused by the former executives of DNE and the current executives affiliated with Miller Electrical Contractors. The Southern Company has not done so.

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Kamar Jones
Kamar Jones
14 Ağu 2023

These emails are alarming, but no surprise. I can recall a time when I was a young stockbroker, a confederate flag was flying in a person's office during my first week of work. Those emails were a prelude to the 2016 election that brought these feelings and hostilities out in the open. I think the gentlemen that bought the DandN company was a class act weeding out that nonsense, even though it probably cost him contracts.

The other issue not touched on in the article is many people are uncomfortable with blacks in leadership. All the executives bailed when a black businessman bought the company. We see this in sports, the military, and any other situation when black leadership …

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