Friday, September 1, 2017

The War over the Warnock continues

The Madison County Journal reported that the Madison County Economic Development Authority (MCEDA) lawyer Skip Jernigan said the Board illegally paid for a $1.2 million airport study:

A $1.2 million airport study awarded to Warnock & Associates in 2013 was “unauthorized, prohibited and illegal,” according to the special counsel hired last week by the Madison County Economic Development Authority to investigate the contract.

Arthur “Skipper” Jernigan of Jernigan, Copeland and Anderson PLLC in Ridgeland sent a letter to a number of elected officials last week saying Warnock should not have been awarded the contract because one of its employees, Calvin Harris, was on the MCEDA board.

Jernigan said back in 2013, Harris recused himself and stepped out of the meeting, but that didn’t matter because MCEDA’s enabling legislation prohibited the agency from doing business with any company if one of its employees sat on the board.

“Therefore, MCEDA was not legally capable of contracting with Warnock and Associates, making the subject contract unauthorized, prohibited and illegal,” he wrote. “The issue now becomes one of what can MCEDA do to seek the return of the monies improperly and illegally paid to Warnock. The Madison County Board of Supervisors can be rest assured that MCEDA is reviewing all possible avenues of recoupment or disgorgement of the monies paid in the 2013 Warnock contract and any related matters.”

The letter states that board members who voted for the project back in 2013 will be notified, in addition to their bonding company, Warnock & Associates, MCEDA attorney Andy Clark, the State Auditor’s Office, Mississippi Ethics Commission, State Attorney General, and the Madison County District Attorney. In addition, MCEDA’s insurance carrier will be provided notice.

A review of MCEDA’s minutes and financial information dating back to 2012 shows that in addition to money paid for the airport study, Warnock & Associates received over $160,000 worth of other business from MCEDA.

Some jobs were approved by the board, such as work in 2013 on Parkway East parcels owned by MCEDA, while other work appears to have been completed without a board vote.

The Madison County Journal found at least 18 instances of payments to Warnock & Associates by MCEDA dating back to February 2012. At least three instances appeared on financial statements with no dollar amount listed.

On Oct. 5, 2012, Warnock & Associates was paid $19,141.50 for engineering work, though it was unclear in the minutes what the work involved.

According to minutes, MCEDA paid Warnock & Associates over $101,000 for work on the new office building in Canton. The payments were made between February 2014 and March 2015.

Jernigan on Wednesday said they are reviewing everything at this time, including whether or not any business was done with companies that employed other board members.

“It’s a big ole ball of twine,” he said. “Once you start unraveling it, you have to get it all the way unraveled.”  Article.
Just the good ol' boys, Never meanin' no harm, Beats all you never saw.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

well at least some of the money is doing some good. rudy took a boat and headed to houston the other day to help get people to dry land.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Madison is going the way of Jackson.

Anonymous said...

Isn't this why Trey Baxter was "removed" as President of the Madison Cty Board of Supervisors?

Anonymous said...

@9:45 Trey was removed because as stated on this site before, Trey made an issue out of nothing. Lets just be real, he ran to the journal crying because it was his time to roll off. The Madison BOS has a different president each year. Always have, always will, unless they vote to change that. Trey was supposed to roll off already, but finally did.

Anonymous said...

@9:45 - maybe KF can go get a look at the minutes for the supervisors' meeting whereat Baxter was appointed president. I am pretty confident that Baxter's appointment, as reflected in the minutes, was for one year. And I bet the minutes will reflect that Baxter himself voted in favor of his "one year appointment." Interesting that he waited until a month before his one year term was ending to raise his ruckus. Somebody should tell Baxter that he missed his window to appeal the board's decision regarding the one year appointment (which is ten days following the action of the board). If Baxter sues the board now, his ass will be thrown out of court in short order.

MadCo Goes Corrupt Again said...

You'd lose that bet, 10:49 and 10:20, who is also YOU, is inaccurate as well. There was no vote for a one year term and the county attorney has twice stated the AG opinion that these terms are four year terms, not one year terms. In fact the Chancery Clerk has now admitted that he 'mistakenly' entered into the minutes (January 2016) that the board had voted for annual rotation when neither the motion nor the vote reflected that.

Turn your cap around and get on the honest side of county government.

Anonymous said...

That didn't stop McQuirter

Anonymous said...

Baxter being board president didnt give him anything more than he already had being a supervisor. His duty as president of the board is to preside over the BOS meetings.

Baxter can continue his investigation of MCEDA, Warnock the Warlock and anything else he chooses in his official capacity as an elected county supervisor. Board President is nothing more than a title.

Bill Dees said...

11:32 AM: The BOS can act only through its minutes. Whatever's in the minutes is what the present rule is. The BOS can go back and amend the minutes (I guess) but until they do, the Board President serves for 1 year only.

Anonymous said...

11:32, did you seriously use "honest" and "government" in the same sentence?

Anonymous said...

Bill Dees, you are correct the board can act only thru their minutes. But the board also has a video of the meeting, and if the minutes improperly reflect the motion, the minutes get amended.

The motion to elect the president did not state anything about a 1 year term. Question that 10:20/10:49, go back and watch the meeting. The question came up a year later when GS brought up the election for a new President and was given the AG opinion that the term was for 4 years. There was no motion made in January 2017 meeting to elect anyone; therefore Baxter continued in accordance with the AG opinion.

If Baxter takes this to court, don't know what will happen with it in Madison County. But when it makes it to the MSSC, the opinion as stated by the AG will prevail.

Anonymous said...

Who is responsible for making the correction to the minutes? any correction? what has to happen?

Anonymous said...

Disgorgement. Good word.

Anonymous said...

You're wrong Bill Dees. Regardless of the 'we've always done it this way' theory....there has never on record been a vote to rotate the presidency. The fact that Madison County and some others have done that is by no means statutory or binding. Baxter won't contest this. No reason to. He has said he will not contest it. He did an admirable job for almost two years guiding this ship, even though it hit the rocks when Bishop poked a hole in the life boat and jumped over to the shady-deal side of corruption. Money talks.

The thing to watch now is whether the corrupt three will throw the county deeper into the ditch than the previous gang-of-five (plus Rudolph) did.

Anonymous said...

This is the right move they need this money to settle the cases against Tucker and the sheriff department.

Anonymous said...

C'mon 9:27 a.m.---do tell!

Anonymous said...

Skip's hand made ruling will not survive.

Silliness.

Dorsey will be the one getting paid here.

Anonymous said...

Rudy Supporters, if there are any, can someone explain why if he is not crooked why so many people are going after him? There is so much smoke following him around that there has to be fire. Seems like the only defense ever heard is that if the BOS approved the payments then it's legit. Is that the standard?

Anonymous said...

7:10 - That is indeed the standard. Today, when we step down from the optometrist's chair, we go through a door, have a seat and pay for new rims and lenses and the optometrist enjoys a share of the cost of the new glasses as well as the cost of the eye exam.

Same is true at the Madison Courthouse. The Board members were voting million dollar contracts for Rudy, Rudy was financing the Board members' campaigns and the Board kept Rudy employed as County Engineer.

Anonymous said...

@7:27

What campaign of a supervisors of Madison county has Rudy financed?
prove it.

Anonymous said...

I think the "video trumps minutes" theory has already failed on appeal in another case.

Anonymous said...

Question is why did MCEDA have to hire an attorney when we have a state auditor? And....the state auditor found no wrong doing? hhmm

Anonymous said...

12:07

Exactly! connect the dots...

Anonymous said...

Posts here must have been discontinued. Kingfish musta done got a phone call.

Anonymous said...

12:07--the Auditor investigation predated the airport fiasco by a long while. Try again.

Anonymous said...

Tell us then, 9:02....what did the 'auditor investigation' entail? The state auditor, like the FBI has been pretty much absent when it comes to investigation of MadCo corruption. But.....that shit is about to bust loose.

Anonymous said...

4:33, the State Auditor investigated Warnock in the 2010/2011 time frame after Mayor Mary raised holy hell, publicly accusing Rudy of overbilling the County. In that investigation, the SA's office found that Rudy had actually under billed. Though, I suppose the issue of whether or not the BOS should have ever entered into the subject contracts with Warnock in the first place remained up for debate.

But back to the original point. The airport contract at issue was awarded to Warnock in 2013, more that 2 years after the SA's office concluded its investigation . So, like I said above, it is inaccurate to relate the SA's finding of "no wrong doing" with the airport.

If there was a second, subsequent investigation into the airport deal, please correct me.

Anonymous said...

Was there an investigation involving either of the two secret airport studies performed by Warnock? All he did was re-date the second study and was summarily awarded $1.2 million bucks.

Anonymous said...

How many people do you actually know who can rip off a county for half a billion dollars, pose in gangster photos and put out a hit on a mayor and NOT be investigated by the FBI? Take your time answering.

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