Thursday, August 9, 2018

Zoo Executive Director Resigns

Jackson Zoological Society Executive Director Beth Poff resigned her position. The resignation will be effective August 14.  The Board of Directors was supposed to meet later today but the meeting is canceled.  Ms. Poff admitted to using state bond funds for to cover operations.  The Executive Committee placed her on administrative leave with pay a week ago. JJ reported Monday:
Jackson Zoological Society Executive Director Beth Poff admitted she misused bond funds in a letter sent to Laura Jackson, Executive Director of the Department of Finance & Administration, on July 26.  The zoo currently owes $350,000 to DFA for spending the bond funds on operational expenses such as salaries.  The bonds were issued to fund renovations, repairs, and other capital improvements.  DFA will seek repayment of the funds. 

The Society has a lease to operate the Jackson Zoo that expires at the end of September. The Lumumba  Administration has said it is seeking another entity to operate the zoo. 

The agreement between the state and Society limits the use of the bonds to funding capital improvements.  Ms. Poff spent $370,000 of bond funds on paying salaries and other bills in 2018 (although $20,000 was repaid).  She spent $390,000 of the bond funds in 2017 on operations but returned it to the bond fund when the Society's auditor, Grantham Poole, discovered the violation in December.  ....
 Unfortunately for DFA, the Society is flat broke.  The Jackson City Council voted Thursday to provide $200,000 to pay employee salaries and get the zoo current on other bills through October 1.  The Society would have missed three payrolls Friday if the City Council had not acted. ...Rest of post and copy of DFA letter.

 The agreement with DFA required the Society to submit quarterly reports providing information about the use of the bond funds.  JJ obtained the quarterly reports through a public records request.  Several of them are posted below.  A source at DFA said the misuse of the bond funds took place for nine years.





38 comments:

Anonymous said...

It will take her 5 days to do...what? Find some office movers and someone to babysit the giraffes?

Anonymous said...

So, where do we go from here? My understanding is that a new management group will take over operations. Can you tell us the expectations as to if such a group exists?

Kingfish said...

Wasn't my call. She submitted her resignation and the President of Board accepted it. No Board meeting was held to discuss it. I asked for one anyway.

Anonymous said...

I understand that it was a misuse of funds, but she was desperate to keep the doors open, and "robbed Peter to pay Paul". I wouldn't want to have been in her position. I wish her well.

Anonymous said...

She meant well, but shouldn't have monkeyed around with the funds.

Anonymous said...

I will always cherish my childhood memories of the Jackson Zoo. Today I only enter the city limits if absolutely necessary. All of those memories of visiting family and shopping at Metro Center are locked away in my mind. I know those days will never return. Someday the name of the city will be changed. Why? because racism, that's why. But good bye Jackson Zoo. I will always remember the 1980 and 1990's.

Anonymous said...

Doing it once, I can understand. But misuse of bond funds for NINE years is grounds to open a case - oh Dellllllllllberttttttt.

Anonymous said...

1:01, I see what you did there. Good one!

Anonymous said...

"Today I only enter the city limits if absolutely necessary."

HAHAHAHAHA give me a break. You people act like it is Somalia down here, but I see your leased BMWs with Madison plates at the Whole Foods lined up next to we the "brave" residents of Jackson.

Have you ever been robbed in Jackson? I doubt it. Do you know anyone who has been killed in Jackson? You don't. Enjoy your ticky-tacky ivory tower of excessive debt and poor construction in Gluckstadt.

Anonymous said...

How do I get placed on administrative leave with pay? Sounds like a good deal if you can get it.

Anonymous said...

This is all a distraction so that the corrupt Jackson politicians can continue to do nothing and get paid.

Anonymous said...

I heard that Shad White spit out his Count Chocula at the news of possible misuse of funds at the Zoo.

Anonymous said...

"Have you ever been robbed in Jackson? I doubt it. Do you know anyone who has been killed in Jackson? You don't. Enjoy your ticky-tacky ivory tower of excessive debt and poor construction in Gluckstadt."

My son was robbed in Fondren outside his house, my son's house was broken into in Fondren and he jumped out a window to avoid being beaten with a pipe.

I was robbed in Belhaven in my duplex, my purse was stolen. My car was broken into in Belhaven.

My good friend's brother was murdered in downtown Jackson. My former neighbor was murdered in NE Jackson. A good friend of my son's was murdered on Fortification Street.

In NE Jackson pumping gas, I was assaulted by a homeless man who acted like he was on drugs.

So yeah, some of us know what we speak of.

Anonymous said...

I see you can dish it out but you can't take it... Sorry KF you need to get off the board and so do the rest of the board members. You are ALL guilty.

Anonymous said...

A LOT of us knew the child who was killed by the man hole cover or lack thereof.. So yeah, I would say it is getting a LOT like Somalia.

Anonymous said...

Neither Slim Shaddy Shad nor Daddy Pickwick found this. Neither did Delbert. The Kingfish uncovered it by actually reading the audit report that the rest of the board never bothered reading.

Anonymous said...

To those of you who blame Kingfish or other members of the board, you really don't know what you are talking about. It was KF and several other members of the board that brought all of this to a head and forced this resignation. They also reported the matter to the proper authorities, which means they were exercising their fiduciary duties to the Zoo.

Anonymous said...

2:31
Seems like your family and friends would do better by living in South Jackson. We’d love to meet you at Bo Don’s.

Anonymous said...

I think I'll take my girls to the Zoo this weekend for one last visit. Haven't been there in years since they became teens. We used to go all the time not many years ago. I don't see how it can survive without significant outside funding. That's not going to happen. Seriously, go see it before they shut it down.

Anonymous said...

3:36 pm wrote, "Neither...Shad nor Daddy Pickwick found this..."

In fairness, nine years ago, Shad was still in kindergarten, so he does have a pretty good defense...

Was there any effort to hide any of this or was it done in plain sight but no one cared enough to check? Either way, just think about how bad it might be if a whole bunch of officials were actually stealing funds and actively covering it up...why, shoot, you'd have...you'd have...well, Mississippi. Hell, the more I think about it, if she really was simply and honestly attempting to keep things afloat and running but doing so with the wrong money, she is among the better officials around. That's pretty darn sad on several levels.

Theca Jones said...

"Today I only enter the city limits if absolutely necessary."

Lol I only enter Madison to litter.

Anonymous said...

Wait. the Secretary of State has nothing to do with the zoo or the misuse of public funds. Is Delbert on the board or something?

Anonymous said...

Somalia has much better roads

Anonymous said...

9 years of missuse of funds tells me it has been a sinking ship for over a decade. Move the entrance out of the war zone or move the zoo to an area that can and will support and sustain it.

Anonymous said...

3:33, your example doesn't work - an accident resulting from a faulty construction material is not relative (or limited to; google the issue and see how many places a similar accident has occurred) to the question.

Won't argue that some may know or have been a victim of a crime in Jackson; just as many of us in Ridgeland knew the shop owner killed here not long ago.

But the point made was probably valid - it depends on where in Jackson one travels, and what their purpose for being there at the time. Hell, while driving through the Virden addition the other afternoon I observed a young (white) couple parked on the street with their Rankin County tag very visible. I didn't look like they were the landlords collecting the rent, but maybe that's the story they would tell if questioned.

Anonymous said...

KF, maybe the new operator(s) will take a look at your plan to relo the entrance.

Anonymous said...

Another DUD Melvin. Little wonder why nobody listens to your jokecast.

coffee and cornbread said...

So, I just have to ask. Did the board not know where the money was coming from to pay salaries? Don't mean to p*ss off the KF but I haven't seen this question answered.

Anonymous said...

Like I keep saying to my blogger friends; The Zoo needs to sell the animals to
McClain General Store (Safari Tours) at Holly Bush Rd.in Rankin County for a dollar each. They already have over 40 exotic species from across the world. If the city wants a ZOO let them restock the cages.The city needs to just concentrate on The Civil Rights museum.

Anonymous said...

She's WHITE, therefore that is the problem. Remember, this is Jackson Ms. Where is the white city council people?

Anonymous said...

Next!

Anonymous said...

7:24, what has that have to do with her misappropriating funds?

Anonymous said...

Didn't the board periodically review the financials for the zoo? When there were shortfalls and the payroll was miraculously taken care of, weren't inquiries made - or were the books being cooked to conceal how specific funds were used? I'd be looking into what kind of fringe benefits the board received over the past 9 years - sponsored travel, etc. And, if the board members had knowledge of misappropriated funds and possibly benefitted, they should be investigated - at the very least, the director should return the salary she was paid while she was misusing funds.

Anonymous said...

Kingfish is either asleep at the wheel or pretending he can't hear. If he's a Board member, that implies there's a Board. And if there's a Board, it must have members; so, how do the members of that Board explain not knowing for years how the payroll was being met? Did they never look at a ledger or an accounting of income and expenses and cash on hand and budgets and assets and liabilities and such minutia as payroll to include FICA, PERS (if applicable), garnishments (if applicable).....?

Were they complicit, uninvolved, distracted, in a fog?

Anonymous said...

@1:40

"Have you ever been robbed in Jackson? I doubt it. Do you know anyone who has been killed in Jackson? You don't."

Yes to both ops your questions. Also home burglarized 4 times, house vandalized 2 times and car vandalized numerous times. Harassed several times by vagrants at gas stations.

I got out of Jackson as soon as I could. Do I still venture into Jackson? Yes, but only when absolutely necessary and NEVER unarmed. My sidearm has gotten me out of several dangerous situations, without firing a shot.

Kingfish said...

McLain couldn't take the more popular ones if they wanted to do so. Those animals have to get along due to the free range set up. Zoo has tiger, rhino, hippos, gators, and other such aggressive animals or predators. The zebra is a different breed from the ones at Mc's and is old and ornery to boot.

Anonymous said...

Delbert's Securities Division has jurisdiction over municipal bonds when there is misuse of proceeds. (See: David Watkins saga.)

However, Delbert's Securities Division is a bit thin these days, and has a very small knowledge base, except for one employee. They don't seem to be doing much these days. Delbert booted several former employees in that division or they left. He can't take someone disagreeing with him, or someone trying to open a case on a friend.

Anonymous said...

Hell 1038, if the Securities Division is thin (because they left or were told to leave because they had an opinion that didn't jive with Delbert's as has been the case throughout his office) why doesn't the Elections Division take care of these securities issues? Their knowledge of securities law is probably equivalent to what they know (not what they think they know) of the election laws. I'm sure they would issue an opinion quickly, albeit questionable as to its correctness.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).


Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.


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Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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