Monday, February 25, 2019

The Battle of the Fish Hook Continues

The fight over whether a Madison woman cast fish hooks at two children in an attempt to  hurt them continued in Madison County Court last Wednesday.  A Madison Municipal Court convicted 80 year-old Mary Watkins of simple assault by threat after she repeatedly cast a fish hook at an 11 year-old boy who was jet skiing on the lake at Natchez Trace Village in Madison.  Watkins appealed the conviction.  She is the Secretary/Treasurer of the Natchez Trace Village Homeowner's Association and has been fighting mightily in court for the right to regulate the lake.



Madison Municipal Court Judge Richard Mitchell fined Mary Watkins $500 on July 19, 2018 and ordered her to pay $143 in court costs as well.  Judge Mitchell ruled she was not guilty on two counts of disturbing the peace. To say there is a neighborhood disagreement in the Natchez Trace Village is an understatement.

The Watkins-controlled HOA has been trying to ban jet skis and other watercraft from Culley Lake.  The Culley family owns the lake.  A Madison County Chancellor ruled last year that the HOA had no right to regulate the lake. and the Culleys could use their lake as they saw fit.  The HOA appealed to the Mississippi Supreme Court.  The case has not yet been heard.   Another homeowner sued the HOA to obtain financial records after the Board refused to provide them upon request.  Several misdemeanor charges of disturbing the peace have been filed against Watkins but they were dismissed. Needless to say, a neighborhood civil war has broken out in Natchez Trace Village in Madison. 

Mary Watkins & Attorney Tommy Savant

The trial opened with Nancy Culley, mother of one of the two boys, taking the stand. She lives across the lake from Watkins. She sat on the pier in the middle of the day on July 21, 2017, watching her 11 year-old son and his friend jet ski around the lake.  She took pictures of the children having fun as mothers are wont to do.  She said Watkins and her husband came out on their own pier after the boys had jet skied for about a half an hour.

She said Watkins cast a fishing hook at the kids whenever they passed by her pier.  She estimated the cast to be twenty feet.  She said she cast the hook at them while they made five or six laps (15 minutes).  She said Watkins only cast the hook when they were in front of the pier.  She said her son moved to the center of the lake to avoid the hook. Watkins attorney Tommy Savant asked her why she did not file charges against her.  She said that she had filed disturbing the peace charges against her two days earlier.  "If I pressed charges on her every time she did something, I would be in here every day" said Culley.   Savant made much of her failure to file charges in the closing arguments.


Picture of Watkins casting while jet ski passes

The complainant's son took the stand.  "Ian" was 11 years old when the incident took place. He said he jet skied for thirty minutes before he noticed Watkins on the pier.  Ian  saw her casting the third time he passed her. He said he doesn't jet ski if he first sees someone fishing.  The young master's eyes grew misty and his voice trembled as he told Savant he was not trying to antagonize her nor did he see a lure when he first noticed the hook, although he later said he stopped when he did notice a lure on the hook.

Culley's son, "Nigel",  testified after his friend finished.  Nigel said Watkins cast a fish hook five or six times.  He continued to jet ski on his route around the lake but moved to the center of the lake to avoid her casts.  He said he saw her cast at his friend.  Savant said Ian wasn't concerned for his safety until he saw the pictures of the casting.  Ian said on redirect that he moved away from Watkins so "I wouldn't get hit by the fish hook."  He said he was a little scared when he saw the fish hook coming at him.  Watkins is Ian's great-aunt.

The prosecution was not finished when the lad left the courtroom, and called Natchez Trace Village resident Audrey Jackson to testify.  Jackson said she and neighbor Stephanie Lass spoke to Watkins a week before the incident about beautifying the neighborhood as parts of it have fallen into a state of disrepair.   She said Watkins said the neighborhood would be fine if not for Nancy Culley.  Jackson testified Watkins said Culley was "crazy like her mom" and that she hoped she would kill herself as her mom did.  Much of her testimony covered the court fights between the two factions in Natchez Trace Village.

Jackson said Watkins moved on to the subject of jet skiers on the lake.  She testified Watkins said she would build up the dirt underneath the water until it was just below the surface so it would hurt any jet skiers who passed in front of her pier.   She also allegedly said that she would kill all the lake grass if she lost the lake regulation case in court.  However, Jackson said she did not tell the Culleys about the perceived threat until five months later.  Lass testified in support of Jackson's claims. The prosecution rested.

Mary Watkins waived her fifth amendment rights and took her turn at bat in the courtroom.  The 80 year-old woman has lived in Natchez Trace Village for 54 years.  She said there were jet skis on the lake on that fateful day so she ate something.  When there was a "lull in the action", she decided to go fishing.  She said she bought the home on the lake to fish and her husband often fished with her. 

She said the two boys began jet skiing again after she began fishing.  "I was trying to fish, I actually didn't get to do much fishing because the jet skis would appear.  I wasn't there but about five minutes.  I let them have the pier and moved to another pier," she said.  The defendant said the boys followed her and kept "buzzing" her.  "They came further in so I went into the house, said Watkins.

Watkins friend Betty Ann Gill  took her turn on the hot seat as well.  She said Ian "targets" Watkins.  She  said Watkins held a casting rod although she never saw her cast it.  She said Watkins was fishing to the side of the pier.  She claimed Ian passed her house, "turned in front of Mary, I'd never seen him that far before and never saw him that far after, he steered right for Mary and went right in front of her. I said 'Mary, I think that child is following you, is tracking you."  However, Gill said upon cross-examination that she didn't see who was first on the lake.

Hedglin argued in closing that one boy moved to the center of the lake because he was scared of the fish hook.  He said the statute says it is simple assault if a person uses physical means to place another person in fear of imminent bodily harm.  He pointed out that Ian "got off the lake" when he noticed the hook as well.  Savant made hay out of Culley's failure to file charges.  He said she should not have feared much for his safety if she did not press charges.  He argued Ian didn't know about the danger until his mother showed him the pictures.  "This woman has not assaulted anybody," closed Tommy Savant. 

Judge Hannan took it all in and pondered the case for a few moments upon the conclusion of the trial.  He ordered both attorneys to submit case law within seven days.  He did not rule on the appeal but will do so at a later date. 




Opening, Nancy Culley


Aubrey Jackson testimony



Testimony of Audrey Jackson, Stephanie Lass, Mary Watkins (12:25), Betty Gill





Closing Arguments


Kingfish note: The hearing started at 1:30 and ended shortly before 6:00 PM.  Yes, they spent over four hours discussing who cast a fishing hook.   Posted below is the municipal court record.


99 comments:

Anonymous said...

The crazy HOA story that keeps on giving!

Anonymous said...

This is serious courtroom drama! I am so glad we have a "journalist" to stay on top of this. Otherwise, we might not ever learn of it.

Rod Knox said...

I'm trying to imagine just how the young man riding a jet ski found himself a target for a grandmother with a fishing pole. Nothing seems to make for a likely situation unless one was taunting the other or possibly the taunting was mutual.

Anonymous said...

If I were the culley's I would put up an obnoxious fence on their side of the retaining wall and be done with this crazy loon. She wants the lakefront property that she doesn't own any access to, but wants to regulate what is done on the lake by the people that are giving the homeowners free access to it.

Anonymous said...

@ Rod Knox, watch the trial. The boys were skiing. The old woman came down, at noon in July, with her protective husband as a witness, armed with a fish rod to "fish". It is very obvious and likely what happened. An adult acted like a freakin child and get busted.

Anonymous said...

All of the documents pictured at the end of your post correlate with the first testimony. What was new at this trial than from previous trial, why an appeal?

Anonymous said...

@ 11:13 am....we wouldn't have learned of this if an old woman, hell bent on controlling her neighborhood, didn't go nuclear and act more childish than the children she threatened. Not to mention appeal it! If she would have accepted the consequences of her actions, paid her fine and moved on, there would be no drama still transpiring. Even better, had she just settled with the City by admitting her obvious fault, there would be NO trial to begin with. GO home with your silly defense of this crazy.

Anonymous said...

Funny how Betty said she wasn’t outside until 1:30 or 2:00 but yet EVERYONE (including Mary and Vaughn) all agreed this happened around noon. And Mary said she talked to Betty that morning but Betty said they talked while she was fishing. Not to mention she was top water bass “fishing” in JULY in fairly shallow water at NOON. The way she spouted out what kind of lure she was using tells me she KNEW that was not the time to top-water fish. She was not fishing. Also, I noticed Nancy was the only one that knew where Vaughn was after Mary left the pier to go inside (even though she said she moved to another spot). No mention of where he was during all that- especially after they made such a big deal about him “accompanying her” so he could “be a witness” for her. Betty didn’t mention where he was (neither did Mary) after Mary “moved farther down”. Sounds like they should’ve spent more time memorizing which story they were all going to go with. Let’s not forget the picture of Mary’s “Friends” fishing that day. She made it a point to mention it was noon based on the angle of the shafows - but when SHE was out there fishing there was a big tree that “shaded her pier.” Her whole defense sounded FISHY!!

Anonymous said...

Deja vu all over again. Aren't HOA's supposed to help neighborhoods?

Anonymous said...

@11:41. She appealed because she lost. (She appeals EVERY time she loses - which is why she appealed the lake case.). She’s a bully that acts like a spoiled toddler when she doesn’t get her way. Most people don’t want to deal with her so they give in.
The difference was the testimonies on her side. She changed her story now that she knew what the prosecution was going to say/ask. She also added Betty Anne Gill to testify for her. (Before it was just her and her husband).

Anonymous said...

There is a group of neighbors trying to revitalize NTV. The mayor told me about it. It a shame there are folks in NTV that continue to stand in the way of progress for the sake of control and loyalties. The stubbornness and loyalty at all costs shown in these videos are clearly hurting this neighborhood. Stand down, and quit fighting people who are only trying to help. And by all means, put all sharp objects in a vault and throw away the key.

Anonymous said...

That picture of her friends fishing looked like a bunch of kids on her pier. What is her obsession with taking pictures of kids in their bathing suits?? The creep factor just got higher!!!

Anonymous said...

HOA's are the bad! The Board of HOA's are worse! The board of the NTV HOA is THE WORST!

Anonymous said...

I'm actually starting to feel sorry for the elderly woman. She seems to have some degree of dementia, and has nothing to live for other than trying to control her neighborhood. It's sad that she is doing this to herself in the end stage of life. Of course, what she did with the fishing hooks is dead wrong and plain old mean, and her litigation strategy is ridiculous, but, then again, she seems senile. Everyone in that neighborhood needs to grow up. Her cover story is nuts - NO ONE fishes for bass or anything else in the middle of day in the middle of summer. Except maybe fishing for water moccasins which are biting at all times.

Anonymous said...

@ 11:41...What was new? This time Mary admitted to throwing the hook in the direction of the kiddos. She never admitted that in the 1st trial. Wait, that does not explain an appeal! LOL!

Anonymous said...

Kingfish....The sentencing by the judge of the 1st trial also resulted in enrollment in anger management classes. Maybe that is the reason for the appeal. To try and get out of anger management.

Anonymous said...

Karma is a bitch. All of the previous lead up stuff in this case, that Kingfish lays out, is proof of that. Some people just fight it till the bitter end. I smell another appeal!

Anonymous said...

i grew up two house next to the Watkins. I know all parties involved, most for all of my or their lives. When I moved back to the house Igrew up in, i was raising my kids there. I eventually moved out of ghe neighborhood because of the HOA. Before the Culleys mother (Watkins sister) passed away in 2012, I was on good terms with all. I helped Watkins unpack a large paper shredder by request. I voluntarily serviced all the wood duck boxes and was appointed to a sub board position. I was being groomed for the board.

When Mrs. Culley passed, everyone gathered at her home onthe lake for dinner and social as people do. The Watkins did not participate. Within weeks Watkins called my mother who once served on the board to locate a document saying Mr. Culley agreed to deed the lake to the board. My mother said there was never said document. Meanwhile Mrs. Culleys son and family began to revitalize the over 50 yr. old house to suit there needs and to modernize. Watkins meanwhile had asked them to deed the board the lake. The said gheir family had paid taxes on that lake since their family dug it more than 60 years before and they now legally held the deed and would not give the property to the board. Thus the attacks began.

First Watkins told the Culleys they could not do many of the improvements they were doing often calling the city of Madison to complain only for the visiting officials to be presented with proper permits or simple nothing is wrong here. This went on for appx. a year or more. Then the board shut down the lake to boats and jet skis deeming it unsafe. The one using the lake most at this time was Mr. Watkins on his daily boat cruises at various speeds around the lake. He took my kids for rides. I had bought a small bought for lake use and did the duck boxes and taught my kids to drive said boat and to swim, always with life jackets. One day a neighbor told me Watkins was telling people I rode my kids around the lake w/out life jackets. False but that was just a thing. One day my son was easing around the yard in our golf cart and Watkins on her daily walk scolded my son and told him to park it... in my yard. I was not happy and the Culley harassment bothered me also, so one day on a mass village email I replied all my opinion on the matters. Within a day Watkins called me, cursed me, threatened me ith legal action and was so worked up and out of breath I literally thought she might have an ambulance worthy moment. I tried to calm her down and explain but she would have none of it. I was on her bad sidd and she has not spoken to me since. I was stripped of lake committee also. By then I had chosen a side.

What followed were the follies of lake control. The board had the money thru a settlement to fix at least a good portion of the sediment issues in the lake ends. They waited until an early summer to lower the lake with pumps. The lake was vlosed to boating just when school was letting out and fishing was getting good but we all hoped for a quick process of lake repair and restoration or boating. The follies said otherwise. To be continued.

Anonymous said...

@12:20 If you watch her testimony- she definitely doesn’t have dementia - she very purposely avoids answering incriminating questions and gets very creative with her answers. Her behavior is VERY deliberate. What she is - is out of control. People have allowed her behavior for wayyy too long.

Anonymous said...

@ 12:41 .... Your first hand account is appreciated. I have lived in the Village for some time and have heard many sides of this sadness. I too was once considered an ally of Watkins. Since then, I have been labeled, among many things, an enemy, by Watkins and others who doggedly defend her. My experience is, the people who defend the words, actions and behavior of Watkins, really seem to not see any issue with her. This has and continues to boggle my mind. A friend once asked me, after I revealed that I lived in the JJ neighborhood with the crazy HOA, "why don't a bunch of the neighbors just get together and change things?" Well, lemme tell you. What was seemingly simple and logical advice.....TO be continued.

Anonymous said...

Mary Watkins is 80 years old. She has been on this HOA board for half of her life. It is all she has. She couldn’t even remember her kid’s ages when asked while she was on the stand.
She has many years under her belt of bullying people in that neighborhood. Including children. She will stop at NOTHING to get her way. When she finally does actually hurt someone, adult or child, everyone is going to wonder why no one stepped in and stopped her. Her family, her friends, police, the courts. Her family is doing the whole neighborhood a disservice by sitting back while she continues to do whatever she has to to “ remain in control “. Why is she still allowed to serve on this HOA board ? Are the other board members also supporting this behavior ? They will all be held responsible when she finally accomplishes her goal of hurting someone.
I’m embarrassed for the Culleys. Not only are they going through this and associated with this woman but are also related to her.
I believe it is past time for someone to end her reign or terror.

Anonymous said...

@12:20, People have allowed her behavior for wayyy too long" and being told to stop all the drama and snide comments and dissention and just vote in new people and just leave the board alone so they can do their job.....I wouldn't say it is being allowed as much as it is not being stopped, in spite of trying just about everything to move on.

Anonymous said...

A great example of how HOAs tend to get totally out of control.

And now, the State Senator from Madison and Hinds County wants to let HOAs raise property taxes. If course, his bill only applies to Jackson - now that he has moved out of Jackson to his Madison County estate.

HOAS and their idiotic control freaks don't need to be vested with the resident's tax dollars along with all their other freaky controls.

Hopefully the legislature will kill this bill again this year, despite Michel's continued push to raise his constitutes taxes.

Anonymous said...

Wait.....this case is still ongoing? Is the woman still on the Board?

Anonymous said...

When is A&E going to start filming a reality show? "As the Stomach Turns on the Lake at NTV."

When you look up bat sh*t crazy in the dictionary, guess whose picture is there?

Hermit King said...

This entire circus proves that the only difference between the races is who got a head start in land ownership and wealth building.

From gated communities to filthy ghettos, people will still act like a damn fool.

Having money doesn't mean you aren't trash.

Anonymous said...

It HAS been allowed. It’s been allowed for so long that even though people are starting to wake up - it’s almost too late to stop her. She didn’t JUST start this. She has been lying and threatening lawsuits for decades - any time she didn’t get her way. It’s how she operates. It’s not being stopped - because she’s been allowed control for so long and isn’t gonna just give it back.

Anonymous said...

Don't HOAs exist to maintain property values? How is that working out at NTV?

Anonymous said...

@ 1:54.... Not too well, lol. But they will rise! Soon! Very soon!

Anonymous said...

People like this are fun to mess with. I wish I was in a position to move into NTV and make her ever more crazy.

Sounds like she thinks she's owed the lake that was her sisters. People get crazy some times. Most end up on HOA boards. I would go on with whatever you want to in that neighborhood because the precedence has been set that the member in charge is not of sound mind(twice) and has a history of discrimination, if she were to try and retaliate.

Anonymous said...

Say what you might, had this been my children, I'd have to whip this woman's ass. And her husband's ass. And her sons' asses. And anybody else's asses who supported her actions. She could have snatched out an eyeball or worse. She's a god damned nut case who needs to serve at least six months in jail.

This is way beyond bullying and control. She is guilty of a felony. If you've ever hooked yourself or anybody else accidentally with the treble hooks of a plug, you know how dangerous they are. They are flat out deadly.

I'm not real sure that a rifle shot from across the lake into this woman's head would not have been supported in court.

Anonymous said...

Out of control. WAY over the line! Hard for an 80 year old to grow up.

Anonymous said...

I know one of the two young ladies that testified. They are one of the most honest and sincere people I know. I am sorry they have to deal with this situation.

Anonymous said...

@2:48. It’s not her sister’s lake. It’s her husband’s (Watkins) sister’s husband (Culley). Her bro- in law by marriage.

Anonymous said...

I live in Plantation Shores and we have a HOA.
I will trade ours for yours.
One crazy woman sounds better than several old nosey women.

Anonymous said...

the HOA FOLLIES PAST 2

so the board is going to lower the lake. They pay someone and rent a pump and the lake very slowly goes down but it is obviously too slow (and I may need to be corrected here a bit) but I do know nothing came from the first lowing attempt and the lake filled back up. We are thinking it is still too early to lower the lake. Dry season is late summer but here we are early summer. I now remember there being a giant pile of sand by the spillway that was never used. I believe that was for filling all the "massive cavernous erosion" without the spillway that strangely was never filled (bc there is no massive erosion). The lake at this point has been claimed by the board to be in "eminent danger of catastrophic failure" which further pads there closing the lake as unsafe for use decision.

So they rent a larger pump and try to drain the lake again. Let us add the board had procured a large settlement from a local developer for sediment contamination into our lake. This money is being used for this and that is good, most agree, especially the property owners who live on the fingers of the lake where sediment is depositing, taking away use of the lake for them AND lowering their property value immensely. These people do NOT have any love for the board, but progress is on the way right? Wrong. They drop the lake twice as far as the previous attempt, all property owners who are lake front (i was) have a smelly muddy morass for a lake border and then in one afternoon a heavy rain completely refills the lake. This is the same lake that is in catastrophic danger of failing, which would empty it under the Natchez Trace and into the Ross Barnett Rez, ie, the Rez was in imminent danger of taking on the waters of a 50 acres lake...

So two lowering attempts fail and the money is wasted. It was a dry late summer and fall but they did not attempt to lower the lake ever again. Property owners were not happy. Everyone must be thinking, vote them off the board, vote in a new board. Could not be done, we tried. The board held enough proxy votes from property owners who were either non-resident, elderly or did not live on the lake so they could keep getting re-elected. Fact. Great stuff right? We haven't even made it to the fish hook incident.

As I recall, the Culleys have restored their parent's aged house and moved in AND have legalized and filed the transfer of the ownership deed of the lake property in their name. Fact. I believe this was about the right point in the timeline where the Culleys cut the board's lock on the gate to the spillway boat launch and put their own lock on it and let it be known if anyone wants to used the lake, have at it, only the board must stay off their property unless partaking in lake recreation. Let me add I do not recall having seen the Watkins fish since I was a child. I am 49. I grew up and then lived two houses over and could see their property. They do not fish. The husband boated until the wife said you cannot boat anymore.

Anonymous said...


PART 3

So the Culleys start using the lake as it was always intended. The board starts sending them fines and I risk being wrong but I think they attempted to put a lien on their house for not paying the fines. I know they threatened the rest of the Village with the same action if they did not pay fines. The board continued to send out mailers by snail mail (avg. $100 per mailing) informing the Village the lake was closed, the Culleys do not want anyone using the lake except themselves, etc. The board habitually sent out lies and threats to retain control, mainly of the lake, but whenever they felt necessary. Fact. The board apparently scared anyone else from using the lake bc no one else dared boat or ski.

The Watkins hand picked board member turnover by now has become regular. I could not take it any longer. The Watkins walked past my house, one several minutes behind the other, twice a day on their routine walks. Her scowl was unbearable. He thought someone would try to actually hurt her so he followed her wherever she went in the neighborhood. This is the same woman who made a little old lady stop fishing in the little lake bc a sign said no fishing bc of restocking. I get it, but the lady was very old and only caught a few fish if any. She has passed on.

So the Village is so polarized it is dysfunctional. This is about the time the lawsuits start. I bore witness for the Culleys stating the lake is safe for boating in the main lake, the fingers of the lake are where it is shallow (an nobody boated in the fingers anyway, you cannot turn around). I have swam, skied, boated and fished every inch of that lake in my time and state so factually. The board buys an engineer to testify that the lake is 4 ft. deep and the spillway (concrete poured thickly over the large, wide, deep earthen border of the lake that runs along the Trace at the Lookout) will fail. PS it still has not failed. It was witnessed he walked over the spillway with a Watkins for a few minutes. That was his study of the lake and spillway... a brief walk.

Time lining the above is little difficult as I moved out in 2015 and the feud started in 2012. The above article on operation fishhook takes place after I gladly moved out of the nightmare. Could the Watkins have really just been fishing and not trying to intimidate the pre-teens. No way. It is totally in her nature to do such a thing. Many of the elders I knew as parents of my friends growing up there say, well Watkins is going to get what she wants... and they do nothing to try and stop it when it goes bad. She has been known to be very stubborn, always wanting to get her way and she has notably bragged that she has never lost.. a case, an argument, you name it. That is exactly why the story is in the press and the trials are in court. She hates to lose and she does not want kids playing on the lake. Fact.

And it is also true they are using the funds from the silt settlement to pay for all this BS. Her board approved the use of the funds to do so. That is why there is the other lawsuit. Unless the Watkins pay the money for lawyer fees back, the fingers of the lake will not be dredged and the property owners on said fingers will never recoup the original value of their property. Some of these people have wanted to move since 2013. It is a mess folks. It is ugly and hateful and head-scratchingly unnecessary.

Anonymous said...

Somebody needs to put that THUG POS in prison!! The entire city would be safer with that psycho bitch off the streets.

Anonymous said...

I'm fixin to set up shop there.

Look for my sign!

"Will hold your beer while you use the lake!"

Will film and post to facebook for small upcharge!

Anonymous said...

The HOA board is 3 people (Mary Watkins, Ray Phelps, and Al Wright) all with expired terms and all refusing to hold a neighborhood meeting for elections. Any requests by homeowners to have a meeting have to be formally mailed to the board and then the board sends to a lawyer. The lawyer is paid out of HOA dues to review every letter or request sent to the board. Then the board sends you a letter denying your meeting request for one reason or another. Then the board sends a letter to the entire neighborhood naming those homeowners that have written letters and then blames them for having to spend HOA dues on legal fees.

The board had to be sued by homeowners to get financials. Multiple requests were made to the board, all denied, so homeowners hired an attorney and got what was rightfully theirs to see. Other homeowners have requested copies of bylaws and have been refused. Board members have continuously threatened libel lawsuits against anyone that speaks out or against them. The board has been charging dues in excess of the legally binding covenants and charging illegal fees to those that don’t pay the incorrect dues amount.

This whole thing is insane. Most sensible homeowners want to live in peace and just do what’s right for their neighborhood and their neighbors. There is a small group that is dead set on blocking any attempts to improve the neighborhood and neighbor relations. They believe everything Mary tells them and refuse to see the facts. The neighborhood could be so much more but for all this nonsense centered around one person.

Anonymous said...

In spite of Watkin’s craziness, this is a great neighborhood to live in. Quiet, safe (other than the fishhook incident), Madison schools and services, lots of wildlife and a frickin lake in my backyard. One crazy woman on her last legs can’t ruin all that. Soon enough, the board will have to hold an election where we can complete the removal of her and her remaining allies. Make NTV Great Again!

Anonymous said...

There has been a huge amount of the homeowner's dues spent to defend Mary and her lawsuits against the Culleys.

It is right around $100,000 of our money meant for upkeep in the Village ; this money is gone forever because this woman is
spiteful, hateful and evil. Who throws fish hooks at small children? All the board members terms are expired, the last two appointed have quit and only Ray Phelps and Al Wright remain as "board members" with Mary Watkins. They support her and everything she does and they are just as guilty as she is. They will not schedule a meeting, they award contracts (entrances & mowing), and also putting rocks around the lake to their friends (no bids are taken). The amount of money they have spent is staggering, and the rules of the home owners association enable them to keep this extortion ongoing.

Anonymous said...

Anybody have a key and access to the boat ramp? Myself and friends(friends of a resident of course), could toment this little old lady running boats every weekend until she wants to move. It would be so much fun!

Anonymous said...

When I was a kid we didn’t have anything like homeowners associations, but we did have a cantankerous old witch like her that lived in our neighborhood. She absolutely hated us kids and would come out of her house and rant and curse at us for walking down the street. Now we had all been taught to be respectful to adults, but this woman delighted in provoking us. Now please understand, I am not suggesting that anyone do anything illegal. I am only recounting events from a long time ago. I recall that someone went into a dog pen with a shovel and cleaned up some material into a paper sack. That night the sack found its way on to her front steps and caught fire. Someone knocked on the door and hid in the bushes. She came out and tried to stomp the fire out in her house slippers. We had rural mail boxes out by the street
and one day an old chicken snake managed to somehow get into hers. I can’t imagine how that happened, but when she
reached in to get her mail she peed all over herself. Just saying, bad things sometimes happen to bad people. LOL.

Anonymous said...

"You kids get off my lake."

Anonymous said...

When is the next neighborhood hot-dawg and beer bust. Asking for friends who love to crash parties.

Anonymous said...

Impossible for me to believe that one old woman has a whole neighborhood by the balls. You people need to hire a competent attorney, with experience and expertise in covenants and HOAs, and either fight this in court or shut the hell up.

Anonymous said...

This sad tale plays out daily in our society because the legal system literally interprets " a danger to themselves or others" as meaning a physical danger to life and limb. Literally, they must attempt suicide unsuccessfully or unsuccessfully physically harm another.

As a result, neither the friends nor family of those who suffer brain dysfunction from illnesses (dementia, Alzheimer's, cancer that spreads to the brain or illnesses that deprive the brain of neurological function or oxygen) can realistically expect to guardianship. Hippa laws also keep them getting proof their loved one has a disease, even when the doctor has verbally confirmed the diagnosis if all the legal " i's" have not been dotted in advance.Those at risk are left to be preyed upon by con men and the corrupt or else to inflict needless harm to others.


Often, what happens in diseases that affect the brain, the person's once tolerable personality flaws to dominate. Stubborn becomes unreasonable, insecurity becomes paranoia, and argumentativeness becomes combativeness.

The court system is so overwhelmed that even when an advocate for the at risk elderly have a solid case, the person could be dead before that case is ever heard. Or, if not, a good reputation built over a lifetime is lost to a few years of disease.

Such situations are particularly frustrating when we now live in times where medical science can map damage to the brain in such a way as to help those afflicted by illnesses affecting the brain from becoming either victims or harming others.

And, it doesn't help that professionals have forgotten that honoring the profession before profit and self-interest is what once distinguished a professional from a businessman. The reason was that professions are key to maintaining basic societal function, making and selling a "widget" is not.

So, I feel sorry for both the Watkins and their neighbors as this situation could have been avoided altogether if those who make our laws bothered to entertain the consequences long enough to mitigate obvious negative effects or to admit error and fix what they " break" when it proves dysfunctional.



Anonymous said...

@9:41 — A supporter of bat shit crazy. “ File a lawsuit or shut the hell up “. It’s pretty clear that mentality is why the HOA has spent over $100k of the neighborhood’s money trying to steal someone’s property.

Anonymous said...

@9.41 pretty sure Mary herself wrote that or one of her cronies. I’ve seen letters telling residents of that neighborhood that it doesn’t matter what the law says, she’s not doing it until a competent jurisdiction tells her she has to. She even says Judge Walker wrote an opinion (his ruling) and until a competent jurisdiction tells her otherwise she’s going to continue. So she appealed. I’m sure she will say Mississippi Supreme Court ruling is an opinion as well if the case is once again ruled in the Culley’s favor. I’m guessing everyone’s ruling is an opinion until United States Supreme Court says so.

Stephanie Lass said...

@9:41 hiring a lawyer is in process but as you may realize-costs money. The dilemma is how we pay for legal action against a board that will use HOA dues for their defense. So we basically are paying both sides. We are mainly average income homeowners with families and priorities that fall outside of fighting this woman and her board. How much more do we need to personally sacrifice for the good of the neighborhood? We are working on that answer now.

Anonymous said...

I love how some feel she might have dementia or such when the truth is she has been like this for years and years! Nothing new and no change! People from MRA remember how she was while her kids attended school and that was long ago! She is just stubborn and determined to get her way. She fooled many a property owner for years until younger folks moved in and started picking up on her lies.
No longer will property owners let her bully them!

Anonymous said...

A court, I'm speculating, will rule in favor of the homeowners and will probably divvy up the money this old bat has socked away. The court could also be asked to use the money in the HOA account to pay your attorney. The 'board' could also be sued individually and severally. Meanwhile, your lawyer will tell you to not pay a dime more into the fund until this is settled. Your only other alternative is to do nothing, continue to live under her thumb and watch her diddle away your money and ruin your peace of mind.

Anonymous said...

Aren't there mandatory elections and term limits? While you're in the thick of it, have the lawyers tighten-up the covenants and bylaws so that this can't happen again.

Anonymous said...

HOA only approves alterations if you allow one property owner to do the work and he isn’t licensed with the State of Mississippi!
This is just one of many things the woman controls! The other two board members have reasons they stay on and sign whatever she puts in front of them. The newest two board members resigned. Three have run the neighborhood for way too many years!
I hope they are sued individually and made to pay back all the money they have spent of the property owners!

Anonymous said...

If the Insurance Agent that wrote the HOA policy was competent, he would have D&O(directors and officers) coverage on the policy. If not, the agent has E&O on his policy. At any rate, find out who carries the insurance for the HOA and file suit. And quit paying your HOA does until this crap is figured out. If this little ole lady were to threaten me about my HOA dues, I'd laugh in her face and tell her to get ****'ed.

Anonymous said...

The neighborhood is suffering. People are frustrated. Kids are being harassed and have to give a testimony in front of a judge because the neighborhood Board member for 25 years refuses to settle this like an adult. Money is being wasted. Older residents are disturbed, scared, tired and pissed. Threats are made daily. Everyone is losing. The only people winning in all of this are the attorneys. And they are loving all the crazy lawsuits and paychecks. Sad, sad, sad. What is the most enraging thing about all of this, is there is ONE PERSON who could stop everything....lawsuits, dissention, bickering, name calling, fighting over covenants and HOA fees. Everything. She could end it RIGHT NOW, with not another dime spent. But she won't. Never will. EVAH!

Anonymous said...

If this woman believes she can get away with throwing a hook at kids, I’m sure she believes she has gotten away with a lot more. Why would anyone serve on an HOA BOARD for decades? And at the age of 80. Does she not have family to spend time with ?

Anonymous said...

This lady is the personification of way too many HOA and neighborhood associations. Many, while not this bad, still run themselves as a dictatorial organization controlled by a couple of individuals who want to force their concept of idealism on all others. As was mentioned by someone earlier in this thread, the new Madison County resident and now State Senator Walter Michel, wants to allow HOAs and Neighborhood Associations - in his old city of residence, Jackson - now have the authority to impose taxes on everyone's property that would then be spent by the chosen few who control the board. Why in the hell one would want to allow the creation of state enforcement into these organizations is beyond me.

Anonymous said...

Who has enforcement oversight of HOA’s? The city in which they exist? If there are bylaws, can’t the city require the HOA to hold meetings/elections?

Anonymous said...

Nobody unfortunately! There needs to be some oversight so things such as what is occurring here can’t happen. There are state laws that HOA’s have to abide by, but nobody regulated. There needs to be a bill in Mississippi to regulate.

Anonymous said...

I live in Northbay and have heard stories of that crazy board lady. It’s to bad some people can’t just get over themselves and step a side. It sounds like she don’t have that many supporters so what’s she fighting for? Maybe it’s time to hang up the fish hooks and just chill. What people over there look at all this stuff and say to themselves “yeah shes right spending all that HOA money to sue her nephew and even more right trying to hook her great nephew when he’s on jet ski”. Yea that makes a whole lotta sense. What F-nuts!

Anonymous said...

How long until one of these HOA maniacs goes full George Zimmerman and shoots somebodies kid.

Anonymous said...

I lived in NTV several years ago. All these stories sound dead center bullseye to me. First time I ever met that old bitch, she zoomed into driveway in her white BMW, jumped out and marched right toward me. I didn’t know who she was much less why she was coming at me so damn strong. She was scowling and her eyes were beady. She started pointing her finger at me and saying real loud “you can’t do that, that’s against the rules!” I put my hand out and said “whoa there tiger. Can’t do what? And what rules?” She said, again very loud and aggitated, “ you can’t get your roof done without a permit from the board!” I again was puzzled as we had just moved there and said, “ma’am I have not seen any rules. I used some of our leftover money from closing on my old house to replace this one, as it was very old and leaking”. She huffed away and I thought I had been rid of this mad woman. She leaned into her car a pulled out a yellow book. She marched right back over and through squinty eyes and gritted teeth, said, as she threw the yellow book at me, “there. Now you can’t play dumb.” She spun away and right before she got to her car I said “ma’am, excuse me, I didn’t catch your name”. She barked back “Mary Watkins. And you better remember that name, I run this neighborhood.” She slammed her door and hunched over her stealing wheel like she couldnt see without putting her face right up on the windshield and zipped out in reverse. I thought “holy shit, what the hell? My real agent said nothing about this garbage”. I tuned around a flipped her the bird.

Micah said...

Sounds like a redneck family feud to me.

Anonymous said...

@9:07 that’s what Mary Watkins desires everyone to think.

Pabst Blue Ribbon On The Front Porch.. said...

8:46 - You are a much more tolerant man than I. Me? I would have immediately gone full-out Clint Eastwood on her and said, Get The Fuck Of My Property Right This Damned Minute Woman!

Anonymous said...

Tony Soprao never seemed to have trouble with his neighborhood association.....

Anonymous said...

Tony Soprano never seemed to have trouble with his neighborhood association....

Sigmund said...

Let's dig deeper into the psychological profile of this woman. Every HOA president or board member I've ever known never did make the football team, cheerleader or traveling tennis squad. They never advanced beyond teacher's pet but were allowed by the principal to carry notes from the office to the teachers' rooms. And they were snitches, every one.

Now, at age 34 (or 80) they're finally able to exercise authority and issue threatening memos and news-letters.

Stephanie Lass said...

We aren't all about fighting & fish hooks! Many of us are working hard toward improving the neighborhood and neighbor relations. Many of us actually like each other and we spend a lot of time together at neighborhood events or working together on community projects. One example is we have come together and built Christmas floats for the past two years for the City of Madison Christmas Parades and have won best float each of the two years! I don't want everyone to think our neighborhood is only about this drama - that is only a portion - however, it is a portion that is holding us back from our full potential. Hopefully it will all soon be resolved.
If you want to see what we are really about, check out our website www.ntvneighbors.com. This is NOT an HOA website, which must be stated due to threats of lawsuits from HOA. This website was created and is maintained by a group of homeowners working towards the revitalization of the neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

I lived in NTV from 2001 to 2014. It is a very nice neighborhood. There are many great people. Kind people. The quiet, the big lots, the natural areas, and Culley Lake are just a few of the things that make this neighborhood unique. With the right plan, execution, buy-in and people to lead, the potential of what it CAN BE is out of the roof. While I lived there, there was NO plan. Execution of the Board of the HOA was inconsistent, off aim and showed favoritism. The only buy-in was by Mary Watkins buying people's loyalty. The leaders were absent, impossible to get in touch with, non-transparent and puppets of the only one who EVERYONE knows was in charge. To my former neighbors, there are many of us that are with you and your desire to move forward and revitalize NTV. Stick with it. Ignore those who are standing in the way. Use whatever you have to do to achieve the goal that will benefit ALL the neighbors, not just Mary, Ray, Al and any others who continue to benefit by being loyal and spreading dissent. Also, there are a few lots that are COMPLETE SHIT HOLES. Clean them up! I won't name names, but I assume you know at least ONE I am talking about! I complained about this lot to the City in 2010 and it still looks HORRIBLE!

Anonymous said...

When HOA gives a permit for someone to fix their shit hole in 2011 and it is still a shit hole in 2019 ("lull in the action") and said property owner is a supporter of HOA / Mary Watkins. This equates to it not mattering what your property looks like. As long as you support Mary Watkins the HOA isn't going to even suggest you cleaning anything up. Oh and the other two board members whose terms are also expired Ra Ra Phelps and Al Wright... my sister in law showed me which homes were theirs last week (have to end the story now).

Anonymous said...

Several, who should know, have mentioned that the current board members (TWO other than the old witch) benefit personally from the current situation. Can someone enlighten us as to what the 'benefit' is? And don't come up with something lame like "They stay on her good side". HOW, specifically, do 'they' benefit?

Also interesting would be an 'open book accounting' of who pays dues and who, perhaps, doesn't. Thanks...

Anonymous said...

That’s a fun question. Nobody is going to divulge information that can be used in court of law at a later date.

Cynical Sam said...

The books need a forensic audit. Follow the money.

Anonymous said...

@ 11:31...I believe their has been a request from a neighboir for financial records. The Board wouldn't give them so a lawsuit was filed to get them. This old witch knows shes a lyer and I hope they sue them for all their worth

Anonymous said...

I always say:

Small minded men (or women) in small positions of small power lording it over those they believe to be beneath.

Happens all the time.

Anonymous said...

@ 9:25 the lot you are talking about. Is it owned by someone whose kid was on a jet ski?

Anonymous said...

I think you all need to grow up and leave the Board alone so they can do their job. Maybe if you stopped harassing them and calling the cops on them for no reason except to rile her up, she could actually use HER lot for HER peace and quiet. Everybody knows she was not trying to hurt children. She is the smartest person I know and has done more for that neighborhood than all of you assholes combined.

Anonymous said...

You want to talk about growing up! She has done nothing but terrorize kids in the neighborhood and bully property owners! You fon’t Tell people you run a neighborhood! She has already been found guilty in a court of law regarding trying to hook the children. She didn’t like the punishment the judge gave her! If she doesn’t like jet skis then stay inside! Also the person who needs to grow up is the one who felt the need to stick her tongue out at another witness at court the other day at age 80! I don’t think asking for improvements is bothering her!

Anonymous said...

@1:11 Did Mary pay you to make this comment ?
Mary is the “ smartest person you know “ ? With supporters like you, there’s no wonder why she believes she can get away with the things she does. Sounds like you need to get out more.
“ Call the cops for no reason “ — you obviously don’t have kids.
“ Everybody knows she was not trying to hurt kids “ — that’s not what the testimonies from both sides would lead anyone to believe. So, no, everybody does NOT know that she wasn’t on her pier in the heat of the day in July, casting a hook at kids on jet skis for the purpose of trying to cause harm.

The board needs to be “ left alone “ so they can do their job ? What exactly is their job? Filing lawsuits ? Wasting the neighborhood’s money ? Threatening to sue anyone who speaks up? Killing the fish in the lake ? Bribing residents ? Bullying kids ? Making new rules to suit Mary ? Pretty sure that’s all they have been doing for years. This board’s concern is not improving the neighborhood. Their concern is “ keeping control at all costs “. And as long as people like you support that, it will continue.

The group of assholes in the neighborhood making improvements needs to grow up? Maybe one day they can be as grown up as Mary’s witness in court who stuck her tongue out at one of the prosecutor’s witnesses. Grown up like that? That should accomplish a lot for the neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1:11 - It doesn't take much to figure out who you are!
If she is the smartest person you know, then you are in real trouble!
You will see soon just how smart she is I can assure you!
You say leave her alone and let the board do their job? Do you mean the last standing three board members with "expired" terms? Anyone with common sense has quit those three idiots! Smart move too as the next lawsuit will go after the last 3 standing personally! When they have to pay out of their own pockets then maybe they will realize just what they have done to the neighborhood! Property values have declined, houses foreclosed one only to be bought and then flipped because of the prices. Anyone riding through can see this for themselves! Every improvement asked for gets rejected because they don't want change. Get over it! Change is exactly what is needed and I see it coming very soon!

Anonymous said...

@1:11 watch out. you are about to enter a World of Pain

Anonymous said...

@1:11 Maybe the “ group of assholes “ can act grown up like Mary. Stealing signs within the neighbhood. Signs she doesn’t own on property she doesn’t own. I hear there are pictures of the most recent act of theft.

Anonymous said...

@1:07 Funny you ask and I knew someone would. Wanted to lead into opening up another issue. Nope! The property I am referring to has nothing to do with that of a child on a jet ski. The property you are trying to point out has been fined by the HOA and currently have a fine balance of : well it’s in the millions now since the Treasurer (MW) sent them fines and told them the fines doubled monthly (because that’s legal right?). And now said person you are attempting to be ugly to is having to pay attorney fees for the last 8 years or so having to deal with this nonsense selective fining system the HOA has going on. Can anyone tell me if it is legal for our board to threaten to double and actually double our fines monthly when nowhere, I have ever seen, even list any fines and I’ve lived here 14 years. I got a fine for late fee for paying HOA dues late and my neighbor two doors down says he has never paid dues and never has been fined for not paying. Is this normal?

Anonymous said...

@1:11 since you feel so strongly about defending the actions of Mary Watkins, it only seems necessary to expose more of the bad behavior. You may not be swayed by facts and pictures but others may be.

Anonymous said...

@1:11 The NTV board and their group of blind followers came up with a nickname for the neighbors who want to revitalize and thrive. “Snotzies”. No lie. That is pretty dumb, childish, and assholish if I have ever seen it. Not to mention the horrible and totally inappropriate reference to one of the darkest times in world history.

Anonymous said...

Mary, Mary, quite contrary...

Anonymous said...

She was in Madison court today for some reason. She was responding to a warrant for arrest. Anyone know what that is about?

Anonymous said...

Stupid is as stupid does. Going out with a bang! Another arrest. Life isn’t like a box of chocolates. It’s more like a jar of jalapeños. What you do today might burn your ass tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

@1:11 I’ll listen to your side. Tell us things Mary, Ray, and Al have done for the neighborhood? I know there are always 2 sides to every story so tell your story.

I know The Neighbors for Improvement movement has had a lot of fun activities in the neighborhood to bring the neighbors together, they’ve coordinated work days to help others, they’ve come together to win best Christmas Float in the Madison parade two years in a row, they’ve created a website with a food blog and fishing blog, they met with the mayor and worked with local officials to get streets repaved, they’ve tried to bring everyone together to Revitalize, they are working with city parks dept to help with Simmons Arboretum, and they’ve had to deal with aggression, lies, and threats of lawsuits while doing all those things. But please, share with us what Mary has done for the neighborhood in a positive way. And then share with us why people like you accept and support her. It’s bewildering to many.

Anonymous said...

If you are one who supports this woman and / or her behavior, we will likely see a story about you on this site in the future.
The “ smartest “ person you know appears to be a lot of things but smart definitely is not one of them.

Anonymous said...

Y’all know 1:11 was just a troll, right?

Anonymous said...

Plot.....Control freak busy body old woman has stewed all her life about her in-laws and how much better and smarter she is than them but never gets credit. She manipulates simple, weak minded people into her web of power in a neighborhood where her in-laws also live and lay claim to king of the mountain. When the last equal aged in-law dies, the 75 year old woman seizes her opportunity to finally, after a lifetime of living in the shadows of people she despises and envies, take hold of the reins and be crowned queen of Natchez Trace Village and secure her legacy in the halls of obscure losers as the queen. (Enter in-laws stubborn son). Hold on just one damn minute there bucko! You need to back the $&*% up and slow your roll....this is my mama and daddy’s land and lake and this it’s mine! (Cue the sound of roaring thunder). The now 80 year old wanna-be woman is fit with anger and rage. She can not allow this final opportunity to claim her just and righteous spot on the throne to be thwarted by a slow minded, ape like chosen one again. (Cue the sound of children laughing and jet skis racing). It all boils to a head at noon in the middle of the summer on a hot, sultry and sweaty day. There will be no more second place. No more being the brides maid. She grabs a fishing rod with a lucky 13 plug fishing lure attached, summons her dim witted mate to accompany her and marches to the scene of the final battle where she will prove to all who is boss! (Cue rolling drums and crashing cymbals)

Anonymous said...

If the NTV Property Owners Association is legit, wouldn't they have to have their association on file with SOS and copies of latest bylaws on file there? I can find them listed, but not their bylaws. Anyone know how to find those?

Anonymous said...

Bylaws don’t have to be filed.

Kyril said...

Good Lord, she's 80 years old, let her have a little fun. If she just barely scraped Little Lord Fontleroys from Madison it'd probably be the first and only time they suffer in life.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know the outcome of the appeals hearing?

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