Friday, March 4, 2016


The Jackson Public School District has no records or invoices for professional services that were provided during the $118 million refinancing of bonds that took place in 2015.  The District paid $1.2 million in fees to lawyers, financial advisers, and other parties to conduct the transaction.  The same issue only generated nearly $550,000 in fees when it was sold back in 2007.  JJ tried to obtain the invoices for the professional service fees through a public records request.  However, JPS claimed it had no copies of invoices or other records for such services.  Earlier post.
These professional services fees were associated with the refinancing:

Jackson Public Schools 2015 General Obligation Bonds refinance: $118,070,000
Mississippi Development Bank (Issuer): $42,500
Balch & Bingham (Issuer Counsel): $30,000
Malachi Financial Products (Financial Adviser): $328,500
Trustmark (Trustee): $9,250
Chambers & Gaylor (Bond Counsel): $295,750
S&P (Ratings Agency): $63,000
Arbitrage Group (Verification): $6,000
Hunton & Williams (Special Tax Counsel, ATL): $197,500
Betty Mallet (Co-underwriter counsel): $112,500
Baker Donelson (Co-underwriter counsel): $142,140
Image Master (POS fees): $6,684
TOTAL FEES: $1,233,824

 $114,000 General Obligation Bonds for JPS (2008)
Mississippi Development Bank (Issuer): $70,000
Dorian Turner (Bond Counsel): $243,813
Balch & Bingham (Issuer Counsel): $25,000
Trustmark (Trustee): $3,604
Baker Donelson (Co-underwriter counsel): $75,320
Community Capital (Financial Adviser): $65,800
Image master (POS, printing): $3,448
Moody's (Ratings): $22,230
Spence Flatguard (state bond attorney): $1,000
Jones Financial Services (Financial Adviser): $28,200
TOTAL FEES: $538,416

Remember these fees the next time the school board wants to raise your taxes but back to the invoices.

JJ submitted a public records request on January 19 to JPS attorney Joanne Sheperd Nelson for copies of the professional services invoices, cash flow, and other projections for the same bond issue.  JJ never received the records.

Ms. Nelson said in two emails when questioned about the status:

 Hi Kingfish. Please be advised that the District does not have the complete records in its possession to answer your request. However, it has requested final records from its Financial Advisor, Porter Bingham, regarding this transaction and they are expected soon. Thank you. (January 26)

I sent another email to Ms. Nelson on March 2:

It is now well past the statutory deadline for the public records I requested.  Although I am sure Mr. Bingham is in possession of some documents, there are still documents in the possession of JPS such as invoices for professional services on the school bond refinance.  I've attached a recent Ethics Commission opinion about JSU's use of similar delay tactics to provide the records. 
Please let me know what records are in your possession and available.  Please notify me at this email address what the applicable fees are as well.

Ms. Nelson replied:

 It is my understanding that we don't have any invoices. They were handled by the FA and turned over to the paying agent. We are not trying to delay; we don't have the requested records. When we get them, we will give them to you as I have said several times. Thanks.

In other words, the Jackson Public School District refinances $118 million in bonds and pays out $1.2 MILLION in fees to its cronies yet has no records of their invoices or payments.  Dereliction of duty, anyone?   The paying agent and financial adviser seem to think they are above the public records laws.  JJ was able to obtain from JPS such invoices on earlier bond deals but for some reason the District does not have the invoices for this particular transaction.  Can't imagine why.  Stay tuned, this fight is not over.  


FedUpWithTheBS said...

I'm increasingly frustrated by the state of affairs that exist around here. Can someone show me 10 companies that have done anything of note in this state that don't have the State of Ms or Federal Government as part of it's biggest client portfolio?

We're the folks with the supposed conservative values, and yet loads of our companies are on the teat of the very government nipple they say they don't want to expand.

Anonymous said...

Does this really surprise anyone?
Tax payers money going into the pocket of someone without any record of who it is or how much it is.
Common practice in Ms.
Look there goes a squirrel.

PittPanther said...

9:17am, did you just wake up and realize you live in Mississippi?

We live in a tiny population state, a state where for the most part the only people who want to live here are the people born here. As a result we have no growth and attract few private businesses.

Our main industries are government, education, and healthcare. And two of those three get the bulk of their money from the government. That's why it seems like everyone is getting their money from the government teat. There really is very little else happening in this state.

So think about this the next time some "liberal" mentions doing something to make the state more attractive to outsiders and outside business. There are consequences to closing ourselves off to the outside world.

Anonymous said...

What's their accounts payable address? I need to make up a quick "past due" invoice and send it over to them!

Anonymous said...

### Metro School District Ad Valorem Millage Rates (2013-2014) ###

Jackson Public Schools = 82.44 mils

Clinton Public Schools = 67.94 mils
Hinds County School District = 65.0 mils
---> AVERAGE = 61.45 mils <---
Pearl Public Schools = 60.44 mils

Madison County School District = 54.55 mils
Canton Public Schools = 50.39 mils

Rankin County School District = 49.42 mils

Anonymous said...

Porter Bingham has been in trouble before. For anyone to use him as a "financial adviser" when he is only a municipal advisor due to wiping out in the securities business, then of course he "paid" everyone.

Anonymous said...

Where is the State Auditor or Attorney General?
No many advisors and consultants in the education field.

Anonymous said...

Hahahahaha... This state is wired by Republicans yet everyone fears the liberals. What kind of mouth breather really believes this.

Anonymous said...

Wonder why no one wants to put the airport in the hands of Jackson leaders? Here is one example. 118million dollars and no paper trail.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how much $$$ Socrates made off this deal? I'm sure he's in there somewhere, you just probably won't ever be able to find him.

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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.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

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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