Friday, December 31, 2010
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Travelers seeks $6.4 million from Claiborne Frazier, BancorpSouth accused Fraziers of $1.2 million fraud
The claims of fraud and stealing money made by Travelers Insurance against Austin and Claiborne Frazier are not the first time the brothers have faced such accusations. BancorpSouth made similar allegations against Claiborne Frazier last year in his bankruptcy filing.
BancorpSouth lent $5,400,000 to Van Buren Group LLC to build thirty condominiums in Oxford on September 5, 2001. Claiborne Frazier is the managing member of Van Buren. The debt was guaranteed by Austin Frazier, C.E. Frazier, Shelby Brantley, and Robert Crumpton. Van Buren defaulted on the note and BancorpSouth obtained a judgment in 2008 of $1,214,533 (plus interest of 8.5%). BancorpSouth claimed Claiborne sold seven units without turning over the proceeds of the sale to the bank in order to pay off the note. 21 units were sold by Van Buren, the proceeds of each sale were used to retire the debt. The bank alleged Mr. Frazier sold units for $251,289 (2003), $266,716 (2005), $265,857 (2003), $182,000 (2005), $250,418 (2003), $399,000 (2004), and $300,000 ($50,000 was paid to BancorpSouth). The bank claims other units may have been sold in similar fashion. The foreclosure and tax sale of the condos were the subject of a separate ruling by the Mississippi Court of Appeals.
Claiborne Frazier did not disclose these funds or actions in his 2008 bankruptcy petition. BancorpSouth showed up in bankruptcy court to contest the bankruptcy and obtain a non-dischargeable judgment against Mr. Frazier. (See below for complaint.) BancorpSouth claimed the debt should not be discharged under 18 USC 727 (debt can not be discharged if fraud took place).
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Edward Ellington issued an agreed order granting BancorpSouth's petition and imposed a non-dischargeable judgment of $1,146,649 on Claiborne Frazier on October 31, 2009. (Happy Halloween.)
Claiborne Frazier's bankruptcy problems did not end with BancorpSouth, as Travelers Insurance (remember them?) picked up where the Mississippi Bank left off, filing a complaint against Mr. Frazier in bankruptcy court on July 28, 2009. The complaint is similar to the one filed against Austin Frazier by the insurance company. Travelers bonded several projects for Frazier Construction. Frazier fell on hard times and Travelers paid $6,405,585 for the completion of the projects. The insurance company claims it discovered after the loss, Claiborne Frazier's "financial were materially false and misleading" and "grossly overstated the value" of his assets and "grossly understated" the value of his liabilities. Travelers alleges Mr. Frazier sold heavy equipment and hid the sale despite the fact Travelers had a lien on the equipment. Mr. Frazier is said to have committed bankruptcy fraud and engaged in an "elaborate scheme" to defraud creditors and Frazier Construction.
Travelers seeks a judgment of $6,405,585 against Claiborne Frazier. Austin Frazier agreed to a non-dischargeable judgement of $5,000,000 with Travelers in his bankruptcy case. Claiborne Frazier's attorney withdrew from the case in April. Mr. Frazier has not obtained counsel. A pre-trial conference is scheduled January 4, 2011. No judgment has been rendered by the court. The bankruptcy case is still pending and has not been dismissed or discharged.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Traveler's Insurance Company recently filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against Spencer Copeland, Sherry Frazier and others (Copy of complaint posted below.). Traveler's it is exposing the "efforts of certain family members to steal and convert assets of Frazier Construction" and funneling "stolen monies in and out of numerous bank accounts - including that of a sham construction company- to conceal and launder monies. The alleged conversion and money-laundering took place while Travelers paid over six million dollars to help Frazier Construction meet payroll and complete various construction projects bonded by Travelers. Frazier Construction agreed to pay Travelers for any losses suffered.
Frazier defaulted on several projects bonded by the insurance company in 2007. Travelers calculated damages to be $6.4 million and demanded Frazier Construction deposit the money or equivalent collateral with Travelers. No such payment was ever made so Travelers filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi in December 2008 against Frazier Construction and several family members who were directors seeking $6.4 million. Travelers obtained a default judgment against C.E. Construction and pursued action against Austin Frazier, a director and Secretary of the company. Mr. Frazier temporarily avoided Travelers efforts to nail him by filing chapter seven bankruptcy, which stopped the civil lawsuit against him in U.S. District Court.
Travelers said no problem, we have time, money, and lawyers to burn so presto, it filed a complaint against Mr. Frazier in bankruptcy court. Mr. Frazier claimed assets between one and ten million dollars and equivalent liabilities on the bankruptcy petition. Travelers stated the "debtor's financial statements were materially false and misleading" and "grossly overstated the value of Debtor's assets and grossly understated the extent of Debtor's liabilities." Translation: Mr. Frazier lied when obtaining bonds on construction projects how much he had and how much he owed in order to obtain credit from Travelers. Mr. Frazier consented to a $5 million judgment against him on August 3, 2010. The agreement states the judgment is non-dischargeable and Mr. Frazier also has to pay "future statutory interest". Traveler's can garnish up to 10% of Mr. Frazier's wages from any of his employers.
Traveler's did not stop with Mr. Frazier. It filed the current lawsuit on December 3, 2010 in U.S. District Court in Hattiesburg. The complaint is thirty-five pages and alleges money-laundering, theft, and RICO violations took place among various family members and other entities. The lawsuit minces no words. It accuses the defendants in the first paragraph of plundering, stealing, and converting assets of Frazier Construction and funneling money to avoid detection.
Travelers claims "after months of digging" it "discovered a stash of monies stolen from Frazier Construction and worse- a civil conspiracy to convert, conceal, launder, and spend those monies." It accuses the defendants of filing "false financial statements" so Travelers would bond projects without knowing the true state of the company's finances.
It accuses Austin and Claiborne Frazier of "secretly" working to backstab Travelers." Travelers claims "On the eve of Frazier Construction's implosion, Austin Frazier and his step-brother, Spencer Copeland, siphoned off a quarter-million dollars of Frazier Construction assets" (p. 6). "Austin Frazier, Claiborne Frazier, and Spencer Copeland moved Frazier Construction's heavy equipment up to their hunting camp in Belzoni, MS in an attempt to conceal its location from Travelers." Travelers claims Austin Frazier and Spencer Copeland sold the hidden equipment through South Lamar Truck & Trailer Sales for nearly $50,000 even though Travelers had a lien on the equipment.
Travelers alleges South Lamar claimed it had no files or record of said transactions even though it had written six checks to Frazier Construction or Spencer Copeland for the sale of said equipment.
The alleged misdeeds don't stop with selling equipment. Travelers claims Austin and Spencer diverted $275,000 in Frazier Construction checks into personal bank accounts. Claiborne and his wife Sherry allegedly "stole and converted" a $10,000 Frazier Construction check. Sherry Frazier is said to have lived her new-found wealth up, spending "some or all of the stolen monies at restaurants, bars, and stores" in Mississippi and Destin within a few days. Bank accounts were opened and phony companies were created so large sums of money could be laundered (p.10). Spencer Copeland even dragged his step-mother into the morass (p.11), writing a check for $76,599 to her and claiming it was for "Mothers Home Renovation". Travelers accuses Ms. Copeland of working in concert with her son by allowing him to deposit funds pulled from his accounts (allegedly used to hide money) into her bank account. Mr. Copeland repeatedly invoked the Fifth Amendment when deposed in Austin Frazier's bankruptcy.
The lawsuit charges the defendants with counts of conversion, unjust enrichment, civil conspiracy, Civil RICO, and Fraudulent Conveyance, . Travelers further charges them with a "pattern of racketeering activity: wire fraud, money laundering, and interstate transportation of stolen goods and monies. Travelers asked for damages "in excess of $75,000 exclusive of interest and costs" for conversion, $75,000 in damages for unjust enrichment, compensatory damages to be determined by the Court for RICO violations, attorney's fees, interest, and court costs. Traveler's also asks the court to void all fraudulent transfers.
Copy of Austin Frazier emails
Monday, December 27, 2010
Richard Schwartz fired more rounds at attorney Philip Thomas and his client Shirley Douglas in U.S. District Court and U.S. Bankruptcy Court recently. Ms. Douglas sued Mr. Schwartz over a $500,000 settlement gone awry. Ms. Douglas suffered injuries in an automobile collision. Mr. Schwartz negotiated a $500,000 settlement with the insurance company on her behalf. However, Ms. Douglas filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy before the settlement took place. Mr. Schwartz hired attorney Vann Leonard to apply to the bankruptcy court for his contract fee of $172,414 and deposit the remainder of the settlement with the bankruptcy court.
The bankruptcy trustee, Ms. Douglas, and Mr. Schwartz all allege Mr. Leonard kept the remaining $327,585 and didn't submit it to the bankruptcy court. The trustee filed suit against Mr. Schwartz and Mr. Leonard in bankruptcy court on November 19, 2010 and Mr. Thomas filed suit against Mr. Schwartz and Mr. Leonard in Hinds County District Circuit Court on October 15, 2010 but the action was removed to U.S. District Court on November 19, 2010.
Mr. Schwartz filed a response to Mr. Thomas's partial motion for summary judgment on December 17. Mr. Schwartz claims no partnership existed between he and Mr. Leonard and thus he should not be responsible for his alleged conversion of her settlement. Mr. Schwartz states the bankruptcy court approved the payment of his fee. Ms. Douglas approved of the use of Mr. Leonard. Mr. Schwartz further asks the court to allow discovery to proceed if there is some question about the nature of the relationship between the two shysters. Mr. Schwartz wants to depose everyone and obtain all records. Mr. Schwartz again states he is entitled to his fee, performed the work required for the fee, and the court approved the payment of his fee.
Mr. Thomas filed a short response on December 23. Mr. Thoma's argument is simple and direct: Leonard "stole" his client's settlement. Schwartz "admitted" he hired Leonard. Schwartz is thus liable for the entire $500,000. Mr. Thomas argues the court should disgorge Mr. Schwartz's fee as the attorney received $172,414 and his client received nothing (Editorial note by KF here: While Mr. Schwartz enjoys his sizable fee, Ms. Douglas has her wages garnished every two weeks.). Mr. Thomas posits no discovery is needed because the material facts are not in dispute. Mr. Thomas however, neglects to mention (and one wonders why) a discovery order was issued in the Bankruptcy court action. Mr. Schwartz is already thus having his discovery albeit in another forum but on the same matter.
Meanwhile, Mr. Schwartz filed a cross-claim (page 12) against Mr. Leonard in bankruptcy court. Mr. Schwartz sued Mr. Leonard for any damages he suffers if Ms. Douglas prevails in her lawsuits against him. Mr. Douglas filed a motion in bankruptcy courtasking the court to take back Mr. Schwartz's fee and deposit it in the bankruptcy estate. Mr. Schwartz responded and said sorry, this same court approved the fee. He also asked the court to stay the lawsuit, claiming the one filed by Mr. Thomas was filed first and the trustee's action is duplicative. One suspects the trustee will argue all the actions should be consolidated. Mr. Leonard filed an answer on December 10. Mr. Leonard just went through the complaint and said "deny", "deny", "deny" or its her fault. Mr. Leonard is represented by attorney Joe Holloman, the King of Plea Bargains. A hearing has been set for January 7, 2010.
Vote in new poll: Who should be the 2012 Republican nominee for President? I don't think Haley will be a runaway winner this time as he was the last time I asked this question thanks to Governor Christie. Vote early and vote often.Click Here to Read More..
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
Yes, Olga's will open tonight for Christmas Eve dinner at 5:30 PM. Hungry after your Christmas Eve church service? Want to eat a late dinner before going to midnight Mass? Relatives in town and you just don't feel like cooking? Tired of the holiday headaches and want to unwind with a glass of wine? Come to Olga's tonight. Olga and Yuriy will take care of you and your family.
The homers won out and said the Saints will win the Super Bowl in the latest JJ poll. Monday night will tell us how ready they are but right now, I'm picking the Patriots. Brady is just plain playing in another zone right now and all of those new defensive players they got last year and this year are finally figuring out how to play Belicheck's complex defense. Saints still have problems stopping the run but they are playing about the same as they did last year so they are NFC favorites in my book to reach the big one. It would be interesting to see what happens if Flynn gets a chance to play some more with the Packers. Should be fun to watch for the next month.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
As reported here yesterday, U.S. District Judge Dan Jordan III postponed accepting the guilty pleas of Charles and Chris Evans until the U.S. Attorney sent proper notice to the victims. The Judge questioned whether notice was given immediately after taking the bench yesterday. The prosecutor admitted notice was not sent out, upon which the judge ruled he was postponing the hearing until such notice was given. Both Chris and Charles Evans were in the courtroom. Charles Evans, clad in shackles and orange jump suit, was visibly leaner and grayer since his last appearance in June. Chris Evans posted a $10,000 appearance bond and was granted a conditional release. Both brothers signed documents waiving indictment (see below).
City of Madison crime stats through December 21, 2010.
Crime stats for Jackson have not been updated since November 14, 2010. JPD spokewoman Colendula Green was contacted about the lack of reports but no explanation or response was given. The communications director said two weeks ago the person responsible had been out since November and his office was "working" on posting them. Stay tuned.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Judge Jordan postponed the plea hearing for Charles and Chris Evans. Judge Jordan asked if notice was provided to the vicitms, since the courtroom was nearly empty. The only people attending were an attorney for Mississippi Valley Title, Kristina Johnson representing several banks, Dale Danks and his clients,and a reporter. Upon questioning by the judge, one attorney present told the judge she had not received notice but had heard about the case when she bumped into Mr. Collete yesterday. The prosecution admitted notice was not provided and the person responsible was out of the office this week. Judge Jordan said federal law mandated notice must be provided even though defense counsel did not want to postpone the hearing. This was not a strategic move by the prosecution as it was quite clear the prosecutor was embarrassed by what took place in the courtroom today.Click Here to Read More..
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
David Waide said at the Hilton in Jackson recently:
"In his final speech as federation president in early December, David Waide told Farm Bureau members that an animal welfare bill would be the biggest challenge the group faces in the coming year. He warned that "radicals" are pushing the bills.
"I know there's not a person in this room that doesn't agree that we need to protect animals," Waide told about 600 people at a meeting in Jackson's Hilton hotel. "But I also believe there's not a person in this room that believes that animals should have rights.
"That's what the radicals that are pushing this agenda want. They want to destroy meat animal production so that we all become vegetarian. When they get that done, they're going to start working on the vegetarian side so that we have to depend on imported food," he said. "We, as Farm Bureau members, can't allow that to happen." Article
You are truly, Mr. Waide, a dumb, stupid, and ignorant redneck. I'm truly sorry you chose not to run for office so I could have had six months to point out your stupidity and dishonesty to the voters of this state and I write this as someone who loves beef and hates PETA. The people pushing to make aggravated animal cruelty a first offense felony are not radicals, tree-huggers, or PETA whackos but regular folks who go to church, work hard every day, raise their kids, and just happen to think someone who sets a pet on fire and then brags about it in a diary deserves more than a slap on the wrist. If I had my way, Mr. Waide, I'd tar and feather you and then run you out of town. Good day.
Here is the rest of the story as reported on this site last week. By the way, the restaurant had no security in the parking lot.
Note: For some reason the video does not appear on the JJ home page. Click on the title of the post and it will appear.
Click Here to Read More..
Sixty Minutes Sunday night: The day of reckoning approaches for state and municipal budgets. Kroft interviews Meredith Whitney, Governor Chris Christie, and the Comptroller of Illinois. Whitney predicts between 50 and 100 municipal defaults. Worth watching.
Monday, December 20, 2010
This in PACER:
"Set Hearing as to Charles H. Evans, Jr: Change of Plea Hearing set for 12/22/2010 at 8:30 AM in Courtroom 2 (Jackson) before District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III (AN)"
"Set Hearing as to Jon Christopher Evans: Change of Plea Hearing set for 12/22/2010 at 8:30 AM in Courtroom 2 (Jackson) before District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III (AN)"
PACER states Chris Evans is added to the counts, no documents available online. I'm going to go waaaaaaaaaaay out on a limb here and say Mr. Evans is going to plead guilty according to informed sources.
See Evans case page in "Special Coverage" section on right side of page for all Evans case posts.
Updated with new information.
The U.S. Attorney in Jackson charged Charles H. Evans, Jr. and Jon Christopher Evans yesterday with bank fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Acting U.S. Attorney Donald Burkhalter also seeks the civil forfeiture of all assets involved in the alleged commission of these crimes. The penalties for bank fraud are a fine of $1 million or less and/or imprisonment of not more than thirty years. The Criminal Information alleges 30 banks with offices in Mississippi, 16 banks in Texas, and several other banks and trusts in other states.
The Information charges Charles Evans was "an approved attorney for Mississippi Valley Title, authorized to provide title opinions and prepare certificates for title for MVT, which MVT used and relied upon in order to issue title insurance polices.." The government charges Chris Evans is the registered agent for the companies used to perpetuate the alleged criminal acts.
The Bill of Information alleges the Evans brothers initiated their scheme in January 2003 until October 2009 in Madison County and later Desoto County, the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and Texas "in order to pay down debt held by their company Gulf States Publishing and to enrich themselves, Charles and Chris Evans devised a plan to fraudulently secure mortgage proceeds from financial institutions by misrepresenting to such financial institutions the legal descriptions, title and lien history, and ownership of real estate the Defendants intended to purchase. "
JJ reviewed numerous deeds of trust and estimated the exposure by banks was nearly $75 million ($37 million in Madison, approximately $10 million in Desoto, approximately $27 million in Texas. Most of the Texas banks have been able to foreclose on the properties as the multiple loans were not issued on Texas properties as they were in Mississippi.). The government claims the brothers used the proceeds of the loans to buy more land, make mortgage payments on the outstanding loans, and enrich themselves.
The brothers would buy a large tract of land in the name of one LLC. The brothers would "fictitiously subdivide" the land before they even bought it. After closing, they would obtain large mortgage loans (average loan size was $620,000 in Mississippi, over $1 million in Texas) on smaller portions of the tract purchased through other LLC's they owned. Unfortunately for the banks, no smaller tracts existed and the LLC owning the parent tract never transferred ownership to the LLC claiming ownership of the smaller tract despite the fact Charles Evans provided title certificates showing the LLC did indeed own the land in reality it did not own. The banks were in effect making unsecured loans and in reality, the Evans brothers were perpetuating a ponzi scheme using banks instead of investors.
The government also claims the Evans Brothers ran out of "suitable properties" to purchase and began stacking (my word) new mortgages on top of the older ones on the same land. Mississippi Valley Title testified in an October 2009 Chancery Court hearing the scheme was discovered when bank examiners asked Holmes County Bank to see the deeds on two loans as part of its examination. The bank called the MVT for a copy. MVT had no copies of the deeds and the bank could not find one at the courthouse. Holmes County Bank notified the title insurance company about the missing deeds. MVT attempted to contact Mr. Evans, who would not return calls or appear at his office. MVT investigated and discovered fraud took place.
This is the only information available from the government at this time. The filings yesterday are probably the reason why the government postponed the December trial date of Charles Evans to March. A Praecipe for Summons has been filed for hearing on December 21 at 2:30 PM and states an indictment has been filed.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
FOOD DRIVE: The food drive JJ conducted for MARL earlier this year was very successful. You donated nearly a thousand pounds of high-quality dog food that the MARL was able to put to good use. I'm starting another dog food drive for the Christmas season but with a little twist: This time we are going to help the Animal Rescue Fund, Rankin County's only no-kill animal shelter.
Here is the deal. If you go to either Briarwood Pet Store on Canton Mart or La Chateau la Pooch (The Snooty Pooch) by the railroad tracks in Madison and buy dog or cat food, leave it there and I will deliver it to the ARF. These two stores sell good-quality pet food that is needed by ARF. Needed because most people donate grocery-store pet food but the dog food at these stores is better for dogs recovering from sugeries or have allergies. 5, 15, or 30 lb bag, treats, doesn't matter, just donate. Food drive ends December 20.
Most people don't have the time to drive thirty minutes out to the ARF in Pelahatchie. You've got kids, you've got work, soccer, dance lessons and all that keep you busy stuff so I will make it easy for you. Buy the food, leave it at these pet stores, and I will deliver it. Thanks for all of your help this year. Pippa Jackson and her crew perform some miracles out there and deserve your support. Click Here to Read More..
Marshallramsey.com is now added to the list of feeds in the center of the page. Naturally I put his feed above the Clarion-Ledger. I've tried to include a good mix of local, national, political, and financial feeds on this site. The goal is provide the reader with the latest news in one quick read of the page. Local and statewide feeds are: WLBT, Clarion-Ledger, The Rez News, Y'all Politics, NMisscommentor, Marshall Ramsey, Jackson Now!, and the Mississippi Business Journal. Finance feeds are Zero Hedge, The Market Ticker, Mish, Housingwire, Calculated Risk, and the Wall Street Journal. Political or opinion feeds are Redstate, Wall Street Journal's editorial page, American Thinker, Ace of Spades. Feeds from the Times-Picayune are posted as well because well, its New Orleans. Michael Yon's and Soldier of Fortune's feeds are posted as well so you can get a little dose of what goes on overseas outside of the reporting by the regular media. Enjoy.Click Here to Read More..
Just remember, Mississippi Farm Bureau does not think this should be a first-offense felony. Click Here to Read More..
Friday, December 17, 2010
The Rez News blog is now added to the list of feeds in the center of the page. This blog reports on all things Ross Barnett Reservoir. I would have added Marshall Ramsey's blog to the feeds but Mr. Ramsey has not enabled that feature on his site. Enjoy.Click Here to Read More..
City of Madison crime reports through December 16, 2010.
There are no recent Jackson crime reports to post as they have not been updated since November 14, 2010. I spoke to JPD Spokeswoman Colendula Green this week about the lack of updates. She never called me back to tell my why they were not updated. Chris Mims, Communications Director for the City of Jackson, informed me in an email the person responsible for posting the reports has been out for several weeks and he is working on posting them. Stay tuned.
Speaking of not letting things go, it seems as if Zach Scruggs just won't go away. Alan Lange over at Y'all Politics reported a few things said by Scruggs apologist Curtis Wilkie on Paul Gallo's radio show yesterday:
"Zach is looking. I think . . . he'd love to be able to practice law again. He has this motion before the court to have his conviction vacated as a result of the US Supreme Court decision last summer." audio recording.
Apparently these people have no shame. Mr. Scruggs was also reported on NMC's website as having coffee with Hal Nielson, the FBI agent once assigned to the Scruggs case:
"First, I’ve heard from a couple of reliable sources that Hal Neilson and Zach Scruggs were having a coffee together at the coffee shop on North Lamar recently."
Coincidence that Mr. Nielson is filing suit against Lange? Is a Scruggs counter-offensive in the works? What will it take to make these people go away? Dear Zach, Curtis, Hal, and the rest of your little gang: The Scruggs bunch was guilty. Period. You still have your money, now get lost. You could follow Michael Milken's example after he got out of prison but no, helping others and doing something that benefits society does not fit into your small minds and big egos. Its all about payback and escaping justice. The Scruggs gang was caught, prosecuted, and convicted. Now like a bad case of shingles, Zach and his ilk keep coming around for a rematch. Someone kick this guy in the balls and make him go away.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
The Wall Street Journal published two articles last week on the latest CQ Press crime rankings. The December 4 article reported such rankings can be flawed due to cities different classifications of criminal activity and geographical area. A city may receive an artificial boost because only the city is included while another one is pushed further down the list because it includes its "metro area" or surrounding suburbs (St. Louis was a good example of this discrepancy.).
"When CQ Press's City Crime Rankings were published last week, they prompted headlines nationwide, particularly in cities that ranked near the top or bottom. The rankings showed that Detroit had the country's highest crime rate among the largest cities, while El Paso was the least dangerous.
But critics say such comparisons are meaningless. Cities differ markedly in how tightly their borders are drawn around their inner core, and how much of outlying areas are included within city limits can have a big effect on crime levels. The rankings are based only on reported crime, and reporting rates vary, criminologists say. Also, personal safety varies tremendously depending on lifestyle, income and neighborhood.
"Knowing the city someone lives in tells you next to nothing about their risk for crime," says Richard Rosenfeld, a criminologist at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and a longtime critic of the rankings...."
"The CQ Press ranking takes into account a city's per-capita incidence of six serious crimes: murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and motor-vehicle theft. For each crime, the editors calculate how each city's rate differs from the national average. These six percentage differences are averaged to produce an overall score, and then cities are ranked by that score, which, roughly speaking, represents the difference between a city's rate of serious crime and the national rate.
This method produces some quirks. A city with below-average levels in five of the categories but a very high level of, say, car theft could score poorly. Also, if crime is down nationally, a city whose crime rate falls more slowly could see its crime ranking rise. And there is very little difference near the middle of the rankings, meaning differences of 20 or 30 ranking positions might not be statistically significant..."
The author wrote an additional blog post on this subject. A group of criminologists formed one group, Improving Crime Data that claims it uses a more statistically accurate approach. Its rankings "The rankings reflect (1) the raw rates per 100,000 population and (2) the rates adjusted for differences across the cities in socio-economic factors. The adjusted rates result in important changes in the ranking for several cities".
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Brown and Brister trade licks at yesterday's MPACT hearing. Reeves says program will recover as it did from earlier recession.
Click Here to Read More..
State Treasurer Tate Reeves told a House Committee hearing yesterday the Mississippi Prepaid College Tuition program is solvent and has recovered from similar turmoil in the financial markets. The hearing was attended by several reporters, officials of the MPACT program, nearly a dozen committe members, and even Senator and Treasurer candidate Lee Yancey. The House Appropriations Committee called a hearing after an annual actuarial report on the program submitted to the board overseeing MPACT stating the unfunded liability is $84.7 million and it is 75% funded. The program (see chart below) was nearly 100% funded in 2007 but the financial meltdown of 2008 devastated the markets thus having a negative impact on the value of the program's assets. The legislature created MPACT in 1997. It is operated by a Board of Directors chaired by the State Treasurer. The program currently has 21,000 participants, $218 million in assets, and current claims of $18 million. See earlier post.
The hearing opened with some fireworks as Representative Cecil Brown and actuary Mike Brister repeatedly clashed and pulled no punches when speaking to each other. Mr. Stringer opened the hearing and immediately gave the microphone to Mr. Brown. The Jackson Democrat said "alot of kids have benefited from these plans" and made it clear throughout the hearing he supported MPACT. Mr. Brown pointed out Tennessee shut down its plan this year and Alabama was forced to suspend new enrollments for one year as well. The old warhorse showed up ready to do battle with Mr. Brister as he immediately told Mr. Brister he did not appreciate his "incompetent quote" in the newspaper.
Mr. Brister told the Clarion-Ledger last week "I have never seen something handled so incompetently," Brister said. "I've been an actuary for 30 years, and I've never encountered someone so incompetent that they couldn't schedule a business meeting and they had to resort to subpoenas to do it."
Mr. Brown repeatedly attacked Mr. Brister for his public comments and then addressed State Treasurer Tate Reeves: "I don't care about your politics. I care about this plan. I take great offense to that quote about being a spender" (Mr. Reeves told the CL "I'm just a little more cautious spending other people's money than Johnny Stringer or Cecil Brown."). Mr. Brown then moved on to asking Mr. Brister about his qualifications and his work on the report. Mr. Brister stated he has conducted an independent annual report on the program for the last five years. Mr. Brown then asked who is client is. The actuary replied the treasurer is. Mr. Brown sharply retorted the state of Mississippi and the board is. The two argued over this point for a several more minutes.
Mr. Brown next addressed the assumptions used by the Board. The MPACT Board bases the program on an annual rate of return of 7.8% and an annual tuition increase of 6.5%. Mr. Brown, a CPA and partner in Meadley Brown, said he spoke to board members and found no mention of the assumptions in the minutes. Mr. Brister hotly denied the allegation the assumptions were not discussed at board meetings and said they had in fact been discussed at the most recent one.
After the sparring subsided, Mr. Brister said the goal each year was to ensure the rate of return outperformed the annual tuition increase by 20% and said he would argue "the estimates made by the plan are rather conservative." Mr. Brister said "we have been here before (see chart and 2002 report below). In 2000 the program was 100% funded, The S&P 500 lost thirty percent (tech bubble crash and 9/11) and in 2002 the program was 75% funded."
Mr. Brister continued and said "It only took five years to restore the plan. The S&P 500 dropped 39% in 2008 and 2009." Mr. Brown asked what the S&P 500 performance was for the last ten years (See charts above). Mr. Brister didn't answer the question and instead stated the program looked at the performance of the S&P 500 over twenty and eighty years when setting the assumptions. Mr. Brister admitted he participates in determining the assumptions. Mr. Brister was very abrupt in his answers and repeatedly raised his voice when answering Mr. Brown. Mr. Brown finally said "Please let me finish the questions before you go off again." Mr. Brown asked how the assumptions were first determined. Mr. Brister sharply replied they were already in place when he was retained by the state.
The fireworks continued as Mr. Brown asked Mr. Brister "Do you intend to send a bill". "I intend to bill them," replied Mr. Brister and further stated "I can not work on this plan if every time a legislator calls me, I have to work for free. I intend to get paid and send them a bill." Mr. Brown retorted "You expect me to pay you $300 an hour for forty-five minutes?" Mr. Brister said his time was valuable and that "you could sling a dead cat in Jackson and hit an attorney but would not hit an actuary." Mr. Brown said he and other representatives were going to request that Mr. Brister not be paid for his testimony. He then told Mr. Brister "You are one of the most arrogant people I have ever met." Mr. Brister, not backing down one bit, replied even more forcefully, "That is what my wife tells me." The MPACT program paid Mr. Brister $27,000 for his work this year and $34,000 last year. Mr. Brister also stated he was subpoenaed by the committee.
Mr. Reeves then sat in the hot seat. While Mr. Brown and Mr. Reeves disagreed at times, the temperature in the hearing lowered by several degrees as their disagreements were more cordial. Mr. Brown did not waste any time and asked the Treasurer "are you comfortable with this plan?"
Mr. Reeves said the Board determined all the assumptions used in the plan and took all actions. "My view is much like in the 2001, 2002, and 2003 time frame, no action was taken, the plan recovered, and that is the prudent course right now." Mr. Brown asked "Do you have any concerns about the $84 million unfunded liability?" and similar questions. Mr. Reeves told the Representative from Jackson it would decrease and while concerned, he thought the markets would continue to recover. Mr. Reeves then jibed back at Mr. Brown and said
"History does not always repeat itself. I assume it was a major concern in 2002 and 2003 when the program was in similar straits. We were 97% funded to the downturn. We have been here before. My view is that is likely (similar recovery) over the next four to five years."
Mr. Brown brought up Mr. Reeves' comments about Mr. Brown and spending then mentioned MPACT's advertising expenses. He and Representative Stringer said the expenses had increased by from $299,000 in 2007 to $399,000 in 2010 and it was their intent for the expenses to instead decrease. Mr. Reeves said "It would behoove you to look at the total expenses of the plan." The Treasurer's office told this correspondent the expenses declined from $1.501 million (17,000 participants) in 2002 to $1.291 million (21,000 participants) in 2011. Mr. Reeves then returned fire: "One thing we have not talked about is the 25,000 Mississippians who can go to college because of this plan. Let's talk about what was not in the Clarion-Ledger. " The two then sparred over why the two sides had not been able to meet privately. The Treasurer told Mr. Brown "The meeting was scheduled for November 18, which you canceled. The vast majority of the questions you asked today we could have addressed in a private meeting instead of a public hearing and that your questions are valid." The veteran legislator, lined and gray but still full of fire and vinegar, replied the meeting was canceled because Mr. Brister was first out of town, then because he refused to come unless he was paid. The meeting concluded with no questions by other legislators, even Steve Holland.
Right-click on document to rotate clockwise.
There will be a book-signing at Lemuria Bookstore December 16 from 4:30 PM to 7:00 PM for the Frascogna's new book, Gridiron Glory. Mike Frascogna Jr., Mike Frascogna III, Marty Frascogna, and many Mississippi high school football coaches will be on hand to sign copies.
Through the use of photos, Gridiron Glory tells the inspiring story of legendary Mississippi high school coaches, players and the guardians of the greatest football talent in America. Beginning with a photograph from 1905 featuring Chuck Trotter, Winona’s first quarterback, all the way to the 2009 State Championship 6-A game showcasing with nationally renowned South Panola, Gridiron Glory showcases vintage photography never-before seen by most Mississippi football enthusiasts.
The photos capture images from Jack Carlisle, Ken Bramlett, Harper Davis, Sammy Dantone, Ennis Proctor, Dan Davis, Robert Morgan, Willie Collins, Jim Drewery, W.C. Gorden, Bob Tyler along with many other coaches and players. Many of the people featured in the book will be in attendance to sign the new book at Lemuria on November 17 from 4:30 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.
Gridiron Glory is a must have gift for the Christmas season for any player, coach and any mother, father, band member or cheerleader who has shared in the Magnolia state’s football legacy. The book is authored by X.M. Frascogna, Jr. along with his sons Mike Frascogna III and Marty Frascogna, the popular authors of , Gridiron Gold, Y’all vs Us and this season’s Bull Cyclone Sullivan and the Lions of Scooba, Mississippi.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Update: I've spoken to several people, including a family member and can add some more details and knock down some of the crap people are posting in comments. The couple left the restaurant, the car drove by, one guy leaned over and drove while the driver leaned out the window and grabbed the purse. The woman could not break free and was dragged 100 feet before the car turned right and then turned again onto North State Street. Measurements were later taken and it was determined she was dragged approximately 1000 feet. Several witnesses saw what happened. The two thugs were black males. Period. A black witness who assisted the victim after she was free told the police "it was my color" that did this. The witness was lucky in that the pavement was repaved and not cratered or else she would probably have been killed at that speed. The victim and her husband did NOT know the hoodlums who committed this heinous act. To say otherwise is disgusting and will not be tolerated on this site. Period. The two black males were laughing as they dragged her down North State Street. It was a game to them. Its a shame keelhauling is not considered a constitutional penalty.
This email went out today. I've removed the names and the sender.
On this past Saturday evening at around 9:30 pm XXXXX XXXX and her husband XXXX were leaving a restaurant in the Fondren area and were walking to their car in the parking lot. XXXXXX had a purse with shoulder straps on her right shoulder at the time. A car came speeding up next to them and the driver of the car leaned out and grabbed the purse, pulling XXXXXX to the pavement. The passenger in the car leaned over and began steering the vehicle. The straps did not immediately come off XXXXXX’s shoulder, and the car continued through the parking lot, heading for North State Street, dragging XXXXXX along with it. The car exited the parking lot and headed north on North State Street, continuing to drag XXXXXX for a little over 1,000 feet. During this time XXXXXX’s body was bouncing on the pavement and periodically hitting the tires on the car, while she was trying to release the purse straps from her shoulder. She finally got free of the purse and the car sped off. During this time, her husband XXXX was chasing the car down the street wondering if she was still alive. (XXXX and XXXXX could both hear the guys in the car laughing.)
XXXXXX was transported to University Medical Center for treatment. Amazingly, she suffered no broken bones and no head or face injuries. She did suffer scrapes to her left shoulder, back, and hands. She was wearing some tall leather boots which protected her feet and legs during the attack. At around 2:30 am she was released from the trauma unit at UMC and was taken home where she continues to recover.
The two men in the car ended up with $150 in cash and three credit cards that were cancelled before they could be used. XXXXXX is bouncing back quickly. She continues to ask the question “How could anyone be so mean?” XXXXXX is also the daughter-in-law of XXXXXX XXXX. Please keep all of them in your prayers. It is so obvious that the Lord protected her and kept her from being killed. Her family and friends rejoice in that fact.
Larry Whitaker retired as publisher of the Clarion-Ledger. Leslie Hurst, a corporate vice-president from Lafayette, Louisiana will assume his position. This will be her first day on the job
Her reputation is that of a hatchet woman, loves to cut, and is rumored to be one responsible for some of the layoffs at the Jackson daily.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Vicksburg sent a letter to the Rankin-Hinds Pearl River Flood and Drainage Control District on December 2 stating it has "begun updating the project management plan and preparing a new feasibility cost-sharing agreement, which is necessary for study resumption." What does that mean in English? It means the Mississippi Congressional delegation sent a letter in August stating its support for a flood control plan that included a lake. The Secretary replied in September the Corps would "resume" the Pearl River Watershed study with a one-lake alternative, IF funds are available in the appropriate legislation.
The December 2 letter thus states the Corps is making the necessary arrangements and notifying the Levee Board of the costs it is responsible for the completion of the study. The Levee Board and Corps must share all costs equally for the study.
What: Mississippi Center for Public Policy Liberty Luncheon
When: Tuesday, December 14, 2010 -- 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Where: University Club. Tickets: $15 dollars.
Reservations: Call MCPP's Dawn Hynum @ 601-969-1300
Election 2010: The Untold Story
White House correspondent John Gizzi will be the keynote speaker at Mississippi Center for Public Policy's Liberty Luncheon, co-hosted by The Federalist Society, on Tuesday, December 14, 2010. Mr. Gizzi will discuss some mostly-unreported outcomes and incidents of the 2010 election. He will also cover the recall vote of Supreme Court justices in Iowa and the issue of electing vs. appointing judges.
Mr. Gizzi, the White House correspondent for Human Events, offers the “inside scoop” in his weekly politics column and Gizz-ette blog. The man who knows everyone in Washington got his start at Human Events in 1979 after graduating from Fairfield University in Connecticut and then working for the Travis County (Tex.) Tax Assessor.
Mr. Gizzi has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV programs, including those on C-SPAN, America's Voice, and Talk America, and is also a frequent contributor to the BBC. He is a past president of the Georgetown Kiwanis Club, past member of the St. Matthew's Cathedral's Parish Council, and secretary of the West End Friends of the Library. He is a recipient of the William A. Rusher Award for Journalistic Excellence and was named Journalist of the Year by the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2002.
Monday, December 13, 2010
This was pretty damn funny yesterday. Bears were totally fooled and looked like idiots after the TD. In fact, the whole game was funny as the Patriots made fools out of the Bears. Saints better watch out if they get back to the Super Bowl. Click Here to Read More..
The American Spectator interviewed Fox Business News Editor Charlie Gasparino about the relationship between President Obama and Wall Street. Mr. Gasparino, who made his bones covering financial topics for years at CNBC, provides some interesting quotes that will probably bother both liberals and conservatives. Liberals because the big banks thrived after receiving bailouts from Bush and Obama. Conservatives because the heads of most of these big banks tend to have politics that could be called progressive in nature and true conservatives hate crony capitalism.
Some passages from the interview:
"What I've seen over the years is this seemingly bizarre anomaly of how Wall Street, which is allegedly the epicenter of capitalism, in reality thrived on something that is very anti-capitalist, which is Big Government. Crony capitalism. And these guys aren't doing it just to make money on fees selling government bonds to finance the deficit or government programs. The people at the top have political beliefs that are strongly aligned with progressivism."
" When they looked at Obama they saw a guy who went to their schools, who shared their manners, who didn't break their chops. Obama was just so personally charming that something like Reverend Wright or Bill Ayers didn't have any effect. They believed at heart Obama was a moderate who understood them. And it panned out. If you look at one line of work that's done very well under Obama it isn't construction, it isn't small business or entrepreneurship. It's all the big banks that started making a ton of money the minute they got bailed out, and all those bailout mechanisms Bush put in place have been carried over and doubled down on under Obama." Interview"
Mr. Gasparino recently published a new book, Bought and Paid for, the Unholy Alliance Between Barack Obama and Wall Street. Mr. Gasparino's comments are not that surprising. The so-called financial reform bill didn't do much about the main reasons for the financial meltdown: leverage limits. In fact, Bill Clinton said at the much-ballyhooed press conference last week big banks should have more leverage than smaller banks. Obama bails out Citi, which should have collapsed. Where does Orzag go? Citi. Then there is Fannie and Freddie. Instead of including them in the financial reform bill, Obama gave them an unlimited line of credit on New Year's Eve last year. Did I mention the bill also had a major loophole for reporting derivatives contracts? Like I tell my friend Brian Johnson. All Obama did was take Bush's economic polices under Paulson-Bernanke-Geithner and inject them with steroids.
Looks like we are going to have a little hearing tomorrow on the state prepaid-college tuition program. The Clarion-Ledger reported on a rather comical exchange between Cecil Brown, Johnny Stringer, Tate Reeves, and actuary Mike Brister over the issue of Mr. Brister appearing before the committee. The reporter got her facts right in the story although it would have been nice if she included a copy of the report.
The hearing will be tomorrow at 2:00 PM in the House Appropriations room on the Second Floor.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Love to read and want to support this website? I've created a storefront on Amazon.com. Scroll down the page a little and you will see in the center a banner ad for the storefront with book selections that change each time the page is refreshed. Focused mainly on books related to this area such as The Help, Kings of Tort, and The Fall of the House of Zeus, a few on national politics, and some fiction I thought my readership might enjoy. I included Gridiron Gold and Y'all v. Us by the Frascognas. Nothing like some good football books. Knowing a segment of my readers are interested in the civil rights era, I attempted to include some good books. They are not showing up yet in the widget but I also included several pages of jazz cd's. I've listened to them all and can vouch for their quality. If you're looking for some good music, not a bad place to start. This site gets a small percentage of the sales so buy early and often. The list is not complete so feel free to make suggestions.Click Here to Read More..
You voted Kenneth Stokes the worst politician in the Jackson metro area last week. However, the vote was so lopsided, JJ reran the poll without Mr. Stoke's name to see who the true runner-up would be. Once again, not even close: Jackson City Councilman Chokwe Lamumba. After him came Madison County Supervisor Tim Johnson, then Attorney General Jim Hood.
Robert Smith (D.A.)
Saturday, December 11, 2010
State Auditor's efforts last year to bring E-911 service to all Mississippians blocked by legislature
WLBT reported the State Auditor tried to get the legislature to change the law allowing Mississippi counties to borrow against their E-911 funds until they actually provided E-911 service. Hinds County has recently come under media scrutiny for using millions of dollars in E-911 funds every year for payroll and other expenses even though the county does not have E-911 service. JJ obtained several exhibits that present a better idea of what the Auditor tried to accomplish and how many counties actually have E-911 service (or called "phase-II compliant).
There is a map of the state classifying each county according to what level of 911 service offered on the second page of the exhibit. 40 counties currently provide E-911 service. All but one county surrounding Hinds are Phase-II compliant. Eleven counties do not even offer 911 service. The sad truth is Hinds is the only "urban" part of the state lacking E-911 service. Forest, Lamar, Lee, Lauderdale, Warren, Madison, Rankin, Simpson, Harrison, Hancock, even Adams.... they all offer the service. To add insult to injury, most of the Delta counties offer it as well.
The Auditor makes his case for changing the E-911 laws on the first page of the exhibit. Mr. Pickering's office supported SB #3004 in 2009 that would have banned counties from spending or loaning E-911 funds until phase-II compliant. All counties were supposed to be phase-II compliant by 2005. The state loses several million dollars every year in federal money because it has not complied with federal law. Unfortunately for Mr. Pickering and Mississippians in thirty-eight counties, the bill died in committee. Sources inform JJ the supervisors, both Republicans and Democrats, resisted any changes to the current law that allows them to raid, oops, I meant borrow E-911 funds regardless of whether their counties offered the service.
Several lobbyists even informed JJ the supervisors lobbied the legislature last year and this year to give them access to the E-911 funds held by the CMRS board. The CMRS board collects the E-911 tax on your phone bill and distributes it to the counties. It designates some funds for projects but does not distribute them until the county is phase-II compliant. The supes discovered these funds existed and have tried to get their greedy little hands on them in the last two legislative sessions but failed to do so. Needless to say, its a safe bet the supervisors' interest in those funds were not to provide E-911 services. A 2009 FCC report to Congress states Mississippi collected nearly $12 million in 911/E-911 fees in 2008. Although the states are required to provide the information to the FCC, Mississippi and Louisiana were the only states that did not do so this year. It is unfortunate Mississippians suffer because too many of their leaders see E-911 funds as another cash cow instead of a means to fund a much-needed service. Casino money, tobacco settlement money, rainy day funds, E-911 funds. Lets spend it all right now and damn the consequences.
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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.
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.