Thursday, October 8, 2015

Jackson airport pays nearly a million dollars per year to lawyers.

Attorneys have billed over $3.4 million to the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority since 2012.  JJ obtained the monthly billings through public records requests and reviewing claims dockets.  The years have been good to law firms that represented JMAA.  The overall budget for JMAA in 2014 was only $17.8 million.  The billings are:

2015 (8 months) billings: $503,687
2015 (8 months) monthly average: $71,955

2014 billings: $980,747
2014 monthly average: $81,728

2013 billings: $684,754
2013 monthly average: $57,062

2012 billings: $1,293,633
2012 monthly average: $107,802

Total: $3,462,821

Three different law firms represent the Jackson Municipal Aiport: The Walker Group, The May Firm, and Baker Donelson. Baker Donelson was the long-time counsel for the airport. However, the Board of Commissioners voted in December 2013 to replace Baker Donelson immediately with The Walker Group. John Walker is the managing partner at The Walker Group. He is known to be the close friend of Congressman Bennie Thompson as well as his attorney. The board took the action at the first meeting after Mayor Chokwe Lumumba appointed James Henley, Reverend Jeffrey Stallworth, and retired bureaucrat Vernon Hartley in November 2013. The vote was 3-1 in favor of the action as the Lumumba appointments voted in en bloc.

The board then voted unanimously to hire the May Firm as additional counsel in Feburary 2014. Regina Quinn and her husband John May comprise the May Firm. The billings for the two law firms are:

The Walker Group (John Walker & Associate)

2015 billings: $310,419
2015 average monthly invoice: $44,345

2014 billings: $402,989
2014 average monthly invoice:$36,665

Overall total billings: $713,408
Average monthly bill: $39,633


The May Firm (Regina Quinn & John May)

2015 billings: $92,204
2015 average monthly invoice: $11,525

2014 billings: $47,850
2014 average monthly invoice: $9,570

Total billings: $140,054
Average monthly invoice:$11,671

But...but... don't forget, there is also the Blue-blooded firm Baker Donelson. Blue-blood means blue-blooded value and that means blue-blooded prices. Baker Donelson's billings declined as work shifted over to the May Firm and the Walker Group. Baker Donelson billed only a little more than two thousand dollars in August.

Baker Donelson


2015 billings: $101,064
2015 average monthly invoice: $14,437

2014 billings: $529,908
2014 average monthly invoice: $44,159

2013 billings: $684,754
2013 average monthly invoice: $57,062

2012 billings : $1,293,633
2012 average monthly invoice: $107,802


Kingfish note: JMAA could hire a decent lawyer for $200,000 a year AND support staff and still save a great deal of money.  The August 2014 financial report stated that the legal fees were $248,830 over the budgeted amount ($770,429-$521,598).  All three law firms are represented at each board meeting: Mr. Walker and his junior associate, Mama Quinn, Papa Quinn, and of course, the genteel Baker Donelson.  Three firms at every board meeting for the last two years. 




54 comments:

Anonymous said...

The primary problem with securing full-time attorneys for governmental entities governed by political appointees or elected representatives is complete lack of stability in the position. Every few years there is the potential for turnover that could lead to the ouster of the full time lawyer. Asking professionals to leave private practice to take a full time position in order to save costs sounds great in theory. But it is potentially a career suicide move for any lawyer. Likely candidates for the position will not likely be the best qualified lawyers.

Anonymous said...

"Reverend Jeffrey Stallworth,"

Just curious - are all convicted sex offenders referred to as "Reverend"?

Anonymous said...

I hope the detailed descriptions were left out for the sake of confidentiality. We see government agencies routinely receive bills that only have the level of detail that these have - identifying only the person, the general matter, the hours and the rate. This leaves no room for accountability and generally indicates (or at leaves wide open the potential for) redundancy, waste and over-billing. I believe that if these represent the entire bills submitted, the absence of detail is equally telling as the overstaffing.

Anonymous said...

This is ridiculous! Hope the Clarion Ledger picks up this story and runs with it. Thanks, Kingfish, for sniffing this out.

Anonymous said...

Looting of the system didn't start when the democrats and blacks took over Jackson. They learned by observation for many years. Its simply their turn now.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't pass the smell test, does it?

Anonymous said...

9:18. No, they're usually referred to as Congressman or Senator.

Anonymous said...

Either the board is in on this, and gives work to their cronies, or they are too stupid to realized they are being fleeced. Either way they should be gone.

Anonymous said...

Looting of the system didn't start when the democrats and blacks took over Jackson. They learned by observation for many years. Its simply their turn now.

The "blacks" in Jackson may be taking their turn now but the Democrats have been at the core of the corruption since 1890.

Anonymous said...

Just to be clear, approximately what amount of money is being paid to all law firms involved for simply attending board meetings each month??

Anonymous said...

John May attended Millsaps for undergrad, received his JD at Duke and his MBA at Harvard (almost all over a quarter of a century ago).

Can anyone here better those credentials?

I certainly can't.

Kingfish said...

Yup.

Wayne Ferrell.

Larry Nesbit said...

The element of surprise and logic over such as this was lost on me years ago.

Anonymous said...

Detailed time entries are attorney-client privileged.

Anonymous said...

9:42
I find your attitude about the looting of the taxpayers money repugnant. Democrat, Republican, white, black, yellow or red, anyone looting money should be held accountable and prosecuted. It's (notice the apostrophe in the contraction of "it is")cavalier attitudes about theft, like yours, that enable the thieves to thrive.

Anonymous said...

I only see one problem, Baker Donelson isn't a "minority" law firm.

Anonymous said...

Good to know about John May....very impressive. Thanks

Kingfish said...

Palisades. Interest rate swaps. bonds. Larry Summers.

Anonymous said...

Oh Kingfish the name dropper. Wayne is a distinguished former military and current private pilot who does aerospace plaintiff's work. He himself would tell you that he would have no interest or qualifications to do 'board work.'

He also wouldn't do anything for $200k/yr.......

Kingfish said...

Agreed. Just discussing professional qualifications. I'm not as easily impressed by academic credentials as I am by experience.

Anonymous said...

Fees are high so much can be kicked back to the many officials from DC on down to the commission level.

Anonymous said...

10:55
taxpayer's money. Notice the apostrophe. Pot-Kettle.

Anonymous said...

I agree with having a well compensated staff attorney at the ready. All of the research and ancillary expenses can be greatly reduced with a full-time lawyer who has organizational and institutional knowledge of matters coming before the board. At best this is wasteful, at worse it is criminal.

Now I know why I have to pay exorbitant fees to park...

Kingfish said...

The Desoto County School Board realized it was paying a great deal of money to an outside law firm SO it hired the lawyer and took him in-house. From what I can tell, it has worked pretty well for him.

I will say one thing. I've yet to hear all three sets of lawyers say "let me go ask the AG". THat was a common statement made by the previous two Hinds County Board attorneys whenever a regular legal question arose.

Anonymous said...

I know that I can't lift a finger unless it's expressly stated in my contract or statement of work - these should be public record, correct?

Anonymous said...

That in-house lawyer thing has not worked well in Flowood!

Anonymous said...

The undergrad from Millsaps is next to useless.

BenBit said...

12:23 PM

Without the undergrad from anywhere there is no JD or MBA, so useless would be incorrect.

My undergrad is from MSU, so it's not a Millsaps thing.

Anonymous said...

Now someone's hating on Millsaps? Someone is more desperate for attention than any other of the shoal of trolls following in KF's wake. So, I'm giving you attention. Lap it up. Off the floor.

Men Batlock said...

In this context, how might an undergraduate degree from Millsaps compare with one from, say, Jackson State? Of course either one would suffice as a prerequisite for law school, but, when it comes down to the lick-log and a hiring authority is reviewing a resume.....well, you see where this is going.

Anonymous said...

That stuff is wallpaper.

Show me what you can do.

Anonymous said...

Pure minority hand-outs, much like putting in current head of airport despite stellar record of his white precessor. Shameless.

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to see the A&E firm invoicing related to the various infrastructure/construction projects referenced in these invoices. I'm sure the JMAA is getting fleeced by those fees as well. And, I'm sure we'd see a lot of familiar firm names...

Anonymous said...

That's peanuts. You should see what Charbonnet and Associates did to the JMAA back in the 2000's. They did environmental work and other studies up until Melton was elected.

Anonymous said...

Here, my friends, is an example of typical minority handouts. These airport folks have run it in the ground (lost Southwest) & continue to run it in the ground. I fly all around the US for my work. I rarely fly into or out of a smaller airport than JAX. However, no where can you wait longer for luggage, screening, etc. The airport is a terrible first example of our city and our state. Thanks my friends for running a shitty airport.

Kingfish said...

Oh really?

Dirk was black? I must've missed that one.

Then there are the Baker Donelson fees. It seems they are higher than what is charged by the Bennie crowd or did you miss that one?

I don't know what they could have done to keep Southwest short of paying Southwest to stay. The numbers didn't work for the airline. Read that BR Business Report story as well as the one I posted from the WSJ. This is a problem Tier 2 and 3 cities are facing.

Anonymous said...

I will bet that there aren't three different A&E firms working on a project at the same time, 4:35, as there are three different sets of lawyers - unless of course the 'set-aside' programs of the city require one to be on board just to get paid. And the A&E doesn't get to charge by the hour for 'attending' the board meetings.

Not taking up for A's or E's, but recognize that if there is construction gong on at the airport, there is a need for an A&E. There is a need for a lawyer, but I don't see how there is a need for three different firms - unless of course it is for one to do the work and the others to make the room look proper.

Don't know that you can compare current three group arrangement to previous single attorney without knowing what issues were going on at the time (construction projects, litigation, etc.)

But all this pales in comparison to our state's Atty General office. He has an office full of career attorneys, but has to hire outside attorneys to do the work that can attach heavy contingency fees. The BP settlement that he is bragging about in his current TV barrage of ads is a great example. In order to 'sit in on the negotiations' he had to hire outside help. So what experience did he not have in house? The former - his protege - Atty General, Honorable?? Mike Moore. Makes this wasteful spending at JMAA look like peanuts.

Anonymous said...

6:26 - The idea that the AG's office has a deep bench of competent attorneys is a joke. Nobody goes to law school hoping to become a staff attorney working for the attorney general. It's the dumbest of the dumb who have washed out from private practice. So, it's understandable he would need to bring in outside help to win big cases. I do agree that the ridiculous contingency fees his friends get when he engages them to take this work are bullshit.

Anonymous said...

7:27, I disagree, while the AGO may have more that its fair share of ne'er-do-wells, there are a few I've worked with who show real drive, ambition and talent. I agree wholeheartedly that the contingency fee issue is a problem, while Hood barks about the gross settlement amount, he rarely says "hey, and it only cost us XX%." Yet, we gladly settle for the table scraps every time one of these guys goes on a crusade.

Anonymous said...

7:27, those are strong words. Why don't you own them with your name?

Anonymous said...

I really don't understand how difficult representing the Jackson Airport could be - what a ripoff. With respect to the difficulty of the legal work, I fail to see how it could be any more difficult than working in the AG's office. THe difference between the two groups of lawyers is probably less a difference of intellect than a difference of salesmanship and the ability to network - yawn.

Anonymous said...

7:27 has no clue. There are lots of smart, capable lawyers who would take a pay cut to get off the treadmill of scraping for business. Especially in a contracting market like Mississippi. When firms like Baker Donelson lose steady business like JMAA, you get a buyers market for high-quality mid-level and senior associates who'd love to go in-house, even if the employer is a political entity.

Spotsa Goober said...

No, Kingfish, Dirk was not black, but he was employed at the will and pleasure of a totally black airport board of directors.

Anonymous said...

If Baker Donelson lost the JMAA contract in 2013 why is it still billing the JMAA in 2015? And why are Baker Donelson's fees much higher than the other two firms? These are questions none of the other posters want to address. I wonder why?

Brilliance Is Spotted said...

7:19; Go ahead and say it.....Because they are not nearly as astute as you.

Anonymous said...

7:19 It's because the posters here only know to hate Butler Snow, the legal front for Wizard Haley, orchestrates of Dan Jones' doom, likely purveyors of MDA deals gone wrong and architects of an office building so unlike its surroundings it's visible from space. Meanwhile, Baker Donaldson gets a free pass from this group for anchoring The District at Eastover....no matter how similarly uninspiring their new digs on 55 appear.

Kingfish said...

Yes, and previous all-black boards hired Baker Donelson as well.

Anonymous said...

I just saw a Jackson Airport SUV parked at the gate to a subdivision on Hoy Road in Madison. Maybe they were delivering lost luggage. But, maybe not, since the airline does that.

Anonymous said...

So who will Butler Snow select to be the next OM Chancellor?

Anonymous said...

Are Chancellors allowed by law to keep an office on K Street and Highland Colony?

Kingfish said...

To comment I didn't approve. That is literally the first time I have ever heard of that name. Ever. Shoot me an email at kingfish1935@gmail.com. Thanks. Have no clue what you are talking about.

Anonymous said...

Uncle Bennie always takes care of his own. Who does surprise.

Of Sky Boxes And Meat Trays said...

What Chancellor has an office on Highland Colony Parkway? But, if one did, what 'law' do you suppose would address that? Ole Miss doesn't HAVE a chancellor. They don't even have a mascot. State's chancellor has his office in Starkpatch and Southern's new guy is officed down in Hattiesburg. I suspect J-State's chancellor has his desk on campus (maybe both of them) and that about wraps it up.

Kingfish said...

Notice that none of the media picked up this story and ran with it. Also notice that despite tweeting tons of fluff alld day long, no local reporters could seem to find the time to tweet this story even though they constantly tweet stories from other news organizations.

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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.


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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.

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