Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Floodwaters of scandal continue to rise in Vicksburg

JJ is trying to bring its readers up to speed on the sexual harassment lawsuit against Vicksburg Mayor Paul Winfield, which is in addition to his arrest on federal bribery charges last week. Former Vicksburg Chief of Staff Kenya Burks filed the lawsuit after she was fired by the city. Ms. Burks alleged the mayor had an affair with her and numerous other women while Mayor of Vicksburg. Indeed, the documents filed in court paint a picture of a Mayor who saw himself as some type of Nubian Chief who had the right to sleep with all city employees if Ms. Burks is to be believed. She charges she was terminated after she ended the relationship.

Ms. Burks began her employment shortly after the Mayor took office in July 2009. She alleged the two had an affair while she was working for the city. Ms. Burks said when she tried to end the relationship, the Mayor made more advances towards her and offered her more money. The lawsuit is currently embroiled in a fight over discovery. The plaintiff has been trying for some time to obtain emails and phone records she alleges will show proof of numerous other affairs the Mayor had. The Mayor has been resisting providing such records to the plaintiff. Ms. Burks finally filed a motion to compel and a motion for sanctions against the Mayor.

Mayor Winfield objected on the grounds such discovery was a "fishing expedition" and violated his right to privacy. He said he did not fire her but the board of aldermen voted to fire Ms. Burks. What is interesting is some of the statements the Mayor's lawyer makes while trying to quash discovery:

"Individuals have a reasonable expectation of privacy on their personal cell phones. In fact, a city employee has a right to the expectation of privacy on city computers." (I'm sure that is news to more than a few public employees subjected to public records requests for their emails.)

"Evidence concerning Mayor Winfield’s alleged extra-marital affairs with individuals who do not work for the City of Vicksburg is irrelevant to any aspect of Plaintiff’s claims in this matter."

"Whether or not Mayor Winfield had any extra-marital relationships, as Plaintiff claims, prior to or after being elected is irrelevant to this suit."

The Mayor didn't exactly deny other affairs in an objection to an interrogatory:

"Please identify any extramarital affairs Defendant Winfield has had in the past five (5) years.

RESPONSE: Objection. Defendant objects to this request to the extent it seeks information that is neither relevant to the claims or defenses of any party to this litigation, nor reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible infonnation. FUliher objection is made on the grOUlld that this request is interposed for improper purposes including annoyance and harassment of this Defendant, needlessly increasing the cost of this litigation."

Or this statement while trying to seal the case:

"Even assuming Mayor Winfield had extra-marital relationships, as Plaintiff alleges, any alleged extra-marital affairs with individuals prior to Mayor Winfield being elected Mayor of the City of Vicksburg, have absolutely no relevance to this suit. Furthermore, evidence of extra-marital affairs allegedly occurring after Mayor Winfield was elected also is irrelevant because there is no evidence these alleged affairs were with City of Vicksburg employees – the only “affair” that would be even arguably relevant."

We are arguing over which affairs are relevant, not if the Mayor actually had them? Nice. Ms. Burks then makes more allegations in a memo in support of her motion to compel filed earlier this month:

"Interrogatory No. 6 requests Defendant Winfield to identify his relationship with Jackie Walker. Jackie Walker, Mayor Winfield’s current secretary, is believed to have had a sexual affair with Mayor Winfield while she was employed with the City of Vicksburg......"

"Interrogatory No. 10 requests Defendant Winfield to identify his relationship with Deborah Blake. Ms. Blake is employed by the City of Vicksburg in the city clerk’s office, and is the ex-wife of police officer Randy Blake. It is believed that Mr. Winfield had a relationship with Ms. Blake during the time Mr. Winfield was having a relationship with Plaintiff and after Plaintiff’s employment with City ended. Michael Mayfield, who is an Alderman for the City, has also made mention of this fact on several occasions. See Plaintiff’s Responses to Discovery at p. 22, attached hereto as Exhibit “G.” Mr. Winfield was adamant about firing Randy Blake while Plaintiff was employed by the City of Vicksburg. Plaintiff never understood why because Mr. Winfield would always say that Randy Blake’s godfather/uncle, Mr. Jim Sturgis, was a very close friend and political supporter of Mr. Winfield Then one day, Mr. Winfield revealed to Plaintiff that he thought Randy Blake was less than a man for putting Ms. Blake off child support. At that point, Plaintiff did not know Deborah Blake. Plaintiff asked the question “Well does Randy have custody of his kids?” Mr. Winfield stated, ‘Yes”. And Plaintiff asked, “Well why shouldn’t she be off child support? “ Mr. Winfield responded that Mr. Blake was a weak man and never should have done that to her. He then proceeded to talking about Randy’s current fiancĂ©e’/wife Mary Cole-Rather and how promiscuous she is. Mr. Winfield said that he heard that Mr. Blake did not like him and had been talking negatively about him in the community. Plaintiff asked Mr. Winfield why Mr. Blake did not like him. Mr. Winfield responded that it was because he had slept with both Ms. Blake and Ms. Cole-Rather in the past. Plaintiff responded by saying “Do you realize what you are saying to me?” Mr. Winfield replied, “No, No all of this happened before you.

14. Later Plaintiff was informed that Ms. Blake had to sleep with Mr. Winfield in order to be transferred from the City Water and Gas Department to the Clerk’s Office. Plaintiff was also informed that when questioned as to how she got transferred, Ms. Blake’s answer was “You know Paul is gullible, I had sex with him and he made sure I was transferred to City Hall.”

15. On a separate incident, HR Director Walterine Langford and City Clerk Walter Osborne, were reportedly having a conversation in the Clerk’s office. Plaintiff has been informed that during this conversation (between Walterine Langford and Walter Osborne), Ms. Blake kept chiming in with facts about Mayor Winfield’s personal and financial life. Apparently, Ms. Langford found this conversation to be strange and asked Mr. Osborne, “How does Deborah know so much about the Mayor’s personal life?” Mr. Osborne then responded, “You know Deborah is sleeping with the Mayor now.”

 However, the Mayor finally responded by arguing in a motion to strike filed two weeks ago:

"Burks' motion to compel, together with its supporting "Memorandum" and Exhibits, should be stricken on the grounds that they are filled with defamatory statements, unfounded accusations of fornication, and other scandalous behavior by the Mayor and private citizens having no connection to this litigation.  In spite of the Court's admonitions, Burks filed her motion to compel relying on nothing more than lies, innuendos, speculation, unsworn statements, rumors, and rank hearsay."

He also accused of her "manipulating the media" by making unfounded and defamatory statements in her court filings.  Regardless of who is right, one most wonder what exactly is going on over there in Vicksburg?

               

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

JJ needs to have a contest to select appropriate background music to accompany the reading of this stuff. May I suggest Harper Valley PTA?

Anonymous said...

What is going on? Incompetent banana republic government. Think of it as Zimbabwe on the Mississippi.

Anonymous said...

"Nubian Chief"? Certain racial overtones there. Sounds more like a white Mississippi sheriff circa 1960.

Anonymous said...

I think that it is a crime that elected officials that get caught breaking laws don't have to clean out their offices and go to the house (or jail) in a timely maner. Based on what I have read about this clown they are going to have to DRAG him out by his feet!

KaptKangaroo said...

Popcorn, check. Cued up Harper Valley PTA (nice), check. EZ chair, check. Bring on the drama. We haven't had a good scandal as of late. This one appears to be promising.

Anonymous said...

OK lets drop Nubian Chief to be fair and refer to is actions as those of a Washington DC Mayor.Where is the coke? You be my womens!

Ophelia said...

So, parents can name a girlchile "Kenya" and that's just dandy...but to dare whisper the term "Nubian" is naughty? *sigh*...only in Vicksbabwe...

Anonymous said...

Harper Valley PTA is too white, like baseball (according to Harvey Johnson)

Ophelia said...

Yes, HV PTA mighty, mighty whitey. How 'bout this for (soon-to-be-ex) Mayor Winfield?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpJvrBt_HwQ

KaptKangaroo said...

Strike that, cuing up Barrett!!!

exjxnres said...

I don't know why she got so upset, he already established WHAT she was/is, he was just haggling about the cost. Obviously, he did not offer enough to keep her happy...

Anonymous said...

Ophelia; Here's your clue....A 'Nubian chief' is a powerful negro tribal leader. The comparison is too obvious.

This isn't a racial issue. It's a Southern novella about a sports star, power, opportunity and crime. Besides, one of the players just mentioned in the lawyer's document (above) is a woman of color who married a white gentleman, further adding reality to the novella.

So, while this circus has many clowns, they all are painted so as to disguise race. Only one of the clowns has multiple outfits in his closet and that is Mr. Winfield.

Anonymous said...

you guys aren't going to make any hay/wild assertions out of the fact that twitwell's firm (albeit judge gibbs would be the contact) is defending winfield? c'mon--that is the type of stuff i have grown to love about this blog.

Kingfish said...

And I have referred to quite a few white people as barbarians on this website, a term that came out of the past as well.

If the allegations are indeed true, are there any indications he didn't act like one where he thought the city was his playtoy and the female employees were his property?

Anonymous said...

You should post the questions and her answers to the Interrogatories that Quinton Whitwell and Gibbs asked her on behalf of the Mayor
. She thoroughly answered every question, but Mayor Winfield refuses to answer his. Now that is some good reading.

Anonymous said...

We have a second on 2:28's request.

The questions not asked will be just as interesting as those asked and answered.

Anonymous said...

I read all of it- All 30 pages. And either she is a fortune teller or she told the truth. Because most of what she wrote last year came true this year. And it is strange that the Mayor can use taxpayer funds to pay his personal attorney fees. Especially when he is an employee of that Law Firm. The Mayor works for Gibbs Whitwell. He was involved in a faulty bond deal last year as an employee of GibbsWhitwell. And this was after the lawsuit was filed. http://www.ddtonline.com/news/local/article_e135fd04-cd04-11e1-b73f-0019bb2963f4.html

Anonymous said...

Interesting the number of Ole Miss blogs that are denying any memory of this guy. Most are saying they don't recall him, a few are denying he came off the bench and others are asking "WHO"?

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