Friday, January 19, 2018

Pelahatchie plunder?

No lockbox is strong enough to protect a honeypot of money from politicians and such is apparently the case in Pelahatchie.   JJ has learned that State Auditor is investigating the city of Pelahatchie for misspending asset forfeiture funds.


The city allegedly spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of the restricted funds on other uses.  State and federal law prohibit municipal governments from spending such asset forfeiture money on anything besides law enforcement.  Section 41-29-185 of the Mississippi Code states:


One hundred percent (100%) of any seized and forfeited property to be transferred to any state or local law enforcement agency under the provisions of 21 USCS Section 881(e)(1), 19 USCS Section 1616(a)(2), or other federal property sharing provisions, shall be credited to the budget of the state or local agency that directly participated in the seizure or forfeiture, for the specific purpose of increasing law enforcement resources for that specific state or local agency. Such transferred property must be used to augment existing state and local law enforcement budgets and not to supplant them.
Sources said that the city used the funds to shore up the municipal budget, which would violate the law.  Stay tuned.


Kingfish note: JJ attempted to find out how the funds were spent but has had to deal with some game-playing by the city clerk.  JJ filed a public records request for asset forfeiture fund expenditures since 2012.  The city clerk said it would be $80 since the records were in storage and of course she would not begin to retrieve the records until she was paid.  So a trip was made to Pelahatchie to pay her the vig.  What she called the records are posted below. The annual expenditures of the asset forfeiture funds are:


2012: $185,427
2013: $649,243
2014: $175,471
2015: $312,399
2016: $731,519
2017: $800,254
Total: $2,854,313

The annual public safety budget ranged from approximately $545,000 to $660,000 over that time period. 

JJ would love to tell you what was the purpose of each expenditure but the clerk did not provide that information.  A clerk who is paid nearly $100,000 per year.  It is rather strange that she did not do so.  JJ has submitted quite a few public records requests throughout Mississippi over the years that ask for expenditures of various funds.  The clerks usually provide a spreadsheet with the amount, date, and purpose of the expenditure.  Basic book-keeping 101.  However,  basic competence apparently stops at the Pelahatchie city limits.  The information requested is basic data that should be stored in the city's accounting software on her computer.  One hopes that Pelahatchie has moved into the 1990's and stopped using ledger books for its book-keeping operations but such is not the case.

JJ filed another request for a copy of the expenditures of the same funds from 2006 to 2012. Ms. Massey performed to expectations as she said it would be another $80 since the records are in deep, deep, storage. JJ also submitted a request for a roster of all city employees as well as their job titles and salaries.  Ms. Massey said that would be $25.  Yup.  A roster of 26 employees must be be hard to compile.

Pelahatchie's asset forfeiture records
 What is clear is that the overpaid city clerk of Pelahatchie is either stonewalling or is incompetent.  Perhaps she or her deputies should visit Hinds County, Madison County, or Clinton so they can learn how to do their jobs properly in a competent and ethical manner.

Public records stonewalling aside, it is also time to realize that drug money corrupts.  It corrupts the souls of those who profit from the drug trade and of those who try to stop the drug trade.  There is simply no telling how many cities in Mississippi stick their hands in the drug money honeypot when they think no one is looking. 

Governments can only spend the money for law enforcement purposes but how often are they held accountable if they steal and misuse the funds? This rural Rankin County town was allegedly using drug money to shore up the budget.  The Hinds County Sheriff "partners" with the Morton Police Department so he can get a chunk of the drug money on I-20 before Rankin County law enforcement can seize it. Yes, there is an actual race to seize drug money among our law enforcement agencies.   Mo' money means mo' temptation.  Mo' money means more toys.   Of course, it's all ok because it was seized from the druggies. If you argue against this corruption, well, you support druggies and hate the police.

It will be interesting to see what the State Auditor uncovers in Pelahatchie.   Keep in mind that there were a couple of years where the spending of the asset forfeiture funds exceeded the public safety budget.  Percolate on that little fact. 

Oh yes, I almost forgot to include this little fact. The City Clerk and Deputy City Clerk announced they are retiring. The announcement was made the day after I submitted the public records request for the roster of all employees. 





54 comments:

Anonymous said...

KF IS THE ONLY REPORTER IN THE HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI THAT HAS THE GUTS TO REPORT A STORY LIKE THIS. THIS STORY EXPOSES ONE OF THE DIRTIEST LITTLE SECRETS IN LAW ENFORCEMENT.

Anonymous said...

This raiding of the honeypot was going on while GOP darling Knox Ross was Mayor? Municipal corruption was going on right in Rankin County right under the nose of DA Michael Guest? Do I have all of this right?

Guest and Ross, Hood and Scruggs, Hmmmmmmmmmm.

Kingfish said...

Shuddup. Don't you know? It's the new black mayor's fault (Sarcasm). A good gummint white Republican would never do anything wrong.

Anonymous said...

KF, I'm trying to remember. But wasn't Knox a CPA before he took office? And one of his major planks in his campaign platform that he could bring business acumen to the office? Or maybe I'm confusing him with someone else.

Anonymous said...

a town of 1500 people and a city clerk that makes 100,000$ per year. only in that third world country they call mississippi.

Anonymous said...

I find the overpaid city clerk's salary more scandalous than the misuse of the asset forfeiture funds. But at least it's not ILLEGAL.

Anonymous said...

Kingfish, Check out the Hazlehurst Housing Authority....seems Jim Hood is attempting to find at least $100,000. The Executive Director, Barbara Skipper was fired recently. Relatives getting reduced rent while the more needy were overcharged. You should look into this.

Anonymous said...

The RINOs wouldn't be in pursuit of this at all if a Republican was still the mayor there. Why no audits or investigations in Pearl?

Ham Sall said...

Clarion-Ledger and TV "investigative" reporters rip off this story and research in 3 ... 2 ... 1.

Anonymous said...

I’m curious about the salaries of other city clerks now.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for publishing this. This is concerning on many levels. The worst part is the money tied to drug policing is distorting the priorities of law enforcement. It's not law enforcement's fault, they're responding like anyone would faced with the same incentive structure. We should remove the incentive for them to police for profit so they can focus on solving violent crimes.

Anonymous said...

Pelahatchie has been corrupt for years. This is nothing new. Why is it just now being investigated by ANYONE, not just the State Auditor? Is it because of how much in-fighting has been going on at board meetings or is it because there are finally some people in there who want to do things right and do right by the people who report to them rather than just be satisfied with the status quo because it worked for the last guy?

$JustSaying said...

This really reinforces the need to overhaul or really do away with the forfeiture laws,they encourage corruption by law enforcement. My brother is a retired police officer and agrees. This case in this small town is only the tip of a huge iceberg.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to see KF investigate the Mississippi High School Activities Association. The Director gets the job over a very respected recommended candidate, and then multiple folk from the selection committee get hired by the new Director. the Director is one of the highest paid Directors in the US despite running one of the smaller such Associations in the US. Officiating problems, player safety gaffes (trial attorney dream the next time a kid gets paralyzed), lots of incompetence, as well as directives with nothing approaching basic subject-verb agreement (i.e. some really dumb people in high positions).

Anonymous said...

8:55 a.m.,

I would hope if another news outlet does this story, they’ll find more information to advance it some. That’s the way it’s supposed to work. And unless they independently confirm it themselves, they better cite KF.

That’s Journalism 101. Source EVERYTHING.

My Brother Is A Genius And Sez... said...

"This really reinforces the need to overhaul or really do away with the forfeiture laws,they encourage corruption by law enforcement."

9:33; I'm real glad your brother who is a police officer agrees, but, so what?

If you think asset forfeiture laws encourage police corruption, imagine the corruption without those laws. What do you think became of these moneys/assets before we invented these laws? Thazzz rite! Corrupt police pocketed those assets except for the pittance they turned in.

Anonymous said...

All one needs to do is look I-20 in Rankin County. The unmarked, obvious, police vehicles are pointed at traffic heading westbound. Money goes west, dope east. It lets you know what the priority is.

Anonymous said...

About the MHSAA comment. The shame of it is that almost 100% of these grammar illiterate people were former educators in our school systems.

The MHSAA is corrupt to the core and they never have placed the student-athlete before their money grabbing policies.

Anonymous said...

KF you mention the new mayor. I would implore you to look at where she resides. It is not Pelahatchie. Also, her MO to run was that her mom was "let go" for embezzling funds. They let her resign so as not to have a mark on her employment history and her daughter rolls into town to seek vengeance on the "white folks"(her words). Before you think the people are upset that there is a black mayor, know that it has no issues with her skin color, its her motive and attitude that worries people. If you would like I can provide videos of her incompetence and willfulness to prove a point from her board meetings.

Anonymous said...

For Comparison, anyone know the city clerk of Brandon, Flowood, Jackson, Madison, Ridgeland, Pearl, etc?

$100,000 per year for any job in a town of 1500 seems really high....

Anonymous said...

The new Mayor has nothing to do with this.. it was before her time

Anonymous said...

I want to know more about the Clerk's history and duties. For instance, how long has she been the Clerk? Does she cover multiple jobs that would otherwise be the responsibility of a separate employee in a typical setting? If she's covering the work of three employees and the Town would otherwise have three salaries and fringes, it doesn't look as warped.

Grace Slick said...

We built this City,
We built this City on Crack and Meth...

Anonymous said...

The new mayor has nothing to do with this. Period.

Anonymous said...

Knox Ross is a CPA and is very honest. He may be right and the state auditor wrong.

Anonymous said...

... and is very honest.

Not just honest, very honest. But not extremely honest. No, not extremely.

Like, say, Thad Cochran honest? That kind of honesty?

Anonymous said...

Regarding the MHSAA, they claim to advocate for "the good of the kids." I've noticed that whenever people claim the act for the good of kids that the kids are always the lowest priority.
Follow the money.

Anonymous said...

This has been going on forever in this neck of the woods. Check out the map of Morton. They annexed a road all the way south to 20 so they could rob motorists under color of law. Don't drive through any of these jurisdictions with anything you don't want seized.

Anonymous said...

This is not just a Pelahatchie issue; its how Rankin County is run. Michael Guest has been bragging on how much money they can take through these 'forfeitures' - did so in his announcement speech for Congress even. Never mind that the cash, vehicles and whatever else they can get their hands on are not from convicted felons. All it takes is having $10,000 or so in cash on you and be driving on I-20. Helps (their case, hurts yours) if your skin is anything but white. Black, and particularly tan, are automatic reasons to take your money.

Do they prosecute all these folks? Well, sometimes, particularly if they do happen to find drugs, even just a couple of ounces. If they don't find any drug evidence, they just take the money and send these perps on their way.

But hey, it funds cities and the county, and the folks crowded into the courtroom seem to like it. Pays their salaries and buys their toys. Forget innocent until proven and all those little concepts.

Anonymous said...

JJ and KF - excellence in reporting and incepting entertainment.

Anonymous said...

KF is unaware of an inter local agreement between Richland and pelahatchie.

The towns share proceeds and split time on 20.

I think more documents will / can / should be requested of Richland.

Back In The Day said...

I loved seeing Percy Sledge at The Muscadine Festival. A train coming through town even stopped right there beside the stage so the men could listen to the music. Percy and his entourage showed up in an old, red Continental Trailways bus - A Silver Eagle. Them was the days.

Anonymous said...

Good morning, I want to thank Mr. JJ for speaking to myself and my friend after the Pelahatchie town meeting last night. You were very polite to two unfamiliar women who followed you to your parked car. I truly appreciate you taking the time to talk with us. I would like to ask you to extend that politeness to the individuals that you are reporting about. I’m sure you feel that you are just reporting the facts, but you aren’t. All of us add our personal biases and opinions to what we say and think. And all of use have agendas, whether we admit it or not. We are all human. I’ve known these people literally my entire life. They are not crooks or thieves. I’m not privy to the information that is being discussed in the audit of our town’s expenditures. I know you feel that you are giving me that information by providing a list of the expenses and how they were allocated, but any information can be twisted to appear a certain way. Please, just remember in your reporting that providing the public with information is appreciated, but twisting that information to advocate a slanted view is not real reporting. I will wait, as should everyone else, to see the outcome of the audit. And when these people are found innocent I hope that you will report that side of the story. Again, thank you for your time last last night.

Anonymous said...

I just want to know why would someone from Jackson so interested in Pelahatchie if they didn't have someone instigating their actions? I think the BLACK so called mayor is behind all this due to the fact her true colors are really showing.. With all the lies that she is going around telling, she is trying to get the light off her cause people are starting to see what she really is which is a Jackson Thug!! Let take a closer look at this, 1) Her own mother worked at the Police Dept where she couldn't do / Refused to do her job properly and was "Let Go" / Resigned Without charges being brought against her so it wouldn't tarnish her record. Take a look at all the tickets that were remanded by her and the former police chief and you will see!! 2) Let's look at where black lady lived when she ran for mayor - Jackson, She used a family members address so that it looks as if she lived in Pelahatchie. 3) She claims to own several business so take a look at the Secretary of State web site and do a search for these businesses they are all dissolved which means either she has something to hide or she is operation a business illegally. 3) She claims she wants to move Pelahatchie Forward and she put out the town has no money and the city departments can't make any purchases unless she approves it, so where did this black woman come up with the money to go to lowe's and purchase fence for a ball field when we have streets that you can't hardly drive down without damaging your vehicle( Just like Jackson ) 4) Why would you need to have 2 JACKSON POLICE OFFICERS to come to a board meeting in JACKSONS UNIFORM to escort you home if you aren't hiding something which brings me to this, Whit these to so called Jackson Police Officers being in Jackson Uniforms in A town in Rankin County that would mean they were using the City Of Jacksons Equipment to do personal business which is illegal!!! I have pictures and video to prove that!!! So I will give you this to ponder, she wants the Town of Pelahatchie to look like Jackson, where the street crimes and murder rate will never be under control and she wants a town where all the business is gone and she is working that way right now!!

Anonymous said...

jan 19 @ 9;30 is correct........ the city of richland , that fancies itself as the capitol of asset forfeiture, has some agreement and compact with pelahatchie regarding forfeitures . i would love to see that posted on JJ, but im sure they got it locked up in fort knox. KF please root that one out for us.

Anonymous said...

Wow! City of Jackson police officer attire on two individuals escorting a Pelahatchie mayor Home??? That seems Kingfishy.

Anonymous said...

9:05 am

You are an idiot...racist....remnant of what MS used to be.

Go away.

Chief Shoemaker made that town function flawlessly. She died doing what she loved - serving that town.

For you to speak ill of her without her ability to represent herself because she’s dead says volumes about you.

You crusty nasty grief heaping heifer - go dig a hole and get in it.

Kingfish said...

Wow, redneck, you sure made your point. Any particular reason why you felt the need to keep pointing out the Mayor is black?

Anonymous said...

First and foremost, the fact that someone has been "known" by another person for their "whole life" neither makes them a "good, honest person" or a bad one.

Knox and Glenda have, mostly with general knowledge of the public and just nonchalant carelessness from their fellow townspeople,for years been doing "underhanded" things to benefit themselves.

The new mayor (and yes, for the love of God, we allllllllllllllll know by now she's BLACK ���� gasp!!!!!) has nothing to do with any of those dealings. She just came in and started to "rock the boat" with questions- none of which seem to outrageous to the general public. Not outrageous unless they just simply dislike her because of the color of her skin or because she's new.

It's no coincidence that Knox resigned and Glenda passed away around the same time. No coincidence either that BOTH city clerks resigned when this blew up.
Hell, with a salary like Betty's, she should be able to live comfortably for the next fifteen years.... It's absurd.

And,as usual, there will be those who'll defend the wrong doers NO MATTER WHAT.Theyll never ask a question or want proof. That's no way to live life!!!!!!
That small town is in for some BIG PROBLEMS with that kind of backwoods "he's my friend, he WOULD NEVER do that!!!"

Anonymous said...

Know your facts before saying anything and I am sure my mother didn't say o I am going to die today. One More word from anyone else about my mother Glenda will answer to a court room for slander and yes stupid even though she is gone I can do that....

Anonymous said...

Know your facts before saying anything and I am sure my mother didn't say o I am going to die today. One More word from anyone else about my mother Glenda will answer to a court room for slander and yes stupid even though she is gone I can do that....

Anonymous said...

Know your facts before saying anything and I am sure my mother didn't say o I am going to die today. One More word from anyone else about my mother Glenda will answer to a court room for slander and yes stupid even though she is gone I can do that....

Anonymous said...

6:51 Thanks for the laugh. Anyone stupid enough to think dead people can sue for slander should not be allowed to have sharp scissors........

Anonymous said...

Some of the 'old guard' in Pelahatchie are upset that someone who won't do their bidding is currently the mayor, and it's now abundantly clear as to why they don't want someone outside of their buddy system in office.

The board members have treated many of the employees and citizens with a complete lack of decorum. If the mayor suggests that the city should be courteous to an employee, the board cuts it off just to show their opposition.

I dread the thought of looking at pictures of the city's prayer breakfast. Some of the board members probably ate off the floor just to show they don't have to follow civil society and use plates and silverware.

Anonymous said...

Trademark your headline Kingfish.

"The Pelahatchie Plunder" should be up there with the "Music City Miracle".

Anonymous said...

Interesting that private citizens (and Victor Mason) think they can intimidate Kingfish.

Anonymous said...

"It's no coincidence that Knox resigned and Glenda passed away around the same time."

4:36...Please connect those dots for us. We're waiting.

Plus...Can I get a front row seat to watch someone sue for slander against her deceased relative? I'll bring popcorn for everybody.

(half them danged thangs ain't street signs!)

Kingfish said...

I've seen no evidence that the late Chief was involved in anything crooked. The expenditures in question are usually approved by the Board of Aldermen or city council in most cities.

As for the partnership with Richland, that has nothing to do with how Pelahatchie spent the money obtained from seizures. Just a smokescreen thrown up.

Now if someone wants to question whether cities should be taking part in these "partnerships" and "task forces" in areas way outside of their jurisdiction, that is a different matter and worthy of discussion.

Anonymous said...

I’m sure one of those Officers from Jackson happen to be a resident of Pelahatchie and was there for support of the new Mayor. They even stood in the rain because the Fire Marshall posted that City hall was packed to capacity.. @9:05am if you think that these officers violated their Department General Order or state Law then maybe you should turn the video over to JPD Internal Affairs Division and make a formal complaint. 601-960-1331

Unknown said...

For all you folks that have your input on shit you don't know not one thing about, sit your ass down. The truth will come out !! So until then keep your comments to yourself. Glenda Shoemaker is not here to defend herself. And do you really think, you STUPID ASSES THAT Glenda chose to die because of any of this. No she fought for her life in ways none of you worthless ass folks know. Ya have no idea what she went thru fighting for her life . What we went thru to keep her here . So until it's investigated and it proves this situation, keep your comments to yourself.

Pelahatchie town has worked against each since the day Glenda passed away.


THIS is my hometown, but I want to get as far away from here as I can.

Town of pelahatchie has went down and going down everyday. And I hear that everywhere I go from a pelahatchie citizen.


Thanks, Sabrina
(Glenda Shoemaker, oldest daughter)

Kingfish said...

Sincerest condolences.

Pamela Billings said...

It has been years since I lived In pelahatchie but their is one thing that I do know that Glenda shoemaker was a great person and for all the low lives disrespecting her name and family god has no fury yal should be ashamed of yourself putting this up let her rest in peace and her children heal

Anonymous said...

Hey Kingfisher, how about you do the right thing and correct yourself. You got the city clerks salary wrong, not once but twice! Betty did not make $100,000 a year nor $80,000 a year. Get your facts right or quit trying to be a reporter. I’m sure she started at a predetermined salary and received percentage raises each year. After over a quarter of a century of course it’s going to go up. You still have toothless old women wearing nasty pajamas and wore out tee shirts, not to mention their uneducated brain, blabbing about the $100 thousand dollars you prematurely wrote about and never corrected. Get it right or don’t write!

Kingfish said...

Actually I got a roster of all public employees from the town a few weeks ago. I was wrong and so are you. She made $82,000 per year although her benefits pushed her up into the 90's so actually I was right. Nice try. Better luck next time.

I was told the reason she made so much was because they were a position short and instead of hiring someone else, they raiser her salary to cover the extra duty.

Now if you want to argue with the information the town gave me through an open records request, go argue with the town.

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