Monday, November 14, 2016

Arrest warrant issued for former DJP secretary

A Madison County judge called Linda Brune's bluff and issued a bench warrant for her arrest last Wednesday after she failed to appear in court at an October hearing. Ms. Brune is the former secretary for Downtown Jackson Partners. DJP sued Ms. Brune for embezzlement and seeks her deposition. DJP fired MS. Brune for providing records to the Clarion-Ledger after Jerry Mitchell published a story on DJP spending.


Downtown Jackson Partners asked Judge Will Longwitz to hold former employee Linda Brune in contempt of court for refusing to participate in a deposition. DJP accused her of embezzling over $40,000 in a lawsuit filed nearly two years ago. Judge Will Longwitz held a hearing to determine whether he should compel her deposition in October but Ms. Brune did not appear at the hearing. She instead attended the motion hearings that were held in State v. Robert Shuler Smith even though she was not subpoenaed to be there. DJP Executive Director Ben Allen is under indictment for allegedly embezzling and misusing DJP funds.

Judge Will Longwitz ruled that Ms. Brune should provide a deposition to DJP at a witness room in the Madison County Courthouse on November 1 at 2:00 PM. The defendant did not appear for the deposition. DJP submitted the motion for contempt the next day.


Ms. Brune has refused to provide a deposition in this lawsuit. She sent an email to Judge Longwitz's court administrator on September 21 that stated:

I will not be available for depositions or any related matter to this case until after the criminal trial of Downtown Jackson Partners' president. I have no attorney at this time but he will be available, hopefully in December. I will be available any time after the aforementioned trial is over.

She made it clear she would not provide any testimony in this case in a response that was submitted to the court in October:

Having testified before the Hinds County Grand Jury regarding the case against Benjamin Wade Allen, President of Downtown Jackson Partners (hereafter DJP), I am under oath to reveal/discuss nothing regarding DJP until after that trial, which is scheduled for November 28, 2016, in the Hinds County Circuit Court. Mr. Allen was indicted on ten counts of embezzlement and misuse of funds belonging to DJP. Preparation for that trial has been time consuming and stressful for me. I, respectfully, request that Judge Longwitz delay ALL proceedings regarding this issue until after that trial.

Ms. Brune all but told the court to throw her in jail in the same response:

 Realizing that I might be held in contempt of court by refusing to cooperate in this hearing, I am ready to accept the consequences. If I go to jail for that refusal, I will have housing, food, medical treatment and other necessities, some of which I do not have at this lime. These people can do nothing more to me. I have lost everything, including my job, all assets, medical and life insurance. My credit is in the toilet and I have lost respect from some in the community. I simply have nothing else to lose.

While DJP made every attempt to have me indicted for embezzlement after I was fired from my employment with same, that case was no billed by the Hinds County Grand Jury.* According to the Detective assigned to that case, DJP urged them to arrest me on Christmas Day in 2014. I provide that information to show the malicious intent and retaliation by DJP. Since that case was no billed in Hinds County, DJP is taking a second bite of that apple in Madison County.

Under these circumstances, I decline to cooperate with Mr. Begley's request for information regarding this case or any case regarding DJP until after the trial of DJP President. I am prepared to take any consequence involved but will not subject myself to contempt in Hinds County to satisfy a possible order in Madison County.

The gauntlet was thrown and picked up - by both sides.


Synopsis of lawsuit

Linda Brune provided several boxes of Downtown Jackson Partners documents to the State Auditor and the Clarion-Ledger in 2014 while she was employed as a secretary by DJP.  Reporter Jerry Mitchell had a field day and garnered several front page headlines for his scoop.  However,  the media did not report DJP sued its former employee for embezzlement.

Downtown Jackson Partners sued Linda Brune on December 10, 2014 in Madison County Court for allegedly embezzling $40,439.  The lawsuit also states she was "terminated on July 25, 2014 for sharing confidential corporate information with a reporter from the Clarion-Ledger."   Ms. Brune is a resident of Madison County.

The complaint states that Ms. Brune worked as DJP's administrative assistant for several years prior to her termination.  She was allowed to "fill out" checks but did not have signature authority.  DJP alleges that she "embezzled 38 check instruments representing a total sum of $40,439" by making checks payable to herself and "forging Mr. Allen's signature on each of the checks." She would then allegedly alter the payee's name on the bank statements by "whiting out" (no racism intended)  her name and replacing it with the name of a vendor. She would then allegedly copy the altered statement so evidence of the whiteout would not appear.  The complaint charges her with several counts of fraud, conversion, breach of fiduciary duty, and unjust enrichment.  DJP asked for damages and attorney's fees.  Attorney Sam Begley represents DJP.

Ms. Brune replied with the standard denials one usually sees in an answer and accused DJP of forum shopping. She then threw a few charges of her own at DJP: 

"Defendant was given no reason for termination after 17 years of employment with him at the City Council and at Downtown Jackson Partners.  Moreover, nothing should be confidential at DJP as they are funded by tax dollars and open to examination of all documents.  Mr. Allen's misuse i.e. giving money to those in his favor, laundering money for various organizations, giving checks to his son's friends for non-existent events to be held to promote Jackson totaling $10,000 plus dollars. 

She argues that any funds withdrawn from DJP accounts were delivered directly to Mr. Allen.  She claims she was "loyal to a fault" and doesn't have the money to "reimburse his slush fund."  Nothing else was filed in the case after Ms. Brune submitted her answer.  The case is assigned to Judge Will Longwitz.  Ms. Brune represents herself.  DJP also subpoenaed records from two Vicksburg casinos and State Bank & Trust.

DJP has since sought to depose Ms. Brune.  However,  Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith attempted to prevent her deposition in a letter sent to DJP last May.  Mr. Smith stated she could not testify since she is a victim in the case although the indictments state DJP is the victim of the misuse of funds.  The letter stated:

The State of Mississippi represents Ms. Linda Brune as a victim In the criminal case of State of Mississippi versus Benjamin Wade Allen. She will not be available for depositions or any other matter related to the civil dispute in the above-referenced until she has retained counsel to respond to numerous requests by DJP. Further, she has advised that she will request the Court to hold any civil matter in abeyance until the disposition of the criminal matter. Further, she has received correspondence requesting that she waive her right to a trial by jury. She vehemently opposes to waiving her rightto a trial by jury, or any other rights.

If you have anything further regarding this matter, please direct your correspondence to our office. Her new counsel with be in touch with you in the very near future. Thank you. Earlier post.
Downtown Jackson Partners and the court apparently ignored the District Attorney.

The complete court file is posted below. 


23 comments:

Boulevard and Development Planning Committee said...

Madison, with hundreds of new developments, has run out of names for the new subdivisions. Thank you for this, Kingfish. For the next phase of Lost Rabbit we have chosen BRUNE'S BLUFF.

Anonymous said...

This also another case in which RSS is acting as a Public Defender rather than a prosecutor. When did the State begin representing witnesses who do not hire counsel in a civil case? I guess that I missed that day ar the Natioal Prosecutors College. Probably was hungover from the great wine they didn't serve.

Anonymous said...

Have they caught her yet? I watched COPS this afternoon and saw nothing about this.

Anonymous said...

10:39 am they dint teach you to spell as "ar" isnt a word. Musta meant at Mr Prosecuter.

Costco of GW Plantation said...

Maybe she can get a fresh start working at the new Costco in Ridgeland

Anonymous said...

I think it is apparent by the comments, or lack thereof, that no one cares about that insignificant, useless, meaningless woman.

Anonymous said...

8:22 Hey Ben..

Anonymous said...

8:42. It is apparent by the comments, or lack thereof, that no one cares about that insignificant, useless, meaningless woman.

Anonymous said...

Ben cares. She hasn't spilled all the beans yet.

Look No Further.. said...

It's 2:30 a.m. and I woke up recalling that 'this useless woman' has said, for the record, that every check she cashed, she gave the proceeds directly to Ben. Is it possible this was Ben's notion of a slush fund? Could it be this was Ben's idea of 'petty cash' and he was simply going for donuts or to Sam's for those large plastic containers of peppermints for the office? Thanksgiving gourds and pumpkins? An aluminum Christmas Tree? A crock pot for the Friday pot luck dinner? These things are easily explained.

Anonymous said...

Isn't this the same lady that was Ben Allen's secretary when he was a City Councilman in Jackson several years ago? She was harassed and threatened by the other black secretaries to the point that one day she went to the doctor and to her surprise discovered her city provided insurance had been cancelled. She sued the city of jackson and won around $85,000.00 for racial discrimination. Oh, by the way, the thugette that pulled off the insurance caper testified "oops, my bad! I pushed the wrong button"

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 7:36 am is right, that case needs to be looked at... it seemed unusual..

Anonymous said...

According to my sources, this is purely and simple harassment against her and has been ongoing since the stuff hit the fan back when the CL ran their article about this. They (DJP) have tried everything they can get away with to intimidae/scare the lady because they know a "November Surprise" is pending and they are panicked. Going a little overboard in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

2:27, yes 'it is possible. Most anything is 'possible'. But $40k of peppermint isn't 'plausible'. And if your 'possibility'had any more merit than the 'posdibiloty'of unicorns, was the liquid paper used to alter the checks part of what she picked up with the peppermints?

'Possibility' is a long shot difference than plausibility and reality. But we will give you a participation trophy for chiming in with your 2:30 am dream.

Anonymous said...

It is very possible. Spend $10 on peppermint and pocket the rest. Nothing unusual or even unlikely about it.

The Dots Are There.. said...

"And if your 'possibility'had any more merit than the 'posdibiloty'of unicorns, was the liquid paper used to alter the checks part of what she picked up with the peppermints?

Notice to Goob at 10:39....She has already said every check she cashed, she gave the money to Allen. Allen instructed her to cash the checks, the proceeds of which were placed on Allen's desk. If any peppermints were purchased, he did the deed and charged per diem and mileage to Sam's Club. No liquid paper needed. Try to follow along.

Anonymous said...

Yawn....

Anonymous said...

Yes, 2:18, that is what she 'said' - that she cashed the checks and gave all the money to Allen. She 'said' that Allen instructed her to do so and that she 'said' she put the money on Allen's desk. She also 'said' that she couldn't come to Madison County court because she 'said' that she was not allowed to do so because of her protector, RSS and the testimony she 'said' she gave to a grand jury.

You can believe everything that she 'said' and you can also believe that we no longer have unicorns because they were at the end of the line getting on the ark and there was no more room for them - and now they are gone. But we do know that there was some liquid paper involved, at least according to what he 'said'.

The fact is that what she 'said' she was supposed to answer in court and she 'said' she couldn't talk about it, despite a judge's ruling to the contrary. But eventually what she 'said' will have to face a Judge and jury to decide if there is any more validity to what she 'says' than there is to the theory about the unicorns.

While you continue to believe in what she 'said', I would suggest not waiting up nights looking for those missing unicorns.

Anonymous said...

4:11 p.m. IGNORANCE IS BLISS, ISN'T IT?

Anonymous said...

I don't really believe what she said and I damn sure do not believe in what he said. The whole organization is crooked. This is just a try to blame it all on one person. She may or may not be guilty. You can bet if she is guilty she isn't the only one stuffing their pockets.

Anonymous said...

So 5:32, you believe others were writing checks to themselves, then whiting out the payee line on the checks and changing it to somebody else when the statement came in? Interesting. They must have been buying the bottles of liquid paper by the dozens. Unless, of course, your bet is made only on your assumption or hope about the others' guilt.

Anonymous said...

Somebody on multiple threads really has a curious, yet deviant, fascination with unicorns. I predict we will read about this fellow in the media before too much longer.

Anonymous said...

Hello? Ben got tired of posting on this thread?

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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!!!

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