Thursday, February 21, 2019

Repost: NAACP's Derrick Johnson is NOT an Attorney, He Just Plays One for $40,000

This is a repost from March 7, 2011.  Be patient, all will be made clear soon enough.


Should the Hinds County Board of Supervisors pay $40,000 to Derrick Johnson for redistricting voters in the county per his contract? Pete Perry, Chairman of the Hinds County Republican Executive Committee, told the Board in its regular meeting this morning Mr. Johnson's contract was not legal and he would go to court if necessary to block payment.




 Note: Video of meeting and JFP interview posted below.
Update: Case law added to post

Mr. Perry said Mr. Johnson is not a licensed attorney in Mississippi. A screen shot posted above shows Mr. Johnson is not licensed among the Bar's list of licensed attorneys. The Bar verified in a phone call Mr. Johnson is not licensed in Mississippi. Mr. Johnson's status as a licensed attorney in Mississippi is important because the Board of Supervisors awarded him a contract at the December 20, 2010 meeting. The Board did not require public bids because it was a professional services contract, which under state law, are exempt from public bidding procedures. The agreement states at the top of the first page (posted below) it is a "Contract for Professional Services for Hinds County Redistricting."

The Board minutes for December 20, 2010 state

RESOLVED to approve entering into a contract with D. L. Johnson Consultants, LLC, for $40,000.00, to perform redistricting for Hinds County using the 2010 census, pending Board Attorney approval."


Mr. Johnson stated at the beginning of the special meeting on the Board of Supervisors on February 22, 2011

 "The proposal I submitted is a professional services proposal. It is not required by state law to have a bid... Professional services is not required to have a bid." (See 24:00 minute mark on this video.)

 The hiring of Mr. Johnson for $40,000, twice the amount charged by Central Mississippi Planning & Development District, generated no small amount of controversy. The hiring of Mr. Johnson was not placed on the agenda for the December 20 meeting. Several supervisors justified his hiring by arguing he was also providing legal services. Here are some choice quotes:

"A portion of the $40,000 in fees will pay for Johnson to represent the county in addressing any legal concerns that arise as a result of the redistricting.

Those legal fees are already being put to use. Johnson is currently looking into one matter that could require Hinds County to hold elections in 2011 and again in 2012.

Smith said the county attorney doesn’t have the experience to handle redistricting lawsuits. “The board attorney only handles day-to-day stuff,” he said...

Johnson will also represent the county if any challenges to the redistricting are brought up in court. Johnson couldn’t be reached for comment.

District One Supervisor Robert Graham said he supported Johnson because of his experience. According to the Mississippi NAACP’s Web site, Johnson received his juris doctorate from South Texas College of Law in Houston and his bachelor’s from Tougaloo College." February 8, 2011 Northside Sun

Mr. Graham told Fox40 last week: ""Mr. Johnson is also an attorney. Mr. Johnson is also an individual who is familiar with the law". (No wonder he ran out when this came up today.)

Mrs. Hobson-Calhoun stated on February 25 to the Clarion-Ledger

She said the board considered "all ramifications" in hiring Johnson at the Jan. 18 meeting. His fee includes crafting the districts, maps and materials, and the services of an attorney, she said.

"In 2000, we did pay $20,000" for a redistricting consultant, Calhoun said. "But, everything goes up. The cost of providing services goes up. If CMPDD had done our redistricting now, an additional attorney would have cost an additional amount of money.

However, Section 19-3-69 of the Mississippi Code has something to say about who a county can hire under a professional services contract:

"The board of supervisors of each county may, in its discretion, contract with certain professionals when the board determines that such professional services are necessary and in the best interest of the county.

The board of supervisors shall spread upon its minutes its finding that the professional services are necessary and in the best interest of the county. The contract for professional services shall be approved by the attorney for the board of supervisors and made a part of the minutes.

A professional within the meaning of this section shall be limited to:
(a) Attorneys at law, admitted to practice law in this state by the State Board of Bar Admissions;"

The ability of the Board to hire professionals is limited also to doctors, CPA's, engineers, realtors, surveyors, auctioneers, appraisers, and architects. All must be licensed in the state of Mississippi.

The Mississippi Supreme Court reinforced this interpretation of the statute in the 2004 State v. Madison County Board of Supervisors decision when it invalidated Madison County's attempt to get around bid requirements by hiring an unlicensed appraiser:

"Miss.Code Ann. § 19-3-69(f) clearly establishes that appraisers with whom the county contracts for personal services must be licensed by the Mississippi Real Estate Commission or as otherwise provided by law, and Herring and his employees are not licensed by the Real Estate Commission or any other licensing body. Furthermore, Miss.Code Ann. § 73-34-5(3) refers to salaried employees of the county, and the contract between the county and Herring clearly requires that Herring and his employees remain employees of Herring; and therefore, they are not "salaried" employees of Madison County...

 Furthermore, the trial court erred in determining that the contract was a valid personal services contract such that it was exempt from the advertisement-for-bids requirement." Opinion, 873 So.2d 85 (2004).



Mr. Perry argued with the Board over whether Mr. Johnson's contract was legal. Mr. Graham immediately left the room when the discussion started. Several supervisors said CMPDD was not a law firm, therefor, the hiring of CMPDD for redistricting in years past was no different than the hiring of Mr. Johnson. However, CMPDD is the creation of Hinds County and several other government agencies. The hiring of such an entity does not fall under the professional services statute. Some supervisors tried to offer a defense of Mr. Johnson, asking would it matter if he had an attorney on staff at his company (The Bar would take GREAT offense to such an arrangement. Ask Steve Patterson what the Mississippi Bar thought of firms offering legal services that had shareholders that were not licensed attorneys.).

Board Attorney Crystal Martin told Mr. Perry she wanted to investigate for a several days to determine whether Mr. Johnson could in fact be hired by the county for professional services. The Board supported Mrs. Martin and tabled further discussion on the matter.

Left unspoken was what action the Board will take if Mr. Johnson's contract is canceled. The Board can accept his redistricting plans as it can from any member of the public. However, if Mr. Perry has his way, Mr. Johnson will get a chance to show the public how much he does indeed serve the public as his work will be pro bono.

Stay tuned.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Pete Perry is a big bag of fart gas just like his friend Robert Miller. Derrick Johnson is racist thug. Welcome to Jackson, Mississippi.

Anonymous said...

Remember when the disciples assumed that when Jesus said he was coming back, he meant during their life time?

That's how I feel waiting on this story line to unfold.

Anonymous said...

Who was the board attorney? Was his/her competence ever an issue when he/she was hired? The new makeup of Hinds County means there are now some new sacred cows whose competence and ability to perform must not be questioned. Until Hinds County taxpayers start a barbeque of these sacred cows (and bulls) or their relatives/friends they will continue to milk the County at will. They see Hinds as their private cash cow. Are the voters cattle or what?

Anonymous said...

Yazoo City just hired H A Y E S Dent at $3,000.00 month for 12 months.....so anything is possible.

Anonymous said...

Hell, you people, Make-Believe-Leftenant Roberto Grahams has been masquerading as a certified, trained law enforcement officer for thirty or forty years, training peoples without having the required credentials to do so and prancing around with a tin badge as if he were legit. You all quit pickin' on these black brothers.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Perry, like that greaseball from MC Law School, Steffey, is a bag of hot gas....but he's right on this one. And neither of them should get near an open flame, ever!

Anonymous said...

3:13
Awesome! Thank you! I feel exactly the same. Quit dragging this out and say something!!!!

Anonymous said...

Based on the comments, people are increasingly not giving a damn. The county districts are for supervisors and constables. I shudder to say this, but the supervisor situation is stable in Hinds County and it could be FAR worse.

The real issue in Hinds is the DA and the judges and the criminal justice system. And that has nothing at all to do with district lines. As long as Hinds elects Shuler Smith and Tommie Green and Victor Mason, they bring doom upon themselves. You can't redraw maps to get yourself out of that.

Anonymous said...

Derrick is a huckster but he has moved far beyond the small fish in small ponds. He has gone national. He has 5 or 6 very nice incomes coming in from all of the community organizing entities he is CEO of now. $40,000 was just a launching pad for him. He wouldn't give Hinds the time of day for $40,000 now.

Anonymous said...

I shudder to say this, but the supervisor situation is stable in Hinds County and it could be FAR worse.

If that psycho David Archie wins this year it WILL be far, far worse.

Anonymous said...

Have to agree with 7:28. Who would the five supes be if Pete won his lawsuit 8 years ago? This board has been so much better than the pre-2010 census board. By a country mile.

Anonymous said...

3:38 - Hayes Dent is not pretending to be an attorney. Can you see the difference?

Anonymous said...

How is he pretending to be an attorney?

Anonymous said...

The point is both are "pretenders" entered into freeloader contracts with a municipality.

Anonymous said...

Hayes must be selling out cheap! Jackson is paying it's lobbyist - who cannot get anything accomplished in the legislature - over $10,000 a month.

Anonymous said...

No shame in contracting with government bodies. It's done every day. Such contracts are public information and open to public inspection. Most are reputable, outside of Jackburg. 8:48 - Please reread the post. He is NOT pretending to be an attorney as was insinuated by the dullard posting at 3:38.

Anonymous said...

8:03 - where would Hinds BOS be - based on the fact it is 'better' today? Fact is, it is better today because Doug Anderson died, removing one of the obstacles and individuals whose entire role on the board was 'not so much as what we spend money on, or how much, but rather - who gets it'. The other change was George Smith was replaced by Bobcat McGowan - basically an even swap since neither one amounts to a spit in the ocean.

Doug died; was replaced by Darrell McQuirter. That changed the balance of power so that Robert Graham and his Motorola contracts and his Derrick Johnson love affair were no longer possible. That's why the BOS is 'better' today, and the issue raised by Perry has nothing to do with the situation looking backward.

But where would we be? We might not have Robert Graham anymore on the board - as Graham stated at the time "he wasn't doing this to lose". Replacing Graham with an honest vote would greatly improve the BOS for no other reason than you wouldn't have to work around him on many of the issues that arise. Also, note that the Phil Fisher/Tony Greer/Mike Morgan seat was a big part of the argument, and that Morgan (a good supervisor) won his election last time by 400 votes, as did JCJ Morton, while the constable lost his seat by 200 votes. When those races come back up this year, the odds of winning them are slim due to the plan created by Graham and his sidekick Johnson.

Also, forgotten on everyone here is that this plan affected the districts for the Election Commission - where in the last election due to the changes in District 4 - Connie Cochran was defeated. Now Hinds County has a totally incompetent group of five election commissioners that can't even get along with themselves, much less run an honest, and efficient, election.

Where would we be "if"? Maybe we would be able to retain a white, Republican supervisor in the Clinton/South Hinds area; maybe we would be able to elect an honest supervisor in NE Jackson; maybe we could retain an honest an competent JCJ; maybe we could have at least one member on the Election Commission that had an idea of what has to be done and makes sure it happens.

Maybe we would still have the change in District 2 because Anderson was going to die anyway - the other changes would all be positive. And besides, the process then would have been done legally and in accordance with the federal laws regulating the process.

I'm glad that some folks were willing to back this effort of Fisher, Perry, and the county party. Wonder if the case will ever be resolved.

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