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New Government Report on Balch & Bingham's "Pimps of Mississippi" Scheme Raises This Question: Where is All of That Federal Rent-assistance Money Going?

Posted on the 18 November 2021 by Rogershuler @RogerShuler

Government Report Balch Bingham's

The Pimps of Mississippi

(Update: A story similar to this one is coming to light today in Iowa . . . BREAKING: New audit reveals that Iowa's Republican Governor Kim Reynolds improperly funneled $450,000 of federal COVID-19 relief funds to pay the salaries of her staff members and then concealed it by routing it through DHS.)

A new report shows Birmingham's Balch & Bingham law firm has disbursed only 17 percent of funds from a pandemic-related rent-assistance program in Mississippi, according to a report at Writes Publisher K.B. Forbes:

Government-made millionaires Balch & Bingham is under fire after a national investigative report in The Washington Post in September showed that the embattled law firm had reaped millions in fees from the State of Mississippi while hardly disbursing resources to tenants in need.

According to the Post, a mere 11 percent of a $186-million rental assistance fund was disbursed to those in need, while a similar program in Harrison County, Mississippi, run by housing advocates, had the opposite results: disbursement was at 89 percent.

Now new data from the U.S. Department of Treasury shows that Balch stooges in Jackson have disbursed only 17 percent of rental assistance funds as of September 30. Harrison County is now up to 91 percent.

Why is Balch's performance so dismal? Should the firm have been involved with such a program in the first place? Writes Forbes:

Called “The Pimps of Mississippi,” Balch, the evictor and collector, received millions in contractual cronyism to allegedly distribute federal rental assistance funds and to manage another federal program to prevent foreclosures, according to the Post.

Balch partners Christian B. Waddell and Lucien Smith appear to have secured the lucrative no-bid contract through what we believe is contractual cronyism.

At the end of September, the U.S. Department of Treasury had the right to recapture funds if less than 65 percent of the resources had been spent.

Balch may indeed be fighting to recapture funds and justifying what appears to be an incompetent, inefficient system to disburse to those in need. Many of the tenants in need happen to be people of color.

This unsettling story is not just about money. A major human element also is in play. But Balch does not fare well on that front, either:

During the height of the Pandemic, Balch inhumanely evicted an alleged senior citizen from a Habitat for Humanity home, violating the spirit of the public charity and federal moratoriums.

Time to dig, dig deep into Waddell, who boasts on Balch’s website of all the millions in procurements he has secured and his involvement in underwriting almost $1 billion in bonds.

Contractual cronyism was not the intent of the federal rental assistance program. Helping those in need was.

The OIG and federal investigators have not forgotten regardless of what gobbledygook Balch spits out.

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