Archibald: Matrix and ex-employees end court battle, calling for ceasefire – for now

This is an opinion column.

It’s finish.

Where is it?

The Alabama-based secret intelligence firm Matrix LLC and its Florida subsidiary Canopy Partners LLC – two groups tied to political and business intrigue in both states, have been locked in a scorched earth battle of mutual destruction for a year.

Part of that happened in Jefferson County court, where Matrix sensei Joe Perkins sued his former protege, Canopy’s Jeff Pitts, and other former Matrix employees, claiming they stole from clients and money and adopted his strategies when they opened a similar store in Florida.

Pitts also sued Perkins and Matrix in Florida, saying his former boss started a war of threats and extortion, a campaign of lies and intimidation.

It was the kind of stuff — the public claims about a company that has long survived thanks to secrecy — that fascinated political insiders and observers of the utility-industrial complex.

Perkins sent documents questioning Pitts’ tactics to Pitts clients in Florida, including Florida Power & Light. These documents were passed on to real and fake clients and media in Florida and Alabama. Questions of surveillance, corporate espionage and old dirty tricks have been raised in court documents.

As Florida reporters detailed, Pitts promoted FP&L interests statewide, channeling money to help public service interests. The “ghost candidates” had to attract the voices of a real job seeker. At one point, a CP was hired to watch Nate Monroe, a Florida Times-Union columnist in Jacksonville, who had criticized the power company.

These reporters discovered that Pitts, while working at Matrix, took over a Florida “news” website called Capitolist and FP&L approved promoted stories.

It’s a rare open-ended look at how big business, especially utilities, use energy and money, much of it undisclosed, to get what they want. they want.

Those who saw it up close put popcorn in their mouths. Because these companies, which prided themselves on being able to scare politicians or uncooperative detractors, have turned their gaze and their know-how to one another.

Bomb makers blow themselves up, as a friend of mine likes to say.

And there was a boom. No. There was a BOOM!

As AL.com reported last month, Matrix has hired a Florida private investigator to gather information on associates of Tom Fanning, the CEO of The Southern Company, which owns Alabama Power. This investigator monitored Fanning near his home in Atlanta. Pitts and Perkins pointed at each other.

FP&L, America’s largest power company, made strong statements, saying the company had severed all ties with Matrix, “a consultant we regret partnering with.”

The Southern Company has opened an internal investigation to determine who was behind the surveillance and why, a spokesperson confirmed.

Maybe those utilities that powered Matrix and Canopy started to wonder if the services were worth the risk.

And it was probably the boom that shook this world hard enough for that to happen.

Hanging on the wall of The Matrix’s office is what Perkins calls his “truths,” a compilation of aphorisms that reflect his philosophy. “In most relationships, choose fear over love,” she says. “Fear is more enduring.”Kyle Whitmire, al.com

Friday, Matrix and Canopy Partners jointly asked a Jefferson County judge to dismiss the Alabama lawsuit. The Florida lawsuit has been dormant for months. It seems that the public part of this family feud ended in a groan.

Pitts declined to comment.

Perkins, in a statement through his attorney, said: ‘My company Matrix LLC has come to a resolution of our claims against former employees. The terms of the settlement are confidential, and we look forward to moving forward and continuing to focus on our customers’ needs.

So it ends. Maybe. Like a rabid lion. Like a wounded lamb.

It ends. If you believe that these men, who have followed journalists, politicians and business leaders, fight their battles only in the courts.

It ends. If you believe the men steeped in the reputation of this company – which has publicly claimed expertise in “audio interception”, “entry methods”, “executive exfiltration” and other new talent in espionage, will simply close their business and go away.

It’s finish. For the moment.

If you believe that.

John Archibald is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for AL.com.

About Florence L. Silvia

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