Thursday, July 26, 2018

Reeves Responds to Hood, Claims MDOT Says No Political Pressure

Leftenent Governor Tate Reeves held a press conference and issued the following statement.  The video is posted below.

 Melinda McGrath, Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation, states she did not say she had any “inappropriate” communication with a member of the Legislature on a frontage road project in Rankin County in a letter received by Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves Wednesday.
“... I have never indicated any inappropriate, unacceptable, or unlawful communication with a member of the Legislature...,” she wrote.

She goes on to say her definition of political pressure is “any legislative prioritization mandate” and points to an appropriations bill passed in 2014.

“When duly elected representatives of the people perform their constitutional responsibility of appropriating funds that is not political pressure it is the enacted law of the land in our state,” Lt. Gov. Reeves said.

In addition, two independent reviews of electronic legislative communication of the Office of the Lieutenant Governor did not find any records between the office and the Mississippi Department of Transportation regarding a frontage road project in Rankin County.

Lt. Gov. Reeves informed the Office of the Attorney General of the findings today.

“To be clear, I have been advised by Counsel that your informal document requests that were included in your document preservation letter create no legal obligation on the Senate, my office or any individual Senators to produce such documents,” Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves wrote in his response. “However I, like you, want to resolve any outstanding questions about the project for the public’s interest, and therefore, I am voluntarily responding to your request.”
MDOT Executive Director Melinda McGrath stated in the letter:

 My   definition   of   "political   pressure"   is   any   Legislative   prioritization  mandate  that undermines the statutory Vision 21 requirement  whereby  professional  transportation engineers and planners  utilize national standards  to evaluate the entire state owned network: identifying, prioritizing,  and  advancing  projects  which  yield  the  most  benefit  for  the entire  state  system. Ignoring  the  statutory   requirement   causes   the  State's   road network   system  preservation program to fall further behind, costing taxpayers more money.  MDOT has elucidated in multiple open  Legislative  committee  hearings  over  the  past  several  years that  regularly  scheduled pavement maintenance  and bridge repair projects provide taxpayers and business owners with the greatest financial value and the safest and most efficient transportation system....

As acknowledged in your letter, the Lieutenant Governor communicates infrequently with MDOT.    As  a  result,  the  Office  of  Lieutenant  Governor's  ongoing  interest  in  the  Highway  25/Lakeland Drive widening project assigned heightened importance and priority to this project. In the course of our regular project updates, your staff was made aware of utility delays that had the potential of  slowing  the construction  schedule.   Your  staff  took  the highly  unusual  step of communicating  directly  with utility  providers  and  worked  to resolve various  issues  to keep the project on schedule -  using political authority that MDOT does not possess.
Is contacting utility providers to "resolve issues" political pressure?

Kingfish note: WLBT, WAPT, and WJTV streamed the press conference on Facebook.  Guess who didn't do so? I'll give you a hint.  The media outlet that has 28,000 MDOT emails. Oh wait, there are two media outlets who have them. 


Anonymous said...

Is he a mime? I am not a lip reader.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, for sound!

Anonymous said...

Tate Reeves seems to me to be a small, petty man. It will be interesting to see him show his true colors under pressure.

Anonymous said...

Funny stuff. Who else can parse out what wasn’t said in that letter and press conference? Tate sure is working hard to make it sound like he had nothing to do with a $2,000,000 private road.

And that comment about searching electronic communications is hysterical. I’m in IT for a living, and those words could mean a simple search query to a full server sweep or anywhere in between.

And wtf is an informal document request? The AG is telling you to preserve records. You want it written on gold leaf signed by the Almighty?

Anonymous said...

Bottom line. This $2M+ road benefits only two subdivisions Safety is not a factor. Since the expansion of Lakeland to six lanes and timimg of existiong red lights, the traffic getting out on Lakeland is much, much easier. Don’t be fooled by all this back and forth between politicians.

Anonymous said...

"Bottom Line. This 2M+ road benefits only two subdivisions"

Do you have any idea how much it costs to build a roada? Do you think 2M is a lot of money for a road? Go check with your MDOT pals, that's small change.

And by two subdivisions, do you mean what, 200 family homes, or possibly up to 800 men, women, and children?

Aren't you for the children, Mr. Dick?

This is all garbage, just a hit piece from the "establishment" crowd who can't get no-bid contracts if Tate is Governor.

It's funny how many "conserbatib repubs" there are chomping at the bit to vote for Hood. They'll be out of work in a few years.

And Dems won't own a statewide office. Bottom Line.

Anonymous said...

Bottom Line: Hood is doing the same thing his national Democratic friends do - using the fake news media to present skewed reports that favor their interests without regard for the facts.

Anonymous said...

Ms Today headline and article disputes your’s, Kingfish.

They also combine the Lakeland expansion and frontage road, but no surprise on their slant.

Anonymous said...

This guy is so ill-prepared. He's not comfortable in front of the press and has basically ridden a low resistance path to his current heir to the throne position. I shudder to think of him as governor.

In 2003 he defeated Gary Anderson despite having almost no experience. He had worked for a couple of banks as an investment counselor - that's it. He won because of his Republican affiliation and the fact that Anderson was a black Democrat.

Since then the toughest opponent he has faced is Billy Hewes in 2011. No one in my lifetime has had an easier path to power than this guy. He's about the only one who doesn't realize it.

I believe the phrase is, "born on 3rd base and thinks he hit a home run".

Are the people of this state so backward that we will elect as governor the dictionary definition of an empty suit simply because he has an R next to his name? Yeah, we did it with Phil, but now we have a chance to put someone in there who's chief claim to the position isn't, "My turn!"

Enjoy your private road, Tater.

Anonymous said...

Shouldn’t that be “born on third base & thinks he hit a triple?”

Or maybe “born on home plate...”

You’re just rearranging the deck chairs on the Lusitania, either way.

Anonymous said...

Tate’s people did a nice job of cherry picking her words. Read her letter in its entirety, folks. She very clearly calls Tate on the carpet.

Sounds like the lines are drawn and she won’t back down. I’m glad we all have a front row seat for this.

Anonymous said...

Bottom Line: Hood is doing the same thing his national Democratic friends do - using the fake news media to present skewed reports that favor their interests without regard for the facts.

Another brilliant follower of the Mississippi GOP Cult!? If it was fake news do you think Kingfish would discuss it here on Jackson Jambalaya!? SMH

Anonymous said...

Tate is not an empty suit. He is an old-school politician that keeps an enemies list right beside the list of those that donated to his cause (and those that didn't). In a word, he is "dangerous". There is almost no doubt that he pressured MDOT, either directly or indirectly, into creating this road. Dick Hall is the master politician here though. He has fallen on the sword to take heat off of Tate, and in so doing, has purchased favor from Tate, should he become governor, that he could not have gotten any other way. At least for a period of time, Hall owns Tate...and they both know it.

Anonymous said...

12:53 one of those neighborhoods has a second entrance they can use already if it is to dangerous. We have bridges falling in that need repair a lot more than we need a 2mm private driveway to a redlight.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

This looks bad for Tate. How bad? This is like re-arranging the seats on the plane that went down with Lynyrd Skynyrd on it. Next thing you know, you're changing the artwork to the Street Survivors album cover so Ronnie Van Zant is not in the flames.

Anonymous said...

My, oh my! The Personal Destruction Warriors are alive and blogging. Seems no Democrat can hope to win Statewide without paving the way with personal attacks. I have to agree with those who say you should never attack a person for their race, their weight, their height, or any other personal feature one does not create oneself.

So what if this one or that one had an easier route than another? Does this mean they are no good? I believe the young father with all this experience would be the best choice for guiding the future of our state. To my knowledge, he has not spent millions of tax payer dollars hiring outside professionals who are personal friends.

It will be an interesting race and one that will have lasting benefits and consequences from its outcome. A whole lot to be said for continuity.

Anonymous said...

I am not sorry if I offend you but all of these people need to go find a job somewhere else. If you ever sit down where they "work" they are typically just dropping by to say "Hi you'll, what's up", "Goin to Lunch" I am not surprised it took this little amount of time to review all of the correspondence created by this project. Probably took half a day "work" or 30 minutes to review the correspondence. Most of the time it was "Attaboy awards" to people, groups or themselves. Maybe all state governments are run this way but being at the bottom of everything you would think Mississippi voter's could at least be best in voting out politicians who are worthless.

Anonymous said...

So it's Mr. Potato Head vs. The Roger Clinton Lookalike.

Four more years of the state bringing up the read. Shit. I'm moving to Texas.

Louis LeFleur said...

1:33, I'm not defending Tater, but for the record he's done more than " worked for a couple of banks as an investment counselor." He is a Chartered Financial Analyst, or CFA, a designation that usually takes years of study and three different exams. The man know finance better than 99% of people in that field. Does he know anything else? Not much, it seems. Is he a weak speaker? Yes.

Anonymous said...

I’ve voted republican 90% of my voting life. I will not be voting for reeves. This stinks to high heaven.

Theca Jones of the Roguish Gent Podcast said...

Tate should build a road for Phil to the nearest Walgreen's so he can buy some soap for his smelly body.

Anonymous said...

At first glance, this seems a bit too much carefully-worded denial of things that supposedly never took place. On top of which, it is delivered in the form of way too much politibullshitese. I can't say, so I won't say, that either is conclusive of anything, but it certainly won't help this fade away the way a straightforward answer in straightforward language would. It will be interesting to see what else drops. I will say I do suspect there is probably more, based solely on the above.

The commenter who said that Hall now thinks he has the Tater by the tots might be on to something, but if Hall has evidence and keeps it for a rainy day, there will be a F'ing monsoon if/when the wrong/right person gets evidence of Hall's evidence and takes exception to Hall being stingy with it. First name that comes to mind is Jimmy Hood. If so, "takes exception" will mean "Boy, I'ma gonna barbecue yo' ass!"

Anonymous said...

We have had a run of dud, live long politicians for a while now. Where are the Non-pol smart successful businessmen like Kirk Fordice and Jack Reed that we need now? And Gulfport is thankful that the state chose the Tater over Billy Hewes. Our gain, Mississippi's loss.

Anonymous said...

this is the medias faults...
the libs made him do it..
tater didn't want that driveway...
if you are a true con-artist you will fall in line...
did mention this is the medias fault and the libs fault...

See how easy it is to be a GOP cult member.

Morons Are Governing America and Mississippi

Anonymous said...

Let's be fair Feel can ride a bike, as for the other one, I am beginning to wonder.

Anonymous said...

Looks and sounds like stuff the president is trying to do, if it doesn't fit my narrative let's just omit it.

Anonymous said...

So the second most powerful politician in the state, who actually controls the spending purse, had no idea that a new road was being built to make it easier to get out of his swank neighborhood? That's such BS...and everyone knows it. He's either lying or completely aloof. One or the third option.

"It all depends on what the definition of 'IS' is"

Anonymous said...

Melinda McGrath is a smart lady and is not afraid to tell the truth. How Reeves' minions think that they can spin her words into getting him out of the frying pan is beyond belief. Her letter convicts him of lying his arse off. Maybe Epps needs a roommate...

Anonymous said...

yeah--the last eight years of limited economic development in this state should make a convincing argument for trying something different.

our state continues to be at the bottom of everything, but lets just keep voting the same way and we are bound to improve.

Anonymous said...

He is definitely an empty suit and a weak speaker. Very petty, thin-skinned, and easily offended. If he wants to be governor, he needs to grow up.

Anonymous said...

OMG! A politician using his position and influence either directly or indirectly for themselves or their friends. What has the world come too??

Anonymous said...

I hear ya 3:52pm. I always wanted Bill Yates to run. Successful construction men (there are very few that have built what he has built and managed what he has managed) know how to get shit done. The son would be a very formidable governor as well. As I said, they know how to resolve issues. Bill is too old now though. Would have been great on the heels of Haley to clean up some of the mess.

Anonymous said...

Tate’s an egotistical little man

Anonymous said...

I live on County road 263. Out here in the country. Dang bridge is closed and I have to put my truck in 4 wheel drive to get to town. Them there boys in FLOWOOD sure are living high!! The light gov sounds like the county supervisor of rankin county talking about all his road projects. Vote tate baby!! Lmao!!!!

Kingfish said...

Take out the word "____hats" and your post gets approved.

Anonymous said...

3:01. Funny you mentioned the word “ paving”. It is the republican paving that has caused all of this. Very impressed with Mrs. McGrath. Tate and the rest treat public education the same way they do our roads. Rankin County is ok so to heck with the rest of the state.

Anonymous said...

The road is a joke. The only good reason for it is the people who live in two upscale neighborhoods can get to Dogwood quicker on their own private $2M+ road with landscaping they approved. Also, one of the subdivisions has another entrance if it is so unsafe to turn on Lakeland from the front entrance without a light. People are not fooled by this back and forth between political parties. We know right from wrong, and this is wrong.

Anonymous said...

I'm amazed that so many people commented without reading the letter.

The letter at effort for a bureaucrat to try to call BS on power nicely so as not to get fired.

The letter points out what Reeves already knew:

There is an existing plan of road priorities that MDOT has with legislative backing and the backing of the highway commission. The priority is safety first as our system is deteriorating.

MDOT didn't hear from you directly, but there were discussions with your staff and then your staff did an end run around us .

As a result, we had to redirect money to doing what you wanted done rather than to what needed to be done.

We have a different definition of what is or isn't political pressure. If you see it as verbal ordering alone, we are making sure any verbal communication will be documented.

That's what the letter essentially says.

There were priority projects that needed doing.

And, the bottom line for me is that Reeves staff had no reason to stick their nose into an approved MDOT highway engineering plan in progress for any reason. That they did is unconscionable and I don't believe for one minute they'd do that without Reeves approval.

I'm just hoping the bridge work across the Pearl River was completed and not one of the places where the diversion of funds took place. Lots of people go over that bridge. It'd be awful if it was stopped in progress and the timing with Reeves personal project and the start/stop/start/stop on the bridge is a bit unsettling.

This isn't about whether or not Hood would do the same or worst. If Reeves gets by with such, then Hood or any other Lt. Gov. gets the message that he can do the same.

Stop defending bad with the notion the other guy will do worse or even has done worse. That's how we got to be the most corrupt State. Hold every politician and his or her staff accountable starting NOW!

Anonymous said...

Who set all of this in motion, who told the press? That’s the only thing I really want to know, the only interesting story here. Everything else is just dirty Mississippi politics as usual.

Anonymous said...

Dick Hall's logo is the best in politics right now.

Anonymous said...

I may have missed this, but it appears there is still one major question that needs to be answered. That is how did this road to Tate Reeves neighborhood get put in the plans to widen Highway 25? I appreciate the need to widen Highway 25, and I understand Tate Reeves trying to keep the whole project on schedule. It just does not make sense as to why this road was included in the larger project.

Anonymous said...

Watch for his retaliation. He will want control of MDOT before it’s over

Anonymous said...

I had asked and saw no answer as to who owns the land that this "frontage road" was supposed to traverse. I was curious, so as best as I can determine, the entire 19.40 acre parcel that contains the land that the road would have to traverse is for sale:

Now, what seems odd is the parcel number in the above listing, G10-000067-00010, is listed in Rankin County records as a smaller 4.62 acre parcel, which shows to be in the middle of the larger tract shown in the above listing:

Parcel: G10 000067 00010
PPIN: 19900
Acreage: 4.62

However, the PPIN, 19900, returns yet another slight variation:

5.23 AC IN NE4 NE4 SEC 26 & IN THE
SE4 SE4 SEC 23
Land Value 104,600.00
Improvement Value 348,750.00
Total 453,350.00
Assessed Values
Land Value 15,690.00
Improvement Value 52,313.00
Total 68,003.00
Building Info.
Year Built 1968
Base Area 5580
Adjusted Area 6053
Structure Code 001
Deed Info
Book 2012
Page 3302
Date 2/23/2012

What is really curious is that satellite photos show a large house with a driveway that runs east from Dogwood and makes a south turn to the house. The apparent path of the "frontage road" would be the east-west part of the existing driveway to that home - basically, there appears to already be a literal driveway that runs between Oakridge Trail and Dogwood (it cannot be seen from Lakeland because of a strip of trees).

I assume "Bill Hogg" is THAT Bill Hogg, now deceased, esp. since the trustee is Stan Pratt. I have no idea if the 5500 SF, $350K appraised-value house was Hogg's, is Pratt's or anything else about it, but it seems "interesting" that this "frontage road" was not only connecting the Taterhood to Dogwood, but was going to essentially be the driveway to this large, expensive home on a parcel that is for sale for commercial development. Moreover, if the appraised value of the entire 5ish acre parcel is $100K (the land, not the house and land), why did MDOT/someone pay $300-400K for the rights to, essentially, repave the existing driveway to this house?

I have no idea if there is a good explanation for any or all of this, but I suspect it will be highly entertaining to hear whatever it is.

Anonymous said...

An update on the parcel for the "frontage road." The rest of the 19 acre parcel advertised as a single parcel is:

PPIN: 065290
PARCEL NUMBER: G10 000064 00060
S26 T06 R02
P O BOX 1516

Legal Description
14.17 A IN E2 S OF H/W 25

DB 233 PG 241 0082167
DB 660 PG 0213 0121092

Land Value 219,640.00
Improvement Value 0.00
Total 219,640.00
Assessed Values
Land Value 32,946.00
Improvement Value 0.00
Total 32,946.00
Building Info.
Year Built 0
Base Area 0
Adjusted Area 0
Structure Code
Deed Info
Book 2009
Page 22365
Date 11/12/2009

TAXES Due Paid
County 1,325.75
City 658.92
School 1,863.10
Total 3,847.77
Paid - Receipt # Y
Date Paid 1/31/2018

Curiously, again, there are discrepancies in the records - the above shows 14.17 acres, the map shows 13.69. Canebrake Development Company is registered to Stan Pratt and it owns several other parcels in the immediate vicinity.

Anonymous said...

Never fear, Jim Hood's on it like Tater on the MDOT staff to get it done. If Hood finds hard evidence, he may win the Governor's seat. Tater's not even apologizing for what it looks like, which is indefensible. Sheesh.

Anonymous said...

9:56 - Why the hell would (or should) he apologize? Well, other than to please you neighborhood-Facebookers.

Anonymous said...

Word on street that Tate is also pressuring Whataburger to build a restaurant at end of his new street.

Anonymous said...

One of the early CL stories does have a one-sentence mention of MDOT paying $297K to the Hogg "family trust" and a total of $323K in total for the right-of-way. From what little I know, the Employee Trust has/had something to do with Bill's companies, not his family. Pratt was a banker that went to work for Bill before his death and the companies being sold. From the description and the area, it sounds like the house and land were Bill's "ranch" before he died. Anyone know the current status of the house?

Anonymous said...

Now that this incident has become national news (NBC) perhaps the Feds will take a look and help out with these Mississippi supremacists.

Unknown said...

After reading the post and comment's here it is easy to see the deep state abilities of the capital establishment to investigate each other. It makes me wonder, where was Jim Hood when Mississippi Power, the corrupt PSC and republican party were ripping off the public with the failed Kemper power plant experiment? Oh yea... where was Tate Reeves? Now these two camp's are busting each others chops over a 2 million dollar service road. Go figure that? Now, if Jim Hood would like to be Governor, then he needs to put a cuff on each hand in that Kemper power plant cookie jar. If Tate Reeves would like to be Governor, then he needs to expose the hands taken all the cookies out the cookie jar.

Anonymous said...

@8:41 The only reason this came to light is because Geoff Pender of the Clarion Ledger decided to have some backbone for a change.

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