Friday, March 21, 2014

Looks like Junior wanted some reparations.

You read that correctly.  Representative Earl Banks introduced the Melvin Priester Reparation Act in the 1998 session of the legislature.  The bill died in committee but would have paid for part of Young Priester's Harvard education if passed.  The short bill is posted below.


MISSISSIPPI LEGISLATURE
1998 Regular Session
To: Universities and Colleges; Appropriations
By: Representative Banks

House Bill 1626

AN ACT TO CREATE THE MELVIN PRIESTER REPARATION SCHOLARSHIP ACT; TO PROVIDE THAT THE LEGISLATURE SHALL APPROPRIATE SIXTY THOUSAND DOLLARS THAT SHALL BE DISTRIBUTED BY THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF STATE INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER LEARNING AS A COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIP TO MELVIN PRIESTER AND ANY OTHER HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT WHO APPLIED IN 1996 AND 1997 FOR THE ROBERT BYRD SCHOLARSHIP BUT DID NOT HAVE A HIGH SCHOOL TRANSCRIPT AND WERE THEREFORE NOT CONSIDERED FOR THE ROBERT BYRD SCHOLARSHIP; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES. 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:

SECTION 1. This section shall be known and may be cited as the Melvin Priester Reparation Act. The Legislature shall appropriate One Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($1,500,000.00) which shall be distributed by the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning as a college scholarship to be known as the Melvin Priester Reparation Scholarship Act and any other student who applied in 1996 and 1997 for the Robert Byrd Scholarship, had straight A's in high school, was enrolled in all Advanced Placement courses in high school and, however, had no senior high transcript and was thereby precluded from being considered for the Robert Byrd Scholarship. The board is charged with the duty of determining those high school students who qualify for the scholarship provided under this section and distributing the funds to those qualified students in such a manner as to give each such student Six Thousand Dollars ($6,000.00) if that student would have received a Robert Byrd Scholarship if he had been considered for it upon review of his transcripts. The Legislature shall appropriate the funds necessary to carry out the purpose of this section.

SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1998. Link to bill

Young Priester was apparently denied a Robert Byrd Scholarship.  This federally-funded scholarship awarded up to $1,500 per year to eligible college students and could be renewed for three more years.  Thus a student could obtain $6,000 in scholarship money before he graduated from college.

Nice to see Mr. Priester and his family were trying to get him some reparations for Harvard.  Guess some Priesters are more equal than others or something like that.  

If Mr. Priester loses the Mayoral election, will he try to seek reparations from the City Council?

49 comments:

Anonymous said...

Reparations for descendants of slavery is a serious moral and legal issue. At least, it was for Chokwe Lumumba, since he lectured at a legal forum on that very subject at Harvard Law School. This bill is an example of how private persons seek private measures when damages are social. The Priesters benefited from the WLBT license transfer as they were part of the corporate marketing deal and attached to Melton.

Anonymous said...

I'm a bit confused. Why wouldn't a kid with his record of academic excellence not be eligible?
Why couldn't he provide a high school transcript? Did he meet his course requirements early?
Does this mean home schooled kids aren't eligible?
Why just those 2 years?
I don't think reparations are the way to go and I don't think the Priesters needed financial aid, but I wonder if there's a glitch that should be fixed or if this was just a way to point out his accomplishment like many of the " recognition" bills?

Anonymous said...

Let me try to sort this out. A black kid got turned down for a scholarship named after the last KKK leader in Congress (who was still in Congress at the time). The handout, er reparations legislation specifically refers to someone with straight As who was enrolled ONLY in Advanced Placement courses (an impossibility today, and probably was then as well), who got turned down for a scholarship because he/she could not provide a transcript of the grades.

1) Why couldn't they provide a transcript?

2) Since they need to prove they had all As to get this reparations scholarship, how are they going to do that if they don't have a transcript of their grades? If they can produce one, why didn't they do that in the first place?

3) The introduction mentions $60,000 as the appropriation, then later on it says $1,500,000. Just a small difference, I'm sure, but what happens to the $1,494,400 that isn't used for scholarships? Administrative fees to politically connected cronies perhaps?

No matter how much coffee I drink this will never make sense. If a kid doesn't have a transcript how does he prove he had the grades?

Thanks for spelunking this one, KF. Nothing has changed since 1998 as far as handouts for the politically connected is concerned.

Anonymous said...

Hey 7:05 - Lincoln freed the slaves 150 years ago, and trillions have been spent on social programs since then to benefit the descendants of slaves. Enough is enough, and it's time for them to take care of themselves now.

The government of England deliberately tried to starve my ancestors during the potato famine, but they survived by coming here and supporting themselves. I didn't even get an invitation to Will & Kate's wedding as a reparation - you think they'd even give me a bag of fries now?

Welcome to 2014! We're broke, and you're on your own. If a community can't control its own social pathology, too bad. Every other ethnic group that has migrated here has seen large numbers of their members succeed.

Anonymous said...

If a community can't control its own social pathology, too bad. Every other ethnic group that has migrated here has seen large numbers of their members succeed.

Applause, applause.

Anonymous said...

Hey, let's start at basics.

Priester was the valedictorian of his class at Murrah. You don't get into Harvard without providing a high school transcript.

There is a serious matter of integrity, ethics and honesty at play here.

Kingfish said...

Just to clarify. From now on on this site, Octavian is Chokwe Jr and Junior is Melvin

Anonymous said...

In the quest to always cast people of color as wanting something for nothing, it should be noted that in Mississippi most handouts go to good ole boys who milk the system to acquire wealth based on hand-outs to the politically connected. So what's the difference. People always preach work and free enterprise. What free enterprise are we talking about based on the fact that 99% of state purchases go to the same good ole boy network. It is very easy to always throw shade when you can't see the moat in your own eye.

Anonymous said...

In the video posted of Priester's announcement, he referred to himself as a JPS kid who made it to Harvard. On his campaign fliers, he states that he was valedictorian of his class at Murrah. How can you go to public schools for 12 years and not have a transcript?

Who killed the mayor? said...

I've been confused by all the Juniors. I kind of like "CJ" and "MJ".

Kingfish said...

No one ever mistook Chris Jackson for Michael Jordan

Anonymous said...

Robert (the Klansman) Byrd . . . Scholarship Award.
That's funny.

Kingfish said...

No more comments about the national reparations debate

Kingfish said...

He went to St Andrews until he transferred in high school

Anonymous said...

What year of high school did he transfer in, or better yet, how many years did this "JPS kid" actually attend JPS?

Anonymous said...

Melvin went to St. Andrews. During his Senior year it became apparent that he would not be valedictorian of his class. He transferred to Murrah in order to position himself for the "high honor."

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Sounds like opportunism is a way of life for Junior. And scamming.

Anonymous said...

It seems petty if one or both of the schools or the Dept of Education ( if they have a role) refused to cooperate and provide the needed information.

IF it were JPS or the Dept of Ed. and thus state supported, this makes somewhat more sense.

He earned his grades and He had to work hard to do so. His parents had to approve a transfer.

I think I'd be a bit pissy too if I earned a scholarship and some yahoo(s) played games at my expense.

I'm also not surprised he was not going to be St As valedictorian given the culture that existed at the time. Too many on the board or faculty would have not seen that a being good for the school's image.

Kingfish said...

You are correct. The cooperation between public and private schools has not always been um, stellar.

However, trying to get the legislature to fund your Harvard education is something completely different.

Anonymous said...

11:11 and 11:33 are completely wrong. I was in the class of '97 with Melvin. He left at the beginning of 10th grade along with a lot of other kids both black and white because, honestly, St . Andrews in the mid 1990's had a LOT of issues (can you say "Dan Rose"). That lie about him leaving senior year to be valedictorian is a rumor people started because it blew a lot of people's minds that someone would dare say "screw you" to oh so nice and liberal and perfect St. Andrews and then go to JPS. Also, how could he leave because his dad was gonna run for judge when his dad didn't run for judge until 2010? That's like 13 years of advance planning. He is an awesome dude and it was a huge scandal at the time because everyone acted like St. Andrews was the only good school in the whole state and if you left St. Andrews you were doomed. Him leaving and then getting into Harvard three years later blew a huge hole in the St. Andrews brand and so people started pumping this lie about him staying through the end of senior year and hopping ship at the last minute to be valedictorian elsewhere.

Kingfish said...

Thank you. Knew it was ninth or tenth grade. His dad wasn't elected until 2010 if I'm not mistaken.

Anonymous said...

8:30 - Good for you! Right on the money!

Anonymous said...

@12:42: St. A alum here too. Don't think we need to start naming specific teachers…I, for one, loved Dan Rose and let's be serious that lots of kids left but lots of kids from Murrah & other schools came to St. A as well during that time period as is always the case.

I know some St. A friends & many teachers who are offended that he doesn't publicly include St. A on his resume and claims to be a product of JPS…while I don't care (frankly because I don't live in Jackson) I do wonder why he would leave off St. A as it appears (online anyway) that many of his most vocal supporters are his old St. A friends.

Also I am confused by the transcript thing. So long as they paid what was owed on his tuition St. A would have released his transcripts and at the very least he would have had transcripts from his 2 years at Murrah. It may be the wording of the proposed bill which is confusing me so hopefully someone can clarify. Is the bill saying/implying that Melvin did not have high school transcripts? I can't imagine that being the case.

Anonymous said...

Can somebody post Priester's legal experience? I see he has his own firm. Did he practice anywhere else before hanging a shingle?

Anonymous said...

Sounds pretty cut and dry to me. He didn't get it because he didn't follow the rules and cried after the fact to change the rules. Kind of like the election lady who cried because she was left off the ballot because she didn't file paperwork in time or the library lady crying about not getting a job she never applied for.

Anonymous said...

I know the Priesters from a local legal society. Priester, Jr. was an associate for four years at the San Francisco office of a law firm called Morrison & Foerster. Look 'em up. MoFo, as it's popularly know, is one of the most elite law firms on earth. They are only hiring kids from Stanford, Yale, Harvard, etc. and even the blacks are top of the class, not affirmative action types. I believe he did securities and financial services litigation. He moved back in 08 or 09 to help take care of his sick grandmother and keep the family firm going once his dad went to the bench full time (Judge Priester was appointed to be a special circuit judge before wining election in 2010 as a county judge). The Mississippi bar website shows Junior as getting his Mississippi license in 2008. He must have really loved grandma since the starting salary for a first year attorney at a place like MoFo is easily $150,000 before bonuses. Since coming back to Jackson, he's developed a pretty varied practice. He represents a lot of black doctors in business matters. He gets pulled in by a lot of solo and small firm practitioners when they need to write a brief against one of the big boys and actually have some law behind it. Judging from their new office, I assume Junior's holding his weight. Your guess is as good as mine as to why he doesn't talk more about where he worked and what he's done. professionally.

Anonymous said...

The class of '97 at St. A started high school with 78 students. Graduated with 52 or 54. Over 20 students left. That grade got the shaft on a lot of issues. Lots went wrong. So St. A alum who talk about kids coming, too, may be in other classes and unaware of all the serious mess that class suffered.

Kingfish said...

8:53: Best explanation of his resume I've seen. Better than the campaign's. Hint hint.

Anonymous said...

The whole sob story sounds bogus. If he couldn't get a transcript to support the application for a KKK scholarship are you seriously suggesting Harvard took him without seeing a transcript? Doesn't pass the straight face test.

And KF - you put the word "reparations" in the headline for this item. This town, this item - they're just a microcosm of the national issue.

I admit 8:53 has posted an impressive resume for him - why can't his campaign do the same? Although I wonder if he's "pulled in by a lot of solo and small firm practitioners" when they need to fill a quota (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) in front of a local, notoriously racist, poetry-spouting judge [no names please :-)]

Anonymous said...

1:15 am Harvard can see what a kid does on the SAT and ACT. They can see membership in The National Honor Society. They can do interviews and read a required essay.

You make it clear you know nothing about Ivy League schools.

And, you clearly aren't a member of the bar in high standing if you don't know how well regarded Priester is in the legal community.

You really can't stand this challenge to your prejudice can you?

I hate to further burst your bubble but the large regional law firms in MS have recruited and hired more than black law review graduates from prestigious law schools.

Competence trumps race when you want to make money!

Anonymous said...

Melvin is a qualified attorney...competent to practice at any firm in MS. That's a fact.

Is he capable of dealing with the likes of LaRita or other council members?

Is he ready to raise taxes on the poorest people in the country?

Does he have the back bone to not hire gobs of people and make the city a jobs program?

Can he Engage the services of qualified contractors without having to cave in to quota and quality concerns for hundreds of millions of dollars in needed upgrades?

Anonymous said...

You make it clear you know nothing about Ivy League schools.

Look in the mirror pal because you know nothing about Harvard. Gotta submit that high school transcript. Period.

Junior should clear this up because the notion that he couldn't secure a "senior high" transcript is an outright falsehood.

Kingfish said...

He didn't get into Ha-vahd without a transcript. Not an issue.

Now using the legislature to try to get some scholly money and an act named after him? That is worthy of some jackassery.

Anonymous said...

KF don't know what Harvard is doing these days but proof of a diploma or GED, high enough scores on testing , exceptional performance in the TIP program at Duke or other such recognition/recommendations and they and any other Ivy League school would take you back then.
They don't like to overlook exceptional students and let someone else grab them.
I suspect Melvin was engaging in " jackassery" with that bill. Given the way some of those dumb but arrogant good ole boys in the legislature patronize blacks and women and young people, it wouldn't surprise me if that was the only motivation...however misguided it's proving to be.

Anonymous said...

"You make it clear you know nothing about Ivy League schools."

When I served on the faculty of one I did, indeed, interview applicants and that included reviewing the transcipt that every single one managed to provide.

If you consider that a prejudice, so be it. I can't fix stupid.

Anonymous said...

...but proof of a diploma or GED, high enough scores on testing , exceptional performance in the TIP program at Duke or other such recognition/recommendations and they and any other Ivy League school would take you back then.

Bullshit. The mere proof of a diploma or GED was not enough to get you into an Ivy League school. Not now and not back then.

Kingfish said...

Here is a comment that was pretty good but for the last sentence or two in it so here is the part that was passable.

4:29 Melvin was an associate at an enormous prestigious firm in CA for several years. He's very bright and capable. Now...his mother? She's a Harvard educated lawyer too..and she will bludgeon you to death telling you in every phone call. His father is about a good a person as you will find...and an outstanding judge. He leaves St A off because it's not politically popular for a black man to have been educated at such an elitist place.

Anonymous said...

FYI, Harvey's former Chief of Staff, Sean Perkins, is an SA alum, too.

Anonymous said...

Odd then "4:29" how Jackson Academy is suddenly palatable by so many blacks.

Anonymous said...

FYI, Harvey's former Chief of Staff, Sean Perkins, is an SA alum, too.

Do you have a point or opinion beyond the common knowledge?

Anonymous said...

Sure, there's a point. It's that if somehow the "stain" of going to SA is going to be a problem for a black man in Jackson city politics, that "stain" is not isolated to a single campaign or administration.

Anonymous said...

Priester's school transcript is in the same safe deposit box as Obama's birth certificate! Enough of the outsiders.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it is likely that an 18 year old kid approached a state legislator and asked that a bill be introduced on his behalf. It is much more likely that family and/or family friends were behind this. So, I don't think this raises an issue about Melvin himself, but it does raise an issue about the people who were involved in this bill. Are those same people still around the candidate?

I really think the circumstances of this bill need to be addressed by the Priester campaign.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, to suggest " Junior" wanted the reparations is misleading.

I guess KF wanted to see who actually read far enough to look at the bill's author.

Anonymous said...

To put that headline on it, as if the "reparations" under discussion here had anything to do with the debate over slavery reparations, which they clearly didn't, is the kind of semi-sleazy click-baiting that, unfortunately, overrides most of the things that are positive about this site.

JJ, you could be taken a lot more seriously if you'd resist the urge to sensationalize and bait the loons. Maybe that's not what you, want, but I think you're tainting your obvious talent for sniffing out stories. Just a thought.

Kingfish said...

This was a "jackassery" post.

The word "reparation" was used three times. in the bill. In fact, it was the title.

Anonymous said...

... is the kind of semi-sleazy ...

Good news KF, you are only semi-sleazy. Not sleazy or completely sleazy but only a little bit sleazy.

... you could be taken a lot more seriously ...

An anonymous nobody lecturing KF about being taken seriously. Go figure.

Anonymous said...

No one seems to care that Dj jr. defended the mortgage industry against consumer suits related to the financial services industry fraud? Why is that?

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