Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Had a bad day?



Nothing like Nirvana if you are mad at the world.

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Evans update: MVT refuses to issue policy on Evans loan, Bank of Forest charges it with conspiracy

For a collection of all posts on the Evans case, see sidebar on right side of page. Synopsis of case is at the bottom of this post.

Mississippi Valley Title Insurance Company filed suit on September 25, 2009 against the Bank of Forest in Madison County Circuit Court in an attempt to cancel a title insurance police issued on a loan connected to the Evans case. Copy of complaint

Mississippi Valley Title was a victim of Charles Evans
MVT immediately began distancing itself from Evans in the complaint. The insurance company stated it received "an application and certificate of title from Charles H. Evans regarding a certain parcel of land". MVT claimed Evans "was not a title agent for MVT. Rather, Evans was an approved attorney for purposes of providing certification of title on certain property" and that "as an approved attorney, Evans owed Plaintiffs a duty of reasonable care to accurately reflect the true status of legal title to the Subject Property."

The Bank of Forest approved a $450,000 loan to White Oaks Investment Company, LLC, which was owned by Chris Evans. The subject property was owned by G&B Investments. The property was supposed to be transferred to White Oaks at closing. MVT issued a title insurance commitment to the Bank of Forest (a copy is included in the complaint.).

MVT claims it learned after issuing the policy that G&B didn't own the land and that another Evans-owned company, Town Park of Madison, LLC, owned the property and that the land was the collateral for a $3,037,264 issued by Merchants and Farmers Bank. MVT then accuses the Bank of Forest of disbursing the $450,00 before "completing the requirements of the title commitment", the requirements in the title commitment "have not been met by the Bank of Forest", and that the insurance company has not received a premium payment for the title insurance policy. MVT then states "due to the Bank of Forest's failure to comply with the conditions" required to issue a title insurance policy, Mississippi Valley Title "have not issued a title insurance policy to the Bank of Forest for the subject property."

MVT asked the Court for a declaratory judgement on whether it was required to issue a title insurance policy to the Bank of Forest. MVT also charged Charles Evans with a count of professional negligence and asked for damages (including interest) against the attorney.

Bank of Forest: Not so fast, my friend.
Bank of Forest fired back with a withering barrage of accusations against Mississippi Valley Title. Bank of Forest states it made a contract with Mississippi Valley Title for a "correct title opinion and for a title insurance commitment and policy". While Mississippi Valley Title claims Charles Evans was not an agent of the insurance company, the Bank of Forest includes his agent number: 525241. Copy of answer

Three questions should be asked of MVT:
1. Are agent numbers issued to agents only or approved attorneys as well?
2. Did Charles Evans receive any commissions from the issuance of title insurance policies based on his title certificates?
3. Who selected Charles Evans and ordered the title work? Chris Evans? Mississippi Valley Title? The Bank of Forest? Considering the fact it is Charles Evans-provided title certificates and Mississippi Valley Title Insurance policies are the common denominators in the Evans loans, it is probably safe to say the Bank of Forest did not select MVT or Charles Evans.

The Bank of Forest goes further and argues that "on or about August 20, 2009, the Title Insurance Companies knew or should have known that there was reason to suspect the validity of title work performed by Charles Evans" and that "despite this knowledge, the Title Insurance Companies failed to suspend Charles Evans' Agent number". Its response states Mississippi Valley Title "represented to the Bank" that G&B owned the subject property and that the bank would not have issued the loan if it had been aware of this fact.

The defendant doesn't play around and charges Mississippi Valley Title "had actual or constructive knowledge in advance of the loan closing that the title work of Charles Evans.. was suspect and that their representations in the Commitment for Title Insurance were false but failed to notify the Bank" before the loan was issued to Chris Evans and that MVT is "responsible" for the title certificate provided by Charles Evans and any of his "misrepresentations".

The bank also addresses the premium issue. It states it deposited the premium into the trust account of Charles Evans and that MVT failed to issue an insured closing protection letter. The bank also accuses MVT of not fully disclosing to the bank the nature of the "problem" with the property and the loan when it contacted the bank in September. The bank claims it tried to contact Brad Jones of MVT about the issuance of the title insurance policy. Instead of receiving a phone call from Mr. Jones, the bank instead was contacted by Gene Berry, an attorney for Mississippi Valley Title about a title problem on another loan issued to White Oaks and that he "did not address" their questions about the title insurance policy for this loan and that the next day, MVT filed its lawsuit against the Bank of Forest. The bank again tried to pay the premium, in effect paying it twice but MVT refused payment.

The Bank of Forest requested the Court order Mississippi Valley Title to issue a title insurance policy for the loan, pay the Bank of Forest for the amount of the balance of the loan ($452680), including interest, attorneys fees, and late charges, and punitive damages. The Bank also charges Mississippi Valley Title with committing Civil Conspiracy ("either directly or through their agent Charles Evans). The parties are currently arguing in various motions and responses over which court has jurisdiction of this matter.

Exhibits:
Exhibit 1: Title commitment, Exhibit 2: Copy of note, Exhibit 3: Copy of loan check, Exhibit 4: Letter to MVT demanding performance
Exhibit 5: Bank of Forest's defense and counterclaim
Exhibit 6: Motion for expedited referral to bankrupcty court, Exhibit 7: Response in opposition to motion
Exhibit 9

Synopsis of Evans case (This feature will be included with future posts on Evans case): Charles Evans, Jr. was an attorney approved by Mississippi Valley Title Insurance Company to provide title certificates to MVT and lenders showing a borrower had clear title to property. MVT filed a lawsuit in September accusing his brother of using over 30 LLC's to obtain fraudulent loans from over 30 banks in Mississippi. Chris Evans would allegedly use one company to purchase a large tract of prime commercial real estate in Madison and Desoto Counties. Another company owned by Evans would obtain a commercial real estate mortgage on a smaller section of the tract yet that borrowing company never obtained a deed showing ownership of the land from the other company. Thus the smaller tract was actually non-existed as the larger tract was never actually subdivided. Charles would allegedly provide a title certificate however showing the borrowing company owned the land even though it didn't. Over 80 loans for nearly $50 million were issued by Mississippi banks to companies owned by Chris Evans for lands those companies either did not own. MVT has testified federal authorities are currently investigating the case. Chris Evans filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy on October 26, which stopped the Mississippi Valley Title's lawsuit against him as federal bankruptcy law stays most state civil court proceedings once a bankruptcy petition is filed. Mississippi Valley Title testified 65 title insurance claims for approximately $41 million have been filed by banks affected by the Evans case.

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Jackson approves selling $2.1 million in TIF bonds

The Jackson City Council approved the issuance of $2.1 million in TIF bonds to assist in the development of the Forest Hill and Cedar Lake areas off of Forest Hill Road. The bonds will "support the infrastructure improvements in support of the Project". Such improvements include water, sewer, electricity, landscaping of rights of way, and other items. The plan states the project shall be a mixed-use of commercial and residential development. It calls for extending Timber Falls Parkway to Raymond Road and straightening the "dead man's curve" on Forest Hill Road.

We know what the cost is: $2.1 million in TIF bonds. What is the benefit? The plan states the benefit will be the "creation of construction jobs over a 36-month period", "the creation of additional permanent jobs", and additional annual tax revenue to the City of $153,446 and $39,902 to Hinds County. The terms of the bond are to be twenty years or less.

JJ has obtained a copy of the TIF (Tax Increment Financing) Plan and made it available for your review (see exhibit B.). Copy of TIF plan. By the way, there is one piece of information missing from the TIF plan. Anyone want to guess what it is?

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Snooty Pooch Boarding Special

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Supplemental response filed in Robbie Bell lawsuit

Elizabeth Hall filed a supplemental response to Robbie Bell's motion to dismiss the lawsuit Hall filed against her earlier this year. Ms. Hall filed her lawsuit in July, then Bell filed a motion to dismiss on September 11, the second anniversary of Heather Spencer's murder. Both sides then filed various responses and Judge Yerger held a hearing on the motion to dismiss on November 30. Earlier Post on hearing, Copy of response

Judge Yerger ruled he was converting the motion to dismiss to a motion for summary judgement and gave each party ten more days to submit additional information to the Court. Hall filed her supplemental response on December 11, 2009. The plaintiff argues there are "genuine issues of fact" that need to be decided by a jury, "no discovery has been conducted in this case", and that at a minimum, the Court should grant a "continuance on this matter until discovery has been completed and depositions conducted."

The plaintiff also claims Bell can be held "civilly liable" for violating criminal statutes and that under Mississippi Code section 97-37-13 someone can not "sell, give, or lend" to anyone intoxicated. Ms. Bell has not shown the guns were not hers and the police reports published on this website state they were her guns. Neither side has produced the paperwork on file with ATF that would show ownership. The question that also should be asked is where was George staying when he was released from rehab. If it was at Ms. Bell's home, one would think she had a duty to secure all firearms from a known druggie that was the subject of an active arrest warrant for a violent crime. The plaintiff hints at this by arguing Ms. Bell is liable under the doctrine of negligent entrustment. Hall also asks for an additional five days to address any issues raised by the defendant in any supplemental response she files.

It has also been learned by JJ that Robbie Bell filed a twenty-page memo in support of her Rebuttal to Hall's Response to the Motion to Dismiss. The memo does not appear on the docket but it was filed with Judge Yerger. It is standard practice for such memos not to appear in court filings. JJ requested a copy of the memo. The request was denied because Mr. Burwell, Bell's lawyer, objected to this site having a copy of the memo.

For a collection of all posts on the Heather Spencer case, please see sidebar on right side of page.

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Irby files answer in wrongful death lawsuit

Stuart M. Irby filed an answer to the wrongful death lawsuit filed against him by the families of Dr.'s Daniel Mark Pogue and Lisa Dedousis in Hinds County Circuit Court last week. The answer states Mr. Irby "would affirmatively show that he sustained a severe traumatic brain injury, and a result of the trauma to his brain has no recall of the events of February 11, 2009."

The defendant claims in his answer he either does not know anything nor does he recall anything from that night. Mr. Irby is represented by attorneys David Cobb and Tommy Page. Copy of answer The Plaintiffs have also subpoenaed Stuart Irby, Karen Irby, and several Country Club of Jackson employees for video depositions in mid-January. It should also be noted that the file for the criminal case is now kept in the Circuit Clerk's office as Judge Green has sealed the names of the witnesses subpoenaed to testify. However, the file is still available for public viewing.

For a collection of all posts on Irby case, please see sidebar on lower right-side of the page.

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Save this mutt.

Save this mutt. Lucky "likes to converse with anyone and actually responds to questions. He is a ham. ... " No, Lucky is not a pedigree dog, not a hunting dog, or other popular types. He's just a real dog, the kind that fetches a ball all day or is happy riding in the back of a truck. See his page.

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Evans Update: Chris Evans compelled to testify, Banks file joinders against MVT

For a collection of all posts about the Evans case, see sidebar at the right. Synopsis of case is at bottom of post.

Update: Copiah Bank, Cadence Bank, and Bank of Yazoo City all filed joinders on December 22, 2009 on the motion filed by Merchants and Farmer's Bank against Mississippi Valley Title Insurance Company (See original post for discussion of the motion.). Meanwhile, Mason Lowe and David Clark of Bradley Arant law firm have entered notices of appearance as counsel for Mississippi Valley and its parent, Old Republic.

Mississippi Valley Title filed a motion on December 23, 2009 requesting a 2004 examination on Charles Evans, Jr. even though he is not in bankrutpcy (See original post for definition of 2004 examination). MVT asked Judge Olack to compel Charles Evans to "appear and testify" about the assets and liabilities of Chris Evans, his business dealings with Chris Evans, and "all financial dealings involving any of the creditors" of Chris Evans. The motion also asked for copies of all communications between the two brothers and copies of all transactions on Charles Evans' lawyer trust account. MVT asked the Court to set the exam for January 14, 2010 at 10:00 AM at the office of their attorneys, Adams & Reese. Copy of motion

Judge Olack granted MVT's request for a 2004 exam of Chris Evans. Order The Court also decreed Chris Evans "is hereby compelled to appear and testify and respond to questions of any creditor or party of interest in to his bankruptcy". The motion then lists various types of information that Mr. Evans is to provide in the examination.

Original post
As the Evans case winds its way through the bankruptcy court, several banks and Mississippi Valley Title Insurance Company continue to disagree over MVT's conducting a 2004 examination of the estate of Chris Evans.

A 2004 Examination is an examination of a debtor's estate by a creditor under Rule 2004 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. A creditor sometimes prefers a 2004 Exam as the creditor can investigate the assets and liabilities more thoroughly than is normally possible under the required meeting of the creditors that occurs in bankruptcy cases. The 2004 exam is essentially a deposition. The information gained in such an examination is immensely valuable to an insurance company such as Mississippi Valley Title if it is able to keep the results of the exam to itself for a period of time as the other creditors have filed more than $41 million in claims with MVT.

Consequently, Merchants & Farmers filed a motion on November 24, 2009 requesting Mississippi Valley Title turn over to M&F all records obtained from any 2004 Exam of Chris Evans. The bank also asked for any "surveys, plats, maps, diagrams, reports, title reports, or documents relating in any way to the ownership of any of the properties at issue in the lawsuit."

However, the bank went further than asking just for documents obtained through a 2004 exam and asked for "(g) Any manuals, guidelines, procedures, recommendations or other documents or things relating in any way the monitoring or auditing of approved attorneys for Mississippi Valley Title Insurance Company or Old Republic National Title Insurance Company..... and
(h) Any manuals, guidelines, procedures, recommendations or other documents or things relating in any way the internal controls and procedures of Mississippi Valley Title Insurance Company or Old Republic National Title Insurance Company as to title policies issued by approved attorneys from January, 2003 to date." Copy of motion

Bank of Forest, First State Bank, and State Bank & Trust also filed a Limited Joinder for Merchants & Farmers' motion yesterday. Motion for Joinder

Mississippi Valley Title didn't like this motion one bit as it made clear in its response. It called M&F's motion "inappropriate, improper, and overbroad for numerous reasons..." MVT further objected to the request for documents regarding internal controls and procedures: ""Rule 2004(b) limits the scope to matters regarding property of the debtor or matters that affect the administration of the debtor's estate. The request for manuals and internal analysis of claims made by Old Republic, for example, is a request for confidential and proprietary information that is beyond the scope of the 2004 examination. The same is true for information "relating in any way to any investigation' as requested in the motion." Copy of response

Many have suspected that the Evans brothers could not have perpetuated their (allegedly) fraudulent scheme without the assistance of others. An obvious question to ask is did anyone at MVT look the other way or collude with Charles or Chris Evans to carry out the plan? Other questions must be asked (These questions are not accusatory in nature but are a hypothesis of what the banks are likely seeking):
1. Were any appraisers accomplices in the plan to obtain so many fraudulent loans?
2. Was Old Republic and MVT's quality control departments adequately staffed?
3. How come no one noticed more than a few deeds of trusts were signed by both Charles and Chris Evans? Underwriting and auditing 101 calls for red flags to be raised when loan officers, title attorneys, appraisers, sellers, and buyers have the same last name. Did anyone notice the Evans' names and if not, why not? This question should be asked of the banks as well.
4. Did MVT audit the files of Charles Evans, Jr. since it could be liable for policies based upon his title certificates? This of course leads to a question of whether MVT was guilty of gross negligence if the audit procedures were lax or not performed in a diligent manner.
5. How many times a year were files audited? Was it random? How many files were audited? Were audits unannounced or scheduled?

Given the language of the motion filed by Merchants & Farmers, its clear the banks are asking these questions and more as they want to determine exactly how the Evans brothers were able to perpetuate the alleged fraud for over five years. The amount of claims filed by banks with MVT are roughly the same amount as its claims reserves. While its parent company, Old Republic, can easily cover these claims, the question remains whether Old Republic will keep MVT afloat if most or all of these claims are paid to the banks. Such a scenario alone is enough to probably ensure MVT will fight requests such as the one filed by M&F for internal controls tooth and nail.

Stay tuned.

Synopsis of Evans case (This feature will be included with future posts on Evans case): Charles Evans, Jr. was an attorney approved by Mississippi Valley Title Insurance Company to provide title certificates to MVT and lenders showing a borrower had clear title to property. MVT filed a lawsuit in September accusing his brother of using over 30 LLC's to obtain fraudulent loans from over 30 banks in Mississippi. Chris Evans would allegedly use one company to purchase a large tract of prime commercial real estate in Madison and Desoto Counties. Another company owned by Evans would obtain a commercial real estate mortgage on a smaller section of the tract yet that borrowing company never obtained a deed showing ownership of the land from the other company. Thus the smaller tract was actually non-existed as the larger tract was never actually subdivided. Charles would allegedly provide a title certificate however showing the borrowing company owned the land even though it didn't. Over 80 loans for nearly $50 million were issued by Mississippi banks to companies owned by Chris Evans for lands those companies either did not own. MVT has testified federal authorities are currently investigating the case. Chris Evans filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy on October 26, which stopped the Mississippi Valley Title's lawsuit against him as federal bankruptcy law stays most state civil court proceedings once a bankruptcy petition is filed. Mississippi Valley Title testified 65 title insurance claims for approximately $41 million have been filed by banks affected by the Evans case.

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More sunshine from JJ

As part of JJ's half-baked commitment to public service, this site plans to start publishing the Form 990's for local charities and non-profit organizations on a semi-regular basis. Here is the first batch: Mississippi State Coalition against Domestic Violence, Parents for Public Schools in Jackson, Ms, Safecity

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Imagine this on a plane



Then Nappy says "The system worked" at 1:03. Completely clueless:

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

More Union Thievery

So you don't have a college degree, don't have much money, but you want to open your own business and have a crack at the American dream? Good luck if you are in Michigan and want to open a day care center, for thanks to a sweet deal the unions made with the state, day care employees are now considered unionized and are forced to pay union dues. The Wall Street Journal published an op-ed piece yesterday on this latest theft by the unions:

"Michelle Berry runs a private day-care service from her home on the outskirts of this city, the birthplace of General Motors. "The Berry Patch," as she calls the service, features overstuffed purple gorillas, giant cartoon murals, and a playroom covered in Astroturf. Her clients are mostly low-income parents who need child care to keep their jobs in a city that now has a 26% unemployment rate.

Ms. Berry owns her own business—yet the Michigan Department of Human Services claims she is a government employee and union member. The agency thus withholds union dues from the child-care subsidies it sends to her on behalf of her low-income clients. Those dues are funneled to a public employee union that claims to represent her. The situation is crazy—and it's happening elsewhere in the country.

A year ago in December, Ms. Berry and more than 40,000 other home-based day care providers statewide were suddenly informed they were members of Child Care Providers Together Michigan—a union created in 2006 by the United Auto Workers and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees..."

They were able to pull this off through something that should give EVERY supporter of school vouchers pause:

"Of course, Michigan's independent day-care providers don't work for anybody except the parents who were their customers. Nevertheless, because some of these parents qualified for public subsidies, the Child Care Providers "union" claimed the providers were "public employees." Column, WXYZ story

What the unions don't realize is that if the day care centers quit accepting the vouchers, then they probably are not considered public employees anymore and can quit the union. One more example of the law of unintended consequences. However, the union orks don't stop with impressing unsuspecting small business owners into their Mafia but have set up some pretty sweet deals for themselves as well. Labornotes.com reports:

"According to data filed under the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA), the number of union officials and staff earning high salaries has skyrocketed in recent years. For example, the number of individuals earning over $100,000 a year more than doubled between 2000 and 2004—the latest year with complete data. Over the same period the number of officers and staff earning more than $150,000 increased 84 percent....

In 2004, for example, 5,646 union officials or staff raked in a total of $733.6 million in salaries over $100,000, including multiple salaries, while 870 pulled down $181.7 million in salaries over $150,000.

Looking at total compensation, which includes things like meal and housing allowances as well as reimbursements for other union-related expenses, the numbers are even larger. In 2004 there were 9,036 officers and staff who collected more than $100,000 in union funds, for a combined total of more than $1.2 billion. Setting the bar at $150,000, we find 1,662 individuals who took home a total of $335 million..." Article

The Detroit News published even more unsettling details:
"Workers who kept their jobs saw the disparity between their paychecks and those of their union bosses grow. The pay gap between the state's 50 top-paid labor leaders and union workers has grown by $18,000 since 2002 -- an economic chasm expanding by almost $10 a day. Records supplied to the Labor Department by the unions themselves show that the state's 50 top-paid union officials now earn an average of $186,000. More than 1,000 labor officers and staffers in Michigan made more than $100,000 in 2006, more than twice as much as the average union worker...." Article

I wonder if Joe Atkins will mention any of this in his next column?

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Wicker gets pwned by a drunk



You know, at some point it IS ok to fight back instead of taking this crap.

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Financials for Fine Arts Institute of Mississippi

Guidestar.com posts the Form 990's charities must file with the IRS. A quick check of Guidestar shows the 990's for the Fine Arts Institute of Mississippi are posted on its website: 2007, 2006, 2005. A Form 990 list assets, receipts, expenditures and compensation of officers. JJ is posting these forms as in all the media coverage of the Ridgeland-based charity, much information such as copies of indictments, lawsuits, cease and desist orders, and other documents have been kept from the public. These forms are posted so that those interested in the story can make up their own minds about the controversy.

On a somewhat related note, Guidestar also revealed Union Center/Theo Volunteer Fire Department hasn't filed any 990's since 2007. The 990 on file also reveals Cullen Potts is holding himself out as a Public Accountant even though the State confirmed to JJ he is not a licensed CPA in Mississippi. JJ has also learned several notices have been given to the Board but no action has been taken against Mr. Potts for holding himself out as a CPA. Earlier post

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Muslim animals have cutting parties in UK

Fans of multiculturalism should love this little bit of Muslim life that is now appearing in the UK: cutting parties for girls. Hope you have a strong stomach:

"Hundreds of British schoolgirls are facing the terrifying prospect of female genital mutilation (FGM) over the Christmas holidays as experts warn the practice continues to flourish across the country. Parents typically take their daughters back to their country of origin for FGM during school holidays, but The Independent on Sunday has been told that "cutters" are being flown to the UK to carry out the mutilation at "parties" involving up to 20 girls to save money....

FGM is classified into four types, of varying severity; type 3 is the most mutilating and involves total removal of the clitoris, labia and a narrowing of the whole vagina.

An estimated 70,000 women living in the UK have undergone FGM, and 20,000 girls remain at risk, according to Forward. The practice is common in 28 African countries, including Somalia, Sudan and Nigeria, as well as some Middle Eastern and Asian countries such as Malaysia and Yemen. It is generally considered to be an essential rite of passage to suppress sexual pleasure, preserve girls' purity and cleanliness, and is necessary for marriage in many communities even now. It has no religious significance.

The most common age for the procedure is between eight and 11 but it can be carried out just after birth or just before marriage. It carries the risk of death from bleeding or tetanus, and long-term problems include urinary incontinence, recurrent infections and chronic pain. Reversal procedures are necessary in order to avoid major problems for a woman and baby during childbirth......" Article

The story didn't mention any pro-choicers raising hell about women having control over their own bodies. Apparently Islam trumps Planned Parenthood in the liberal mind.

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Friday, December 25, 2009

In Hoc Anno Domini

From the Wall Street Journal yesterday:
"When Saul of Tarsus set out on his journey to Damascus the whole of the known world lay in bondage. There was one state, and it was Rome. There was one master for it all, and he was Tiberius Caesar.

Everywhere there was civil order, for the arm of the Roman law was long. Everywhere there was stability, in government and in society, for the centurions saw that it was so.

But everywhere there was something else, too. There was oppression—for those who were not the friends of Tiberius Caesar. There was the tax gatherer to take the grain from the fields and the flax from the spindle to feed the legions or to fill the hungry treasury from which divine Caesar gave largess to the people. There was the impressor to find recruits for the circuses. There were executioners to quiet those whom the Emperor proscribed. What was a man for but to serve Caesar?

There was the persecution of men who dared think differently, who heard strange voices or read strange manuscripts. There was enslavement of men whose tribes came not from Rome, disdain for those who did not have the familiar visage. And most of all, there was everywhere a contempt for human life. What, to the strong, was one man more or less in a crowded world?

Then, of a sudden, there was a light in the world, and a man from Galilee saying, Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's.

And the voice from Galilee, which would defy Caesar, offered a new Kingdom in which each man could walk upright and bow to none but his God. Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. And he sent this gospel of the Kingdom of Man into the uttermost ends of the earth.

So the light came into the world and the men who lived in darkness were afraid, and they tried to lower a curtain so that man would still believe salvation lay with the leaders.

But it came to pass for a while in divers places that the truth did set man free, although the men of darkness were offended and they tried to put out the light. The voice said, Haste ye. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness come upon you, for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.

Along the road to Damascus the light shone brightly. But afterward Paul of Tarsus, too, was sore afraid. He feared that other Caesars, other prophets, might one day persuade men that man was nothing save a servant unto them, that men might yield up their birthright from God for pottage and walk no more in freedom.

Then might it come to pass that darkness would settle again over the lands and there would be a burning of books and men would think only of what they should eat and what they should wear, and would give heed only to new Caesars and to false prophets. Then might it come to pass that men would not look upward to see even a winter's star in the East, and once more, there would be no light at all in the darkness.

And so Paul, the apostle of the Son of Man, spoke to his brethren, the Galatians, the words he would have us remember afterward in each of the years of his Lord:

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

This editorial was written in 1949 by the late Vermont Royster and has been published annually since.
"

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas











This one rocks:




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Last week's crime stats

Jackson crime statistics for the week of December 7 through 13, 2009.

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Housing sales way off




New home sales down 11.3% in November, pushes unsold inventory up by a month.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Is the recession good for marriage?

The American Marriage Project at the University of Virginia published a study this month about the effect the recession is having on marriages. The divorce rate actually went down last year. What was interesting and will be amusing to some is the fact the study also concluded men make better shoppers and women better investors. Men because they hate shopping so they don't want to buy everything in sight and women because they are going to seek more professional advice and not let their egos drive their investing. The study also delves into how finances affect marriage. Barbara Dafoe Whitehead is the co-editor of the study and has written very interesting and provocative social commentary over the years. I haven't had time to read it but skimmed the press release and a WSJ column on the study and thought it was worth throwing out to you.

Press release
Study

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Mayflower Cafe wins poll

JJ just had a poll asking what your favorite old restaurant in the Jackson area was. Mayflower Cafe. Crechales came in second.


Elite
46 (14%)
Mayflower
82 (26%)
Walker's
46 (14%)
Cindy's
5 (1%)
Crechale's
68 (22%)
Primos
15 (4%)
Cherokee
36 (11%)
CS's
11 (3%)

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Best movie preview ever



I remember sitting in a theater the first time I saw this preview. Knew what it was going to be in the first two seconds. Still sends chills down my spine watching it. First and only time I've seen a theater audience not applaud but cheer a preview.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Nikki's new ad.

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Look at me, I'm Sandra Dee

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JFP: bring us your illegal foreign workers but leave the money behind

It's no secret the Jackson Free Press is a supporter of illegal immigration. At times, Donna Ladd has stated the illegal immigration laws are the equivalent of laws legalizing slavery and Jim Crow.

However, the JFP takes this one step further and publishes an article bashing foreign investment in Mississippi. That's right. After Mississippi was a dirt-poor state for decades because there was little to no investment by American companies, the JFP gets its panties in a wad because, gasp, foreigners are investing in Mississippi. The article gives a few paragraphs to the other side at first but then turns over the article to its favorite union activists who of course, bash foreign companies opening plants and hiring workers in Mississippi. The first quote is from a Jabber-jaw, ribfu, or Jibari or whatever her name is from the Mississippi Worker's Center for Human Rights. Give her some credit because Jabber-jaw doesn't pull any punches in linking it to....surprise....slavery:

"Mississippi has always had a dismal record regarding the rights of employees that goes all the way back to the days of slavery," said Jaribu Hill, executive director of the Mississippi Worker's Center for Human Rights. "Historically, wages are lower in the South because at one time there was that peculiar institution when people weren't paid at all. It's like we've retained some kind of attitude that if you're getting paid at all you should be thankful, because there was one time when you weren't paid at all."

Next from the "we don't need no money from outsiders" Klan were spokemen from the UAW and AFL-CIO, the same jingoistic and racist unions that bash the Southern states for giving tax breaks to Toyota, Nissan, and Mercedes while ignoring the nearly $2 billion in similar aid Northern states have given to the Big 3. They, of course, say it's all because they can pay workers low wages here:

"United Auto Workers claim that the wages an employee at the Nissan Plant in Canton makes, compared to wages an employee at the Nissan Plant in Tennessee makes, is an example of the state's comparatively low pay......

Damon Silvers, an associate general counsel for the AFL-CIO, said any state that is looking to entice business by low-balling wages is in a heated race to the bottom.

"If Mississippi's strategy is to be a source of low-wage labor, then they've picked a losing economic strategy. It won't work," Silvers said. "You'll be at the mercy of folks who will ratchet you down. What's low enough today will not be low enough later...."

I guess they missed the memo on how their so-called higher wages and infamous work rules ruined the auto industry. See Detroit for an example of a city run in accordance with union policies in the public and private sectors.

The reporter then accuses, with supporting quotes from his union buddies, foreign companies of operating with unions in a friendly manner in their home countries, yet working against them here. He calls Germany and Britain "labor-friendly". Yes Adam, they are labor friendly as you put it. They can't lay anyone off. They can't close plants. They can't respond to business cycles. BNET reports on the labor policies of European countries:

"While the United States pays 48 percent of the average wage for eligible unemployed workers (only one-third of out-of-work employees qualify for benefits), these benefits stop after six months. Compare U.S. figures to the following industrialized leaders of the EU. Germany pays 35 percent of the average pay to unemployed workers for five years; France pays 58 percent for two years; and Great Britain pays 21 percent for up to five years." Article

It gets worse. In Italy an employee can sue his employer if fired after a short probationary period. If the employer loses, he has to pay back wages, benefits, and a large fine if the company has more than fifteen employees. The result? No one in Italy gets fired. The probationary period is only three months and the NY Times reports absenteeism skyrockets after it's completed. Article So employees show up drunk? Employees don't show up at all? Tough luck. You're facing a lawsuit regardless of how well-documented the offense is for termination.

In Germany, employers must follow a "social selection" procedure in laying off workers. (Google it, you might be surprised at what you read.) In other words, those who are most likely to suffer from a layoff are kept over those with more seniority or a better record. All but very small firms are required to have a labor representative on staff. Want to use Grandma's recipe for donuts and open up a bakery because you know they will sell? Be prepared to hire a "master-baker" as German labor laws require you to hire a master-tradesman from the Guild regardless of your actual need for one. Don't forget the four-six week paid vacations that are expected of employers in these "labor-friendly" countries. Want to guess which countries have the highest unemployment rates in Europe? The most "labor-friendly" ones as Adam Lynch puts it. Labor-friendly is fine, if you actually have a job.

Can't fire people, can't make them work, can't lay them off when business slides. Think that might have something to do with why foreign companies are investing in Mississippi? Of course, in the JFP little template, it's because of low pay, ignoring the fact that if it was only about the pay, those employers would be going to Mexico or China. This is nothing but economic racism and is insulting to Mississippi workers. Under this way of thinking, foreign companies only invest in Mississipi because the workers are cheap, stupid, and can be easily controlled, in effect, there is still a plantation economy still for hire to the lowest bidder. The JFP seems to have missed the fact that jobs require capital but then, this is what passes for economic discussion at that rag.

Such is the way of "progressive" thinking.

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More, more, more sanctions from the Mississippi Bar

As part of JJ's half-baked commitment to public service, here is yet another installment in our publication of lawyer disciplinary actions that are published in the Mississippi Lawyer, the Mississippi Bar's quarterly mouthpiece. There are from the November/December 2008 issue:

Dickie Scruggs, Zach Scruggs, Sidney Backstrom: Disbarred for life. Do I need to explain these disbarments?

James G. McIntyre of Jackson: Disbarment. Bounced checks on Lawyer Trust account and used it to pay off personal obligations for over four years. The sanction mentions McIntyre's "extensive disciplinary history": one private reprimand, four informal admonitions, and one one-year suspension.

Neal H. Labovitz of Southaven: Public Reprimand. Allowed a Tennessee lawyer to "participate" on his behalf in a Desoto County case despite never being admitted to "practice pro hac vice". The bar called it an "unauthorized practice of law".

The Attorney with No Name: Private Reprimand. Client paid shyster $2,000 to review his file post-conviction. Shyster agreed to refund money if there was "little or no chance of success". Attorney blew off client after he got money and didn't speak to him. The attorney claimed that his files were destroyed in a fire and that he meant to refund the unearned fees. Of course he did. The shyster also blew off the Bar and didn't respond to the complaint.

The Attorney with No Name: Private Reprimand. Client paid shyster $5,000 to reverse a "wrongful foreclosure" and seek damages against the lender. Shyster reversed the foreclosure but didn't contact client afterwards about the lawsuit against the lender. Shyster was suspended from the Bar. Shyster gave case to another lawyer but didn't tell client and didn't get his consent to do so. Shyster also failed to tell client about settlement offer.

The Attorney with No Name: Private Reprimand. Client hired lawyer for an uncontested divorce. Shyster didn't do anything for two months. Attorney wasn't prepared for case when it appeared in court and didn't have file with her at the hearing. Attorney said she "had a difficult time with obtaining and retaining secretarial personnel" and get this, she "inadvertently" scheduled the case on the same day she had a hearing in a contested divorce matter and that her focus on the contested case was the cause for her not having the case file for the Client's case. Um, isn't this the sort of thing that should be public?

The Attorney with No Name: Private Reprimand. Client paid shyster $700 to resolve an "outstanding misdemeanor charge. Charge was dismissed by court a year before but judge needed to sign dismissal order. Lawyer then blew off client. Misdemeanor charge still unresolved. Shyster blew off the Bar and didn't respond to the Bar Complaint. Shyster didn't attend the hearing either. Why should he if he was going to get only a private reprimand. Another example of why the Bar should suspend a lawyer for sixty days automatically for not answering bar complaints or skipping hearings.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Trustee selling properties in Evans case, files maps and list of loans

See sidebar at the right for a collection of all posts on the Evans case.

Derek Henderson, the trustee in the bankruptcy of Chris Evans, filed two motions on last week asking the Court for permission to sell assets owned by Chris Evans. Mr. Evans owned eleven prime pieces of commercial real estate that are listed by the trustee on pages six and seven of the motion. Trustee's motion, Second motion

It is understandable the trustee is requesting the authority to sell these properties and then divide up the proceeds among the creditors. Most of the banks involved in the Evans case issued loans to companies that did not have actual title to the property (Thanks to the "alleged" fraudulent title certificates issued by Charles Evans, Jr. stating they did have title to said properties.). Many of the tracts described in the deeds of trust overlap each other or worse, are non-existent and were created out of thin air. It will be virtually impossible to determine what land belongs to which company when several different companies obtained loans on the same section of land even if they didn't have title to the property.

Mr. Henderson's second motion gives interested parties 21 days from the filing of the motion to object. A hearing is set for February 19, 2010 for consideration of any objections. Mr. Henderson also filed an exhibit that listed all loans and included property maps of each tract involved. Exhibit The list is 30 pages long and includes 16 plat maps. Evans case junkies will looove this exhibit. Feel free to compare the list with my itemized description JJ compiled two months ago.

Stay tuned.

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Lost dog

Lost boxer by Reservoir

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Update on FAIM case, assistant's husband used to work at Gaming Commission

Update: Here are the Form 990's that are posted on Guidestar.com:
2007, 2006, 2005

A hearing previously scheduled for December by the Mississippi Gaming Commissions on Boxcar Bingo's license is now postponed until January. Boxcar Bingo's license was suspended several weeks ago, but it is allowed to keep operating pending appeal. Boxcar Bingo is the fundraising arm of the Fine Arts Institute of Mississippi, a Ridgeland-based charity. FAIM Website. The charity is the subject of much controversy, as the Mississippi Secretary of State's office issued a Cease and Desist Order against it recently and it is also linked to Tim Johnson. Copy of Order.

The investigation reportedly began when then-employee Silbrina Wright notified the State about alleged financial mismanagement at FAIM. Ms. Wright was then fired by FAIM and prosecuted for embezzlement. She filed a wrongful termination suit (Copy of lawsuit) against FAIM and claimed she:

1. began working at FAIM in July of 2007 and her title was Director of Operations.
2. oversaw the bingo operation and the payroll for both FAIM and Boxcar.
3. notified the Mississippi Secretary of State's office and Bill Murphy of illegal activity at the Charity and that "only $7,500 of the charity's revenue was being spent on scholarships and programs when regulations required that a greater percentage of the non-profit's income be spent on such programs."
4. "reported that the Charity was bouncing numerous checks"
5. "made a formal complaint with the SOS on November 3, 2008".
6. Murphy terminated her soon after she filed a complaint with the state.

Ms. Wright seeks damages as well as punitive damages. FAIM filed an answer to her lawsuit. A Case Management Order issued by the Court decreed all discovery should be completed by February 13, 2010 and the case is set for trial on June 14, 2010.

A Madison County Grand Jury indicted Ms. Wright for embezzling from FAIM on May 13, 2009. The indictment states Rebecca Mansell is prosecuting the case. Ms. Wright pleaded not guilty. Ms. Wright is represented by a public defender. The trial was continued on November 30 to May 3, 2010 by Judge Richardson. Copy of file.

It should also be noted the Madison County Journal recently stated Mr. Murphy's executive assistant, Teresa Wilson, has been engaging in a little sideline business of selling pesticide to Madison County. Keep in mind Mr. Murphy used to be a road manager for the county until a few years ago and Murphy also pays Supervisor Tim Johnson as a lobbyist for the charity. Ms. Wilson's little lemonade stand business sold more than $120,000 in pesticide and equipment over the last three years. Earlier post and link to MCJ story.

JJ also learned Marc Wilson, the husband of Teresa Wilson, worked for the Gaming Commission from December 1, 1994 to July 31, 1996 as a DP-Systems Analyst Manager. No accusations are made against either Wilson by this blog, however, it is worth pointing out given all the relationships in this case between FAIM employees and government officials, that the husband of the "executive assistant" also worked for the Gaming Commission, although it was nearly fifteen years ago and sources have told JJ there has almost been a complete turnover in personnel since Mr. Wilson was employed at the agency.

The scrum continues. Stay tuned.

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Broadway returns to New Orleans

YES!!!

"NEW ORLEANS — Broadway shows are finally back in New Orleans for the first time since Hurricane Katrina four years ago...
"The Color Purple" is only the second major Broadway production to come to New Orleans since Katrina flooded 80 percent of the city in 2005. The first was "Cats," which ran Oct. 27-Nov. 1 at the Mahalia Jackson Theater.
The Mahalia Jackson is the city's only major performing arts theater to reopen since the storm. Others, including the Saenger Theatre, State Palace Theater and Orpheum Theater, are still under repair or have not yet begun renovations.
David Skinner, general manager of the Mahalia Jackson, said reviving the performing arts in New Orleans has "been a real uphill struggle." The 2,100-seat theater flooded and had wind damage requiring millions of dollars in repairs. It reopened in January.
"It's been tremendous, the opera, the ballet, and now bringing Broadway back," Skinner said. "It's been very exciting...
." AP Story

One more step in the recovery. Can't wait until the Saenger reopens. One of my favorite things to do used to be going to dinner at The Palace Cafe (crabmeat cheesecake anyone?) and then walking a few blocks down to the Saenger to catch a show.

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

So let me get this straight about Two Lakes

""I've got four hospitals over here," Rhoads told (John) McGowan. "You're worried about making money. There's a big difference. You're not going to use the taxpayers of Rankin or Hinds County to pay for this thing." Article

So let me get this straight. Rhoads doesn't want taxpayers to pay for Two Lakes because it might make some people some money, never mind if everyone benefits from it, BUT he wants taxpayers to pay for levees to protect HIS city's building like crazy in a floodplain while KNOWING the entire time it was a floodplain.

In other words, Rhoads wants to stick it to you, the taxpayer so his city can profit off of the economic development in his town's flood plain which he and his predecessors so recklessly allowed while raising hell if Jackson dares to promote a project that might benefit everyone on both sides of the Pearl River.

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Is a landlord trying to jack Ely's?

Copy of lawsuit and counterclaim

Jackson Street Property Management filed suit in Madison County Court on November 10, 2009 against Ely's Restaurant for breach of contract. The plaintiff is the landlord of Ely's and claims it is owed thousands of dollars in unpaid rent. Ely's is owned by Richard Shapley.

Jackson Street claims, are you ready for this?, it resurveyed the building and suddenly discovered Ely's "occupied 270 square feet more than the 3000 square feet indicated in the lease". Jackson Street then demanded back rent for the extra 270 square feet from the date when Ely's first assumed the lease. Oddly enough, Jackson Street didn't include a copy of the lease in the lawsuit, claiming it was "voluminous and Ely's has a copy of that lease or has access to a copy of that lease." Hey Jackson, what about the judge? remember him? He might want a copy of the lease if he is going to adjudicate your suit. Jackson claims Ely's owes him $6,846 for the additional space and wants to charge him an additional $528.75 a month for the additional square feet. Oh, and he wants attorney's fees paid by Ely's as well.

Mr. Shapley was having none of it and fired back with a demand for $500,000 in his own counterclaim as he accused John F. Campbell, the owner of Jackson Street, of dealing with him in bad faith and harassing him so he would terminate his lease early. He also claimed Campbell
1. Failed to install a dumpster
2. Backcharged Ely's for water usage which wasn't the restaurant's responsibility.
3. Tried to stick Ely's with the HFAC maintenance contract
4. Required Ely's to carry higher insurance policy limits than the lease specified
5. Failed to maintain appearance and condition.
6. Attempted to collect more rent than was owed.

Mr. Shapley also alleged Campbell failed to market the property. This blogger has wondered exactly what was going on with Town Centre over the years as it is vacant but for Ely's and another tenant as Mr. Shapley claims. While Town Centre has withered on the vine, nearby developments built more recently have had no problems filling up with tenants. One would think such a development in a prime location of Ridgeland would have no such problem but this has obviously not been the case as it appears Mr. Campbell built a new-fangled ghosttown in the middle of Ridgeland (Remember Odyssey?). It should also be noted Mr. Campbell's address is listed in the Virgin Islands.

What is interesting in this case is the plaintiff apparently claims he reserved the right to "discover" any changes in square footage and then demand payment of rent for the "new" space from the inception of the lease. One can not imagine any tenant agreeing to such a clause as it is open-ended and not reasonable by any interpretation of the word. Mr. Shapley could theoretically be on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars if our carpetbagger "discovered" an error in the measurement of the leased space ten years later and then demanded his tenant pay him for the "extra" space. One would think the error in calculating square feet would lie with Mr. Campbell as he was the one who had the property surveyed. It hardly seems fair to make a tenant pay for mistakes made by his surveyor nearly two years after the fact. However, that is why we have a court and that is where these things are decided.

Stay tuned.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Priceless

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Moooore 2009 Mississippi Bar Sanctions

I was going to post the sections from each issue of the Mississippi Lawyer once a week until I finished using the issues available online but the response has been so positive, I'm going to post these sanctions that were first reported in the Feburary 2009 issue. Here we go:

Richard Burdine of Columbus: 2 year suspension. Failed to respond to bar complaint. Mr. Burdine quit communicating with his client and didn't notify him of a then-four month bar suspension in August, 2006. Mr. Burdine took a client's money in another case then quit communicating with the client. Mr. Burdine also failed to respond to that bar complaint as well. Mr. Burdine also filed to file any answers, defenses, objections, or pleadings in any of these bar complaints.

Glen Folse of Madison: 6 month suspension. Took $3,000 from client, didn't place money in his lawyer trust account. Mr. Folse then didn't do anything to represent the client and didn't communicate with the client. Mr. Folse also didn't answer the bar complaint.

Helen Kelly of Batesville: Public Reprimand. Represented spouse in a divorce. Client wanted Kelly to represent her in an action for a child modification. Lawyer demanded she first pay outstanding balance, which she failed to do and then obtained another lawyer. Kelly then represented the ex-husband in the child modification action. A bar complaint was filed by another client against Ms. Kelly for requiring the client to sign a contract with a clause stating her retainer was nonrefundable.

An attorney with no name: Private Reprimand. Hired by client to sue nursing home. Told client in April 2007 case would settle by December. Client found out after hiring another lawyer case was dismissed in April with prejudice. Lawyer also didn't reply to the Bar complaint. Blowing off the bar earned the shyster a private slap on the wrist. Attorney defended himself at the hearing and explained he was very ill and case was dismissed because his illness caused him to miss several deadlines.

An attorney with no name: Private Reprimand. Took $1,000 from client but agreed instead to contingency fee on an appeal of a decision by the Social Security Administration. Attorney didn't appeal decision but kept money even though he agreed to a contingency fee arrangement.

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Good interview with Jim Rogers



Great interview last week with Jim Rogers. Watch this one. Quite a few money quotes in this one as well.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

RIM has email problems today

The Hill reports:
"Update: (11:01 a.m.)--We got this response from RIM: "BlackBerry customers in North America may be currently experiencing delays receiving email. Our technical teams are working to resolve this issue for those impacted. Phone services, browsing and PIN-to-PIN messaging are not impacted. We apologize for any inconvenience."

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John Toney to be named Executive Director of Commission on Judicial Performance

Sources have informed Jackson Jambalaya former Rankin County Circuit Judge John Toney will be named the Executive Director of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance. Judge Toney was also a prosecutor for Rankin and Madison Counties before serving as a judge. JJ thinks Mr. Toney is an excellent choice and wishes him well in his new duties.

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More 2009 Mississippi Bar Sanctions

As part of its commitment to serve the public, Jackson Jambalaya is publishing the names of lawyers sanctioned by the Mississippi Bar this year. These names come from online issues of the Mississippi Lawyer. The May/June 2009 issue (Pages 31-32) reported the following sanctions:

Dwayne Deer of McComb: Disbarment. Mr. Deer surrendered his license. Mr. Deer was convicted of participating in a real estate fraud scheme. Oddly enough, the publication does not mention any part of his conviction. It only says "he had committed violations of Rules...... in a bankruptcy matter where he failed to safekeep client funds."

What Mr. Deer actually did was reported in this article:
"McComb attorney Dwayne Deer pleaded guilty in federal court last week to conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
Deer was accused of conspiring with McComb developer Todd Phillips to submit false information to acquire more than $14.5 million in funding for real estate developments throughout Mississippi from more than 20 banks..."

However, an article in the Clarion-Ledger states he was barred for misappropriating funds in his escrow account after a bankruptcy judge found some improper um, accounting of the funds, not for the actual crime he of which he was convicted. If you read the Bar's account of Mr. Deer's disbarment in its publication, you would never know he was part of a multi-million dollar real estate fraud.

John M. Mooney, Jr. of Jackson: 90 Day Suspension. Deposited client's $2,500 retainer in another account when it should have been placed in the Lawyer Trust account. Didn't perform any work on the case, kept client's money even after being ordered to return it by the Bar. He listed client as a creditor when he filed bankruptcy.

Laquetta Golden of Gulfport: 14 Day Suspension effective March 26, 2009. Two complaints were filed aginst Ms. Golden. The first one allged she "failed to have entered a final default judgement in a replevin matter." The second one alleged she collected 2/3 of the settlement as attorney's fees in a Section 1983 lawsuit. She also deposited the settlement check into her operating account instead of her Lawyer Trust account although part of that was due to bank error.

J.B. Goodsell of Jackson: 14 Day Suspension. Here we go again as Mr. Goodsell is in trouble once more. Mr. Goodsell took a $500 fee to handle a replevin matter and didn't prepare the documents needed until three weeks after the first meeting and only then when the client raised hell. He then demanded another $1,100 for court costs of filing the case. Mr. Goodsell told client he had a court date of September 26, 2007 despite the fact no case was filed. Mr. Goodsell also blew off the bar and didn't respond to the Bar Complaint. The Bar also stated Mr. Goodsell had three prior Public Reprimands.

By the way, is anyone noticing a pattern? Lawyers who ignore bar complaints and don't respond to them don't seem to suffer too much from flipping off the Bar, do they?

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Comet McNaught















From NASA: " Comet McNaught, the Great Comet of 2007, was the brightest comet of the last 40 years. Its spectacular tail spread across the sky and was breathtaking to behold from dark locations for many Southern Hemisphere observers. The head of the comet remained quite bright and was easily visible to even city observers without any optical aide. Part of the spectacular tail was visible just above the horizon after sunset for many northern observers as well. Comet C/2006 P1 (McNaught), which reached an estimated peak brightness of magnitude -6 (minus six), was caught by the comet's discoverer in the above image soon after sunset in 2007 January from Siding Spring Observatory in Australia. The robotic Ulysses spacecraft fortuitously flew through Comet McNaught's tail and found, unexpectedly, that the speed of the solar wind dropped significantly."

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Unbelievable

I can hardly believe Jackson Free Press reporter Adam Lynch wrote this paragraph:
"Corps officials assured members of the Levee Board that such an event would be rare. Heavy rain, they said, rarely accompanies rising spring floodwater from upriver. Even the massive flood of 1979 arrived on a sunny day, leaving residents stunned that floodwater was overtaking the levees."

I can't figure out who is more stupid: the reporter who wasn't even here but yet wrote that last sentence as fact or the editor who actually approved its publication. I guess the 19 inches of rain that fell in the upper basin had nothing to do with the Pearl River's rise. It must have escaped Mr. Lynch that rivers usually flood several days after it rains in many cases. Its pretty sad what one will write in order to torpedo the Two Lakes project.

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Latest disciplinary actions by the Mississippi Bar

Here are the latest disciplinary actions taken against wayward lawyers by the Mississippi Bar as reported in the most recent online issue of its publication, The Mississippi Lawyer:

Ed Peters: Disbarred. 'nuff said.

Joseph Sams of Columbus, MS. Public reprimand. Mr. Sams represented a client in bankruptcy. Unfortunately for the client, the shyster neglected to do simple things like informing her of the creditors' meeting or informing her the bankruptcy petition was dismissed because she didn't show up for the creditors' meeting. Mr. Sams also blew off the Bar and failed to respond to the bar complaint. For all of this, Mr. Sams received only a public reprimand. I would've suspended him for sixty days just for ignoring the bar but that's just me.

Edwin Pittman, Jr. of Hattiesburg, MS. Public reprimand. Mr. Pittman decided to engage in some inside dealing of sorts. He first signed a defendant's arrest warrant and set his bail as a municipal court judge for the crimes of DUI Mayhem and two counts of DUI Manslaughter. Apparently Mr. Pittman decided the defendant would best be served by having a lawyer that already knew his case soooo.... Mr. Pittman then represented the defendant in the same case. The Bar investigated and made some erroneous findings, which Mr. Pittman failed to correct. Read the rest of this case. Its rather interesting.

William Don Ketner, Jr. of Jackson, MS. Public reprimand. Mr. Ketner apparently liked being a lawyer so much he decided to represent someone in a divorce case while on suspension from the Bar. He was suspended for nonpayment of annual dues but claimed he knew nothing, NOTHING, of the suspension.

The attorney with no name: Private reprimand. This one had a conflict of interest as a trustee and engaged in some shenanigans in administering the trust.

The attorney with no name: Private reprimand. Didn't pay client her share of a products liability settlement. Attorney later claimed there were deficiencies and that the claim couldn't be paid and that he had told the client. Bar found he had not told the client and was not diligent in performing his duties and was suspended for the same things in 2007. Apparently the Bar has no problem with lawyers repeatedly thumbing their noses in the Bar's face.

Look on page 33 for disciplinary actions.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Give these mutts a home

Nita is a Brussels Griffon and is the ultimate chick dog. There is a video available on her page. She is cared for by the American Brussells Griffon Rescue Alliance Note: Radar, the Korgi posted earlier, has been adopted.

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Food Fight!!!




Watch last 3 minutes. Santelli and Liesman really go at it, even by their standards.

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Evans update: Banks square off against MVT...... again.

For a collection of all posts about the Evans case, see sidebar at the right. Synopsis of case is at bottom of post.

As the Evans case winds its way through the bankruptcy court, several banks and Mississippi Valley Title Insurance Company continue to disagree over MVT's conducting a 2004 examination of the estate of Chris Evans.

A 2004 Examination is an examination of a debtor's estate by a creditor under Rule 2004 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. A creditor sometimes prefers a 2004 Exam as the creditor can investigate the assets and liabilities more thoroughly than is normally possible under the required meeting of the creditors that occurs in bankruptcy cases. The 2004 exam is essentially a deposition. The information gained in such an examination is immensely valuable to an insurance company such as Mississippi Valley Title if it is able to keep the results of the exam to itself for a period of time as the other creditors have filed more than $41 million in claims with MVT.

Consequently, Merchants & Farmers filed a motion on November 24, 2009 requesting Mississippi Valley Title turn over to M&F all records obtained from any 2004 Exam of Chris Evans. The bank also asked for any "surveys, plats, maps, diagrams, reports, title reports, or documents relating in any way to the ownership of any of the properties at issue in the lawsuit."

However, the bank went further than asking just for documents obtained through a 2004 exam and asked for "(g) Any manuals, guidelines, procedures, recommendations or other documents or things relating in any way the monitoring or auditing of approved attorneys for Mississippi Valley Title Insurance Company or Old Republic National Title Insurance Company..... and
(h) Any manuals, guidelines, procedures, recommendations or other documents or things relating in any way the internal controls and procedures of Mississippi Valley Title Insurance Company or Old Republic National Title Insurance Company as to title policies issued by approved attorneys from January, 2003 to date." Copy of motion

Bank of Forest, First State Bank, and State Bank & Trust also filed a Limited Joinder for Merchants & Farmers' motion yesterday. Motion for Joinder

Mississippi Valley Title didn't like this motion one bit as it made clear in its response. It called M&F's motion "inappropriate, improper, and overbroad for numerous reasons..." MVT further objected to the request for documents regarding internal controls and procedures: ""Rule 2004(b) limits the scope to matters regarding property of the debtor or matters that affect the administration of the debtor's estate. The request for manuals and internal analysis of claims made by Old Republic, for example, is a request for confidential and proprietary information that is beyond the scope of the 2004 examination. The same is true for information "relating in any way to any investigation' as requested in the motion." Copy of response

Many have suspected that the Evans brothers could not have perpetuated their (allegedly) fraudulent scheme without the assistance of others. An obvious question to ask is did anyone at MVT look the other way or collude with Charles or Chris Evans to carry out the plan? Other questions must be asked (These questions are not accusatory in nature but are a hypothesis of what the banks are likely seeking):
1. Were any appraisers accomplices in the plan to obtain so many fraudulent loans?
2. Was Old Republic and MVT's quality control departments adequately staffed?
3. How come no one noticed more than a few deeds of trusts were signed by both Charles and Chris Evans? Underwriting and auditing 101 calls for red flags to be raised when loan officers, title attorneys, appraisers, sellers, and buyers have the same last name. Did anyone notice the Evans' names and if not, why not? This question should be asked of the banks as well.
4. Did MVT audit the files of Charles Evans, Jr. since it could be liable for policies based upon his title certificates? This of course leads to a question of whether MVT was guilty of gross negligence if the audit procedures were lax or not performed in a diligent manner.
5. How many times a year were files audited? Was it random? How many files were audited? Were audits unannounced or scheduled?

Given the language of the motion filed by Merchants & Farmers, its clear the banks are asking these questions and more as they want to determine exactly how the Evans brothers were able to perpetuate the alleged fraud for over five years. The amount of claims filed by banks with MVT are roughly the same amount as its claims reserves. While its parent company, Old Republic, can easily cover these claims, the question remains whether Old Republic will keep MVT afloat if most or all of these claims are paid to the banks. Such a scenario alone is enough to probably ensure MVT will fight requests such as the one filed by M&F for internal controls tooth and nail.

Stay tuned.

Synopsis of Evans case (This feature will be included with future posts on Evans case): Charles Evans, Jr. was an attorney approved by Mississippi Valley Title Insurance Company to provide title certificates to MVT and lenders showing a borrower had clear title to property. MVT filed a lawsuit in September accusing his brother of using over 30 LLC's to obtain fraudulent loans from over 30 banks in Mississippi. Chris Evans would allegedly use one company to purchase a large tract of prime commercial real estate in Madison and Desoto Counties. Another company owned by Evans would obtain a commercial real estate mortgage on a smaller section of the tract yet that borrowing company never obtained a deed showing ownership of the land from the other company. Thus the smaller tract was actually non-existed as the larger tract was never actually subdivided. Charles would allegedly provide a title certificate however showing the borrowing company owned the land even though it didn't. Over 80 loans for nearly $50 million were issued by Mississippi banks to companies owned by Chris Evans for lands those companies either did not own. MVT has testified federal authorities are currently investigating the case. Chris Evans filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy on October 26, which stopped the Mississippi Valley Title's lawsuit against him as federal bankruptcy law stays most state civil court proceedings once a bankruptcy petition is filed. Mississippi Valley Title testified 65 title insurance claims for approximately $41 million have been filed by banks affected by the Evans case.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).


Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.


Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS
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