Monday, May 7, 2018

A Tree in the Forest?

A local charity, the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson, stated a rather curious investment on its tax return two years ago.  Curious because it involves timber rights - the same "investment" that was used to con 250 investors out of over $100 million. 

The 2015 tax return for the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson shows $2.3 million in timber rights.

It is interesting because the executive director of the Foundation is none other than Jane Alexander, the wife of Brent Alexander.  The AP's Jeff Amy reported last week that Senator Roger Wicker was victimized by the ponzi scheme through a company owned by Brent Alexander:

 Wicker bought into the alleged scheme through what's called the Alexander Seawright Timber Fund I LLC. That company was incorporated in 2010 by Jackson lobbyist Brent Alexander and lawyer Jon Seawright. Alexander, long one of Mississippi's most highly paid lobbyists, was active when Wicker served in the state Senate before being elected to Congress. Article.
It is certainly reasonable to ask whether some of the bogus timber rights that were pushed by by the fabulous Baker Boys (Alexander and Jon Seawright)  appeared on the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson's balance sheet.

Digging into the tax returns shows that 2015 was a very good year for the foundation.  The Foundation's revenue was $4.6 million in 2016 as the non-profit earned a profit of $1.6 million.  However, the Foundation received $12.8 million in revenue in 2015 and ended the year in the black at $9.7 million.  Total assets increased from $38 million in 2014 to $46 million in 2016.  The annual revenue stayed below $4.9 million since 2011 except for 2015.

It is a certain bet the Foundation's timber investments will attract some scrutiny.  The investments are not listed on the 2016 tax return. 

*Annual revenue since 2011
2016: $4.6 million
2015: $12.8 million
2014: $4.4 million
2013: $2.2 million
2012: $4.9 million
2011:  $2.8 million

Earlier Posts
SEC: Ponzi scheme began in 2004. 
Flashback Friday
Clearcutting the timber. 
Wicker wobbed in Ponzi scheme.
Pinnacle Trust issues statement on Ponzi scheme
Lamar Adams waives indictment.
Feds: Lamar Adams took over $100 million in Ponzi scheme.


Anonymous said...

LOL @ the Baker boys

Anonymous said...

And the plot thickens.....

Anonymous said...

I find this quote from Alexander to be VERY foretelling!!! Seems he and his wife, Jane , started a magazine a few years back called SOUTHERN aimed at wealthy southerners. It was in an interview about the magazine that he said:

"We're targeting consumers age 24 to 55 with an income of excess of $100,000," says Brent Alexander. "These are consumers who appreciate good food, good wine; they like to entertain and shop."

You can’t make this shit up!!

Anonymous said...

Go, Kingfish, Go!!

Anonymous said...

Check pg. 12 of the Form 990. The entity's financials are audited by independent accountants. An investment like this would have certainly been investigated by the auditors, including testing of existence and/or valuation of the investment. Seems like you are barking up the wrong tree on this one, no pun intended (or maybe intended?). The next post I expect to see on this blog is questioning whether or not we landed on the moon...

Anonymous said...

I would think 24-55 with HHI of $100,000K would be an extremely desirable income for LOTS of businesses. Not sure I get the “gotcha” in that particular point.

Anonymous said...

Luther S. Ott
Jamie Houston
Lee Unger
Janet Y. Harris
Judy Wiener
Mike Mcree
Jan Lewis
Charles W. Nicholson Jr.
Mary Yerger Dunbar
Candie Simmons
Kelley Williams Jr.
Kenny Windham
Stephen Johnston
Jesse Mitchell
Stacy Thomas
John C Turner
Ashley N. Wicks
Lester Senter Wilson
Jane C. Alexander*
Jackie P. Bailey*

Anonymous said...

An auditor would only check the investment as to its existence, and it's value. The auditor would not be expected to do due dilegence as to whether the timber actually existed, assuming there were deeds and timber cruises.

Now - the volunteer Board of Directors -
They may should have looked deeper into this $2M investment. Believe you may be barking up the wrong tree.

Anonymous said...

Right, auditors are infallible. ROFLMAO

Anonymous said...

The national title insurance underwriters have put out guidance this morning to avoid any transaction involving the named entities & individuals in the federal petition and some have issued alerts that now say individuals associated but not named in the indictment are to be submitted for approval before any title insurance will be underwritten on a transaction.

There is about to be a lot of land/homes/office buildings locked up that haven't even been disclosed yet because the title insurance underwriters know the property is going to be seized or will be seized.

Macy Hanson said...

@ 8:52. The involvement of a CPA firm doesn't prove anything, on its own. Myriad legitimate questions still exist.

Anonymous said...

Fabulous Baker Boys is the funniest thing I have seen on this thread.

Anonymous said...

8:52...This shouldn't be so easily and flippantly dismissed. It may indeed be nothing, but if you saw all the LLCs Lamar Adams created to facilitate his scheme...a scheme that has been going on for 14 years and only recently is not outside the realm of possibility that the source of the donation would be obscured by a tangle of legal entities and shell companies.

We don't know as yet, but it's awfully coincidental, and demands investigation. This is not the stuff of moon landing deniers and fluoride in the water quacks.

Pappy Odaniel said...

The comment section sniffs out another connection. I'm still going to say PERs got a piece of the action on this...I mean they would be a great target. Giant cash pinata run by morons. Let's play some 6 degrees of schiestering...Pinnacle Trust (which clearly has nothing to do with this) is all up in bed with Community Bank...which has about 3 billion in assets and just announced it would build a new corporate office in the 400 million dollar Waterton Development...I'm sure it will all work out. I went by their grand announcement the other day and really enjoyed it. It was like watching Evil Knievel climb into the rocket and KNOWING ahead of time it was going straight to the bottom of Snake River Canyon.

Anonymous said...

Who in Mississippi hasn't been screwed by investments in chicken houses or timber?? Folks - do some research, run the numbers yourself, and if the investment "expert" can't clearly explain how the opportunity works in less than 30 seconds it's probably a bad deal or a scam. Anyone seeking to get rich quick will learn in a hurry that there's no free lunch (unless of course your name is Clinton and you're interested in cattle futures or land).

Anonymous said...



The charity that one of the wives of one of the purported wranglers of this ponzi scheme, just so happens to book $2.3M in "timber rights"?

The foundation created a "subsidiary", CFGJ Properties, LLC with assets of $2.3M as "Timber Tract Investment".

Just coincidence

Don't miss that "pledges and grants receivable" jumps $5,438,625, almost 100x the amount for the beginning of the year 2015. That number is zero for 2016 and was ~$60K for 2014

Anonymous said...

8:52 -- A typical financial statement audit is neither designed for, nor effective at, detecting fraud in the underlying investment.

If my foundation owns stock in XYZ Corp., the CPA isn't going to drive out to XYZ and review their balance sheets, ask to see their inventory, etc. Same with imaginary timber.

And even if a CPA did go out and look at some timber land, so what? We've already established with 99.99% certainty this was a scam. Either these "timber rights" are in the scam entities or they're not. Either Jane Alexander knew it was a scam or she didn't. Nothing a CPA says changes any of that.

Anonymous said...

What is the significance of the names posted above? Are these participants/victims?

Anonymous said...

9:01 am - what is the source for the names you have listed and are they victims, perps or board members? Please elaborate.

Anonymous said...

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I thought I recalled some ties between Horne and other weird goings-on - not that Horne was (or was not) at fault - just that Horne had some role. A quick google search reminded me it was the SRHS pension fiasco down on the coast and possibly the Ted Cain mess in Stone County, but it also produced this for whatever reason:

Lamar Adams is a woman and Madison Timber Company has something to do with Honduras?

which led to this:

This mess sure seems to have a lot of things that make you go hmmm...

Anonymous said...

Without looking I can't be 100% sure, but it appears those are names of board members/employees or something of the Foundation

Anonymous said...

Those are the board members of CFGJ. Not sure why they were posted here with no accompanying text, unless someone is implying that they are somehow co-conspirators.

If so, that is patently ludicrous.

Anonymous said...

@10:20/32 Believe those are the board members of the Foundation.

Anonymous said...

So you gotta believe other Foundations bought into it....and specifically,
does MRA Foundation have a position in the Timber Fund? Lamar was heavy, heavy
into the School in a lot of ways....and it wouldn't surprise me a bit if
MRA invested in the fund.

Anonymous said...

Jane had to know that Hubby is shady.To stick the foundation that she works for is really sick.Do these people think that this could go no forever?

Anonymous said...

@8:58 am, the reason I say it’s interesting is because the initial investment asking price into this phony Timber company was 100k$... exactly what Alexander said was his target audiences income was for the magazine. . . . Was just making an observation.
For all I know he could have used a list of subscribers to “target “ more investors. Or it could have been a legitimate way to sell magazines. Either way the man is dirtier than a pair of used socks.

Anonymous said...

May 7, 2018 11.12 AM

I agree with your line of thinking. Alas, it does not appear that MRA has a foundation, so nothing there.

One of Brent Alexander's clients is the Create Foundation, based in Tupelo. I reviewed their 990s for three years, but they did not disclose any timber investments or anything else that might point to an interest in the scam. 501c's are only required to disclose a single investment if it exceeds 5% of total assets. Create has close to $90M in assets, so it is possible that it invested, but did not disclose.

Anonymous said...

I really wish someone would do a flow chart, business tree chart or something to explain this better.

Anonymous said...

Just to clarify something. If you look at Sch M of the Form 990, someone donated the timber rights to CFGJ. They did not invest in it. In addition, based on reading the other posts, the investors loaned money to Madison Properties. They would have been reported as notes, not timber rights.

Anonymous said...

The Gaming Commission hired Horne to do all of the background investigations it (the Commission) did not have the expertise to complete (which is pretty much ALL of them). When was the last time you heard of a gaming applicant denied a license (even though there were substantial issues revealed)?

I just can't wait for the shadow Commission (Horne) to start licensing and regulating bookies!

Anonymous said...

No idea how all of this will play out, and I really hope the Foundation isntninvolved in this disaster. They do great work for the people here. Having said that, anyone who knows the Alexander’s knows that Brent isn’t allowed to say “boo” without the approval of his wife. She is his muse, sounding board, xo-conspirator and boss wrapped up in one. Unlike her husband, I do believe she is smart enough to not let her job be on the line due to a Ponzi scheme. But, she’s arrogant, too, and greed will get you every time.

Anonymous said...

To 10:48
Just to clarify one thing, KPMG was the outside auditor for SRHS when the SRHS pension plan got into trouble. Horne was the successor CPA firm.

Anonymous said...

To 12:09
What has this post got to do with Madison Timber. It would be nice to have commenters to stay on track and not go down rabbit trails.

Anonymous said...

2:26 - LOL - apparently you don't how to play the game!

Anonymous said...

The $2.3 has zero to do with Madison Timber. Go run down some other rabbit trail.

Anonymous said...

the $2.3M "timber investment" has everything to do with Madison Timber. THIS might be the rabbit hole.

Anonymous said...

How far does this Ponzi scheme reach? Every day, it is a new name.

Anonymous said...

Been reading the comments and trying to find some logic in them all. But, how would one donate an asset to charity that doesn't exist? If you are running a ponzi scheme, why would you do donate a fake asset? From all the comments over the past few days, it doesn't seem like anyone involved in this was very charitable or had a Robin Hood streak in them (although faking a ponzi scheme to steal money from rich people and donating it charity would make an interesting movie plot, I guess). Go look at a summary of past ponzi schemes and find one that was donating their fake assets to charity. You won't find one. I'm not very smart but even I can wrap my head around that.

Anonymous said...

Here's the logic.

I have $2.3M in "timber rights" that I know are bogus. I know that the promissory notes and the collateral that contains these "timber rights" are bogus.

So, I "donate" those timber rights and what do I get? A personal income off-set for tax purposes and the charity, that can afford the loss, gets to absorb it.

Anonymous said...

The charity actually doesn't even take a loss. They put a donation of $2.3M on the books that isn't really worth that much, but they haven't lost anything. The charity had $0 before the donation, now it has something maybe slightly more than $0, but no losses.

It's a victim-less crime ;)

Anonymous said...

Further thoughts on the tax angle: $2.3 million sounds like a big number for a single donor, but there is nothing in the form 990 to indicate that the $2.3M in timber rights came from one source. So, in line with my previous post: perhaps 2015 is when the sh@t hit the fan and some of the key players (Adams, Alexander, Seawright, Billings, et al) decided to get out. Alexander offered up his wife's 501c as a dumping ground for these worthless notes, so everyone could mark'em up, take the tax benefit, and the charity wouldn't ask any questions.

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