Monday, November 13, 2017

Swamp bubbles from Madison County

If one is going to keep an eye on the politicians, it's a good idea to stick around when they decide to go into executive session.  The real fun usually takes place after the executive session - when most of the audience has left.  The Madison County Board of Supervisors are no exception to using this old trick as they proved last week. 

There was a fight over whether to allow Mac Haik to clutter up the county with its signs.  The key word in that sentence is "was." The Madison County Journal reported Thursday:

County supervisors reversed themselves on Monday and will grant off-premise signs for two new automobile dealerships.

After previously denying off-premises signs for two new Mac Haik dealerships, supervisors reversed direction to grant a special exception to allow for the signs to be placed at the two entrances to Autobahn Loop.

Mac Haik appealed the decision back in March by supervisors and recently lost in Circuit Court.

Supervisors discussed the matter Monday in executive session as part of pending litigation. Supervisors said Mac Haik was planning to appeal its recent loss.

In open session, there was limited discussion on the topic after Board President David Bishop made a motion to move for a finding that a special circumstance existed and the signage was necessary.

Bishop said the dealerships were located away from the road and cannot be seen from Calhoun Station Parkway.

The vote passed 3-2, with District 1 Supervisor Sheila Jones and District 2 Supervisor Trey Baxter voting against.

The board then voted 3-2 to allow for the signs to be placed based on the aforementioned finding by the board.

Back in March, supervisors unanimously voted against allowing off-premises signage for the dealership after Mac Haik requested to place 8-foot directional monuments on Calhoun Station.

The Planning & Zoning Commission unanimously recommended approval back in February before it was sent to supervisors the first meeting in March.

Supervisors, at the time, said the signage was too much.

“You can see those dealerships pretty well,” Bishop said back in March. “If you get off the Interstate, you’ll still see those two big buildings.”

Jones said in March, “I’ve always been able to find a car dealership when I need a car.”

Mac Haik representatives said back in March that when other land develops with commercial businesses they won’t be as noticeable to people driving on Calhoun Station Parkway.

Bishop echoed those sentiments on Wednesday, saying that growth on Calhoun Station Parkway is exploding and they want to plan ahead.

“That’s a fast-growing commercial area,” he said. “Once buildings go in front (of Mac Haik), directional signs will help find where the dealerships are.

Bishop said he changed his mind on the signage because he wants the business to have the ability to operate efficiently and profitably.

“We’re pro-development,” he said. “We want good companies to come in here. (Mac Haik) didn’t ask for anything from Madison County — any incentives. He brought two new dealerships in. It just shows me they believe in what they’re doing and I think we need to support that.” Article.

 Kingfish note: Now for the rest of the story.

Mac Haik sued Madison County  in an attempt to gets its way on the signs but lost (see documents posted below.) and will likely lose the appeal.  However, Mac Haik is also embroiled in the annexation fight with the incorporation of Gluckstadt and hired attorney Jim Herring for that case.

One of Mr. Herring's clients is none other than Madison County Board of Supervisors President David Bishop. He currently represents Mr. Bishop as the Supervisor tries to keep his seat in an election challenge filed by Karl Banks, the incumbent he beat by two votes.  

It is a safe bet that Mr. Herring is not working for free nor is he working on the cheap.  It is also a pretty good guess that this court fight is costing Mr. Bishop a nice sum of money as he took out a mortgage for $75,000 in March 2016, a few months after Mr. Banks filed his challenge in court. 

Make no mistake, this one smells. It is Mr. Bishop who made the motion to approve the signs for Mac Haik even though Madison County won in court and will likely win the appeal.   Mr. Bishop should disclose how much he has paid to Mr. Herring for legal fees and how much is owed to him as well.   Last week's action on this matter gives the appearance that someone will get favorable treatment by the Board if he hires the right attorney.  

As for helping Mac Haik, Mac Haik doesn't need any help.  The dealerships are so large that one would have to be an SEC referee to miss them.

There is also the matter of watching the tricks used by politicians.  The Supervisors actually used two of them to pull off this caper.  The first one was the use of the Executive Session.  Most of the audience and the media usually leaves when a board or council goes into executive session because it is not known how long such sessions will last.  They can last only a few minutes or a few hours if there is important litigation or personnel matters to discuss. 

However, the Madison County Board of Supervisors have always made a farce out of the printed agenda by including sections called "old business" or "new business."  This allows any supervisor to bring up any subject for action without any proper notice to the public.  It's a good way to sneak through controversial votes without any notice to the public.

Remember, if these guys will pull a stunt like this on something as simple as approving signs, they will do the same again when more important things are at stake. 


Anonymous said...

Gerald Steen barely won despite overwhelmingly winning the Ridgeland boxes. If Ridgeland wouldn't vote so solidly for Steen then the gang of three could have their tricks brought into line.

Anonymous said...

We are going to vote Steen and Bishop out!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for bring this up. It appears Bishop has a huge conflict of interest in this. The old saying "Follow the money" certainly applies to this. The people of Madison County voted for Bishop to stop this type of politics that were the "signature" of Banks. Apparently it's a qualification for that Supervisor district to operate underhandedly. The next election won't come soon enough for us that live in his district!


Now you know the rest of the story!

Anonymous said...

In the last election Banks was asleep at the wheel. You can bet that won't happen again.

Anonymous said...

And, silly me, I thought Washington County officials were suspect! They don't hold a candle!

Anonymous said...

The City of Jackson needs to annex the surrounding communities and end this type of corruption once and for all. Bring the greater-Jackson area under one umbrella and let us move forward as ONE community. Its a nice thought even though it will probably never happen.

I'm not a robot said...

12:16 PM, you're joking right?

Anonymous said...


"12:16 PM, you're joking right?"

Either joking or he/she drank too much kool-aid for breakfast this morning.

Anonymous said...

Haik didn't bring in two new dealerships. He bought and closed the historic Harreld Chevrolet and left a gaping void in Canton on Hwy 51. Anyone know of future plans for that building and lot? Signage of that magnitude is not needed - Perhaps a small directional arrow sign.

Anonymous said...

How did three uneducated Democrats gain control of this Board?....

Anonymous said...

Why did David Bishop flip?

Anonymous said...

Nice catch.

Anonymous said...

David Bishop is not the one making decisions. His wife is. If anyone ever attends a MadCo BOS meeting all you need to do is sit behind her. Anytime there is a vote David looks to her and she shakes her head yes or no. David is just the puppet.

Anonymous said...

In this day in age, you're telling me nobody can find a car dealership without giant signs pointing the way?

How about this....very few people under 40 will see the signs because their face will be buried in their phone as they drive by the dealership.

Fell Off A Turnip Truck and Is In Charge said...

I don't know what affliction causes Bishop's wife to shake her head up and down and sideways, but I do know that developers and other large contributors are the ones pulling Bishop's strings.

Look at his primary three large contributors. One is an MEA medical doctor who lives on Virlilia Road out from Flora. It's in bad shape and Bishop is spending millions to rework it. Bishop likes those contributions plus he likes to fish and hunt out there.

Another is a developer/builder who, under Bishop's leadership, got the board to approve a 616 rooftop development in Gluckstadt (over strong community objection).

The other is David Landrum, developer of the Township at Livingston. All three have Bishop by the literal balls, contribute greatly to his defense fund and his war-chest, host his money-raising events and tell him when to vote, when to pee and when it's bedtime.

Of course there is Bishop's personal attorney, Herring, mentioned in the opening comments by Kingfish, who has a tight arm-twisting grip on both of Bishop's arms. He tells Bishop whom to hire, whom to contract with and how to vote. I do not know how the man sleeps at night. He puts David Richardson,
Tim-Elvis, John-Bell, Banks and even Rudy in the shade. It's amazing he can do this with the mentality of a peanut.

Anonymous said...

Who did Jim Herring tell David Bishop to hire?

Anonymous said...

It's one big circle jerk and Bishop is in the middle. Don't think I need to explain further.

Anonymous said...

I learned first hand that Bishop cannot be trusted. He goes back on his word. I will do everything I can do to make sure he loses next time.

Anonymous said...

@9:55 You and many others

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sticking around KF.
Unfortunately, some reporters who are assigned to cover State government agencies don't even show up. They rely on a press release or interview with the Chair or Director or the minutes.

Anonymous said...

Who did Herring tell Bishop to hire? The new director of Planning for one.

Anonymous said...

This ain't 'swamp bubbles'. It's actually 'bathtub bubbles' and you know what causes those.

Anonymous said...

@ 7:55 am
So David Bishop hand picked Carl Allen for Planning because Jim Herring suggested it?
What a poor decision!

Anonymous said...

What was the vote to appoint Carl Allen as P&Z director? I thought it was a 5-0 vote, but perhaps I'm thinking of a different position. If it was a 5-0 vote, or even 4-1 vote, how is it not the fault of the entire board if there is a problem with Carl Allen?

Anonymous said...

Directors can be hired all day long, but that does not mean once in the trenches he/she can handle the job.
Directors can be replaced also, anytime with the same voting method.

Point is in this whole mess- It seems as tho David Bishop is easily influenced and listening to the wrong support group.

Anonymous said...

4:12 - so if directors can be replaced, why hasn't he been replaced. David may have recommended him (Jim Herring suggestion or not), but didn't the board vote him into the position? David had not jumped ship at that point, so who supported Carl for the position? David could not have done this solo.

Anonymous said...

David had indeed 'jumped ship' at that point. It was Mid-October 2016. By that time the developers and Herring had Bishop by the nutsack. Herring told him to resurrect Allen's resume and 'give the guy strong consideration'. Prior to that time, Allen's resume was in a 'reject pile'. That amounted to marching orders. Six months later, Allen submitted his own request for a Ten Thousand Dollar raise, Bishop made the motion to approve and Jones seconded. It takes three votes to fire and replace. Jones and Baxter = two votes. Pay attention.

All Opposed Motion Passed said...

Did the hire of Allen have to come before the board as a motion and vote? I don't know. I heard there was a process in place to hire somebody and suddenly Bishop and Steen told everybody to hold on, stop right there, we will make this decision. Enter Herring. Order Mr. Allen a nameplate. Exit the County Administrator who was trying to fill the vacant job. Madison County politics as usual. Banks is alive and well. The only difference is Allen doesn't look much like Banks and they're probably not related. Allen is happy. Herring is happy. Bishop is happy. Steen is saying, "Who? Me?"

Anonymous said...

Please tell us the are opponents for Bishop and Steen next election cycle.

Anonymous said...

9:29 - It's right around corner. Sure hope so. Plan for it.

Anonymous said...

Much has been said about Bishop's conflict of interest and method of operation. However, what about Lawyer Herring's conflict of interest. How can he be representing the president of the Board of Supervisors in civil litigation that will hit the courtroom in another week and at the same time represent a businessman who continues to sue the same Board of Supervisors? I realize republicans get certain passes, but, hell...........

That makes about as much sense as going to traffic court in the municipal police building.

Anonymous said...

David Bishop or Gerald Steen needs to make a motion to reverse the vote.
The folks in Gluckstadt are not happy and are already talking about the next election cycle so they can help get those two voted out.

Let Mac Haik sue or do whatever their legal person tells them to do.
What an impression they are all making in the community.

Anonymous said...

The silent supervisor named Griffin, about six months ago, came out of his shell and reversed his vote for a whiskey store next door to Deerfield in a motion to reconsider. He only did that when he realized not all of his constituents vote for him in a knee-jerk reaction because of skin color. Some actually give a shit what's going on in the neighborhood.

It's time Bishop and Steen realize the same thing.

The Way I See It.. said...

The only difference between Bishop and Banks is one has a last name with six letters and one has only five.

Anonymous said...

Who is this Mac Haik fellow and why does he believer believe people here are too stupid to find his building? I'm sure he will float those gigantic balloons 24-7. There's a clue! (those are illegal in unincorporated Madison County too)

Anonymous said...

Mac Haik probably personally has no idea balloons are there. Bless him for bringing business to the community.
His business needs to follow ordinance. Period.

Anonymous said...

Mac Haik has not brought business to the community. People were buying Dodgesk Jeeps and Chevys long before we ever heard of Mac Haik, the Texas millionaire. All he's done is buy out a dealership or two and move it up the road and insult the good people of Gluckstadt and MadCo.

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