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  • Writer's pictureDonald V. Watkins

Trading Places

By: Donald V. Watkins

Copyrighted and Published on December 26, 2022

IMAGE: Alabama "dirty tricks" operative Joe Perkins (left) and ousted Alabama Power Company CEO Mark Crosswhite (right).

A year ago today, I published a bombshell article about the $2.5 million in secret contracts Alabama "dirty tricks" operative Joe Perkins and his company, Matrix, LLC, had with Alabama Power Company. Money from these contracts was used by Perkins and Matrix to compromise utility regulators, state and federal politicians, law enforcement officials and judges, grassroots community organizations, and news media outlets. The money flowed to Perkins and Matrix without invoicing. A copy of each contract is attached to my article.

Perkins, with the assistance of retiring Alabama U.S. Senator Richard Shelby, retaliated by having the Federal Bureau of Prisons place me in the "Hole" at FCI La Tuna for five weeks, without charges.

I became an American "political prisoner" in 2019 after Jay Town (Shelby's handpicked U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama) and Lloyd Peeples (a failed pizza restaurant operator who served as Town's top assistant prosecutor) manufactured phony criminal fraud charges against my son and me. These men used their connections within Shelby's office and the Department of Justice to railroad us in the Birmingham federal courthouse.

After I was released from the"Hole," I exposed $96,000 in special work orders that Alabama Power issued to Matrix for the purpose of funneling money to various news organizations in Alabama in exchange for (a) favorable coverage of Alabama Power and (b) trashing critics of Alabama Power and Perkins.

On August 18, 2022, I broke the story on an August 3, 2022 court filing in which Jeff Pitts stated that he was forced to resign as Matrix's CEO 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]....". Perkins had previously denied (under oath) any involvement in the Megan Rondini rape-suicide case.

Life in Alabama's New Paradigm

Today, Richard Shelby, who is Joe Perkins' hunting buddy and client, is leaving Washington for good at the end of the year. Shelby's tangled web of lies and deceit was exposed in an article I published on November 14, 2021.

In July of 2020, Jay Town resigned as U.S. Attorney after he was photographed chugging down celebratory drinks with Mark Crosswhite (Alabama Power's CEO) at a secluded Birmingham lounge in the middle of a criminal investigation that implicated Crosswhite in the North Birmingham Bribery Case of former state representative Oliver Robinson and two co-defendants. Today, Town is working as the general counsel for a private defense contractor in Huntsville, Alabama.

IMAGE: Jay Town (left) and Mark Crosswhite (right) celebrating Town's decision to limit the scope of the North Birmingham Bribery Investigation. Alabama Power provided $30,000 of the $360,000 used to bribe former state representative Oliver Robinson.

On April 6, 2022, Abdul K. Kallon, the judge who presided over the North Birmingham Bribery Case, abruptly resigned to take a job as a lawyer in Washington state, where he was not licensed to practice law. Kallon had reportedly barred defense attorneys in the trial of two of Robinson's co-defendants from mentioning Alabama Power Company's name during their trial.

In April 2022, William Dice Lineberry, the lawyer who set up the phony non-profit entity that was used for the North Birmingham Bribery Scheme, committed suicide.

On October 11, 2017, Matt Bowden, Alabama Power's then-general counsel, died. Bowden's death occurred less than two weeks after Balch & Bingham attorney Joel I. Gilbert and ex-Drummond Company executive David Roberson were indicted in the North Birmingham Bribery Case. Bowden died unexpectedly, reportedly from complications due to an ankle injury.

On May 15, 2022, Joe Perkins' daughter publicly accused him of sexually abusing her when she was a child. Perkins has not denied this charge.

On November 21, 2022, Mark Crosswhite learned from news media reports that he was "retiring" from Alabama Power Company after litigation between Joe Perkins and Jeff Pitts revealed a shocking scheme by Matrix to conduct video surveillance on Tom Fanning, the CEO of the Southern Company. Matrix spied on Fanning in the hopes of capturing video of Fanning in compromising sexual conduct with men, despite the fact that Fanning is NOT gay or bisexual.

Today, Jay Town is under a Department of Justice investigation that is probing his handling of the North Birmingham Bribery Case.

Lloyd Peeples has burrowed himself into the U.S. Attorney's Office in Birmingham as chief of the Criminal Division. In 2023, I will be publishing an exclusive investigative report on how Joe Perkins compromised Peeples (and others) in my case.

On December 19, 2022, National Public Radio reported that several Alabama and Florida news organizations participated in a Matrix scheme to accept undisclosed payments from Matrix for the purpose of generating favorable news coverage for Matrix's clients and trashing the critics of its clients. Alabama Power Company provided the money for this unethical scheme in Alabama. Alabama-based participants in this scheme included the Alabama Political Reporter, Yellowhammer News, and Alabama Today.

There are multiple investigations in Florida, Washington, and Atlanta that are probing the conduct of Joe Perkins, Matrix, Alabama Power Company, Mark Crosswhite, Florida Power & Light, and many others in these matters. Many participants in Matrix's various power-grab schemes in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida have lawyered up in anticipation of very turbulent days ahead.

Joe Perkins, who is a confessed federal lawbreaker, is viewed by many of his clients and friends as extremely toxic at this time. They are distancing themselves from Perkins at breakneck speed.

Today, I am a free man. My son is free, as well. We endured a terrible injustice at the hands of Joe Perkins, Matrix, Alabama Power Company, and their allies. We have now reunited with our family members and true friends. .We look forward to a happy New Year in 2023!

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