Times staff report
State Rep. Fred Plump Jr., D-Birmingham, was charged with conspiracy and obstruction of justice and has agreed to resign from the Alabama House of Representatives, US Attorney Prim F. Escalona announced Tuesday.
Plump was elected in November of 2022 and represented District 55 which includes parts of Adamsville, Birmingham, Fairfield and Graysville.
According to Escalona, Plump, 76, was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of obstruction of justice. He agreed to plead guilty to the charges, pay restitution of at least $200,000, and resign from office immediately. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The charges came from an investigation of wrongdoing in connection with the Jefferson County Community Service Fund.
Per Escalona, the charging documents state that “Legislator #1, a long serving member of the Alabama House of Representatives,” was part of the conspiracy in recommending each fiscal year that most of his allotment be directed to the Piper Davis Baseball League.
The Piper Davis Youth Baseball League is a nonprofit organization that claims to provide a positive sporting experience for the youth in Jefferson County.
The legislator directed about $400,000 to the organization from the total $500,000 he was allocated through the fund. In exchange, Plump gave about $200,000 to “Individual #1,” who is noted as Legislator #1′s assistant, per the charging document.
State Rep. John Rogers told AL.com that he is Legislator No. 1.
“That’s me,” he said Tuesday afternoon. “I didn’t do anything wrong. I didn’t get any of that money.”
Rogers has not been charged with any crimes.
Allegedly, around March 2019 and continuing through April 2023, Plump conspired with others to defraud and obtain money from the fund. It’s alleged that it was part of the conspiracy that the member of the House recommended during each fiscal year that most of his allotment of fund money be paid to Piper Davis.
Plump then allegedly agreed to pay kickbacks to the member’s assistant. Plump submitted false and fraudulent information to the Committee about Piper Davis’ intended use of Fund money. Plump then reportedly gave the member’s assistant checks for approximately half of the amount of fund money received by Piper Davis.
The obstruction of justice charge stems after Plump was served with a grand jury subpoena and was interviewed by agents. Plump allegedly texted the member’s assistant “Red Alert,” to warn them about the investigation.
Richard Jaffe, a lawyer for Plump told AL.com, “For decades, Representative Fred ‘Coach’ Plump has tirelessly and unselfishly given so much to so many at-risk inner-city youths through the Piper Davis Youth Baseball League, a community based non-profit 501(c)(3) organization which he created,” Jaffe said. “Through his passion for sports and dedication to the Birmingham community, he has changed the lives of countless young boys and girls. Although he did not personally profit, his heart was always in the right spot despite the clear errors in judgment for which he now takes full responsibility.”