Tuesday, December 8, 2015

ex-Terry Mayor gets 40 years.

State Auditor Stacey Pickering issued the following press release:

–Roderick Nicholson, Former Mayor of Terry, was sentenced to serve 40 years in custody of Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC), with 10 to serve. He was also ordered to pay restitution and court costs in the amount of $7,629.12.

Nicholson pled guilty to five counts of embezzlement November 23, 2015, and has been in custody of the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department.

From January 2011 through December 2012, the Mayor used the Town of Terry’s credit card to make unauthorized personal purchases and submitted false bills to be repaid by the Town of Terry.
“It is a good day for the Town of Terry knowing their tax dollars aren’t being spent on the former mayor’s personal bills,” said State Auditor Stacey Pickering. “I’d like to thank the Attorney General’s Office for working jointly on pursuing this investigation.”

Mayor Nicholson was arrested by agents from the State Auditor’s Office and investigators with the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Division in March on a Rankin County Grand Jury indictment.
“The duties of public office demand absolute integrity,” said Attorney General Hood. “We appreciate Judge Chapman’s sentence ordering full restitution and time behind bars. We also appreciate the cooperation between our office and the Department of Audit which led to this successful prosecution.”

The case was jointly investigated by the Auditor’s Office and the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Division, and prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Stanley Alexander and Special Assistant Attorney General Marvin Sanders of the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Division.


Anonymous said...

“It is a good day for the Town of Terry knowing their tax dollars aren’t being spent on the former mayor’s personal bills,” said State Auditor Stacey Pickering. “I’d like to thank the Attorney General’s Office for working jointly on pursuing this investigation.”

Agreed! How about spending political contributions on your personal bills is that a good day?

Anonymous said...

Totally agree 2:37PM. How can Stacy Pickering accuse anyone of stealing money with a straight face?

Every time I read a story about this, the amount that was taken changes. I think the Mayor actually charged about $2,000 in expenses (which he paid back)to the town credit card. Stacey Pickering likes to throw a number around of $56,000 which includes fees for his department's services that they are billing the Mayor. The Mayor has to pay for the Auditors to do their job.

What judge would sentence a first time offender to 40 years for allegedly stealing $2,000? Certainly the punishment exceeds the crime in this case.

Something about this case reeks. It all started when Rod Nicholson defeated a challenger for his position by 7 votes two years ago. The supporters of the challenger have been relentless in trying to catch Nicholson doing something wrong and blocking any attempt by Nicholson to do good things for the Town of Terry. I would like to see a report of how many hours were spent investigating this case. For such a small amount involved, it sure received a great deal of attention from the Auditor and the Attorney General.

PittPanther said...

40 years. Amazing.

I'm no fan of public officials taking advantage of their office and using public funds as their own. But this can't be the appropriate punishment. Unless there's some amount being suspended, he's going to die in prison.

Anonymous said...


He received 10 to serve... think that means he'll actually serve 2.5

Anonymous said...

The former Mayor got ten years for the $2,700 embezzled to pay for his personal car repairs in Rankin County. There is another approximately $29,500 embezzled that apparently occurred in Hinds county where the DA has done nothing. Public officials are held to a higher standard of conduct and get harsher penalties for violating the public trust.

Anonymous said...

4:39 In the interest of full disclosure, a personal car that he used frequently for town business. This money was paid back. As for the $29,500, Nicholson's detractors have spent 2 years trying to document proof of this incident and as of today, they have failed. If the Mayor is guilty of anything, it is sloppy accounting.

If public officials are held to a higher standard of conduct, why is Stacey Pickering still the State Auditor?

Anonymous said...

The reason does not matter. He is a thief. That is all we have to know.

Anonymous said...

Scott Sullivan got 5 years

Anonymous said...

Did he pay back the $2,500 before this was "discovered"?

And is there other malfeasance which investigators simply cannot prove?

I agree with other posters, that this seems a ridiculously harsh sentence.

Anonymous said...

5:23 True. For an $11 billion scandal that wrecked a company that employed thousands and wiped out many people's investments. Of course, Sullivan got off light because he sang like a bird to help the Feds get Bernie Ebbers which brings up another excessive sentence.

Anonymous said...

I have heard that the defeated Mayoral candidate has bragged about "getting" Nicholson. Well they did. Hope they feel good about their behavior. The sentence is harsh and the Judge was changed shortly before the sentencing. From the arrest at the Jackson Airport to the sentencing, nothing about this case has been appropriate for the "crime". The City Clerk is responsible for the accounting and the Board of Aldermen for approving expenditures. Nicholson paid back the repairs prior to his arrest. The other junk came from Pickering's office. His first attorney collected every penny he could; the second one will keep trying, I'll bet.

Anonymous said...

Uh, how many years did the Southaven mayor get? Wow.

Anonymous said...

2;37 AND 4:06 - there is a big difference between public (tax) money and political contributions (private) money. While Stacey, Hood and several others are guilty of using money that was given to them for use in their campaigns for things that certainly appear to be personal, that's not against the law. Stealing money that the taxpayers have been forced to pay through taxes is a totally different thing.

If the contributors to Pickering, Hood, Finch, or any of the dozens of legislators that have used the contributions for their personal purposes want to bitch about it, they should call the candidate that they 'voluntarily' gave their money to and ask for it back. Don't think the taxpayers of Terry have that option with Nicholson.

Vendetta? Know what black radio is hollering, but 2.5 years in jail for stealing from the public trough to me doesn't seem out of line.

Point of Order said...

The law allows Pickering to spend campaign contributions for personal purposes. Being legal doesn't men it's ethical.

Anonymous said...

when are they going to put Gail Mills previously of Dept of Public Safety on trial?

Anonymous said...

7:14 this is 4:06. Point to where I commented that Stacy Pickering stole anything. I fully understand the difference between use of campaign money for personal expenses and stealing. But I also think using the term "stealing" in Rod Nicholson's case is painting with a broad brush. It was more of a case of sloppy accounting than stealing. Paying back something that you charged on a business credit card is not exactly stealing.

I just think Pickering has compromised himself with his unethical behavior. He is supposed to be the guardian of public money in this state and every time he goes after someone, people are going to bring this up.

The real stories here are this: Why did this case receive so much attention from the State Auditor? As a state taxpayer, I'm upset that his office expended this much effort over abuse of a company credit card. The second story is how can a judge hand out a sentence this harsh for a NON-VIOLENT crime from a FIRST TIME OFFENDER. We should all be worried and we should all avoid going to Rankin County as much as possible.

Anonymous said...

Agree with 8:34. Avoid Rankin County as much as possible. This whole debacle says that sentencing is out of line. Perhaps Justice is favorable to whites over blacks in Rankin.

Anonymous said...

If a person spends money that is not theirs it is theft. Plain and simple. Too many people complain how one crook got a better deal that their favorite thief. It is all a crime. No matter who does it and no matter the amount. More of the thieves should be locked up, including those who share their stolen money with those who should be locking them up.

DA FAT MAN said...

Can someone explain to me the difference between the MDOT employees who used fuelman cards for their personal gains and Nicholson's used of the credit card other than no television coverage?

Anonymous said...

It appears to me - at least from a simple reading of the various press releases and news reports - that the difference in the Terry Mayor and the MDOT employees is twofold.

1) The prosecutor. It appears that the AG's office led the prosecution on the Mayor, and evidently didn't prosecute the MDOT employee's case. Don't know why one and/or the other, but that is the call of AG Hood.

2) Biggest difference - The Mayor was elected to office, he was not hired to work for the public. The standard of expectations should be higher for those elected, at least in my opinion.

All Things Being Equal, They Are... said...

At 2:22 ~ Oh.....why? Jobs in the public sector are jobs in the public sector. Jobs requiring some degree of public respect are all equal. Adherence to the regulations in the personnel handbook apply to all public employees whether elected or hired. Theft is theft. Malfeasance is malfeasance. Misfeasance is misfeasance. Being entrusted with a government gas card carries certain responsibilities and obligations and ethics, regardless of circumstance or position.

Anonymous said...

I don't disagree at all, 7:24 that theft is theft and malfeasance is malfeasance. My difference came in the degree of punishment afforded the MDOT "EMPLOYEES" and the elected "MAYOR". While the amount of money misappropriated may be close to the same, I believe it appropriate to provide a harsher punishment to the individual that was put in charge of a local government, at his request during an election campaign, and that converted his position of power to his own benefit. The MDOT employees participated in "petty" (albeit not in the legal term, but still nothing major in the sense of how it was done or the amount taken) theft.

Both are guilty. Both should be punished. Both should be banned from further public trust. I just want the one that sold himself to the voting public as being worth their trust punished more. Neither you, I or anyone other than a lower grade division director at MDOT had anything to do with the Fuelman thiefs being on the public payroll. Thus my difference.

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