BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The ethics commission is being asked to look into a former representative in the Birmingham area. Oliver Robinson stepped down suddenly in November after serving a decade in the house. His resignation raised many question and CBS42 is learning more about an alleged potential conflict of interest.
The people behind the ethics complaint say it appears there’s a conflict with Robinson’s involvement in the application process of one charter school in Birmingham.
New Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church applied to start Star Academy, one of the first prospective charter schools in Birmingham. Former Representative Robinson sits on the church board and was listed as a potential school board member in Star Academy’s application.
People with a new non-profit, Support Our Students, say this is a potential conflict since he was on a House Education Committee during the process to get charter schools up and running. They also point to a letter of recommendation in the charter school’s application. On the house of representatives letterhead, Robinson is submitting a letter advocating for the school to open.
CBS42 News was in contact with Robinson through email. He declined to speak on camera, but he said this is an effort to kill the application of the charter school. He says the ethics commission has more important things to worry about and that he voted against the legislation (referring to charter schools). He says he never met with any financial supporters of the school and never spoke to Birmingham School Board members, nor the state board about Star Academy.
“Because the proposed school is located in my former district, I do want it to succeed if it is ever approved.,” said Robinson. “I promoted all schools because we need them all to succeed. Our children are depending on that.”