Sloan Y. Bashinsky Jr.
Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer
Alabama lawyer Major Bashinsky killed himself because someone was about to "out" him as bisexual, according to a recent blog post by his older brother, Sloan Y. Bashinsky Jr.
This information, by itself, is not news. Sloan Bashsinky Jr. has written it several times on various blogs from his base in Key West, Florida. The most recent post, titled "Major Bashinsky Suicide Redoubt," was published on July 1 at GoodMorningBirmingham.com. That came 11 days after my post titled "Was Major Bashinsky's Death Connected to a Lawsuit Involving Oil and Millions of Dollars?"
Bashinsky Jr. seems to make a hobby of trying to rebut my work, and this was just the latest example. I show that there are ample reasons to doubt the official finding of suicide in Major Bashinsky's death, while the deceased's older brother says, "Nope, move along, nothing to see here. He was bisexual, couldn't bear the thought of his Mountain Brook image being sullied, and shot himself in the head while trying to make it look like a murder."
The Web, of course, is a fine place for spirited debate on matters both big and small. But Bashinsky Jr.'s recent post, the most explicit so far on what he believes caused his brother's death, raises a big question: Was Major Bashinsky the victim of a crime?
I'm not talking about murder--although my review of the public record convinces me that the odds are at least 50-50 that he was murdered. No, I'm talking about extortion, what is sometimes called blackmail.
Here is one legal definition of blackmail:
Blackmail is the crime of threatening to reveal embarrassing, disgraceful or damaging information about a person to the public, family, spouse or associates unless money is paid to purchase silence. It is a form of extortion. Because the information is usually substantially true, it is not revealing the information that is criminal, but demanding money to withhold it.
Alabama is one of several states that does not recognize a separate crime for blackmail, rather encompassing it under a statute for extortion (Code of Alabama 13A-8-13). Bashinsky Jr. seems to be describing a clear act of blackmail, but it apparently took place in Alabama, so we will use the term extortion.
In the most recent post about his brother, Bashinsky Jr. writes of a woman who claims to have knowledge of Major's secret gay life:
Recently, I received an email from out of the blue from someone who once had lived in Birmingham and who once had a gay friend who had invited her to a gay gathering in Birmingham. She was not gay, but went to the gathering for reasons she explained, which made sense to me but are not relevant to this telling. She said she learned after arriving at the gathering that it consisted of gay Birmingham men, some pretty well fixed in business and/or prominent Birmingham families, etc. One of the men she was told was so deep in the closet, that … She was told he was one of the Golden Flake owner’s sons … He had a nick name she thought might be a former US President’s … She wrote reams to me about her experiences with these men, fostered by her knowing one of them. She did not report getting to know Major, but her friend in the group told her a good bit about Major’s general and very involved relationship with that circle. It was all news to me, but it was not news to me that Major had a secret gay life. I had known that since around 1970. My first four wives also knew it. He did not tell us directly, but indirectly he told us without even realizing it.
Bashinsky Jr. uses this information to support the theory that his brother killed himself because he feared being outed:
My correspondent made me promise ahead of time not to write about what she was going to tell me, which I suspected was about Major being bi-sexual. That put me in a serious bind because her news was the first solid human evidence Major had a secret gay life in Birmingham. I had gone way out on a limb in numerous posts after Major went missing and his body was later found in the pond at the bottom of hole #1 on Highland Golf Course, writing Major killed himself and tried to make it look like someone else did it because he was bi-sexual and someone was going to out him and there was nothing he could do to stop it.
The post provides no clues about who wanted to out Major Bashinsky and why. It also provides no direct clues about how this person came to possess such information. But it does say that the younger Bashinsky was traumatized because "there was nothing he could do to stop it."
That hints this went beyond mere gossip. It suggests there was powerful evidence that could be distributed and cause Major Bashinsky significant embarrassment.
Why would someone do this? The post does not say, but Major Bashinsky was a wealthy man--and he came from a family with one of Alabama's most substantial business fortunes--so it appears the motive was money. And that would be a crime.
Taking Sloan Bashinsky Jr.'s theory as true, here are key questions that come to mind: What kind of evidence could prove that Major Bashinsky was bisexual, how did he become aware of the evidence, and how did someone threaten to distribute it?
Let's do a little common-sense psychological/legal analysis here: If I get word that someone is spreading potentially embarrassing information about me, the first question to myself would be, "Is this true or not?" If it's not true, I probably would shrug and not worry about it. I could, however, take legal action to stop it--and as a lawyer, Major Bashinsky certainly would have known how to do this. If it is true, I probably would see no reason to worry about it unless my antagonist had absolute proof. And I would ask myself, "How could they have proof?"
If my problem was a matter of public record, there would not be much I could do about it. I probably would just say, "Well, I screwed up back when, it's out there now, we'll see what happens." But if it was not something that could be found in public documents, how would the person have proof?
That's my primary question about Sloan Bashinsky Jr.'s version of events. Why would Major Bashinsky be shaken up about this information, assuming it was true, unless someone with ill intent had absolute proof--in the form of a photograph, an audiotape, a videotape?
How would someone get such proof? My guess is that it would take professional experience and resources to get it done--someone, either an individual or an organization, with high-level knowledge of surveillance.
That kind of thing costs money. And that tells me someone had serious motivation--a need to get leverage over a member of the Bashinsky family, for some reason. And that reason probably involved big bucks.
Sloan Bashinsky Jr. has a law degree, and he's a bright guy--I've read two of his books on legal issues--so he has to know that he is strongly hinting at criminal activity. And he knows this activity had ugly consequences--by his own account, it led to his brother's death.
So why, upon reading the post from GoodMorningBirmingham.com, do you get the uneasy feeling that Sloan Bashinsky Jr. is not particularly concerned about it? Why do you get the feeling that he hasn't reported anything to authorities? Why do you get the feeling that it hasn't even crossed his mind?