Oliver Robinson

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Oliver Robinson
Member of the Alabama House of Representatives
from the 58th district
In office
November 4, 1998 – November 30, 2016
Preceded byEarnest Johnson
Succeeded byRolanda Hollis
Personal details
Born (1960-03-13) March 13, 1960 (age 59)
Birmingham, Alabama
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Sakina Robinson
ResidenceBirmingham, Alabama

Oliver Robinson (born March 13, 1960) is a retired American basketball player who played shooting guard for the NBA's San Antonio Spurs.

He served as a Democratic member of the Alabama House of Representatives from 1998 to 2016, representing Alabama House District 58 (Birmingham).

In September 2017 Robinson pleaded guilty to federal charges of bribery, conspiracy, honest services fraud and tax evasion. FBI and IRS investigations determined that Robinson endeavored to thwart the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed efforts to prioritize and expand the 35th Avenue Superfund site in North Birmingham[1] pursuant to a secret contract he had entered into with a lawyer with the Birmingham law firm Balch & Bingham on behalf of its client, coal miner and processor Drummond Company.[2][3]

Early life[edit]

Robinson graduated from Woodlawn High School in Birmingham in 1978[4] and enrolled in the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). After a season with the San Antonio Spurs, a year in the Continental Basketball Association, and a year spent touring with Athletes in Action, he returned to UAB to graduate in 1987 with a B.S. in Urban Affairs and minors in political science, business and sociology.[5] After graduation he worked as vice president of AmSouth Bank and manager of its Office of Community Affairs.[6] In 1999, the year after he was elected to the House, he cofounded ABI Capital Management, an investment advisory firm and underwriter, with Willie Huff.[6][7]

With his wife Sakina, also a UAB graduate, he founded Robinson & Robinson Communications; the couple published the biannual Community Reinvestor magazine.[6]

Basketball career[edit]

Robinson was a 6'4" guard born in Birmingham, Alabama who played collegiately at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, he has the distinction of being the first player to ever sign a scholarship with the school.[8] At UAB, Robinson was a two-time first team All-Sun Belt Conference pick and was the conference Player of the Year in 1982.[9] In his senior year, Robinson led UAB to their best season as the Blazers went 25–6 and upset No. 1 seed Virginia in the NCAA Tournament to reach the Mideast Regional Final, where he was named the Regional MVP. Robinson's number was later retired by the school.

Following his collegiate career, Robinson was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs in the second round of the 1982 NBA Draft (24th pick overall). Robinson played in 35 games for the Spurs in the 1982–83 NBA season, averaging 2.9 points per game in limited minutes.[10]

He was elected to the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.

Political career[edit]

Robinson represented the 58th District in the Alabama House of Representatives from 1998 to 2016. At the time of his resignation in 2016 he was the vice-chairman of the Jefferson County Legislative Delegation,[3] he served on the Banking and Insurance, House Education Policy, Financial Services, Military and Veterans Affairs and Rules committees and had chaired the House Government Operations Committee.[11][6]

On November 30, 2016, Robinson abruptly announced he was leaving his seat and permanently retiring from politics.[11] In a press release, he said he wanted to vacate his seat so that his daughter, Amanda Robinson, could keep a job to which she had been appointed as liaison between the Alabama legislature and Governor Robert Bentley's office, and thus avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest,[12] he pointed out that his daughter would be the first African-American and the first female in Alabama history to hold that position, and said, "This is why I am retiring now, to give my child every opportunity to succeed."[13][11] He intended to "focus on the children where I once lived, Gate City and Harris Homes."[13]

Corruption charges[edit]

In 2017 he was charged and entered into a plea agreement relating to allegations that business interests funneled money into his eponymous nonprofit in exchange for Robinson's opposition to polluted Birmingham neighborhoods being designated EPA Superfund sites.[14]

Later in the month two Balch & Bingham partners working in its Environmental and Natural Resources section, Joel Gilbert, and section Chair, Steve McKinney, along with Drummond Company vice-president of government affairs David Roberson, were indicted on "one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, one count of bribery, three counts of honest services wire fraud, and one count of money laundering conspiracy," with charges against McKinney later dismissed.[15][16]

On September 27, 2018, Robinson was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release;[17] the following month, Gilbert was sentenced to five years and Roberson was sentenced to "two-and-a-half years in prison, followed by one year of supervised release", and each was also fined, pursuant to July 2018 convictions on "six criminal charges each relating to a scheme intended to stop expansion of a toxic cleanup site in Jefferson County by the Environmental Protection Agency", by bribing Robinson, using his nonprofit organization, The Oliver Robinson Foundation.[18]


  1. ^ "Superfund Site: 35th Avenue Birmingham AL". Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  2. ^ Archibald, John (September 7, 2017). "Oliver Robinson pleads guilty, must cooperate or face up to 100 years". al.com. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Former Alabama Legislator Pleads Guilty to Bribery Conspiracy, Fraud and Tax Evasion". U.S. Department of Justice. September 7, 2017. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  4. ^ "Woodlawn Colonels". Alabama High School Basketball History (AHSFHS.org). Retrieved November 12, 2017.
  5. ^ Johnson, Bob (March 1, 2004). "Lessons from athletics help Robinson in House chamber". Tuscaloosa News. Retrieved November 12, 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d "Oliver Robinson". UAB Alumni Society. Archived from the original on July 10, 2012. Retrieved November 12, 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  7. ^ "Welcome to ABI Capital Management, LLC". Archived from the original on March 30, 2008. Retrieved November 12, 2017.
  8. ^ UAB Alumni Article
  9. ^ 2008–09 UAB Men's Basketball Media Guide – Record Book
  10. ^ NBA stats from basketball-reference.com
  11. ^ a b c Lyman, Brian (November 30, 2016). "Oliver Robinson leaving Ala. House of Representatives". Montgomery Advertiser. Retrieved November 12, 2017. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  12. ^ Cason, Mike (November 30, 2016). "Rep. Oliver Robinson retiring from Alabama House". al.com. Retrieved November 12, 2017.
  13. ^ a b Schauer, Melynda (November 30, 2016). "Rep. Oliver Robinson announces retirement effective immediately". WSFA. Retrieved November 12, 2017.
  14. ^ [1]
  15. ^ Faulk, Kent (September 28, 2017). "Two Balch & Bingham lawyers and one Drummond executive indicted in bribery of state legislator". al.com. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  16. ^ Thornton, William (September 28, 2017). "Bribery indictment focuses attention on Drummond Company". al.com. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  17. ^ Hrynkiw, Ivana (September 27, 2018). "Oliver Robinson sentenced to less than three years in prison". al.com. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  18. ^ Hrynkiw, Ivana "Former Drummond V.P. and Balch lawyer sentenced to federal prison", AL.com, Advance Local Media LLC., October 23, 2018. Retrieved October 27, 2018.

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