Monday, May 21, 2018

State Auditor: Drug Money misspent. Demand issued to Pelahatchie officials for $502,363

State Auditor Stacey Pickering issued the following statement.
Today, special agents from the Mississippi Office of the State Auditor (OSA) delivered civil demands to several current and former officials in the Town of Pelahatchie. Drug seizure funds, which are required to be used for law enforcement purposes, were misspent by the Town. Two demands were issued for a total $502,363.07, which includes interest and investigative costs.

Mississippi law requires the transfer of all funds received through the forfeiture proceedings under the Uniform Controlled Substance Law into the budget of the corresponding law enforcement agency. A review of Pelahatchie’s Forfeiture Account shows this transfer did not occur. After an OSA investigation, several illegal transfers were discovered. Some of the illegal transfers relate to:

· Transfers to the Town’s Enterprise Account (Utility Account)

· Transfers to the Town’s Special Fire Fund

· Transfers made to prevent overdraft in the regular Town checking account

· Transfers to pay salaries of non-police department employees

· Transfers to pay for items not associated with the Pelahatchie Police Department in any way


In Mississippi, asset forfeiture has a dual purpose of discouraging drug trafficking and providing a direct benefit to law enforcement agencies across the State. The goal of asset forfeiture is to provide police departments with additional funds to spend on equipment, additional training, officer overtime payment, and salary to hire new officers. The intent is to provide citizens with a better equipped and more qualified police department.

The first demand, totaling $421,688.10, represents the period of January 2015 to June 2017. It was issued to: former mayor, Knox Ross, Jr.; former alderman, Jerry Norwood; former alderwoman, Megan Hall; former city clerk, Bettye Massey; current alderman, Frank Boyd; current alderman, Michael Adams; and current alderwoman, Margie Warren. All recipients of this demand are jointly responsible for its repayment.

The second demand, totaling $80,694.97, represents the period from July 2017 to December 2017. It was issued to: former city clerk, Bettye Massey; current mayor, Ryshonda Beechem; current alderman, Eddie Jones; current alderman, Frank Boyd; current alderman, James Harrell; current alderman, Michael Adams; current alderwoman, Margie Warren. All recipients of this demand are jointly responsible for its repayment.

State Auditor Stacey Pickering said, “For years, the leadership of Pelahatchie abused these funds by attempting to use them to enhance the overall city budget when they were mandated to be allocated to the Pelahatchie Police Department. OSA will continue to work to assist local governments when questions regarding proper use of public funds arise, but we will also ensure that misspent money is recovered on behalf of Mississippians.”

Kingfish note: Now what was it the city attorney said? He had looked at this and there was nothing wrong?

Now let's look at some of the comments made in past posts about Pelahatchie:

 Word on the street is this witch hunt audit isn't going the way that Pickerings office wants it to and his office is leaking stuff to various sources, for what reasons I do not know. Also, Betty was going to resign right after the last elections, hell she's 70, but the new mayor made it known she was going after some folks in retaliation for her mothers "termination" as well as trying to destroy the town and Mrs. Betty wanted to stay and help protect her town. She is not retiring over this I can assure you.  January 22, 2018 at 8:36 AM  
 
I think stacey’s Office did an investigation earlier and it’s still much to do about nothing. This was with the drug money stuff kingfish reported on a while back and still nothing has come about it. Per the article On 1-24, KF reported Pickering Office would have an announcement “next month”. On 5-17-18(several “next months” later), there has yet to be a big announcement. Ryshonda Be barking up the wrong tree. May 17, 2018 at 10:42 AM

KF, Can you push the Auditor for the results of the misappropriation of the drug money? Hopefully he is auditing the entire PD to find where the money went. Mayor may wish she hadn't opened this can of worms. February 8, 2018 at 10:25 AM

 Word on the street is the auditor hasn't found anything with substance and someone is "leaking" this to some media outlets to turn it into a race thing versus what it is. Lots more going on in sleepy Pelahatchie than what's being reported. February 8, 2018 at 3:22 PM


Delete Delete Delete

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

The more I read about Pelahatchie, the more corrupt it seems across the board. Old mayor, new mayor, old aldermen, new aldermen, city attorney... Ain't nobody in this town clean!

And all this for a town with a population of 1400.

Anonymous said...

bout time someone tried to slow down the I-20 East shakedown- The Butler Snow lawyer got lots of money on the forfeitures too- He also was advising them on the law- Wonder if he is being asked to return his money?

Anonymous said...

Wow, so the current Mayor, who started all of this, is charged with misfeasance in office as well? Interesting.

Jack Errata said...

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Anonymous said...

I’m sure this was money being spent without her knowledge and that’s why she began rocking the boat! No wonder they all hate her....she will be responsible for whatever was spent while she was “mayor” that doesn’t mean she got one penny as we all know her salary...she is basically working for free...just imagine this is only from 2015-2017....what’s to come now

Anonymous said...

What about Canton and the credit card abuse? Not a word of that?? I wonder which one of Stacey Pickering’s buddies had a CMU credit card that was being abused?

Anonymous said...

Are there any honest politicians in these parts?

Anonymous said...

Maybe they used the money to invest in timber futures. They could just be that stupid and greedy.

It's time to pay the fiddler. Break out the personal checkbooks and write away. No rubber checks allowed.

Turn out the lights. The party's over.

Anonymous said...

So, because some of I-20 going through Pelahatchie, the local LEOs could make arrests on the interstate and keep the illegal stuff but the money had to be accounted for in a certain way? I guess that Pickering and Ross must not be political friends.

Anonymous said...

12:45, money in Canton would never be found in the first place. These country folk in Rankin County just did not know any better. It was all spend for legal public purposes; just a minor accounting mistake. No big deal.

Anonymous said...

The “New Mayor” was told to sign off on some things when she first got into office & when shen questioned it she was told that this is the way they have been doing it & that it was nothing wrong. So she signed off without complete knowledge of what was being done. When she began to inquire more on it she got resistance. She then stopped signing off on any other checks, etc that wasn’t lawfully used correct . Which will all be publicized soon.

Anonymous said...

The “New Mayor” was told to sign off on some things when she first got into office & when shen questioned it she was told that this is the way they have been doing it & that it was nothing wrong. So she signed off without complete knowledge of what was being done. When she began to inquire more on it she got resistance. She then stopped signing off on any other checks, etc that wasn’t lawfully used correct . Which will all be publicized soon.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait until the Bureau of Narcotics takes the entire asset forfeiture process over, at least then we will all be assured that due process will attach to seized property and there will be real transparency!

Anonymous said...

@12:23

Is the Jackson Free Press still a thing? I thought they had folded the tents. I haven't heard anything out of the rather vociferous Donna Ladd in a while.

Not that I'm complaining.

Anonymous said...

“Shrinking Jackson Free Press??? Hard to believe since Donna is so objective and writes fact-based stories (screaming sarcasm).

Anonymous said...

The current mayor’s name had to be included because her name was on a check that she signed when she first got into office. She is the one that asked for an audit when she couldn’t find out where the funding was going. Common Sense will tell anyone that she wasn’t involved. It was protocol for the auditor. I’m sure she has nothing to worry about.

Anonymous said...

@ 1:20 Thanks for the info, "New" Mayor.

Anonymous said...

12:53, honest and politician cannot be used in the same sentence.

Anonymous said...

The current Mayor’s name was included because she signed off on a check when she was new in office. When she couldn’t find where the funding was going she requested an audit. It was protocol for the Auditor to include her name but it is clear that she doesn’t have anything to do with the misappropriation of the funding. That should be common sense. I think she will be just fine.

Anonymous said...

But it's for the children.

Anonymous said...

I am 100% sure the current mayor had no knowledge of all the mishandling of funds. She requested the audit. It is obvious now why the other city officials began spreading propaganda and refuse to work with her.

Kingfish said...

I dunno about Lord Snow but Mr. Ross did lawyer up this year and get the Trapp.

Anonymous said...

Don't know if Narcotics will be able to take over the asset forfeiture program, but somebody needs to do it.

Realize that the Rankin County folks love it, and that DA Guest has operated fast and loose with the process - but it has provided the sheriff and local LEO's with a lot of cash. Plus it is what he is trying to ride all the way to DC.

But - taking the cash from anybody that has the right look about them, without any drugs in their possession, and sending them on their way west without a trial and conviction should be against the law. Certainly should be against the morality of any good thinking person.

Take all the cash, cars, guns, and anything else from the dealers when you catch them with the evidence of where the assets came from. But just because they are headed west on I-20, look latino, and crossed the fog line (or else was accused of crossing the fog line) isn't enough to grab the assets - except in Michael Guest's world.

Anonymous said...

It's about time for Pelahatchie to dis-incorporate and turn it over to the county. What a den of (alleged) thieves.

There is no reason for them to be a city with a population of 1,400, other than to create rice bowls and a little empire.

Anonymous said...

If JJ had JFP, advertising base then you guys would see his news magazine, rather than a Blog.

Anonymous said...

Bet the stack of resignations will be deep come next board meeting....and I doubt there will be a quorum. Will be interesting to see what happens next.

Anonymous said...

Does the city attorney have any exposure in this as he gave incorrect legal counsel?

Anonymous said...

Racism; Plain and simple. Wait! All the people mentioned in the first letter were white, right?

Hello 2:28 - Now hear this: Asking for an audit does not insulate one from all the fuckups found during the audit.

Point of order! Why does Kingfish 'approve' double posts - one right after the other? I think there are two of them in this thread so far. It's a regular occurrence.

Anonymous said...

May 21, 2018 at 2:00 PM

Yes, "Honest Mississippi Politician" is a bit of an oxymoron.

Anonymous said...

Pretty sure their bonds will be covering this.

Anonymous said...

"Point of order! Why does Kingfish 'approve' double posts - one right after the other? I think there are two of them in this thread so far. It's a regular occurrence. "

We are so sorry for the inconvenience. We will begin processing your refund immediately and upgrade your membership to Platinum status.

Anonymous said...

"If JJ had JFP, advertising base then you guys would see his news magazine, rather than a Blog."

Danny's? Escort services? what advertising base?

Anonymous said...

No money missing .All was spent on legal expenses. No big deal.

Anonymous said...

2:39, On March 12 the Governor signed House Bill 812 which requires law enforcement agencies in the state to obtain a seizure warrant within 72 hours and track seizures via a website provided by MBN.

Anonymous said...

#6 blog in entire state! The Fish has worked hard to build his franchise.A fine success story. Read several times a day.

Anonymous said...

The taste for these funds started in 2010 when pelahatchie officers downed an 18 wheeler with 750k under the seat.

Pelahatchie only got a small portion as they assisted but that paid for new cars and a new PD/courtroom.

Not sure what happened next....all was well when Glenda was there.

This looks like a mess.

Anonymous said...

This town is loaded with racist jerks but the problem is that the AA people there are not equipped to run the town and nobody white is willing to help.

The town will and probably should implode.

Anonymous said...

4:45am....all was good when Glenda was there? you mean that it was all hushed up and nobdy knew.

Cynical Observer said...

May 22, 2018 at 4:45 AM

I can just hear the mayor telling the chief: "I want a patrol car out on '20' at least eight hours per day to grab that free money. Now make it happen."

Anonymous said...

The gravy train has ended, cops now actually have to make an argument why/how the property/money they are seizing is/was involved in a criminal act or enterprise.

The burden of proof is back on law enforcement - where it belongs - a win for due process!

Anonymous said...

None of this is true. She signed checks until Dec 2017 when she turned the board in. It was a concoction between her and the chief of police. She put in the community embezzlement and she reported embezzlement to the auditors. She didn’t sign one check she signed numerous. The board never denied using the funds to pay the bills. The audit report showed just that. It also showed they were using the money to pay non police personnel salaries ie. salary cuts. And she say it’s black/ white. Yeap black and white that the budget is decreased. Call it was it is and admit she set this up

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