No, we are not talking about Kenneth Stokes but a member of the CMU board. One Rudolphus Magnus Warnock is engaged in a court fight with Canton Municipal Utilities. An affidavit was prepared on his behalf but it has not yet been submitted to the court. The affidavit charges that one Cleveland Anderson offered to have Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler and Madison County Journal reporter Michael Simmons whacked for $10,000 each. It is not known if the alderman planned to finance the whacking with CMU bonds.
The affidavit states:
10. In late August 2016, the CMU Board, including Mr. Cleveland Anderson, unanimously voted to hire Warnock Engineering as the engineering firm of record for CMU, and to terminate Waggoner Engineering.
11. On August 31, 2016, the Madison County Journal ran a story with the headline, “Warnock new CMU engineer as ousted utility chairman alleges corruption.” The Madison County Journal article discussed the alleged corruption surrounding a $1 million annual sludge removal contract, which contract had nothing to do with me. I had no involvement whatsoever with the sludge removal contract, but the headline quite obviously was meant to imply that I had been involved in some “allege[d] corruption.”
12. I complained to Mr. Anderson about the intentionally misleading headline, and the malicious treatment of me and my engineering firm from the Madison County Journal.
13. A few weeks later, on September 18, 2016, Mr. Anderson asked me to meet him that morning at the Kroger parking lot at Highway 463/Colony Crossing. I did. I was shocked when Mr. Anderson told me he had family in New Orleans and Chicago who could “handle” journalist Michael Simmons. He offered to have Mr. Simmons murdered for $10,000.00. He said: “Once I tell them to do it, there aren’t any take backs.”
14. I was shocked and told Mr. Anderson, “I have never hurt anybody, and I’m not going to start now.” He responded, “Let me know if you ever change your mind.”
15. A week later, on September 25, 2016, in a vehicle, Mr. Anderson offered to have Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins killed for $10,000. My wife witnessed him making the offer.
16. I laughed it off and said, “We aren’t going to deal with our problems that way. We aren’t going to do that.” Later, when my wife asked what kind of people I was dealing with at CMU, I told her that I had no idea, and that maybe Cleveland was just really drunk.The affidavit also alleges that Mr. Cleveland tried to shake Mr. Warnock down for a kickback. Mr. Warnock continues in his affidavit:
46. On December 17, 2016, after I had reached my limit with Mr. Anderson’s constant attempts to improperly receive kickbacks and CMU benefits, directly and indirectly, I sent an unflattering text to him with copy to many others.
47. Mr. Anderson replied to me by text, incredibly including an admission of his prior solicitations for kickbacks and murder, though also including his newfound excuse for same—that he was just testing me:
“With all being said, I decided to test you Rudy to see if you were texting [sic] me, but others in the CMU ranks to gain control of CMU. And you, Eric, and Andrew call yourselves servants, WOW!!! Do you remember when I ask [sic] you about [$] 200,000 to retire (TEST); (About knowing guys in New Orleans that would do anything illegal (Test), and many more. The most recent ones were I fed you, Andrew, Wynn, and Calvin was; you asked me Who I was working for and I told you Johnson Delivery Service (Test). I will tell you this, actually it is....No I am going to see how good your investigative skills are---Have fun with that one Rudy. There are several more, but for some reason I have a hard time remembering lies when I tell them. But, the truth is considerable easy.”
The affidavit was notarized and signed by Mr. Warnock.