Trey Glenn was appointed by President Donald Trump to serve as a regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). On November 13, he was indicted by an Alabama grand jury for violating ethics laws while he served as the state’s Environmental Management Commissioner, AL.com reported. Glenn has denied any wrongdoing.
A Jefferson County grand jury indicted Glenn on charges of soliciting and accepting a “thing of value” during his time as a lobbyist for a company fighting EPA efforts to clean up the contamination of poor, majority-black areas in the state.
Glenn was the first regional director appointed by the Trump administration in 2017 for Region 4, which includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
This is not the first time Glenn was accused of ethics violations, he was previously accused of accepting bribes while serving as the head of Water Resources for the state.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Trey Glenn Is Accused of Bribery
Glenn was indicted on multiple charges of violating the Alabama Ethics Act, including solicitation of “a thing of value” from a principal, lobbyist or subordinate and receiving money in addition to his official salary, AL.com reported.
The charges stem from Glenn’s time as a lobbyist. Glenn worked with Alabama law firm Balch & Bingham and its client Drummond Co. to combat an EPA effort to force the company to clean up neighborhoods in Birmingham and Tarrant. Former Alabama Environmental Management Commissioner Scott Phillips also worked with Balch to fight the EPA’s efforts, and the two worked together at Southeast Engineering & Consulting, which they co-owned, while Phillips was still on the commission. Under Alabama law, it is illegal for a lobbyist to give a public official anything of value, including a job.
Both Glenn and Phillips testified at the trial of Drummond Vice President David Roberson and Balch partner Joel Gilbert, who were charged with bribing Alabama lawmaker Oliver Robinson to help fight the EPA.
On the witness stand in that trial, Phillips denied knowing that Robinson, a state lawmaker, was being paid by Balch — something even defense attorneys didn’t seem to believe. On cross-examination, defense counsel showed Phillips a memo written to him in 2014 proposing “maybe Oliver Robinson” be hired for community outreach work in north Birmingham.
At the same time Phillips performed this work for Balch and Drummond, he served on the Alabama Environmental Management Commission, which oversees the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.
On the AEMC, Phillips sat for meetings on north Birmingham environmental issues, including a 2015 meeting where Robinson spoke against EPA cleanup efforts in north Birmingham.
While serving on the AEMC, Phillips forwarded an advance copy of a presentation by the environmental watchdog group GASP to Glenn, who then forwarded those materials to Gilbert at Balch, trial testimony revealed.
Testimony in that trial also revealed that Phillips helped make introductions for Robinson, including a dinner in which Robinson met with AEMC chairman Lanier Brown to discuss north Birmingham issues.
2. Trey Glenn Was Previously Accused of Violating Ethics Laws
Glenn, who previously served as the Head of Water Resources for the state, was accused of violating ethics laws in 2007. The complaint said Glenn and his family went on a trip to Walt Disney World and Hilton Head, South Carolina on private flights paid for by a public relations firm, AL.com reported.
The flights were paid for by Matrix, a firm that represented environmental engineering company Malcolm Pirnie, which did work for the Office of Water Resources which Glenn headed.
The complaint also said that Glenn signed off on invoices from the company while he was being considered for the Alabama Department of Environmental Management job.
Phillips worked at Malcolm Pirnie at the time, and also served on the Alabama Environmental Management Commission, which selected who got to lead the Alabama Department of Environmental Management. The commission found probable cause that Glenn used his job at the Office of Water Resources to help him get the Environmental Management job.
The Alabama Ethics Commission voted 4-0 to refer Glenn for prosecution but a grand jury declined to indict him.
3. Trey Glenn Worked for Controversial Clients
After serving as the Alabama Environmental Management Commissioner, Glenn went to work as a consultant. Balch connected him with the Drummond Company, which the EPA wanted to force to pay for the cleanup of a Superfund site that contaminated soil in poor majority-black areas in the state, AL.com reported. Glenn was enlisted by Drummond to help defeat the EPA. Earlier this year, Drummond Vice President David Roberson and Balch partner Joel Gilbert were convicted of bribery and money laundering for bribing Robinson.
During Roberson and Gilbert’s trial, court exhibits and testimony revealed that Phillips proposed a plan to “hijack” a community organization in one of the affected areas that was working to clean up the contamination. A PowerPoint presentation showed that Phillips proposed a plan to “undermine” and “fragment” groups that supported the cleanup effort.
4. Environmental Groups Protested Trey Glenn
Along with his ethics scandals, Glenn drew the ire of environmental groups who protested his decrease in enforcement of environmental violations while serving as the state’s Environmental Management Commissioner. According to AL.com, the agency saw a 78 percent drop in pollution violations in 2009.
“Trey Glenn consistently sided against the protection of public health and Alabama’s natural resources through his tenure as ADEM Director,” Mobile Baykeeper Casi Callaway told AL.com. “By the end of his term, he refused to meet with members of the environmental community, instead favoring the business sector where he quickly landed after quitting ADEM. He has made his interests clear – industry over environment and community. If that remains consistent while at EPA, the environmental community will have an even bigger battle.”
5. Trump’s EPA Riddled With Ethics Violations
Glenn’s indictment comes after EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt was forced out amid mounting ethics violation complaints, The New York Times reported. Pruitt was under at least 14 separate investigations over his spending of taxpayer dollars, conflicts of interest, and management of the agency. Among the violations was a condo he rented from a lobbyist at a highly discounted rate and large raises he gave to his aides against the orders of the White House.
Pruitt’s replacement Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, is already under fire for meeting with his former clients at least three times after he was sworn in as Pruitt’s deputy, which Democrats said violated Trump’s ethics pledge and Wheeler’s own promise to avoid conflicts of interest related to his previous job, HuffPost reported.
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