U.S. Attorney Greg Davis issued the following press release:
Thursday, June 30, 2016
Secretary of State Dibbert Hosemann issued the following press release:
Downtown Jackson Partners filed a motion to compel Linda Brune's deposition yesterday in the County Court of Madison County. DJP sued Ms. Brune for the recovery of $40,439 she allegedly embezzled while working as a secretary. District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith told DJP that Ms. Brune could not testify because she was a "victim" in the criminal case his office is prosecuting against Ben Allen.
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
The Mississippi Department of Education blistered JPS in a recent audit. The violations are simply too numerous to mention in one post and aren't merely technical in nature. MDE reported JPS had dangerous schools, too many unlicensed teachers, graduated students who should not graduate, and a host of other serious problems. JPS faces a loss of accreditation, as MDE will downgrade the accreditation status of JPS from "accredited" to "probation". JPS violated 22 of a possible 32 standards as it flunked the audit. MDE notified JPS in a June 15 letter stating JPS could contest the findings within the next thirty days. MDE will present the findings to the Commission on School Accreditation on August 4. JPS can request a hearing to contest the findings.
JJ is going to cover this subject a little differently than others. The report is 247 pages and is simply too long to cover in one post while giving it the attention it deserves. The public needs to know how bad really things are at JPS. JJ is going to publish a series of posts about the audit. The full audit is posted below if you want to read ahead. Here are the first batch of highlights from the report.
What I remember most about Darryl Strawberry's one summer in Jackson was the explosive sound of his bat launching the baseball. It was shocking, really, no matter how many times you heard it. And we heard it often in 1982.
When “Straw” got hold of one, it sounded more like a rifle shot than a home run. His home runs left Smith-Wills Stadium so quickly and often went so high and far into those pine trees behind the right field wall. Remember? We called that area behind the right field fence “The Strawberry Patch.”
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Dr. Arnold Smith asked a Hinds County Circuit Court to remove Attorney General Jim Hood in a complaint for Quo Warranto filed yesterday. Dr. Smith argues that the Mississippi Constitution places the Attorney General under the judicial branch and thus Mr. Hood can not serve in the executive branch of state government.
Monday, June 27, 2016
Sunday, June 26, 2016
Jackson Attorney Robert Gibbs and the Board of Directors for Downtown Jackson Partners defended Ben Allen in two reports attached to his motion to dismiss that was filed last week in Hinds County Circuit Court. A grand jury indicted the DJP Executive Director in March for ten counts of fraud and embezzlement. The Board hired Mr. Gibbs to conduct an investigation of the allegations made in the indictment. Mr. Gibbs and the Board said Mr. Allen was completely innocent and rebutted each count in the two reports. The reports are posted below. Copy of indictment. Some highlights of the reports are:
Note: Mr. Crawford's column will be a regular feature at JJ.
Next week we celebrate our founding fathers’ 1776 decision to declare independence from England. In so doing they laid down the principles that would guide the new nation. Their Declaration of Independence began:
A Harrison County jury slapped MDOT with a $6.2 million verdict after a developer sued MDOT for an improper taking of property it owned south of I-10. The lawsuit was filed in 2009 in Harrison County Circuit Court. Anita Lee reported in the Sun-Herald:
Saturday, June 25, 2016
Brexit shook the world yesterday as British voters voted to leave the EU. Markets tumbled and global snoots everywhere recoiled in horror as they struggled to comprehend a decision made by actual voters. Remember them? Fraser Nelson, the editor of the Spectator, attempted to explain the case for Brexit on the pages of the Wall Street Journal this morning in a thoughtful essay. Mr. Nelson wrote:
The world is looking at Britain and asking: What on Earth just happened? Those who run Britain are asking the same question.Click Here to Read More..
Friday, June 24, 2016
Mississippi Department of Education Deputy Superintendent Dr. John Q. Porter and contract employee Elton Stokes, Jr. went to a conference at Disneyworld on the taxpayer's dime. Steve Wilson reported at Watchdog.org this week:
Thursday, June 23, 2016
Hinds County Circuit Judge Jeff Weill disqualified Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith from participating in any pending cases in his courtroom. Judge Weill said the order does not apply to other Hinds County prosecutors. Mr. Smith was arrested yesterday on six counts of illegally contacting defendants. One charge alleged that Mr. Smith tried to get a grand jury "to pressure a sitting judge" to drop charges against Christopher Butler. Judge Weill referred to a "sealed report" provided by Special Master Amy Whitten in his order.
Ben Allen filed a motion to dismiss his indictment today in Hinds County Circuit Court. A Hinds County grand jury indicted him in March for alleged embezzlement and misuse of Downtown Jackson Partners' funds. Mr. Allen is the Executive Director of Downtown Jackson Partners. The indictment also charged Mr. Allen with making improper campaign donations to Mayor Tony Yarber's inaugural gala. The grand jury also indicted two State Auditor investigators for allegedly obstructing justice and spiking an investigation of Mr. Allen. The case is assigned to Judge Winston Kidd.
U.S. Attorney Greg Davis issued the following statement.
Click Here to Read More..
Gerome Moore and Malcolm Landfair escaped from jail a few hours ago. Moore was recently sentenced to five years in prison for escaping from the Hinds County Detention Center. Both men currently await trial on capital murder charges. Don't shoot the wrong person and please practice firearms safety.
Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey issued the following press release:
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
|Arrest of Robert Shuler Smith (Credit:WAPT)|
Update (11:15 AM): The affidavit and six charges are posted below. Yes, they are related to the Christopher Butler cases that were reported only here on JJ. Nutshell version: The affidavit alleges the D.A. tried to help a convicted drug dealer get out of jail, visited him in jail, and tried to use a grand jury to get a circuit judge to drop a case against the drug dealer. Yes, it is alleged he tried to use a grand jury to intimidate a judge into dropping a case.
The affidavit states:
Click Here to Read More..
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
There is simply no other way to put it: A whitewash took place on the Mississippi Today website Friday . The online newspaper funded by Jim Barksdale and Dickie Scruggs posted a story that whitewashed Mississippi Education Superintendent Dr. Carey Wright's awarding contracts to her cronies. Dr. Wright granted an interview to Mississippi Today Reporter Kate Royals, while avoiding JJ and the Clarion-Ledger when they published critical stories of how these contracts were awarded and who received them. Ms. Royals "reported":
Remember the arrest of two men last fall at Ole Miss? The feds arrested Virgil Dennison and Kyler Campbell for possession of weapons on a school campus. The two men protested the vote to remove the state flag on October 22. They were escorted back to their vehicle by University PD. The police saw two shotguns in Campbell's truck and things went downhill from there for the two defenders of The Flag. It didn't help matters that "Campbell had pending felony charges". Police arrested them on October 23, 2015 after federal agents filed a criminal complaint. What the media did not report is the federales dropped the charges five days later.
Monday, June 20, 2016
"52 years later, we've done all we could do". That statement was made by Attorney General Jim Hood at a press conference today. Mr. Hood announced he was issuing a final report (posted below) on the "Mississippi Burning" case. Mr. Hood issued the following statement:
The Jackson crime statistics for the week ending May 22, 2016 are posted below. Burglaries of all types and grand larceny are down from a year ago. There are 133 fewer incidents of house burglaries as well. Amazing what happens when some of the perps are put in jail and kept in jail. Violent crimes are improved except for homicide. However, Jackson caught a break in May after a murderous April as there are only three more homicides than there were a year ago.
Sunday, June 19, 2016
Attorney Wilson Carroll and Mayor Tony Yarber had a nice gentleman's disagreement over the biosolids removal contract at a May meeting of the Jackson City Council. Mr. Carroll stood up at the podium during the public comments period of the meeting and argued that his client should have been awarded the contract because it had the lowest and best bid for the contract. Mayor Yarber fired back at him and said he got the maximum points allowed for presenting the best price. Watch the exchange for yourself.
Saturday, June 18, 2016
Friday, June 17, 2016
Hinds County Circuit Judge Jeff Weill denied a motion for a mental evaluation of accused killer Gerome Moore. Gerome Moore, Antwain Dukes, and Antreal Jones were indicted for capital murder in the death of Carolyn Temple in Belhaven in January 2015. Moore also filed a motion to suppress statements he made to the police. Moore was 17 years-old at the time of the murder.
Thursday, June 16, 2016
A former manager at Black Diamonds filed against the club and its owner, Danny Owens*, for sex discrimination in U.S. District Court Tuesday. Plaintiff Fareeda Figgers seeks an unspecified amount of damages and lost wages.
MAC and Associates took its fight against Siemens to the Jackson City Council Tuesday. MAC asked the City Council to shut down the Siemens project or require Siemens to repay $9 million for alleged Equal Business Opportunity (EBO) violations. MAC is a subcontractor for Siemens. MAC sued Siemens in Hinds County Circuit Court for $37 million but Siemens removed the lawsuit to federal court. However, Siemens said it paid MAC 92% of the contract amount. Siemens sent this statement to JJ:
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
They will play the United States Open Golf Championship for the 116th time later this week at storied Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pa..
No native Mississippian has ever won the event, and that will remain the case this week. No Mississippian made the field.
Tuesday, June 14, 2016
Update: LinkedIn profiles have been removed.
Note: Dr. Wright did not respond to attempts to contact through emails or phone calls yesterday. Dr. Wright did send a statement to the Clarion-Ledger.
Dr. Wright came to Mississippi in the fall of 2013 to start her new gig as State Superintendent of Education. Dr. John Q. Porter followed her to Mississippi six months later and began to get consulting gigs for his company and himself from MDE. MDE also put his employee, Elton Stokes, Jr., on the consulting payroll. Dr. Porter became the Deputy Superintendent/Chief Information Officer, and later approved contracts for Mr. Stokes in his capacity as Deputy Superintendent. All three individuals worked together at one time, in the Montgomery County Public School District administration. Dr. Porter's generosity even extended to Mrs. Stokes as she got a consulting contract as well. It seems these foreigners are learning the Mississippi Way very quickly, as the Mississippi Department of Education has paid over half a million dollars to Dr. Porter and his cronies since 2014.
Friday's post about the Jackson convention center prompted a reader to send an old column opposing the construction of the convention center written by Howard Ross. (R.I.P.) It was written in late 2004 and was very prescient.
Monday, June 13, 2016
Sunday, June 12, 2016
It appears MAC & Associates, LLC will get its day in court against Siemens Industry but that day will be in federal court. MAC sued Siemens on May 31 for $37million in damages in Hinds County Circuit Court. MAC is a Jackson minority subcontractor for Siemens under the $90 million water replacement contract. MAC is owned by Marcus Wallace. The contract was awarded in 2013. Siemens removed the lawsuit to U.S. District Court on June 3.
Is Don Hewitt a disgruntled developer or someone trying to blow the whistle on sweetheart deals? Anna Wolfe scored another story in the Clarion-Ledger yesterday and raised questions about the convention center hotel deal. Ms. Wolfe reported:
Saturday, June 11, 2016
Friday, June 10, 2016
The Capital City Convention Center continues to lose money but is gaining ground this year. JJ obtained a copy of the 2015 annual audit and the most recent quarterly financial statements through a public records request. The audits are posted below.
Thursday, June 9, 2016
In 1946 the Southern Authors Literary Guild chose "Speeding Floods to the Sea" as the most outstanding book of the fall. Pretty racy stuff. A book about cut offs - on the Mississippi River. The author W.E. Elam lived in Greenville which was known for its writers. He was not a writer though. He was an engineer. But not just any engineer. He was the Chief Engineer of the Mississippi Levee District and a respected authority on floods. Floods were a big deal in Mississippi then. They had a big effect on its farm-based economy. So Elam wrote the book about how to prevent or moderate them.
It's pretty simple: just speed the floods to the sea. The idea is to straighten and shorten the river by cut offs. The faded paper jacket on the book shows the river's meandering Greenville Bends. They looked like a winding country road with a super highway cut off going straight through. Cut offs shortened the river about 150 miles. They sped up its flow and cut a steeper slope and deeper bed in many places. So the river carried more water at lower levels (stages).
The black and white video, from Madison Square Garden in 1962, is beyond grainy, but you can easily make out that the graceful man in white trunks is future heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali.
More accurately, the slender, svelte guy wearing white trunks is the man who would become Ali. On Feb. 10, 1962, the day he fought a man named Sonny Banks on national TV, Ali was still known as Cassius Clay.
Wednesday, June 8, 2016
The Jackson City Council Rules Committee rejected a proposed contract for the management of the wastewater consent decree program last Monday. It is estimated that meeting the terms of the consent decree will cost Jackson approximately $400 million. JJ obtained a copy of the proposal and posted it below. Some highlights of the contract are:
The Rules Committee of the Jackson City Council rejected a contract for the wastewater program management required by a federal consent decree. The meeting grew contentious at times as Mayor Tony Yarber and the committee sparred over the proposed contract. Anna Wolfe reported in the Clarion-Ledger yesterday:
Tuesday, June 7, 2016
Ridgeland and Jackson police officers arrested Kevin Boney at 5520 Ridgewood Road Sunday night for grand larceny. The police report and mug shot are posted below. A criminal complaint was filed against Boney in April. Ridgeland police officers discovered he was at the Ridgewood location and executed the warrant with the help of JPD. Hinds County property tax records state the home is owned by the estate of Michael L. Maloney*.,
JPD Chief Lee Vance held a press conference yesterday about the arrest of Joshua Dukes in the 2015 murder of O'Reilly Auto Parts Manager Broderick Smith. Dukes and an unknown partner shot Mr. Smith to death when he couldn't open the store safe during a robbery. Dukes was charged with his fourth count of capital murder. His brother Antwain Dukes is charged with capital murder in the unrelated death of Carolyn Temple.
Monday, June 6, 2016
Steve Wilson reports at Watchdog.org that the Mississippi Department of Education has grown despite being removed from the oversight of the State Personnel Board:
The Mississippi Department of Education’s two-year hiatus from oversight by the state personnel board — which is coming to an end July 1 — has resulted in a growing staff and higher pay and benefit costs. That’s not exactly the “effective and efficient” change envisioned by lawmakers or promised by state superintendent of education Carey Wright when the exemption was granted in 2014.
According to records obtained by Mississippi Watchdog, the number of MDE employees making $100,000 or greater has increased from 16 on June 30, 2014 — when the MDE was under civil service rules — to 20 as of May 31.
Sunday, June 5, 2016
Update (4:00 PM): The South West Mississippi Search and Rescue has been included in the search team for missing Joseph Skylar Burnley. They will utilized special search K9’s.
The Rankin County Sheriff's Office issued the following press release:
Saturday, June 4, 2016
A Facebook video posted a few hours ago shows the conclusion of a chase by the Mississippi Highway Patrol and other law enforcement officers. This incident took place near the south Crystal Springs Exit on I-55N. The suspect struck an 18-wheeler during the chase. The person who recorded this video saw her trip to Walmart (where she no doubt was getting an Ozark Trail Tumbler) turn into an episode of Cops.
Friday, June 3, 2016
Peggy Noonan analyzed the current state of affairs in another Wall Street Journal column several weeks ago. It set off conservatives such as National Review's Jonah Goldberg but it made some very good points. The conservative cocktail circuit has never been so unhappy. She wrote:
The AP's Jeff Amy analyzed the tenure of Mississippi Superintendent of Education Dr. Carey Wright earlier this week and wondered why she would want to stay at her job given all the criticism and some alleged micromanagement. Mr. Amy wrote:
Thursday, June 2, 2016
Some yewts decided to check out some homes late at night this week in the area of Saratoga and Suffolk in Northeast Jackson. They were seen going through back yards and casing homes. Security cameras provided the following photo and video. Keep an eye out for these guys.
Wednesday, June 1, 2016
The Jackson City Council recently changed the public comments format of its meetings in order to handle city business more quickly. Public comments were taking up to 90 minutes before the council could address the rest of the agenda. Council President Melvin Priester, Jr. made a sensible reform. Comments that address specific agenda items are heard at the beginning of the meeting. The rest of the comments are allowed after the agenda is concluded. However, that didn't sit too well with one Mr. David Archie. Mr. Archie raised hell with the council in this video.
This is written on Memorial Day morning, the morning after it was announced that both Ole Miss and Mississippi State baseball teams will host NCAA Regionals at once for the first time ever.
It is written on the day after Southern Miss's stirring 3-2 victory over tradition power Rice for the Conference USA Baseball Championship. Has a relay play from the outfield ever been executed more perfectly? I think not.
This is written on a day when we Americans take a day off from work to remember those who sacrificed to keep us free.
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The Kingfish's Favorite Posts
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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.
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.
Note: Security provided by INS.