Alabama Utility Services

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Alabama Utility Services LLC (AUS) is a company formed in 2003 to operate wastewater treatment plants. The original owners included Chris Matthews, builder of the Margaret Sewage Treatment Plant and Willbee Holdings, a company controlled by Bill Blount, each of which controlled one third share. Lobbyist Ferrell Patrick later bought a 17% stake.

In 2005 AUS won a contract to purchase, upgrade and operate the wastewater treatment facility at the Donaldson Correctional Facility, which had been overflowing and polluting Big Branch Creek, a tributary of the Black Warrior River.

In 2008 Blount negotiated a deal between AUS, the city of Moody, and the Birmingham Water Works Board (BWWB) for Moody to take possession of its municipal sanitary sewers. The city created a Moody Government Utility Service Corporation (GUSC) and issued bonds (underwritten by Blount Parrish & Company) to purchase the Margaret plant and the sewer system and contract AUS to operate them under a 30-year contract.

The company also built and operates the Blackwater Waste Water Treatment Facility on Blackwater Creek in Baldwin County and a sewer system in Killen, Lauderdale County.

After Blount was convicted of bribing Larry Langford to win Jefferson County's bond business in 2010, he moved quickly to wrest control of AUS from Matthews and liquidate it in order to pay the remainder of a $1 million forfeiture handed down with his sentence. Patrick sued Matthews' CMC Services, which was in bankruptcy proceedings, and partnered with Blount in PineGranite LLC which purchased his stake in AUS for $14,000 at bankruptcy auction. Patrick took charge of the company and hired the Southwest Water Company of West Covina, California as a subcontractor to operate the system.

References

  • Jafari, Samira (March 19, 2006) "Overfilled Prisons Taint Rivers." Associated Press
  • Cooper, Lauren B. (March 26, 2008) "Birmingham Water Works Board sells Moody sewer system for $2M." Birmingham Business Journal
  • Archibald, John (May 16, 2010) "Blount left trail through area sewers." Birmingham News