Monday, May 4, 2020

Breaking Down the DHS Audit (Updated May 18)

Ok, gang.  We have us here a brand-new shiny audit of DHS provided by Mr. State Auditor himself, Shad White.  I am reading through the audit right now and posting some of the more interesting findings.  However, JJ is going to let you have some fun.  The Governor's daily briefing will interrupt the review so feel free to read it yourself and post what you think is interesting in the comments.

Families First: Davis Edition

* MCEC awarded a contract to John Davis's brother-in-law for a business lease of property he owned in Brookhaven for $365,000 ($88,333 per year for 3 years.).  MCEC paid a $100,000 non-refundable security deposit. DHS paid him $365,050 from February 5, 2019 to February 7, 2019. MCEC notified him it would terminate the lease on May 2, 2019 but no money was refunded as it should have been.

* MCEC hired JD's brother in law as a "Leadership Outreach Coordinator" for one year in 2018 at a salary of $150,000.  MCEC paid the salary in a lump sum on the first day of the term.

* MCEC hired JD's nephew to create a coding academy and web design program for $139,500.  The fee was paid in a lump sum on the first day of the term.  (p.12)

* MCEC hired JD's nephew from July 2018 to February 2019 at a semimonthly salary of $5,000.  The gross pay was $67,769.

* The Family Resource Center (FRC) engaged in the same shenanigans as MCEC.  FRC hired the same brother-in-law from July 2018 to July 2019 at a salary of $93,600. CCDF funds were used.

* FRC hired JD's nephew in 2017 and paid him $55,625. (p.13). FRC paid him $130,000 to create a coding academy and web design program.

* Total amount paid to Brother-in-law Billy Bob: $608,650. Total amount paid to nephew Jim-Bob: $492,499.

Lobbyists & Consultants

*  MCEC used welfare funds to pay for lobbyists:
- $21,000 to AvantGarde Strategies even though no contract was found. The company is owned by Serena Clark.
- $318,325 was paid to Inside Capitol.  The company is owned by Will Longwitz.
- $72,000 was paid to Lucas Compton for federal lobbying.

* Consultants? Did someone say consultants?
- FRC and MCEC paid The Stephen Group $213,413.
- The Unknown Consultant was paid $40,000.  No contract was found.
- $97,500 was paid to The Other Unknown Consultant.

Sports

 * $1.1 million paid to Brett Favre's Favre Enterprises in 2017 and 2018.  Auditors discovered that the person paid to speak at specific events didn't even show up at said events. (p.19)

*  TANF funds used to pay $52,100 to Rick Rigsby Communications for motivational speaking.

* Don't forget those nice baseball fields on Lakeland Drive in Jackson.  TANF funds went to Diamond Design & Construction to the tune of $42,750 to "line Field 8."  $65,000 was paid to North Jackson Youth Baseball in 2017 to rent baseball fields.  MCEC said the payments were a donation.  The Program Director for MCEC and a spouse of an MCEC principal serve on  NJYB's Board of Directors.

* TANF funds were used to pay Overtime Sports $37,500 in 2019 to sponsor a baseball tournament.

*  FRC paid The Retired Football Players Charitable Foundation $44,625 to hold three football camps.

* FRC paid $30,000 in 2019 to sponsor the NEMFCA All Star Game in North Mississippi.

John Davis Directed Payments

* MCEC & FRC often used same vendors and gave grants to same parties.  Davis allegedly ordered them to award contracts and grants to specific recipients.  No competitive bidding took place.

*  The two non-profits paid $250,000 to Priceless Ventures.  The company is owned by Ted Dibiase, Jr. (p.23).  The two companies paid another $500,000 to Priceless.  FRC awarded another contract to Priceless for $500,000.  Priceless was paid with SNAP funds.

* FRC signed a million-dollar contract with Familiae Orientem, LLC to create a RISE program.  The company is owned by Scott Elliot in Meridian.  Actual payments were $700,000.  (p.23)

* Then there is Ted Dibiase's Heart of David Ministries. The audit states:

Additionally, these subgrants were made at the express direction of former Executive Director JD, and the son of the Executive Director of HOD was employed as a Deputy Administrator at MDHS when the initial contract to HOD was awarded.

The 2017 subgrant, from May 1, 2017 through April 30, 2018, was for $500,000; an additional subgrant, from May 1, 2017 through September 30, 2018, was for $1,500,000. The FY 2019 subgrant, from October 1, 2018 through December 31, 2019, was for $1,562,500. Actual payments were $271,349 in FY 2017; $900,000 in FY 2018 and $756,224 in FY 2019. These costs are questioned in Finding 2019-032.
 * MCEC used Families First of Mississippi to award $635,000 to the Lobaki Foundation to created a virtual reality academy for students.  The entire contract amount was paid in a lump sum at the beginning of the term. Lobaki received an additional $160,000.  Only 2 students graduated at a cost of $13,250 per student.  This is the first mention of Jacob Black getting his fingers dirty in the audit.  (p.26)

* Boot camps.  You read that correctly.  Welfare money paid for fitness boot camps.  The audit states MCEC signed a contract with Victory Sports Foundation to conduct boot camps for $1.4 million.  The boot camps were to be held in 3 counties.  The funds were used to purchase a $70,000 vehicle, $20,000 trailers, and other materials.  The program was offered to legislators for free.   (p.26)  The foundation is operated by Paul Lacoste.  He told WLBT last night that he had no clue TANF funds were used.

Co-mingling?

* SBGI, LLC was supposed to develop a "Center of Excellence" for Mississippi.  Heart of David Ministries also used SBGI.  FRC paid a lump sum of $250,000 to SBGI at the beginning of the term.  Naturally, the project was never completed. (p. 27).  DHS staff directed the subgrants. 

*  MCEC & FRC shoveled $250,000 to ActiveEd.  The company was not found on the Secretary of State's website.  ActiveEd was supposed to create a pilot program using physical activity to teach Math, English, and Reading from pre-K to second grade.  The two entities paid the $250,000 in a lump sum at the beginning of the term.

*  MCEC purchased $117,703 of curriculum from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt publishing company.  Unfortunately, the report states the materials were used for the "private school associated with MCEC, and not for the community at large."  Uh-oh.

Donations

* MCEC signed a sublease with the USM Athletic Foundation for the rental of a wellness center for $5 million.  The Director of MCEC, Nancy New, also served as a board member for the foundation.  MCEC paid the lease in two lump-sum payments two years before the building was actually built.  The auditors determined the $5 million was a donation and not a lease.   (p.32)

* MCEC donated $95,500 to the American Heart Association over a period of three years.

* MCEC donated $35,000 for a bookmobile lab in Madison County.

* Even the Mississippi Highway Patrol got a piece of the action.  MCEC paid $28,186 for a "rollover simulator."  The non-profit donated it to MHP.

* MCEC donated $10,000 to the Mississippi Military Family Relief Fund.

 * Check out p.34.  MCEC gave over $50,000 in small donations to various entities such as the Junior League of Jackson, Tupelo High School Cross Country Boosters Club, and the Baldwyn High School Cheerleaders.

Phony Book Deals

* MCEC spent $905,000 to purchase the book Professional Grammar Simplified for MCEC-affiliated organizations. MCEC intended to sell the books for a profit but the deal with the publisher collapsed.

*  The Dibiase family got in on the book action as well.  MCEC bought 2,600 copies of a children's book with $44,964 of  Mississippi Community College Board grant funds.  MCEC was going to establish an Early Childhood Academy at community colleges.  The author was related to Brett Dibiase. 

Marcus Dupree (MD Foundation)

* Now the real fun starts.  Somewhere along the way, MCEC determined after much um, study that outdoor play is good for boys and girls.  However, MCEC wasn't satisfied with the playground variety but decided children should get some equestrian exposure.  Enter Marcus Dupree, the former football star and Fairley victim.


MCEC executed a contract with Dupree for (I am having a hard time writing this with a straight face) on January 1, 2018 for $371,000.  The contract is board and vague (Sing "Broad and Vague" to the tune of "Deep and Wide").  There are no terms nor is there any definition of services to be performed.  MCEC paid Dupree $171,000 on February 26, 2018 for "rent" with TANF funds.

Dupree's foundation bought a home with acreage in Flora for $855,000 on April 13, 2018.   The mortgage was $684,000 as Dupree made a down payment of $169,096.

MCEC borrowed a trick from Chris Epps and paid $200,000 directly to Dupree's lender on June 1 and stated the purpose was for "consulting" in the ledger.  MCEC leased the property for six years for $684,000 ($9,500 per month.)   The home was refinanced.  Nancy New guaranteed the new mortgage of  $684,000.  Did we mention that Dupree was a MCEC employee from July 2017 to September 2019? Yup.  MCEC paid him $198,846 in salary for being a "community liaison."

There are more interesting details on p.39 that are worth reading.

Vehicles

* You're not a player unless you have a ride.  The State Auditor reports MCEC used DHS grants to purchase wheels:
- 2018 Armada for $52,257.  The SUV is registered to MCEC but the address is Nancy New's home.
- Big County Silverado Chevy Truck for $59,840.  The truck is registered to MCEC but the tag's address is Zach New's home.
- F250 Ford Truck for $54,221.  The MCEC registered truck's license state's Jess New's home address.
-  Two more vehicles were purchased, $50,415 and $27,749, with DHS funds.

Concerts

* The audit says it all:

Both MCEC and FRC funded concerts of a faith-based, evangelical worship singer in FY 2018 and FY 2019. Payments were made to the singer individually and the organization “Through The Fire Ministries”. The singer performed at rallies and performed concerts in churches in Mississippi. Auditors did not have a copy of the contracts associated with the payments. Actual payments included $1,050 paid in FY 2018 by FRC and $180,350 paid by MCEC and $94,950 paid by FRC).
Needless to say, TANF funds  were used to pay for these initiatives.

Prayer Teams

* Yes, you are reading that correctly.   MCEC hired Sonshine Leadership, LLC to develop "a prayer team for Mayors."  Charlie Smith is the owner of the company.

Cirlot Agency

*  MCEC paid $1,727,908 million to the Cirlot Advertising Agency for public relations, advertising, and branding.  The State Auditor reports he could not find a contract for the services.  The report alleges MCEC would pay Cirlot and then obtain reimbursement from DHS.  Mr. White states "TANF funds pay for the services."  (p.44)

The report states the advertising didn't mention MDHS was the source of the funds  while federal law bars payment for some of Cirlot's services.  (p.45)

 Sponsorships for Sporting Events

* MCEC spent $316,556 sponsoring sporting events including the NCAA Fnial Four Champeenships and bowl games.   MCEC allegedly used TANF funds to pay for college football tickets as well.

Supertalk FM & Advertising

* MCEC spent $328,396 of TANF funds for advertising and promotions on Telesouth Communications.  The State Auditor said the cost of the advertising was "unreasonable."

* MCEC money went to other media outlets as well, including the Clarion-Ledger and WAPT.  Auditors found MCEC spent $13,090 on the advertising. (p.46)

New Learning Resources School District/New Summit School

* MCEC allegedly "transferred $6,513,393 to New Learning Resources School District.  (p.52)  New Learning operates New Summit school in Jackson.  Ms. New is the President of the school.  The report states:

A review of the transactions/transfers indicates that NLR and MCEC’s finances were commingled and intertwined in such a manner that MCEC often paid invoices addressed to personnel at NLR and sent to NLR’s physical address. Vice versa, some transactions indicate NLR paid for MCEC expenses and NLR was reimbursed for those charges. Auditor noted, however, that when NLR funds were used to pay for MCEC expenses, MCEC received NLR almost immediately, in many instances the same day. ...

MCEC utilized a variety of accounting transactions to allegedly conceal money transfers to NLR.
* The transfers included $700,000 transfer of $700,000 funds to New Learning.  MCEC staff allegedly provided false documents that showed a grant from MCEC to New Learning.  (p.53)

* TANF funds of $70,228 purchased kitchen equipment for New Summit's cafeteria.  $17,842 of TANF funds was used to purchase Apple equipment for school.  (p.54)

* MCEC spent $582,277 of TANF funds for externships of USM students at New Summit School.  (p.54)

Investments/Rent Payments to Themselves

* The report claims Nancy and Zach New invested $1.7 million in a company, Prevacus and its affiliate, PreSolMD.  Prevacus produces a "brain concussion medicine."  In exchange for the investment, the company was supposed to "conduct clinical trials of the new medicine on children in Mississippi."  The News wired $500,000 to the company on April 8, 2019 and $250,000 on May 10.  The original ledger entries state TNAF funds were used.   The accounting software allegedly changed the funding source to "bingo" after the State Auditor questioned the transfer in July 2019.  (p.54)

* Back to the family.  MCEC supposedly paid $500,000 in consulting fees to Magnolia Strategies in 2018 and 2019.  Ms. New's other son, Jess, owns Magnolia.  (p.54) The report claims the funding sources were changed from TANF funds to "administrative funds" after the State Auditor questioned the payments.

* Assistant Executive Director of MCEC allegedly spent $14,212 in TANF funds to repay a loan from his pension plan.  (p.55)


* Real estate, did someone mention real estate? Page 56 states:

Avalon owns the main building that is used as MCEC’s headquarters.  In this shared space is a dentist office rented to an independent third party, MCEC, and New Learning Resource Online (NLRO), which is also owned by the Director of MCEC and her family.  During the audit, auditors noted that the rental payments to Avalon seemed excessive....

Auditors were able to ascertain the square footage of MCEC’s utilized space, the square footage of the independent third party’s utilized space and the rent charged, and calculated a reasonable “per square foot” rent charge of $1.78 per square foot (monthly rent of $5,488 for 3,084 square feet of space for the independent third party). MCEC uses approximately 7,000 square feet, according to documents provided. These calculate to a reasonable, market value of rent to be $12,460 per month. Actual rental payments made to Avalon monthly for MCEC were $27,466 monthly, plus additional amounts paid on a sporadic basis. MCEC actually paid $357,061 in rental fees for FY 2019. Reasonable annual rent is calculated to be $149,520. $207,541 considered above market value, is questioned.
* Unfortunately, the report states the News leased a building to themselves and paid the rent with TANF funds.  MCEC paid $118,416 annually in TANF funds to New Summit.  The News owned a building in Greenwood as well.  MCEC overpaid $73,086 for the space.  The State Auditor questioned $415,171 in TANF funds used for alleged self-dealing rental payments. (p.57)

* TANF funds were also used to pay the lease for the Mississippi Dyslexia Center.  $42,000 in TANF funds were allegedly used to pay the lease to Ms. New's son. (p.57)

*  MCEC leased property at City CEntre (old Skytel building and current home of DHS).  MCEC paid $500,000 deposit on property in 2019 and signed a monthly lease of $20,274.  The facilities were supposed to be a virtual reality school run by the Lobaki Foundation.  Vincent Jordan owns Lobaki.   The contract for the school ended in July 2019 but MCEC continued to charge rent for the "idle facilities" to TANF funds.  The total payments were $669,237.  (p.58)


* Everyone loves to travel and Brett Dibiase was no exception.  He apparently stayed in fancy hotels, flew first class, and of course, ate expensive meals to the tune of $31,808.  

Salaries

* MCEC hired Nancy New's two daughters-in-law.  MCEC paid each woman $31,667 in 2017.  (p.60)

*  MCEC allegedly paid the salaries of several New Summit employees: $339,000 in 2017, $860,000 in 2018, and $944,000 in 2019.

* MCEC paid Brett Dibiase $83,000 in salary while he was in rehab.  It also paid him $208,000 in 2018 and $250,000 in 2019.   (p.61)

*  The State Auditor questioned salaries of $5.8 million in 2017, $13 million in 2018, and $15 million in 2019.

Kingfish note: We are up to p.62 in the audit.  We will pick up in the next couple of days (May 18).






122 comments:

Anonymous said...

Brett Favre Enterprises was paid 1.1 million dollars unaccounted for.

Anonymous said...

Serena Clark now goes by Serena Rasberry Flowers. Talk about someone who thinks they are worth more than they really are.....


Avant-Garde's twitter was vert active until April 4th. I assume that's the day the other shoe fell

Anonymous said...

JN and ZN wives were on salary. I am sure they never worked a day there.

Anonymous said...

What pisses me off the most is that I never hear about this stuff until they are cut off.

Anonymous said...

Brett should have known better. Now, with his name being involved several years ago with the pain cream that’s got a lot of pharmacists in trouble, this doesn’t look good. He got out of that shenanigan. Makes you think now about how he really is. I’m sending all of my Tommy Copper back!!!

Anonymous said...

Pimps gonna pimp and hos gonna ho!

People be robbin the gubmint cause that's where all the monies be!

Anonymous said...

Protip!

Since it's Mississippi I'm thinking that "The Unknown Consultant" can't
any more distant than the brother in law or a illicit side squeeze of at least one of the rainmakers. (It would be an INSTANT MISSISSIPPI CORRUPTION BINGO if any "The Unknown Consultant" side action turns out to be gay side action though! Promoting conservative family values etc!)

Protip #2 Don't bother checking the corporate registrations because since it's Mississippi it's likely they never even bothered to file.

Anonymous said...

John Davis dished out a million dollars to his sister's family. Wow. I think some lengthy prison sentences will go a long way toward turning a corner on this kind of crap. Anything less is tacit approval.

Anonymous said...

If he is guilty, he should not get one day less than Bernie.

The longer I live, the more I realize how bad Bernie got screwed.

Anonymous said...

Damn. I used to feel bad about including a beer on my (non government) expensive account. I would pay to be on this jury. If they are ever tried.

Anonymous said...

On June 11th and 12th 2019, Ted Dibiase Jr. put on a ridiculous seminar at the Hilton on County line road that a lot of members of state govt attended. He showed a lot of pictures of himself in speedos and handed out over $5000.00 dollars in cash. It was sponsored by DHS and John Daily spoke at the beginning of the seminar. Never could figure out what the seminar was about but it was real shady. Mostly just Ted Dibiase Jr. bragging about himself.

Anonymous said...

Is Southern Miss rising to the top as a common denominator?

Anonymous said...

How many people knew all about this and kept quiet... How far up the food chain does it go?

Anonymous said...

Who/what is MD Foundation?

Anonymous said...

Shad White is the man! Now it's time for the judges to put this criminals away for a long time.

Doesn't seem right that petty thieves get jail time and white collar criminals get a slap on the wrist.

Anonymous said...

So more detail offered in the audit - the North Jackson Baseball field construction was located next to New Summit School and used frequently by the New Summit School, owned and operated by Nancy New.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is very sad but one has to wonder why they felt so comfortable doing this... is this the norm in Mississippi politics and government and they just got caught? Or pissed off the wrong person? So many questions

Anonymous said...

I raised an eyebrow when they started sending their families first sales consultants to circuit courts and having the Judges include their services in sentencing orders

Anonymous said...

5:04, that question is a good one. Its might have something to do with why Auditor White didn't let the US Attorney know anything about his investigation.

Anonymous said...

Brett Favre's younger daughter is a volleyball player, thus his interest in providing funds toward construction of the volleyball facility at Oak Grove High School as well as the new volleyball facility at Southern Miss.

$1.1 million to Favre Enterprises - Brett Favre's donation to Southern Miss toward constructing the new volleyball facility - could we be talking about the same money?

fed up in Jackson said...

and Jess New is still the Executive Director of the Mississippi State Oil and Gas Board?

In our state agencies, there would appear to be a lot of people asleep at the wheel......

Anonymous said...

5:50 Finally someone has asked the next $$$ question.

Why isn't anyone talking about Marcus Dupree?? They payed for the down payment on his mortgage directly to the lender, signed a lease agreement to pay him monthly until the purchase price of his property was paid in full and a salary of $200k a year to run a horse farm, or um excuse me, be a "spokesperson"?

Why is he not being highlighted with everyone else? There might be a case to be made if he didn't know he was being paid by TANF funds. So now does DHS go after the farm? We'll wait and see.

Anonymous said...

Looks to me like the auditor cast a wide net without a great deal of factual information with respect to some of the individuals listed in the report. I bet some civil litigation ensues soon on their behalf.

Anonymous said...

Hey, 4:45, it seems the Bryant’s may be the lowest common denominators...
I’ll bet Mike Hurst is looking under this hood!

Anonymous said...

AG Fitch is killing it!

Anonymous said...

I saw on TV tonight where even Paul LaCoste got caught up in the greed. Too bad he got caught too.

Anonymous said...

We bought a farm too, I thought it was just cars.

Anonymous said...

Get um Shad!

Anonymous said...

Ito the commenter above re: Paul LaCoste. Elaborate please !!! He is up to his ears involved in this !!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Phil Bryant was more than a whistle-blower in this two bit circus act. He knows a lot more.

Anonymous said...

"$318,325 was paid to Inside Capitol. The company is owned by Will Longwitz."

Is Longwitz subject to the Clawback law?

Nancy, will you be my friend? said...

KF, if you took a break at page 27, just wait until you get to page 44! The Cirlot Agency received just under $1.2M or maybe as much as $1.7M. The auditors couldn't determine which because the numbers don't add up. Costs include $75K for the Families First for MS website, $247K to MDHS for video production (could this include the FF video at the State Fair with Steve Hutton and Nancy New?), $169K for branding for MDHS (really? branding for MDHS?), and strategic planning across three entities for a total of roughly $161K. Holy moly! Talk about hitting the mother lode, or rather the New lode. Between this and the $321K paid to Will Longwitz, I've decided I need to find a new line of work!

Wheel of Fortune said...

Page 49 - $1 million to the Juanita Sims Doty Foundation? Contract scope unknown? How do you pay out $1 million in funds without having a scope of work or contract to support such an expenditure?

Page 50 - $200K to Soul City Hospitality for a community garden. SCH has two principals on record - Jeff Good and David Watkins, Jr. Granted, I've heard of SCH and believe they have a community garden, but did it really take $200K in one fiscal year to plant a garden and "educate youth about sustainable agriculture?"

Anonymous said...

Shame on Zach and Jess New for involving their wives in this mess! Paying them salaries and for their iPhone and data usage, when neither can be documented as employees of MCEC. Who's doing to raise Nancy's grandkids when all the adults are in jail?

Anonymous said...

You people might be focusing on the wrong Bryant.

Anonymous said...

this is merely the tip of the iceberg in Mississippi. Anything goes, and no one intends to stop it.

Shad White just might be starting to realize how deeply corrupt Mississippi truly is, and may be thinking it's insurmountable. If the feds aren't going to make the time to prosecute, then it's the wild west in Mississippi....."nah, nah, nah, nah, nahhh - you can't catch me! And if you do, doesn't matter - I know the judge, or my lawyer used to work with him at Butler/Snow."

Anonymous said...

Keep posting KP. I appreciate your break down of the findings

Anonymous said...

Brett Favre scrambles away from indictments better than he did NFL linebackers. He’s gonna “awww shucks” his way out of any charges as usual.

Anonymous said...

Iceberg Slim's book don't have nothing on these folk!

Anonymous said...

In addition to crowing like a rooster over "finding" this fraud, I hope Shad is asking why this was only found AFTER a whistleblower reported it instead of being found during previous audits. I sincerely hope Shad has instituted a review of the current audit steps with a goal of correcting the deficiencies that allowed this to continue since at least 2017. Audits are not designed to catch fraud but given the depth and breadth of this fraud either the audit steps are insufficient or Davis & Co. got lucky - until now.

Anonymous said...

Wheel of Fortune

Because Mrs. Sims Doty was on the MCEC board of directors...but you didn't hear that from me.

Anonymous said...

10:44am--great question must make sure you direct your wrath at the previous Auditor.

Anonymous said...

@10:44, the state auditor reports on previous audits of DHS for years had findings that DHS was not monitoring their non-profit partners. Based on whistleblower tips, the state auditor actually went out to monitor DHS's non profit partners since DHS was not doing it, per the report posted above.

Anonymous said...

In fairness to Favre, I don't think he would knowingly be involved with anything connected to out and out fraud. He has always (since high school) made some pretty weak-minded decisions and years of head injuries hasn't helped, but I can't think of a single screwup on his part that would indicate bad intent or a criminal mindset, especially toward others. And screwing over folks in need? It just doesn't fit. If $1 million was involved, others on his "team" would have been heavily involved and he may not have known all or even many of the details anyway, fraud or not.

Anonymous said...

Will MCEC and the rest of the corrupt New family ever get any federal or state money? Dear God please tell me NO!!

Anonymous said...

So, upper level mdhs staff (including whistleblower who has been there for years) were simply ignorant of all of this or they were willingly overlooking it, or, it looks like, in many cases accommodated it. Those bad actors are still walking the halls of DHS. Whistleblower only acted to save his own hide and was very much in the loop for years without saying anything. jb

Anonymous said...

The parents and students at New Summit need answers. How will these schools survive if assets are seized such as the school buildings that are owned by the New family? Will the schools have to pay back the $6M in funds funneled to them? My fear is that they buildings will be locked when students return in the fall leaving families scrambling for where to place their kids. Most families are there because their students do not do well in a traditional/public school setting. NLR isn't providing any concrete answers and neither are the schools. This effects hundreds of families. Someone needs to tell them something!!!

Anonymous said...

5:29 AM, Wrong Bryant? What Bryant? Kobe?

Anonymous said...


$1,000,000 to Scott Elliot of Meridian ... that name sounds familiar

Anonymous said...

What possible defense could ZN have for cashing out his retirement and paying it back with TANF money? I bet that’s how he got his Bridgewater home

Anonymous said...

How is Jess not arrested? He is a lawyer and had to know what his mom and brother were doing.

Anonymous said...

@3:54 so by your logic just because someone is a lawyer and related to people accused of crimes that that person should also be arrested?

Anonymous said...

P360 sports was left out in dealing with the sports/ball Fields. Chris Snopek and Avery Johnson purchased P360 Performance Sports and Sox Baseball on April 1, 2017. Ravenwood Financial Services Corp, a Private Equity Group, became an equity partner as part of the transaction. Which is now SBG - Snopek Baseball Group since August 2019

Anonymous said...

Appreciate this format KF. Sure beats the proselytizing, er, reporting over at Mississippi Today where you too can be like Barksdale for as little as $1!

Anonymous said...

to 12:56...tell em to go enroll in public school.

Anonymous said...

@4:35- no, he should be arrested because his wife was getting a salary and never worked a day there. His cellphone and truck was being paid for by TANF money.

Thick As Thieves said...

@2:42 pm, by wrong Bryant, I believe @5:29 am was referring to Deborah, rather than Phil. One merely has to look back through Facebook and news pictures to see Deborah (and Phil) right next to Nancy New at events like the American Heart Association's Go Red kickoff. You'll also find plenty of Cirlot employees, including CEO Liza Looser. The Bryants and Nancy were still being photographed together in November 2019, long after the auditor's investigation began.

Anonymous said...

@4:35, read the report. As @10:11 noted, Jess New's wife was paid money (not sure one can call it a salary) and initially listed as an employee of MCEC until the auditors asked for job descriptions, then she, Zach New's wife and three other "employees" were dropped from the list. Jess, Zach, their wives, and Nancy's iPhone and data plans were paid for by MCEC. Jess, Zach and Nancy were all driving vehicles paid for by MCEC. All three had companies with real estate holdings through which MCEC leased space at ridiculously high above market rates. Jess and Zach had businesses like the MS Dyslexia Center that MCEC paid money to. READ THE REPORT! The amount of overspending, co-mingling of funds, and expenses shows a level and pattern of corruption that's absolutely mind boggling. I'd love to see a list of MCEC or Families First board members to know who else was involved, but the $75K FF website is no longer online.

Anonymous said...

Lamar Adams took from the middle/upper class. These folks stole from the extreme poorest. Really unbelievably.

Anonymous said...

For the record, there are numerous inaccuracies in the Audit Report with respect to vehicle purchases, company ownership, employee status, salaries, etc. These inaccuracies, in addition to those involving the criminal indictments, will soon be exposed. The Auditor appears to have just questioned everything while admitting there wasn’t enough information to make a determinative judgement. You sheep shouldn’t believe everything you read.

Anonymous said...

@7:46- I’m pretty sure the auditor laid it out there pretty good. You may some get out of going to prison but the fact you took money from the poorest to fulfill your own greedy needs isn’t right. That will never change.

Anonymous said...

Yes 7.46 is correct. The Auditor in an attempt to make this even bigger story has lumped everything into a pile. Yes they are bad but a lot of the 94 million will be explained Yes it will still be bad and am surprised.

Anonymous said...

7:36 for the sad win

Anonymous said...

Find my sources, the News are expecting to beat this. Will their organization ever get federal or state funds again? Would they be prohibited from getting them after the misspending and corruption they have done?

Anonymous said...

Anyone else find it interesting that the Auditor's Report never mentions the names or initials of the FRC (Family Resource Center) individuals or that his itemized lists of the wrongdoings include very few of FRC's findings? He's going way out of his way publicly not do discuss FRC.

Anonymous said...

Of course the News expect to beat this. The level of arrogance apparent from the reported facts so far demonstrate a disconnect so far from reality that I wouldn't be surprised if these people honestly believe they can walk on water.

Anonymous said...

@10:19 are your sources on JJ or Facebook? Everyone is an expert on this matter.

Anonymous said...

11:46- you are right. How else do you justify living in Bridgewater, redoing houses in NE Jackson, and driving expensive cars all paid with TANF money!

Anonymous said...

Just re-read some of the transcripts and audit. The News Are going to see John Davis made them do this.

Anonymous said...

@7:46 - Is this Jess New or Zach New?

Anonymous said...

Due to the widespread fraud, waste, and abuse uncovered during the audit, and the
lack of any appropriate underlying methodology for the allocation of shared costs
in both MCEC and FRC, the overall lack of documentation to establish
reasonableness and necessity of costs, the lack of integrity in documents obtained
from MCEC due to known instances of forgery, misdirection, document
modification, etc., the direct involvement of MDHS personnel in the fraud, waste,
and abuse, and the likelihood of additional fraud, waste, and abuse existing in the
actions of these subrecipients, auditor cannot state, with reasonable assurances, the
amount of grant costs for the TANF grant that were used appropriately.

- Page 70. Looks like they say that they know some of it might be ok, but they can't say that with 100% certainty.

Let's Play the Blame Game said...

I appreciate the News and/or their lawyers or friends commenting at @7:46, 9:14 and 12: 51. Let's say 80% of the auditor's findings can be blamed on John Davis or other government officials (cough, Bryant) with a "He made us give them money" or "We were forced into that" defense. That still leaves 20% that can't be explained away. Wives' salaries, facilities leased at over-inflated prices from companies the News owned, personal vehicles and cell phones paid for, how can that be blamed on someone else? Everyone involved - the News and John Davis - were like pigs slurping at the trough, eating up as many federal dollars as they could because no one was watching.

Anonymous said...

@2:31- you nailed it.
No explanation they can come up with will justify what they did.

Anonymous said...


"$1,000,000 to Scott Elliot of Meridian ... that name sounds familiar"

Scott Elliott was president of Meridian Community College for 20 years, retiring in 2018.

Anonymous said...

Ozark in Mississippi

Anonymous said...

Maybe I missed this, but who are the people behind FRC? Lots of info about the parties involved with MCEC, but not FRC. Are they the same?

Anonymous said...


"$1,000,000 to Scott Elliot of Meridian ... that name sounds familiar"

Scott Elliott was president of Meridian Community College for 20 years, retiring in 2018.

May 6, 2020 at 7:25 PM

AHHHH ... that's probably why WTOK of Meridian wrote the story of Ol' Brett but has failed (I believe) to mention Elliot; EVERYONE knows of the football player but no one has probably ever heard of some retired President of 20 years for the local community college.

Anonymous said...

This is the kind of crap that really undermines the credibility of the church.

Anonymous said...

Have you gotten to SuperTalk yet? The amount of state (and now fed) money flowing there is.......

Anonymous said...

Corruption at its worst

I am sure Brett Favre, Marcus Dupree and Southern Mississippi wish they had never met the New family

Anonymous said...

Whoever is in charge of prosecuting the New family, I hope sticks it to them. They knew from the moment they started embezzling this money it was wrong. Don’t let them bargain their way out of this. Set an example.

Anonymous said...

I betcha the embezzlement charges don’t stick. Watch and see.

Anonymous said...

Connecting the dots and I may know more than you think I do. I just want to see how much you know? Farm bureau pays Bret Favre - Bret gives big campaign donations and endorsements - supertalk headquarters are located in the farm bureau building - supertalk gives endorsements - reeves and Bryant Do what farm bureau and supertalk ask of them. Let’s connect some more.......

Anonymous said...

There are many, many more layers of this onion to be peeled away before I think I have any kind of damn clue what’s going on. No doubt something is up, but I’ve been around long enough to know that it’s way too early to take all of the Auditor’s report to the bank. The Auditor himself notes that in many instances, he can neither confirm nor deny the alleged misspending, so he just questioned everything. That tactic is telling, and risky. It’s interesting how personal he seems to be making this against the News alone. I also find it interesting that there have also been reports that they have hired forensic accountants. That’s not typically something guilty folks do in situations like this. I’m willing to bet they are gearing up for a fight and that they have a very interesting story to tell.

Anonymous said...

Why do all these people Pheel knows keep gettin into such perdicuments?

Anonymous said...

Even if this makes it all the way to the governor, the News were wrong and should be punished. Nobody forced them to do this (and they did do this)

Anonymous said...

@7:59- it will be interesting to see the News side of the story. Shad lays his case out there pretty well especially with Dupree, ZN retirement loan, paying wives and Brett Farve.

Anonymous said...

@9:19 I don’t know much about the things listed in the report, but I do know for a fact that one of the wives (not gonna say which one) worked up there for a long time over the years. To see her name thrown in this mess is ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Shad was apparently somewhat inaccurate with his report of Brett Favre’s involvement. Brett is firing back now after being “applauded” earlier in the week by auditor.

Anonymous said...

One thing I find interesting is how Shad keeps talking about this investigation and audit before the investigation is complete and any trials have occurred (I personally never see a trial happening). There haven’t been any concrete findings of fact and to this point, he’s raised nothing but a great deal of questions, which is his job to do. But, this thing has the potential to be a powder keg if it doesn’t go right for him, and especially the DA’s Office. Rumor (we’re all experts and have sources, right?) is the criminal case has all kinds of holes in it and if true, it makes sense that Shad wants this thing to stay in the public eye as much as possible. He knows the court of public opinion is relentless.

Anonymous said...

Some of you don’t know how this is supposed to work. The state and the grantee are required to document what they spent the money on, with receipts, contracts, and other details to prove that everything was spent on eligible things that supported the defined mission of the program. If the auditor can’t figure out what the funds were spent on because there is no documentation, that alone makes it a questionable expense. If the recipients of the funds are family, friends, or other cronies with no credible connection to the program’s mission, it is fraud. Stop defending them just because they are Republicans.

Anonymous said...

Guilty or no guilty, jail or no jail, can we at least agree what the News did is dispicable?

The money was meant for the poor. Dupree walks away with a 900,000 house, all the News have new cars, millions gone to a University, Zack repays a loan, and plenty more shady issues.

Maybe they don’t go to jail, but they damn sure never need to get state or federal dollars again!

Anonymous said...

Will SuperTalk pay the money back?

Pay It Back Pete said...

@8:56 am, a better question is will the Cirlot Agency or the Juanita Sims Doty Foundation pay the money back? They got a heck of a lot more than SuperTalk. They've barely been mentioned and they're two of the biggest recipients. Cirlot received either $1.2M or $1.7M and the Juanita Sims Doty Foundation received $1M.

Anonymous said...

Just going to take a guess that Brett Favre had a personal Prevacus investment of around $1.1 million. Just probably a coincidence though.

Anonymous said...

Let’s discuss Paul Lacoste.... seems he had no idea where the money came from

Anonymous said...

Can you say, “out of control”. I’ll bet the lower ranking employees at MDHS are saying , I told you so.

Anonymous said...

Crooks!!!
The News are nothing but Crooks!

So Many Options said...


Ted DiBiase has listed his home/mansion on Reunion Lake for $1.575 million. Is he preparing to pay back some of the TANF funds his Heart of David Ministries received; does he the need money for legal fees for him/his son; or is it to pay for more drug rehab for his son since DHS can’t pay for it again?
https://www.realtor.com/news/celebrity-real-estate/wwe-ted-dibiase-selling-lakeside-mansion/

Anonymous said...

I feel bad for all of the families who were using the regional resource centers that are now shuttered. I know that at least the one I'm aware of was highly utilized by the community, specifically by those seeking free online education, parenting classes, use of a computer lab, workforce readiness, etc. Obviously the employees at this center (and I'm assuming others) were not aware of the shameless greed exhibited by the New family and others caught up in this scheme. I know one of the employees still regularly receives phone calls from community members in need of the Families First resources because there's obviously a huge gap in the community that the resource center was filling. Shame on the News and others that will be charged in relation to these crimes for letting their greed get the better of them.

That's enough said...

I'm both sad and angry at the callous disregard for the poor, by these greedy people. There are truly people that have needs in this state. The working poor is everywhere here. I read in another place that all monies not reclaimed from these thieves will have to be replaced by the state. Money, gone, that could have helped others in a dire situation. Everyone involved should see substantial prison time.

Anonymous said...

What’s interesting is we will beat up the poor, say their lazy, not responsible, when the reality of they matter the rich among us are robbing them blind.

Anonymous said...

When does Jess New get arrested?

Anonymous said...

Deppity Pheel still layin low in the thickets on all this?

Hopin them reporters and bloggers dont get to started askin him whether its true he didn see or hear nuthin?

It's been a quiet perdicument for him so far apparently.

Anonymous said...

Can you imagine the crimes people have gotten away with under Phil Bryant's watch from deputy to Governor.

Anonymous said...

Unless Shad White produces some high level perp walks out of this at some point, he will have no political future. He's got the feds on his side now....there's no excuse. And they're going back 10 years? And this is just one agency? Whoa....I'll be there's gonna be a lot of interesting retirements soon.

Anonymous said...

Yea, Serena Clark has a history of living on the edge. She was an employee of Steve Renfro at the Public Service Commission when she was representing utilities as a consultant. WHAT!!!!! NO surprises here!

Anonymous said...

Replying to May 4th at 11:03pm comment. Rumors are rampant that Phil Bryant not only attended meetings for and with Prevacus, but that he also invested in the company. This is be the really big fish, but since Phil appointed auditor, is he being protected? Why is Phil Bryant not mentioned in any of the auditors unbelievable detail?

Anonymous said...

Hey Hey Hey, a simple public records request of any/all emails and text messages with "Phil/Bryant/Debra/Prevacus" would likely answer some questions. Phil will probably ask for that himself so he can clear his name. Perhaps he should include "DHS/Davis/all names of Bryant children"

Anonymous said...

The entire thing looks very suspicious to me. It's all being directed in one direction and seemingly diverted from other directions, i.e., Gov PB, particular unnamed lobbyists, i.e., "consultants", MDHS and John Davis, not to mention all the Deputy Directors and MDHS legal counsel all seem to be getting off free. The Auditors Report even goes so far as to name certain names while clearly making an effort to conceal others. This thing just still doesn't smell right.

Anonymous said...

@11:55 don't forget PB's son-in-law and lobbying partner/former Chief of Staff

Anonymous said...

Rumor has it the Golden Boy Jacob Black has been fired from DHS. I wonder why.

Anonymous said...

If Lord Snow is involved, you can bet they're covering PB and his family's backside. The daughter worked there, as did the Auditor. It's all a tangled web of political BS and those in power always have a scapegoat. I'd be running the other direction for a lawyer personally.

Anonymous said...

@12:09 PB's son-in-law is not his former Chief of Staff or lobbying partner.

Anonymous said...

I think @12:09 means to say don't forget PB's son-in-law, and also don't forget his lobbying partner/former Chief of Staff. That's how I read it anyway.

Anonymous said...

Do we know who New Summitt paid salaries for in 2017-2019? 900k. Damn!

Anonymous said...

All this mess aside, those schools (New Summit, North New Summit, etc.) are phenomenal. I’ve seen first hand the impact the teachers and staff have had on kids with various learning issues, including my own. They provide a resource that my family found hard to find elsewhere. I hope the schools survive for the kids that need the services provided there.

Anonymous said...

8:32pm Sorry, but food for the poor comes way before your children's education or need for "services".

Anonymous said...

Are the back accounts frozen?
Are the News still making payments to themselves In the form rent and etc?
What about Dupree? TANF money still paying his bills?

Anonymous said...

$1.4 MILLION FOR LACOSTE BOOT CAMP??????

Anonymous said...

How come the News aren't allowed to respond to the allegations? Why is Shad, the howdy doody of state government, allowed to try this case in the media? Looking a lot like his idol, Mr. Phil. You know we haven't heard from Mr. Phil lately,,,,,,,,,,wonder why. Sorry bastard.

Anonymous said...

@11:15

They can respond any time. I am sure super talk would let them come on any time considering how much they paid them in TANF Funds.

They could have a news conference

They will get to respond in court soon

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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.

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


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

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

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


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

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

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