Monday, January 21, 2019

AG: County Can't Give Money to Jackson Zoo.

Money woes continued for the struggling Jackson Zoo as the Attorney General refused to approve a donation from Hinds County. 

The Hinds County Board of Supervisors approved the donation of $55,000 to the financially-starved Jackson Zoo.  The county would give the money to the city of Jackson, which would in turn donate it to the Jackson Zoo, per interlocal agreement. The two governments approved two interlocal agreements for donations of $30,000 and $25,000.  However, the Attorney General must give final approval to such agreements before they are valid.

Special Assistant Attorney General Leigh Ganous rejected the agreements.  She said that counties are not allowed to make donations to zoos even if made through a municipality.  Ms. Ganous also questioned the validity of Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba's signature since it appears someone else signed the agreement for him. 

The Jackson City Council will vote tomorrow whether to approve a zoo management contract for ZoOceanarium Group, LLC.  The "board packet" provides more information about the bids. Three companies submitted bids in response to the RFP.   The bids were reviewed and scored:

ZoOceanarium Group, LLC: 19.8
Jackson Zoological Society: 18
Zoo Managerial Services, LLC: 17

ZoOceanarium is in St. Louis, Missouri. The lease will be for five years.


Anonymous said...

At least someone was prescient enough to ask for the AG Opinion. Pretty obvious no-no.

Anonymous said...

Why does Jim Hood hate Hinds County and Jackson?

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many other documents that the mayor "signed" were done by other people.

Anonymous said...

259, ain't no prescient involved. Any and all onterlocal agreements between cities and counties must be approved by the AG. Granted, most governments probably believe that the opinion is prefunctionary.

Don't know why the county can't do this, but for whatever reason it has saved us taxpayers of Hinds County a few dollars. Now if the city would just realize there is no sense in throwing more of their limited dollars into this frivolous effort to sustain a dying operation and focus on their real needs, it would save us more.

Meanwhile, the zoo continues its multi million debt to the city's water fund from pouring water into the moat rather than repairing the leaks with the state bond dollars.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

How is this an obvious no-no? The Zoo is within Hinds County, they have a vested interest in maintaining their own local municipality-run organizations. This seems fishy

Anonymous said...

Looks like the Zoo animals are left out in the cold!

Anonymous said...

Very good! I’m tired of HC Supes giving our money away! Now, where was the AG when Hinds supes gave 9 million to the developer of the Westin Hotel, which is in Jackson to pay the contractor Brasfield & Gorrie?

Unknown said...

Cities and Counties are created by the State and can only do what the State allows through legislation. It is very common for the AG to rule this way when a local government want to give public money to a non-profit with out legal authority. I have been out of this for a while but a "local and private" law was many times used to make these types of spending legal.

Anonymous said...

Now @3.22 pm, why do you think the AG (being the good Dim-O-Krat) he is would hate Hinds county and Jackson.

Its just that he is smarter than all the elected officials of Hinds county and Jackson put together and thats spotting ole dis & dat Stokes 10 points, so he breaks out of the single digit IQ block!!!!

Anonymous said...

I agree with @4:47. I have never understood why or how the board of supervisors can donate tax dollars to anybody. How is that a function of government? Where in the hell in the constitution is that?

Anonymous said...

4:47...source? Hinds has never given a hotel developer $9 million. Quit making stuff up. If you find a $9 million donation, please post a link.

Anonymous said...

Federal tax, state tax, car tag, property tax, grocery tax, sales tax, fishing license tax, hunting license tax, franchise tax, cell phone tax, home phone tax, utility tax, gas tax, hotel tax, cigarette tax, boat registration tax, trailer registration tax, unemployment tax, Internet tax, fees and taxes to open a business, fees and taxes to keep it open. I'm sure I missed others.

Then supervisors fund projects and post banners and signs taking credit for the work.

No doubt if the AG let this go through the supervisors would want a zoo enclosure named after them.

Give me a damn break.

Anonymous said...

Would also like to see a link to the $9 million donation. All I know is that roads are being paved all over Hinds County. And I have not seen any banners. You mentioned a $9 million donation by the county but when called out on the carpet for a link, you post some diatribe about federal taxes and gas taxes.

Anonymous said...

Maybe now the County Supervisors can move on to Plan B and pave one of the pitiful pothole laden roads county roads that I drive on throughout the county.

Anonymous said...

The initials by the Mayor's signature are probably the initials of individuals that reviewed the documents before the Mayor actually signed the document. It is common for businesses to have various people review a document and indicate their approval of the document by putting their initials by the approver's signature block.

Anonymous said...

Still want to know why Shad let the lady operator off the hook who took the state's money and paid the zoo's lobbyist.

Anonymous said...

Put a fork in the zoo, the convention center, and without decent public schools, Jackson as a whole; they are all done.

Anonymous said...

8:17, where do you live? It seems like every main road in Hinds County has been paved recently. I have no idea where the money all of sudden came from.

Anonymous said...

Turn out the lights. Jackson is a joke.

Anonymous said...

7:43, county elections are coming up

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

7:10, it came straight from Mark Barger with Brasfied & Gorrie. They had to use the funds to pay Bonds & Assciates who is a subcontractor for the cast in place concrete. There ya go. I don’t have to post a link. They bragged about it. Did you think the City was going to do anything? They are broke.

Anonymous said...

So, you post a link to an article but don't mention any specifics. An earlier poster said the county gave $9 million to the Westin, so let's get the record straight.....

A direct quote from the article....."Hinds County is pledging $20 million of state money authorized by the Legislature". That was a loan from MDA for the Westin project. The state asked the county be be a conduit for the loan from the state to the Westin developer. Clearly, they did not want to deal with the city of Jackson. But that is a loan directly funding the Westin project. What the MDA wanted a conduit is up to speculation.

So again, where is a link supporting your assertion that the state gave the Westin $9 million?

Kingfish said...

Let off the hook? Money was repaid in full.

Believe it or not, it is not illegal to spend STATE bond money for anything other than the stated purpose on bonds. The DFA agreement gives DFA the right to immediately demand repayment and it has several remedies available BUT criminal prosecution is not one of them, absent a showing of criminal fraud.

Having written that, it would be different if the bonds were issued by the city instead of the state. Misuse of muni bonds IS a criminal offense in Mississippi.

Anonymous said...

The state misuses state bond money all the time. Its called the bond bill.

Anonymous said...

Ok, so a guy bragged about it. That makes it truth. Doesn't matter what the records and minutes say. I bet you have bragged about a lot of things on the internet. That doesn't make them true either.

Anonymous said...

They shouldn't be monkeying around with public funds, nor lion about the facts. However, they will probably weasel their way out.

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