Thursday, October 10, 2019

Partying in Paris

Never let it be said that the Commissioners for the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority don't know how to have a good time.  The spending records of its recent trip to Paris are filled with Eiffel Tower dinners, expensive hotels, and other high-falootin' ways.  Justin Vicery reported in the Clarion-Ledger today:

The Jackson airport delegation returned from the International Air Show in Paris in June, but questions remain over what was accomplished during the nine-day, expenses-paid trip billed as an economic development opportunity.

The Jackson Municipal Airport Authority maintains the trip — attended by all five commissioners and four staff members — included meetings with "potential business partners," but so far, no specifics have been offered.

Receipts obtained by the Clarion Ledger through a public records request reveal the nine JMAA officials spent nearly $50,000 on travel, lodging and food to attend the trade show. The $49,087.21 in expenses is nearly identical to the amount the Clarion Ledger projected the trip would cost....

While most of the expenses for airline tickets, lodging and food fell within what could be reasonably considered acceptable limits for a trip of this scale, there were some notable exceptions.

The interim CEO spent more than $4,000 on lodging for seven nights, at a cost of more than $585 a night. The amount was more than twice that of his colleagues.
Two staff members dined at an upscale restaurant in the Eiffel Tower, racking up about $180 in one meal.
All commissioners, at times, traveled in chauffeured luxury vehicles though taxis and public transportation were available.
One commissioner spent $600 in just one day to travel in a chauffeured luxury vehicle....

Commissioners and staff have been tight-lipped about what they accomplished on the trip as a possible state takeover of the airport looms and their activities are being closely monitored.

A Wednesday afternoon press release from JMAA said the decision to send commissioners and senior staff was consistent with the airport's strategic plan, which was "heavily-weighted on building business partnerships."

"The result will be an economic boon for the Jackson Metropolitan area," the release stated.

Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba on Wednesday noted his concern about the number of officials on the trip. However, he said he understood that JMAA had a development opportunity lined up before the trip.
Still, among the records the airport turned over, there are five pages marked "Notes for Le Bourget PARIS," presumably for commissioners to record contacts and accomplishments while in Paris.
They are blank.  Rest of article.

Um, Mr. Mayor, you should already  know what that opportunity is because JMAA is supposed to discuss such matters with you.  That is how economic development is done but you already knew that, right? 

Kingfish note: Give Perry some credit.  He went out like a boss.  He took that trip knowing he was going to Richmond and ran up that bill.   That's what I'm talking about.  Well done.

Oh, and The Kingfish had some spies over at the main trade show. Funny how no one saw anyone from JMAA in the building.

It is rather disappointing that the Mayor did not criticize this trip.  The Commissioners are his appointees so he bears some responsibility for this boondoggle.  The Board ran off two consecutive CEO's and then pulls a stunt such as this with nary a word from hizzoner.

Hmm...... maybe these cats figure they are going to lose the state takeover fight and are going to loot JMAA as much as they can.  Naaaaahhh...... that couldn't happen, could it? 


Anonymous said...

This is how officials operate in third world countries so why should we expect any different from the poorest state in the Union?

Anonymous said...

cold call=pick up brochure from table

attend air show=walked around convention hall once picking up brochures

discussed business=ordered a bottle of wine at a restaurant

after all, le bourget is only 10-12 miles from Paris, right? i mean, come on, who DOESNT want to eat at the Eiffel Tower. the restaurant is in the air, and it's in Paris...

Anonymous said...

While expected.....this makes me nauseous.

Anonymous said...

If the population of the city is so stupid as to tolerate these things might as well spend the money given by the people dumb enough to send it in with no accountability.

Anonymous said...

Yes this is extravagant but not totally without merit if there are results. But the State of Mississippi has a group traveling overseas as I type this and no report of who attended, the purpose, the cost and results? Maybe would be wise if KF followed up on these frequent trips.

Anonymous said...

Just today I had a two company reps in my office that flew into Jackson and that were poking fun of how awful our airport is. One said she had an unexpected delay due to weather this past winter and had to eat at the one “sports cafe” we have and the food was inedible.

StarRider said...

One time many years ago we went into a business deal with a Chinese company, we were furnishing some technology to them and some of their people came to one of our plants to get some hands on experience. So while they were there the head guy for them told me a story about some managerial staff at a Chinese refrigerator factory who were buying lower quality parts and substituting them for the parts called for in the designs; subsequently the refrigerators were breaking down within weeks. They were taken out behind the factory and shot. They could probably find some Chinese guys to oversee the airport.

Anonymous said...

Did this story end up any different than we expected?
Same old jive BS from these clowns.
The airport is a joke. The employees at the airport are a joke. But, it’s all quite reflective of Jackson.

I fly in/out of the airport on an almost weekly schedule. The latest is that when people drive through to pick up passengers, vehicles are stopping in both the left and right lanes and waiting for people. Clogging all flow of traffic. It’s happening all the time now and the guys who are supposed to keep things moving day NOTHING. The “cops” (of that’s what you want to call them) all stand around looking at their cell phones. It’s a joke.

Anonymous said...

Yes this is extravagant but not totally without merit if there are results.

Partially meritorious but only if there are results. ROFLMAO Do you get paid to carry that water?

Theca Jones said...

Kingfish you’re don’t have any spies. You are just a chump

Anonymous said...

The state guideline is (was) to follow GSA per diem limits, etc. When can we expect a check for all of the overspending? What a bunch of FRAUDS - congratulations Mr. Mayor and Jackson, you have thieving morons running your airport.

Anonymous said...

Total joke - They wonder why the state wants to take over our "international" airport
It people like this ... down hill from here.

Cynical Sam said...

Just more free shit for the wannabe ruling class. It's welfare with honor.

Anonymous said...

Melvin is sooooo desperate for attention. Pathetic.

Anonymous said...

"..subsequently the refrigerators were breaking down within weeks. They were taken out behind the factory and shot."

Who the hell would shoot a refrigerator and why? I realize shooting road signs is a pastime in Rankin County, but DAYUM!

Here's The Deal Lucille.. said...

It's as simple as this...


Anonymous said...

Spending $180.00 of taxpayer money for dinner for two in Paris is not strictly necessary, but it certainly does not remotely approach "extravagant." On the other hand, spending $600.00 for a single day of travel in a "chauffeured luxury vehicle" deserves criminal prosecution.

Plainly, this was a junket and within reason, one of perqs of such appointments (right or wrong, it is what it is, JMAA or otherwise), but the taxpayers and the media are not unreasonable in asking how the money was spent and by whom.

Anonymous said...

But the State of Mississippi has a group traveling overseas as I type this and no report of who attended, the purpose, the cost and results? Maybe would be wise if KF followed up on these frequent trips.

It would be wise to not discuss or criticize our state leadership's annual trips to Israel. I assure you there is important work being done. The Lord's work.

Stuff About ZeroBear PolyBear said...

Hood example of what one can do with a nice Per diem. They problem is not in how much they spent, but on whoever allows them to do that. Need a watchdog over ALL State employees.

Maybe they were able to secure booking for the Concord through Jaxon Intergalactic Landing Pad again, while in P-Town.

Anonymous said...

To every anonymous nobody commenting here:

Nothing is going to happen.
This wont be investigated.
The Paris Airshow is an industry perk.
Stop hating.

Anonymous said...

You think this is bad ? Elect Jim Hood and let him fill every appointment he makes with people just like this he's he beholding to.

Anonymous said...

Back up and tell me where the money comes from to begin with?

Kingfish said...

There is nothing to investigate. If the Board approves it, the expenditures are legal.

However, the public DOES have a right to know about the trip as well as how much it cost.

Messick said...

Eating dinner at the Eiffel Tower? How bougie...

That's like going to NYC and eating at the Olive Garden in Times Square.

The best restaurants are never in tourist-filled areas.

Anonymous said...

Can we assume that they all flew first class? After all, it is part of their perk, isn't it?

Kingfish said...

Truth is, it's not hard to run up a $90 bill in a Paris restaurant, even for simple fare.

Anonymous said...

8:56, true...and locals joints in Paris are dirt cheap and the food is generally better and more authentic.

And KF, there is cause for an investigation if travel policies weren't adhered to - the board isn't some super-legal entity that can approve anything it wants irrespective of policy or state law.

Anonymous said...

KF, I was thinking the same thing about eating in Paris. Ailes de poulet and frites are probably pretty costly over there. Maybe they had le biftek instead of ailes since it was on someone elses dime.

Anonymous said...

I remember when there was an air show at JAN. People flew here to learn about “SkyParade” but that was the 90s and much has changed since then...

Anonymous said...

Disagree with KF. The board has a fiduciary role here. They cannot willy-nilly approve all expenses that come in.

There exists a travel policy. If the JMAA does not have one, there is an applicable policy from the state.

What does the policy say about days before and days after the "business"? They are the obligation of the "board member" and not the authority. What are the "per diems"? Over that is the responsibility of the member on the trip.

This isn't a perk. It was a business trip. Where are the logs of the daily business?

Anonymous said...

1:32, you are funny using business standards for the City of Jackson.This a legally created board and has the powers granted under the laws of it's creation. If it does not set limits and policies there are none.The people that wrote these laws never saw this level of graft and stupidity.

Anonymous said...

Jabba Jr. loots the place on the way out. This is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg.

Anonymous said...

Under what category did they charge for a little something-something?

Anonymous said...

Character - the complex of mental and ethical traits marking a person or group.

Anonymous said...

Boards and agencies need policies to follow. I want someone to examine the qualifications for candidates for appointment to similiarly sized airport boards. How do the qualitifcation for the JMAA compare to them? Let's get all new board members who meet the new qualifications. Let's audit the books. Let's have some transparency and new leadership.

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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.

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