Saturday, January 31, 2009

Say it isn't so: Galatoire's for sale.

Yes. you read right. From Times-Picayune:

"Galatoire's, the legendary restaurant that has been run by the family of founder Jean Galatoire since 1905, is on the verge of changing hands.
Galatoire's is among the oldest fine dining restaurants in America.
On Thursday, Melvin Rodrigue, the restaurant's chief operating officer, addressed widespread rumors about a potential sale, which he said has yet to be completed
"We're in negotiations between the two groups," Rodrigue said. "This is something we've been working on for some time, and we're getting close with the negotiations. But it's not a done deal."
Should the deal go through, Rodrigue said that he and David Gooch, a Galatoire family member and a restaurant manager, would be a part of the restaurant's new ownership group. Sally Breithoff, chairwoman of the restaurant's Board of Managers, confirmed that a sale involving Rodrigue and Gooch is in the works. The restaurant is currently owned by a large group of family members descended from Frenchman Jean Galatoire.
Neither Breithoff nor Rodrigue would divulge the identities of the other potentialbuyers pending the deal's completion. They also declined to comment on widespread speculation that local businessman Donald "Boysie" Bollinger would be among the new owners.
Bollinger was unavailable for comment."

Click Here to Read More..

Friday, January 30, 2009

City lies about Ridgewood Road.

Once again Jackson can't get its story straight as it feeds more BS to those who must suffer driving down Ridgewood Road. In a story published in the Clarion-Ledger yesterday:

"The city of Jackson announced delays today on its project to repair a 42-inch sewer main on Ridgewood Road near Jackson Academy.
According to a statement from the city, the delay is due to high water levels in Hanging Moss Creek. The water has prevented the city’s contractor from installing the bypass pump lines needed to repair the damaged section of the main under the street.Public Works Director Thelman Boyd said the contractor needs seven to 10 days with little or no rain to finish the job.“Unfortunately, those repairs are also going to require more excavation on Ridgewood Road, which means it is not feasible to resurface the street at this time,” Boyd said in the statement."

High water? Above is a photo I took one hour ago. The areas under the bridge in the water that are lighter in color are............concrete as the water is that shallow under the bridge. The same city that loses millions of dollars in JPD grants, faces widespread Fuelman fraud, and loses numerous vehicles can't even give a straight story on how high the water in a creek is. The city originally said in August the road would be fixed in six weeks. Now it's whenever Mr. Boyd and his crew of idiots feel like it and when pressed, will just lie again. As I stated yesterday, Jackson has no government right now.

Click Here to Read More..

Obama helps the enemy.

This is one of the people in Gitmo who just got an extended stay on his prosecution by Obama:
"Judge OKs suspension in Guantanamo war crimes trial at Obama's request
(Posted on 1/21 at 9:31 a.m.)
by The Associated Press
Wednesday January 21, 2009, 8:31 AM
GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba (AP) -- A military judge has agreed to President Barack Obama's request to suspend the Guantanamo war crimes trial of Canadian Omar Khadr. It is the first in a series of delays sought by Obama as his administration reviews the legal system for prosecuting alleged terrorists.
The written order came Wednesday in the Khadr case. He is accused of killing an American soldier with a grenade in Afghanistan in 2002.
Army Col. Patrick Parrish, the judge in the case, issued a written order granting the 120-day suspension without a hearing."

Obama suspends the trial of someone killing a soldier on a battlefield. My advice to the troops in the field is to shoot them first and claim self-defense. If someone trying to kill you is captured, they are going to be sent back to the U.S. so they can face a criminal trial. By the way, part of due process is to face the accuser. What is going to happen when they start demanding this right formerly reserved for American citizens? Bring the soldiers involved back from the front? You libs who pushed for this are going to rue the day you cheered the Supreme Court.

Compare this to WWII when orders were given at the end to give the SS NO due process and many where shot on sight and not allowed to surrender.

Click Here to Read More..

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A little bird just told me...........

The Clarion-Ledger will be shutting down the Northeast Ledger this year.

Click Here to Read More..

JJ Poll: Crisler not qualified to be mayor.

A poll was conducted on JJ recently on whether South Jackson Counciman Marshand Crisler was qualified to be mayor. The vast majority said he was not qualified. The results were:

yes: (qualified) 13 votes (17%)
no: (not qualified) 52 votes (71%)
no but he's not Frank Melton: 7 votes (9%)
no, but he'll learn on the job: 1 vote (1%)

Click Here to Read More..

Fuelman, Escalades, and JPD

It looks like Ron Sampson, a former deputy police chief at JPD is in trouble again. Othor Cain reports on his blog:
"Turns out that the Fuelman Gas Card problems are hot and heavy inside of the Jackson Police the auditor had already duly noted. I’m told that the FED’s and AG’s office are involved in this investigation.
Seems as if Sampson along with Ernest Perry who worked in vehicle mgmt were saying that everything was ok in the arena of gas usuage…….when in fact Perry had a long list of pin numbers for Fuelman Gas Cards for himself…???? Yep, and so the investigation is coming from the arena of forgery. Same pin numbers being used in two different cities around the same time.
Chief Mac summons a meeting today and divides Sampson’s job responsibilities up….and Sampson is busted back done to the rank of Lt
. (Clarion-Ledger reported the demotion today)...." Clarion-Ledger story

This would would explain why the auditor was making a big deal out of numbers being keyed in instead of cards being swiped. However, Mr. Cain writes more in his blog:
"Today is Wednesday Jan 28…9:30am… and I am now being told that this situation is even deeper….Sources tell me that Internal Affairs alledgedly went to the homes of Ron Sampson and Ernest Perry and supposedly found and seized vehicles that had not been inventoried (Cadillac Escalade and Mercedes Benz).." Post

Click Here to Read More..

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tarnished Trophies

NY Times story today:
"The economic crisis came home to 27-year-old Megan Petrus early last year when her boyfriend of eight months, a derivatives trader for a major bank, proved to be more concerned about helping a laid-off colleague than comforting Ms. Petrus after her father had a heart attack.
For Christine Cameron, the recession became real when the financial analyst she had been dating for about a year would get drunk and disappear while they were out together, then accuse her the next day of being the one who had absconded.
(Sounds like he's tired of her. KF)
Dawn Spinner Davis, 26, a beauty writer, said the downward-trending graphs began to make sense when the man she married on Nov. 1, a 28-year-old private wealth manager, stopped playing golf, once his passion. “One of his best friends told me that my job is now to keep him calm and keep him from dying at the age of 35,” Ms. Davis said. “It’s not what I signed up for.” (KF Comment: Stupid-ass bitch. I'm sure he sat through many nights of listening to her histrionics and drama and fixing her problems.)
They shared their sad stories the other night at an informal gathering of Dating a Banker Anonymous, a support group founded in November to help women cope with the inevitable relationship fallout from, say, the collapse of Lehman Brothers or the Dow’s shedding 777 points in a single day, as it did on Sept. 29.
In addition to meeting once or twice weekly for brunch or drinks at a bar or restaurant, the group has a
blog, billed as “free from the scrutiny of feminists,” that invites women to join “if your monthly Bergdorf’s allowance has been halved and bottle service has all but disappeared from your life.”
Theirs is not the typical 12-step program.
Step 1: Slip into a dress and heels. Step 2: Sip a cocktail and wait your turn to talk. Step 3: Pour your heart out. Repeat as needed.
About 30 women, generally in their mid- to late-20s, regularly post to the Web site or attend meetings.
“We do make light of everything on the blog and it’s very tongue in cheek,” said Laney Crowell, 27, who parted ways with a corporate real estate investor last month after a tumultuous relationship. “But it all stems out of really serious and heartfelt situations.”
When she introduces other Wall Street widows to the group, Ms. Crowell added, “They call their friends and say, ‘You’re not going to believe what I just read. It’s going to make you feel so much better.’ ”
Once it was seen as a blessing in certain circles to have a wealthy, powerful partner who would leave you alone with the credit card while he was busy brokering deals. Now, many Wall Street wives, girlfriends and, increasingly, exes, are living the curse of cutbacks in nanny hours and reservations at Masa or Megu. And that credit card? Canceled
......" Rest of the story

My favorite:
"Next time you are stressing over some finance guy, remember that he is just a math-club nerd,” one woman wrote after recounting a breakup. “This recession just bought everyone an extra two years of the single life.” (I'm sure she didn't mind taking his money.)
Another, though, seemed chagrined, after her boyfriend told her to “grow up” and stop “complaining about vacations and dinner” since he had to “fire 20 people by the end of the week.”

By the way, their blog is even bitchier than the what is reported in the story:
"Suddenly, I found myself being taken out less and less frequently. A recent argument went along these lines:
Me *pouting*: You haven’t taken me on a trip since we went to Bermuda in September. What’s going on?
Charles: Honey, finances are tight right now so my wife has taken it upon herself to check up on all of our accounts. She will notice any big expenditures.
Me *cute voice*: Wellllllllllllll, what are you going to do to make it up to me?
Charles: Can we talk later sweetheart? I’m really busy right now.
Me: No. Give me an answer NOW. Don’t you realize what you have? I’m way too hot to be treated like this. (Disclaimer: Yes, I come across as bratty here, but it typically works when trying to get something out of him)
Charles *yelling for the first time in our almost two-year relationship*: I’VE GOT TO FIRE TWENTY PEOPLE BY THE END OF THE WEEK. Z has four kids, X just had a baby girl, Y just sent his son to college and I’ve got to get rid of two of those guys… and you’re complaining about vacations and dinner? God, you are so 24! GROW UP!
Me *stunned*: Okie dokie, let’s talk later lover

Fire away.

Click Here to Read More..

Clarion-Ledger engages in fearmongering

The Clarion-Ledger published a story recently about the housing market in Jackson, "Jackson Area Home Sales Plummet". Unfortunately, the details in the story didn't come close to supporting the headline as the "state" newspaper engaged in a little bit of yellow journalism.

The article began with the standard example of a homeowner struggling to sell his home as it fits the template:
"It's tough to sell a house these days. Just ask Brandon resident J.P. Martin.
He has not only seen prices plummet and inventories swell as he tries to sell his Byram home, but also must contend with a new round of payments at his new home in Rankin County.
When he put the 4-year-old Byram house up for sale more than seven months ago, the asking price for the 1,300-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bathroom house was $124,900. It was lowered to $119,000 last week.
More price reductions may not make a difference, Martin said, as an ongoing credit crunch makes it more difficult for many people to buy homes.
"We've had quite a few people walk through and say, 'It's one of the nicest houses in the neighborhood,' but people who want to buy can't get qualified (for loans)," Martin said

Mr. Martin reduces the price of his home nearly 5% and that is considered a plummeting price? Just one problem in this narrative as its obvious Mr. Ayers didn't bother to read his own story:
"Martin said he paid $117,750 for the Byram home in February 2007 and planned to stay there awhile. But he and his wife both have since found jobs about 45 minutes away and wanted to move closer to their workplaces."

Everyone get that? This "business reporter" considers an INCREASE of a listing price from $117,750 to $119,500 to be an example of a price that plummets. Where did this guy intern? The Jackson Free Press? Unfortunately, Mr. Ayers was just getting warmed up as he then used for his second example about the Jackson real housing market a home from........... Prentiss, a little berg between Monticello and Collins:
"Michael Anthony is having trouble selling a less-expensive home in Prentiss.
He bought the 1,600-square-foot house in August 2007 for $53,000. The home is 60 years old with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, high ceilings, a front porch and a small yard.
Since putting his home up for sale in May, the asking price has dropped from $59,500 to $52,500.
Anthony says the price may come down more if no buyers emerge.
"It's a nice home for a small family," he said before conceding, "It's definitely a fixer-upper."
But no one has given the home a serious look, and Anthony worries about having to hang on to it along with two homes elsewhere in the state that he plans to keep

One wonders how the editor read this story with a straight face as Mr. Anthony is complaining because about a poor market after he listed the price 10% more than what he paid for it less than two years ago ( in a RURAL area). It should come as no surprise to any sensible person who stays informed on current events that Mr. Anthony would probably have a hard time selling such a home, especially one that is in the middle of nowhere and is a "fixer-upper". Unfortunately, the sloppiness continued as he turned his attention to mortgages.

Several people quoted in the article blamed the credit crunch for the so-called problem in the local real estate market. One would think Mr. Ayers might have actually quoted a person in the mortgage industry since he was reporting on mortgages but instead he cites Realtors and Mr. Martin as mortgage experts (I wonder if he goes to the dentist for a headache.). If the reporter had put forth a little effort and actually called Vicki Graves at AMS Mortgage, April Davidson at Mortgage 1st, or someone similar, he might have learned that there is plenty of credit available for buying a house. If a buyer can put down roughly 5% on a home, have a 620 credit score or above (a little lower on FHA), and can verify his income, he can get a mortgage for a home all day long at a decent rate from most mortgage lenders. There IS a lack of credit available to people who have bad credit scores, no money for a down payment, and can not document how much they make with tax returns, W-2's, and paystubs. In other words, forget what these people said in the article. Save a few thousand dollars, pay your bills, don't write everything off on your tax returns, and you will be able to buy a house.

Mr. Ayers then attempts to use sales data from the Jackson Association of Realtors to fit his little "housing prices are falling" template:
"The data show a majority of submarkets have seen asking prices decline while the number of days on the market rise.
The data do not reflect actual sales prices, and the National Association of Realtors won't release figures for the final quarter of 2008 until March

Unbelievable. An entire story reporting local housing prices are crashing is built around listing prices and admits actual sales prices are not used. This is not ignorance nor laziness but pure undiluted incompetence. If the Clarion-Ledger is going to lay off reporters, one should ask the publisher why this guy still has a job. Incidentally, the Associated Press-Re/Max Monthly Housing Report was released this week (Report) and it showed a slightly different set of data:

Number of Transactions
Current Month: 297
One month change: -26.67%
One year change: -33.11%
Active Inventory
Current Month: 3,346
One month change: -5.64%
One year change: -27.92%
Month's Supply of Inventory
Current Month: 11.3
Days on Market
Current Month: 97
One month change: -5.39%
One year change: 2.22%
Median Price – Sold
Current Month: $123,000
One month change: -12.14%
One year change: -3.95%

A recent report released by the Federal Housing Finance Agency confirms these numbers (Report). The East South Central region (MS, TN, AL, KY) showed a price decrease from October to November of just 1.4%. From September to October it was 0.2% and August to September was 0.5%. The twelve month change was a whopping 3.4% decrease in home prices, making it the second strongest housing market in the country (TX-LA-AR region was the strongest). It should also be pointed out that the reporter's ignorance showed in not just using "listing prices" as evidence for his plummeting claim. He fails to mention the average square footage of the homes listed nor a price per sq. foot amount, which would have been a much better indicator of how stable housing prices have been in Jackson recently.

This so-called story is garbage as its pretty clear someone told the reporter to go write an article on how local home prices were crashing, thus reflecting the national scene. His story admitted it had no basis in fact as it didn't even use any sales data. The Clarion-Ledger owes the Realtors of Jackson a huge apology as these headlines scare people away from buying homes. The newspaper has every right to report the news. However, it does not have the right to write stories that are completely false and only serve to create fea among the public.

The Realtors can protest all they want to Gannet but it won't do any good as all Gannett cares about is its bottom line. What the Realtors should do is pull their advertising for two weeks. No listings in the classifieds. No ads in the Sunday real estate section. Do that for one to two weeks to drive the point home. Such a boycott will get Gannett's attention more than any letter ever will. If Gannett is going to screw with the livelihoods of many hard-working people with this slop, it should find out what its like to be on the receiving end of its incompetence.

Click Here to Read More..

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Meredith Whitney discusses future of financials

Worth watching. She discusses further contraction in financials and mortgage market. She's been right on most of this stuff for the last few years.

Click Here to Read More..

Linda Harmon makes the most wanted list.

Former Jackson Socialite Linda Harmon made the "Most Wanted" list in Tennessee:
Linda Harmon
"Authorities say a Franklin woman convinced at least two people to invest money with her, only to allegedly rip them off.
The numbers aren't anywhere close to the scale of that big Ponzi scheme in New York, but they're big enough to earn Linda Harmon a seat among the TBI's most wanted."


Previous Posts:
Former Harmon home listed for sale
Possible mortgage fraud in sale of home
Former socialite on the run

Click Here to Read More..

Monday, January 26, 2009

Realty Mortgage shuts down wholesale lending division. Retail operation going strong.

The mortgage industry website "The Implode-O-Meter" reported Flowood-based Realty Mortgage shut down its wholesale lending operation last week:
"Realty Mortgage Corp. based out of Flowood, MS has shutdown its wholesale channel. The official announcement released 2009-01-22 was brief: "Due to current market conditions Realty Mortgage will no longer accept locks through the wholesale channel. This is effective immediately." Implode-O-Meter Story, Discussion Thread on Forum

Realty Mortgage consisted of retail and wholesale lending operations in several states. The retail division underwrites mortgages for borrowers who "come in the door", deal with Realty Mortgage loan officers, and submit loan applications and supporting documentation to Realty Mortgage. Realty Mortgage underwrote the file, closed the mortgage with its own funds, and later sold the loan to larger financial institutions such as Chase, Citi, and Wells Fargo (These banks are used as examples, not as statements of a relationship between them and RM.) The retail operation is doing well and shows no signs of slowing down as several sources have told JJ (As discussed later, this part of Realty Mortgage will probably thrive and get even stronger as the mortgage industry continues to change.).

However, it is the wholesale lending side of Realty that crashed last week as the market for buying such loans has dried up in the last few weeks. In a wholesale lending operation, a lender such as Realty acts as a lender for other mortgage companies. RM never deals directly with the borrower in wholesale as it is the mortgage company that takes the loan application, processes the file, and submits it to RM for underwriting. RM then approves the loan and advances the funds at closing, using lines of credit it has with financial institutions (in the trade they are called "a warehouse line". ) Operations such as Realty will then bundle up the loans they have on their credit lines and sell them in a package to banks such as the ones mentioned earlier (This is what is called the "secondary market" in the mortgage industry). Most so-called lenders operate in this fashion and are not banks, but are underwriters and sellers of mortgages. Such practices are what have allowed mortgage brokers were able to operate for the last twenty years.

The secondary market for mortgage sold by these lenders has contracted over the last two weeks as purchasers such as Chase and Citi have notified lenders they will no longer purchase mortgages if originated from other mortgage companies. They have also made it clear in their announcements they will continue to purchase mortgages if originated through retail channels, i.e. meaning if a lender such as Realty originates a mortgage directly from a borrower. To a lender such as Realty, this was a curtain call for its funding loans for mortgage brokers as there were suddenly few, if any, buyers for its "paper".

The mortgage industry is currently suffering from another round of implosions: wholesale lenders who underwrote mortgages funneled to them by local mortgage brokers and then sold on the secondary market are no longer finding buyers for their paper. As their credit lines fill up, they are no longer able to fund mortgages and are exiting the mortgage industry, leaving mortgage brokers scrambling to find other lenders. Speculation runs rampant on industry industry message boards companies such as Wells Fargo will exit this market as well, leaving few sources available to such lenders while the Wells' and Chases's expand their retail operations (For more reading on this subject, here are two excellent articles: Citi makes changes, Loan performance an issue).

It will not be surprising (no inside info here, just an educated guess) if Realty absorbs mortgage brokers into its retail operation, converting them to Realty Mortgage branches throughout Mississippi and other states as it becomes harder for them to find lenders who will deal with mortgage brokers. The future of the industry will probably see the consumer going to the retail offices of Countrywide, Chase, and lenders such as Realty Mortgage when purchasing a home or refinancing his mortgage.

Click Here to Read More..

FDR on Obamanomics

"We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong ... somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises ... I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started ... And an enormous debt to boot!"

What Secretary of the Treasury told Congress in 1939.

Keep in mind Hoover and FDR crashed international trade with tariffs, hiked personal and corporate income taxes sharply, spent vast sums of money on public works (think "infrastructure") and other programs, yet unemployment still went up to 25% and the economy shrank until WWII started.

Click Here to Read More..

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Guess where Madoff went to school?

Clue: Rooooooooooooll Tide. Figures.

Click Here to Read More..

Hopefully the JFP will remove this from its website.

Considering what happened on Riverside Drive Friday when a Murrah High basketball player was killed and several other teammates were injured in a single vehicle automobile accident, it's probably a good idea to remove that award.
Update: It was taken down today.

Click Here to Read More..

Truths from Hayek

A little excerpt from Hayek's classic, The Road to Serfdom:
"IN ORDER to achieve their ends, the planners must create power—power over men wielded by other men—of a magnitude never before known. Their success will depend on the extent to which they achieve such power. Democracy is an obstacle to this suppression of freedom which the centralized direction of economic activity requires. Hence arises the clash between planning- and democracy.
Many socialists have the tragic illusion that by depriving private individuals of the power they possess in an individualist system, and transferring this power to society, they thereby extinguish power. What they overlook is that, by concentrating power so that it can be used in the service of a single plan, it is not merely transformed but infinitely heightened. By uniting in the hands of some single body power formerly exercised independently by many, an amount of power is created infinitely greater than any that existed before, so much more far-reaching as almost to be different in kind. It is entirely fallacious to argue that the great power exercised by a central planning board would be "no greater than the power collectively exercised by private boards of directors." There is, in a competitive society, nobody who can exercise even a fraction of the power which a socialist planning board would possess. To decentralize power is to reduce the absolute amount of power, and the competitive system is the only system designed to minimize the power exercised by man over man. Who can seriously doubt that the power which a millionaire, who may be my employer, has over me is very much less than that which the smallest bureaucrat possesses who wields the coercive power of the state and on whose discretion it depends how I am allowed to live and work?
In every real sense a badly paid unskilled workman in this country has more freedom to shape his life than many an employer in Germany or a much better paid engineer or manager in Russia. If he wants to change his job or the place where he lives, if he wants to profess certain views or spend his leisure in a particular way, he faces no absolute impediments. There are no dangers to bodily security and freedom that confine him by brute force to the task and environment to which a superior has assigned him. Our generation has forgotten that the system of private property is the most important guaranty of freedom. It is only because the control of the means of production is divided among many people acting independently that we as individuals can decide what to do with ourselves. When all the means of production are vested in a single hand, whether it be nominally that of "society" as a whole or that of a dictator, whoever exercises this control has complete power over us. In the hands of private individuals, what is called economic power can be an instrument of coercion, but it is never control over the whole life of a person. But when economic power is centralized as an instrument of political power it creates a degree of dependence scarcely distinguishable from slavery. It has been well said that, in a country where the sole employer is the state, opposition means death by slow starvation."

Click Here to Read More..

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Linda Harmon Accused of Stealing From Other Bank Accounts

It seems the Linda Harmon story is not yet done. The former Jackson socialite and current fugitive apparently engaged in some identity theft according to Newschannel5 in Tennessee:

"FRANKLIN, Tenn.- There may be more victims of the woman accused of scamming investors out of money and then abandoning her children. New surveillance video of her has surfaced. Franklin Police said she was caught on tape withdrawing money that doesn't belong to her.
Franklin Police are still looking for 45 year old Linda Peach Harmon. She disappeared in December. She was captured on a surveillance camera at a bank inside a Brentwood convenience store. Investigators say she was withdrawing money that doesn't belong to her.
"We know she does have ties to neighboring states, which are all part of the investigation under way trying to get her into custody," said Charles Warner with the Franklin Police Department.
Investigators believe Harmon embezzled nearly $50,000 from investors in New York. Now police believe there are other victims.
"We've gotten calls from across the United States from people that both claim to know her possible where-abouts where she either has been or maybe located in the future as well as information from other victims from not only the region but across the United States who also claim to be victimized by Linda Harmon," said Warner.
Police say Harmon used the stolen money to pay part of her lavish life style that included an estate in Franklin. In December officers went there looking for her. Harmon's two sons told police she was gone.
Later, they were arrested for lying and helping their mother escape. Police have a hard time believing Harmon would abandon her family, but they say it's not unusual for her to pick up and move.
"The time that she spent here she moved from several different locations into several new homes. She doesn't stay in one place for very long," said Warner
..." Newschannel5 story WITH video

Ms. Harmon is also suspected of committing mortgage fraud of approximately $900,000 in the sale of her Jackson home in 2006.

Earlier posts (Comments are a MUST read):
Harmon home now listed a third of its former price
The Jackson Socialite, her home, and the $900,000
Former Jackson socialite on the run

Click Here to Read More..

Friday, January 23, 2009

No Comment.

Headline on Mississippi Business Journal's website: "Local banks stay out of TARP"

In the actual story below the headline: "While several Mississippi-based banks have expressed their intent to participate in TARP, only Trustmark Corporation has completed a transaction. It received $215 million."

Click Here to Read More..

Congratulations to WJTV's Kiran Chawla, Winner of JJ's "Hottest Reporter in Jackson" Poll

Congratulations to Kiran Chawla of WJTV-12, winner of Jackson Jambalaya's annual "Hottest Reporter in Jackson" Poll. Ms. Chawla won going away with 34% of the vote. Monica Hernandez (WLBT) took second place (26%). Their photos are featured in this post. Wendy Suares (WLBT), last year's winner came in third (9%), Julie Straw (WLBT) placed fourth (7%), and Brittany Diehl (WAPT) was fifth (6%). Congratulations to all of them as they work very hard to bring us the news day in and day out, regardless of the weather, time of day, or two-bit critics like me and Donna Ladd. Most of them don't get paid much, work long hours, deal with politicians and others who give them a hard time, and do it all with a smile. Show them some appreciation for what they do when you meet them. Meanwhile, for 2009 Kiran IS the hottest reporter in Jackson!

Click Here to Read More..

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Update on Harmon Home

Last week JJ published a story on what looked like a strong case of possible mortgage fraud in Jackson, Earlier post, detaling how fugitive Linda Harmon sold her home for $900,000 in a very questionable transaction. The home is now listed (Don't worry, the title is now clear as it was sold at a foreclosure sale in September) for $369,900.

Click Here to Read More..

GRE Scores of Journalists

Click Here to Read More..

Spring Break at the Legislature: Update

Here is the updated social calendar for the legislature in 2009. When do these guys have time to work?

2009 Social Calendar Update

Click Here to Read More..

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What does Woman's Hospital in Baton Rouge have to do with Jackson?

Woman's Hospital in Baton Rouge recently halted construction on its planned $350 million new facility. What does this have to do with the price of turnips in Jackson, Mississippi? Actually quite a bit as the Baton Rouge Advocate reported:
"High interest rates and uncertainty in the bond market have forced Woman’s Hospital to halt construction of a new $350 million facility at Airline Highway and Pecue Lane, hospital officials said Monday.
Woman’s had planned to issue bonds to finance the new hospital and has been monitoring the bond market since November, said Stan Shelton, senior vice president and project manager.
Woman’s had projected its borrowing costs at less than 7 percent. In the current economic climate, Woman’s would have had to pay 8.5 percent interest on the bonds.That would have added $5 million to $6 million a year to the project’s cost, Shelton said.
Woman’s does not know how long the bond market’s instability and the resulting construction delay will last.
“It is precisely that uncertainty that had caused us to make this decision,” Shelton said..."
Construction delay due to bond markets

Just an increase of over 1.5% was able to add over five million dollars to the cost of the project.
It is also worth noting Baton Rouge has been a recession-proof city during the current economic crisis and ranks dead lasts in Realtytrac's recent survey of the top 100 cities suffering from foreclosures in the current housing meltdown. However, the increasing interest rates for bonds devastated this project as they will others.

This example is pointed out for two reasons. There are several candidates running for Mayor of Jackson. When they start spewing their talking points, someone should ask them what they are going to do when the bond markets have made it very difficult for Jackson to finance any new projects and what will happen to Jackson's current bond expenses. As I expect at least one downtown project to stall because of the implosion of the commercial real estate lending environment, it would also be a good idea to ask them what their plan b is when one or more of the projects are unable to obtain financing (I'm not saying that will happen but it still needs to be asked in case it does.).

Click Here to Read More..

Regions takes a bath

"The Southeast regional bank, which received $3.5 billion in November from the U.S. Treasury under the Troubled Asset Relief Program, swung to a loss of $6.24 billion, or $9.01 a share, from a year ago net of $70.6 million, or 10 cents a share. The loss excluding the write-down on its banking operations was 35 cents." Regions announces loss, stock down 20% this morning

Click Here to Read More..

Monday, January 19, 2009

Is Melton in default on his mortgage?

JJ reported last month Mayor Frank Melton had not satisfied the balloon note with BancorpSouth due on his home, according to public records (although the possibility exists it was paid in full and the bank has not yet filed the release at the courthouse). Earlier Post

As of the close of business Friday, the first mortgage on Mayor Melton's home at 2 Carter Grove Circle has not yet been released by BancorpSouth, leading one to wonder if his home will once again be subjected to foreclosure proceedings. Mayor Melton also has a second mortgage due on his home in April with Omnibank.

Click Here to Read More..

Here is a blast from the past.

A year ago JJ reported Steve Patterson gave $2500 to Judge Delaughter.

Just a friendly reminder.

Click Here to Read More..

Worse economy since the depression? Really?

Click Here to Read More..

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Time to play devil's advocate with Downtown Jackson.

The mantra in Jackson lately has been downtown, downtown, downtown. The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson Free Press, the tv stations, all discuss the great projects going up downtown and how Jackson will benefit from them. There is no question Jackson has declined for some time and any good economic news is definitely welcome. Downtown has seen a constant migration of businesses to the burbs, taking employees and tax dollars with them. Some short-sighted individuals such as Marshand Crisler and Todd Stauffer want to recover the lost tax revenue by imposing a commuter or occupational tax for those working in Jackson but living in surrounding counties, forgetting the remaining businesses also can move. There is no question it costs more to develop property downtown as the tax rates are higher and let's face it: it's easier and cheaper to clear a pasture than a downtown block of obsolete buildings.

However, the question must be asked if the tax breaks and focus on downtown is justified or will Jackson see the same fate as did other cities who followed similar strategies. Ridgeland fell for the Harborwalk spiel, spending a great deal of money and aggravating its residents when it rebuilt the road in front of the project. Years after the Dock (a GREAT source of tax revenue) was torn down, there is no development taking place at Main Harbor and Bumbling Burwell has repeatedly made claims about obtaining financing for the project which turned out to be false. Given the current commercial real estate lending climate, it is very doubtful Harborwalk will become a reality in the next few years, if ever.

Every one of the downtown projects has been affected by the deteriorating lending environment. The Clarion-Ledger reported on January 11 the Standard Life Building has been held up due to financing issues:
"Developer David Watkins said his Standard Life renovation project, a $35 million effort, was approved for $23 million in bond financing. However, the credit crunch that began squeezing the economy after the September stock market crash has prevented Capital One from issuing money for the project.
"We were right on the doorsteps of closing when the bank all of a sudden put a stop on everything," Watkins said. "If we had had a month before the crises hit, for sure we would have closed."
Although approved, bonds for Standard Life project have not been issued and therefore are not included in the totals MDA provided to The Clarion-Ledger, MDA spokeswoman Melissa Medley said.
Watkins expects to close on the Standard Life deal with Capital One in the next 30 to 45 days.
"Every other developer I've been talking to around the country ... over the last few months is experiencing some kind of problem," Watkins said. "They are getting the same push back from all of their creditors

Such statements should come as no surprise, as the commercial credit markets did freeze up last fall. The question must be asked is will this project and others be able to obtain financing as several experts (who have been accurate in their forecasts during the current crisis) predict commercial real estate markets and lending will further worsen sharply in 2009. It should also be noted the costs of issuing bonds for cities is rising as well:
"Wall Street is raising fees it charges municipalities to sell bonds at the fastest pace in more than 20 years as institutional investors abandon the market for state and local government debt (This is something the candidates for mayor should remember.)
The higher expenses are another blow to governments already burdened by the highest interest rates in eight years, declining tax revenue and budget deficits amid the worst economic slump since World War II. Banks say they need to charge more because they have to work harder to sell a greater proportion of the securities to so-called retail investors......
Municipal bonds lost 8.17 percent this year, including reinvested interest, according to Merrill Lynch & Co.’s Municipal Master Index. That’s the worst showing since the indexes were created in 1989. Sales of the debt have slowed to $51.1 billion in the past three months from $82.9 billion in the same period last year, Bloomberg data show
......" Rest of Bloomberg December 12, 2008 story (The rest of the article is worth reading.)

In addition to rising municipal bond costs, the track record of some cities which have adopted a "core-first" strategy has not exactly been successful as Jerry Bowyer recently pointed out in the Wall Street Journal:
"Baltimore, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh were prototypes of the economic development fad of the 1990s: government-financed "investments" in economic development. They all practiced what was called "tin cup urbanism" -- the belief that the rest of society owed large taxpayer transfers to the urban cores from which most of us have fled. They all supped from the same cup: center city stadia, aquaria and subsidized retailia.
Philadelphia practiced "the core, the core, the core" as a development strategy while perfecting the art of the tin cup under the guidance of then Mayor (now Gov.) Ed Rendell in the late 1990s. The feeling in Philadelphia was that the city was being crushed by economic forces outside of its control, and that the country owes cities, owes them big, and should pay up.
We did pay up, although Philadelphia's population declined 4.3% in the 1990s. And we will likely pay much more under Barack Obama's "stimulus" plan to spend hundreds of billions on new infrastructure. But based on experience, we won't see much renewal.
Baltimore's Inner Harbor development was the leader. Huge sums of government money poured into a very small patch of territory. Especially notable was a pricey public aquarium. Development officials claimed that by reviving the urban "core," economic health would return to the region. It didn't. The dawning of the Age of Aquarium has yet to appear.
On my last trip to Baltimore, it didn't take more than a three minute drive from the Inner Harbor before I could see burned-out neighborhoods. When I stopped for gas, I was aggressively panhandled by a man with a gold tooth in which a black ace was etched. Didn't see that guy in the development prospectus.
Pittsburgh followed the pattern, explicitly basing its development model partly on Baltimore and partly on Cleveland (from which Baltimore's football team had fled). The promises -- of "Renaissance III," "turning Pittsburgh back into a major league town again," and "creating a world class city" -- were grandiose. When city officials put the plan -- to spend taxpayer money on rebuilding downtown and subsidizing a stadium -- on the ballot, it got sacked. The referendum was rejected in all 11 counties in the metro area. It was a complete shut-out. Pittsburgh might be a drinking town with a football problem, as they say, but voters said no anyway on that one.
It didn't matter. Despite the referendum results, the city built it all anyway with public money. Then Mayor Tom Murphy and other city officials, as well as state legislators, went ahead. By 2003, two years after the project's completion, Pittsburgh faced bankruptcy
....." Rest of op-ed
Make no mistake, I'm not opposed to downtown development as there is a need for it and I don't have a built-in bias against Downtown Jackson Partners as others do. Jackson needs nicer and more capable venues than the Ag Museum and the Trade Mart. Jackson cannot compete with Brandon when a developer can obtain a few permits, clear some pasture, and start building as opposed to building in downtown Jackson where he must first check if the area has a historical designation and if asbestos removal is required, pay higher taxes, pay for building demolition costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, and face other obstacles.

There is nothing wrong with giving a developer tax breaks if the project will generate more revenue for Jackson through sales and property taxes. There are some cities where such projects have worked. Baton Rouge has experienced a downtown renaissance as The Shaw Center and other projects have led the way in making its downtown a premier cultural and entertainment destination in Baton Rouge (when it's not football season). However, when none of the local media asks certain questions about the future of Jackson and certain projects given the dislocations in the bond markets and commercial real estate, it is left up to a hayseed from Louisiana who knows no Greek to play devil's advocate. So thus it must be asked, how much will the bond market dislocations and costs affect Jackson's finances and how much will the adverse commercial real estate lending environment affect Downtown?

Click Here to Read More..

Changes to feeds.

Cottonmouth was removed from the newsfeeds in the center column. I enjoyed using the feed because I don't like things to be one sided in terms of ideology but he hasn't posted anything since November. The news feed for Commercial Property News was added to the bottom of the page. JJ has a nice well rounded set of feeds: Clarion-Ledger for local news, Y'all Politics and Folo for local political blogs not connected to the media, Times-Picayune just because I like New Orleans, Mish and Market-Ticker for economics and finance (I like Denninger's work as you well know and Mish is excellent. His blog just rated third in terms of traffic for economic/finance blogs.), Redstate and American Thinker for conservative feeds, and Soldier of Fortune and Michael Yon for anti-terrorism/war. Would like to put a good liberal feed on here so any suggestions will be appreciated.

Click Here to Read More..

Where's the money?

Click Here to Read More..

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Some music for chilling out.

Click Here to Read More..

Guess who?

Click Here to Read More..

Ranking of top economic blogs has a ranking of the top economic and financial blogs.

Click Here to Read More..

Friday, January 16, 2009

Believe it or not, Mississippi doing well on the foreclosure front.

Realtytrac released its 2008 foreclosure report yesterday. Mississippi ranked 46th out of 50 states in terms of foreclosure rate. Mississippi's foreclosure rate was only .18% while the national average was 1.84%. Some of the states suffering from the worst foreclosure rates were: California (1.12%), Florida (4.52%), and Nevada (7.29%). Mississippi had 2,364 foreclosure filings. The number of foreclosures increased 62.74% from 2007 and 181.35% from 2006, showing Mississippi has not been immune from the slowing economy and the housing crisis. However, compared to the rest of the nation, Mississippi is actually doing pretty well in terms of foreclosure rates. In what can only be called good news, Jackson was not even mentioned on the list of the top 100 metroplitan areas concerning foreclosures.

Realtytrac 2008 Foreclosure Report

Click Here to Read More..

Hamas, boobytraps, and the propoganda machine

Hamas boobytraps schools and zoos. Meanwhile go to Folo and enter "Hamas" in the search box.

Click Here to Read More..

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Delta Dumbass

WAPT reports a thug who stabbed his grandmother to death was on probation for punching and choking a former Pizza Hut manager at a store where he had worked "to the point of unconsciousness".

The idiot District Attorney thought giving him probation was still a swell idea:
"District Attorney DeWayne Richardson defended the court's decision to sentence McGhee to probation for that assault.
Richardson described that crime as a "hitting and a brief choking" and said it "wasn't a stabbing or shooting or anything violent

Hitting and choking someone to the point the victim is unconscious is not "violent"?

Click Here to Read More..

Time to put a stop to the rumors.

I'm tired of getting blamed by the rumor mill for this one so I'm going to say it right now and make this clear to everyone:

That was NOT my still.

Click Here to Read More..

Good short example of how credit default swaps work.

This little story in Dow Jones' MarketWatch give a quick primer on how the infamous CDS's work:
"The cost of insuring against a default by Bank of America (BAC 8.96, -1.24, -12.2%) climbed on Thursday after the Wall Street Journal reported that the government is close to pumping billions of dollars more into the giant bank to help it digest the acquisition of Merrill Lynch. Spreads on Bank of America credit default swaps rose to 210 basis points during early morning action Thursday, up from 180 basis points late Wednesday, according to broker Phoenix Partners Group. CDS are a common type of derivative contract that pay out in the event of default. When CDS spreads rise it means investors are more concerned about defaults. A spread of 210 basis points means an investor buying $10 million worth of protection for five years must pay $210,000 a year."

Click Here to Read More..

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Levee Today

Click Here to Read More.. posts story of Harmon home sale.

Well look-ey here., a leading website on mortgage fraud, posted my story on possible mortgage fraud involving the sale of fugitive Linda Harmon's home in 2006. Thank you very much Ms. Dollar.

Click Here to Read More..

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Haley, Republican Revival, & Jackson Pork

The Wall Street Journal's Stephen Moore recently interviewed our esteemed Governor about how Republicans could revive their fortunes in national politics. Interview The Governor made a few comments about the Obama stimulus plan:
"Mr. Barbour has been a vocal critic of the Obama stimulus plan. "A lot of this is just crazy," he fumes. "I'll tell you what I told [Obama] in front of 45 governors. Don't give me $400 million of one-time money and make me spend it on recurring expenses. I'm better off not to get it. I'm not sure a stimulus package is going to do much good after all the money the federal government has already popped into the economy." But then he adds: "The idea of long-term capital improvements is a lot better than just giving every state a blank check."

Governor Barbour is correct in his analysis of the stimulus plan, which will wreck the economy. However, the Governor has a chance to put his money where his mouth is as Jackson asked for the LONGEST list of projects out of all the cities requesting government money. See earlier post
$560 million in pork, just waiting for a principled Republican to denounce. Nothing like leading by example. ;-)

Click Here to Read More..

Karl Denninger of The Market Ticker will be on WJNT today.

Karl will be on Kim Waaaaaaaaaaaaade's radio show today discussing his predictions for the markets and economy in 2009. Should be a good show as his 2008 prophecies were on the money. for stream.

Click Here to Read More..

A Tale of Two Pictures

Can we say tasteless? Once again her hatred for all things Melton leads her to write a very irresponsible story which she later admitted was based on unconfirmed information. It's pretty clear she means Melton is about to die and decides she just has to scoop everyone else in town. Of course, it never occured to her if Melton was going home, then family and/or friends would be there as well to take him home. Once it becomes clear Melton is not going to die, she changes the story to the one seen in the second screen shot. Imagine her histrionics if the Clarion-Ledger had done this.

Click Here to Read More..

Monday, January 12, 2009

Vote for the Hottest Reporter in Jackson!

From Left to Right:
Top Row: Carole Karr (WJTV), Monica Hernandez (WLBT), Kiran Chawla (WJTV) 2nd Row: Kiran Chawla (WJTV) Kandiss Crone (WLBT), Julie Straw (WLBT) 3rd Row: Julie Straw & Wendy Suares (WLBT) Wendy Suares (WLBT), Megan West (WAPT) 4th Row: Megan West (WAPT) Elizabeth Crisp (Clarion-Ledger), Cheryl Lassiter (WLBT), Moncia Hernandez (WLBT). The rest have captions.

Ok, it's that time of year again: The Hottest Reporter in Jackson Poll!!! Vote in the poll on the right side of the page. Wendy Suares was the big winner last year and Megan West placed second. My good friend Wendy has more competition this year, so it will be fun to see who wins. Fire up the blast emails and the vote-getting on Facebook networks. Once again there is no voter ID this year. Keep the comments nice. These are all nice young ladies who work their gluteus minimi off to bring us the news every day. By the way, the dude in the middle next to Wendy is Jack Hobbs, whose got some serious game and is included in the photos above. Remember, this poll is all about having some FUN!!! Start voting.

Click Here to Read More..

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Jackson Socialite, her home... and the $900,000

Update 1/11/09: More proof fraud probably occurred: Market analysis of all homes sold on Petit Bois over the last few years

It seems there is more to the Linda Harmon story than what was posted Thursday. A Jackson Jambalaya investigation reveals mortgage fraud probably took place when Ms. Harmon's Jackson, MS home was sold in 2006. (Yes, you regular readers just knew I was going to go there at some point). Ms. Harmon's former home was sold on December 7, 2006 to a Tracy Williams and Tracey Michelle Goins for $900,000. The loan was provided by WMC, a well-known subprime lender no longer in business) through 80/20 1st and 2nd mortgages. ( 1st Mortgage Deed of Trust & 2nd Mortgage Deed of Trust).

The first mortgage was for $720,000 and contained riders for both a balloon provision and adjustable rate. It was amortized as a forty-year mortgage (due in full in 2037) with an interest rate fixed for two years at 7.5% and would "adjust" every six months after the fixed rate period expired. The second mortgage was for $180,000 with a 25-year term with an undisclosed interest rate.

Here is where it gets weird. The house was foreclosed on exactly a year ago and was sold on September 12, 2008 for $373,500 to Litton Loan Servicing (It is now owned by Arch Bay Holding, a Miami, Fl. firm). Sources have told JJ the house will soon be put up for sale with a listing price of less than $400,000 (which would conform with recent sales of similar homes in that subdivision).

There are several facts about this transaction and the property's history that are suspicious in nature. The house is in a neighborhood where similar homes are approximately $400,000. (Listing of homes on same street and assessed values. Disclaimer: assessed values usually are below the fair market value of the home and don't jump up to $900,000 within a few years). Ms. Harmon built the house nearly ten years ago. (It sits on the River Hills Country Club tennis courts). The house was listed by Ms. Harmon several times with different Realtors in 2005 and 2006. It was withdrawn by Ms. Harmon each time. It was not listed by Ms. Harmon with an agent when she sold the home.

When Ms. Harmon sold her home, her mortgage was with WMC, the same lender who financed the sale on December 7, 2006. The people who bought the home were not residents of Mississippi. The transaction was closed by a notary public in Shelby County, Tennessee (Memphis).

So a house was sold which suddenly doubled in value compared to the homes in its subdivision, a subprime mortgage lender was used for 100% financing, the buyers were out-of-state, the closing took place in Tennessee, the house went into foreclosure soon after the sale, and the auction price was barely above a third of the original sales price. However, there are even more facts about this transaction and Ms. Harmon that show mortgage fraud "probably" took place.

In the post Thursday, JJ reported several hundred thousand dollars in liens and judgements were filed against Ms. Harmon by various creditors. Several liens were filed against the home prior to the 2006 sale yet the judgements were not satisfied until the middle of 2008. Mortgage lenders will NOT lend money on a property that is encumbered (I've been waiting to use that word in a sentence) by liens. Before a lender will provide a mortgage, it requires all liens be paid before or at closing. This is a pretty basic rule of mortgage lending and even a subprime lender will not deviate from this rule, especially for what is almost a million-dollar loan.

One creditor informed JJ the lien was satisfied by a claim against the title insurance policy. Translation: the liens were not paid at closing. If the attorney or notary had performed a the required title search on the home, the liens would have been discovered and WMC would have been notified about the liens and required them to be paid before the loan was closed. The obvious conclusion is no title search was ever performed or if it was ordered, it was probably altered so the lien information was hidden from the lender (the name where there is a space for a notary to sign is that of an attorney, Theresa Barnhardt, of Memphis).

Such a fraud initially seems fantastic until the facts are lined up side-by-side. Mortgage fraud is usually not hard to prove when one starts looking for it on a transaction as there is a great deal of paperwork by several parties on a transaction. Ms. Harmon was probably very familiar with how the mortgage industry operates as she has been on several mortgage industry websites. Several comments on Thursday's posts pointed out the following ads by Ms. Harmon (Broker Universe is a website for mortgage professionals and has pages where loan offices seek financing or advice on certain loan scenarios. These are not websites known to the average consumer or even realtor):

"Loan scenario: MS, $30,000, FICO, 75% LTV, Purchase, SF, full, OO
State: MS Amount: $30,000 Property type: SF Documentation: full FICO: LTV: 75%Occupancy: OO Loan purpose: Purchase SFR in MS looking for quick 25-20K hard money equity loan. House appraised at $785. Balance owed $500K Good income. No Fico requirements. (615)481-8909 by gatorgirl June 21, 2006" (Translation: She is looking for a $30,000 second mortgage requiring no income documentation and no credit score. In other words, easy money. online ad)

"Loan scenario: TN, $450,000, stated FICO, 70% LTV, Purchase, SF, full, OO
State: TN Amount: $450,000 Property type: SF Documentation: full FICO: stated LTV: 70%Occupancy: OO Loan purpose: Purchase Just found a gem! Four year old foreclosed home that needs some cosmetic work. Bank lien $375K, but asking more. Needs about 40K in repairs. Should appraise for $650-700K when finished. Want to make offer today!" Call 615-481-8909 if you can 10sgirl September 8, 2006" (Translation: No income verification required. Looking for $100,000 in easy money again. Online ad)

So apparently Ms. Harmon was advertising for second mortgages requiring no income verification or credit scores for different homes in different states at the same time in 2006, several months before she sold her home.

So what does all this mean? In recap here are the facts:
1. The house was sold on December 7, 2006 for $900,000.
2. The closing took place in Shelby County, TN.
3. The buyers were from out-of-state.
4. Ms. Harmon, the seller, had no realtor when she sold the house.
5. A subprime mortgage lender was used.
6. The loan was closed without the payment of the liens, indicating either no title search was conducted (not likely, a lender always requires it in the file) or the lien information was concealed (more likely).
7. Foreclosure proceedings were filed against the house a year after the house was sold.
8. The home was sold on September 12, 2008 at a foreclosure sale for an amount little more than a third of the sales price.
9. Ms. Harmon has apparently been advertising for second mortgages requiring no income verification or credit scores on mortgage industry websites for multiple homes before she sold her Petit Bois residence.

As stated earlier, I can speak as an expert on mortgage fraud and this more than meets the criteria for a prima facie case. No underwriter or quality control spcialist for a mortgage lender would approve these loans given these facts. The purchasers have never lived in the house. Within four months after the sale, the home was listed again for sale at $910,000 or rent at $3850 a month (It rented.)

Given the known details of Ms. Harmon and the history of the home on 2027 Petit Bois South in Jackson, the authorities should thoroughly investigate the parties involved in the sale and determine if the buyers even existed, as there is more than enough evidence to suspect the buyers may have been fictitious and the seller walked out with nearly a million dollars after the closing. These details are typical in mortgage fraud cases where people have created completely phony borrowers in order to obtain large sums of money. (It usually requires the help of someone involved in the transaction). Ms. Harmon may indeed have more to answer for than just embezzling in Tennessee and running from the police.

Additional resources:

Click Here to Read More..

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Former Jackson Socialite On The Run


Update: Sale of Harmon home raises questions

Former Jackson socialite Linda Peach Harmon is currently on the run from Tennessee authorities after she was charged with embezzling tens of thousands of dollars from investors:
"A Franklin woman is on the run after embezzling $45,000 from two New York residents, police say.
"The victims told police they wired money in September to Linda Peach Harmon, 45, as part of an investment agreement. However, police say the money was never invested, but was used for Harmon's daily living expenses.
Investigators believe Harmon is still in Middle Tennessee.
Harmon's two sons, ages 14 and 18, reportedly helped her hide from police inside their 501 Legends Ridge Court home when police arrived to arrest her Dec. 23.
Police arrested the sons Tuesday and charged them with a felony offense of accessory after the fact, reports say.
The 14-year-old was released from Williamson County Juvenile Detention to a private home, pending the surrender or arrest of his mother. Police said the mother abandoned her 14-year-old son but did not say if she will be charged in connection with that.
Anyone with information about Harmon's whereabouts is asked to call Franklin Police at 615-794-2513
." The Tennessean

Ms. Harmon was a resident of Jackson until three years ago, when she sold her home and moved to Franklin. The Northeast Jackson socialite owned two jury consulting/focus group companies while in Jackson. Before she moved to Jackson, Ms. Harmon was arrested for embezzlement in Rankin County as well, and was sued by D.D. Pepmiller for what she stands accused of in Franklin: bilking investors so she could support a lavish lifestyle. Pepmiller accused her of convincing him to invest $75,000 in her jury-consulting business- "Focus One Research"- through fraudulent means. Apparently the suit is unresolved. Ms. Harmon filed an answer (without represenation it must be added) but no adjudication of the suit was in the file yesterday when examined.

Such complaints didn't deter Ms. Harmon from living well. While in Jackson, Ms. Harmon was quite the social butterfly: a home appraised at over a half-million dollars on the River Hills Country Club tennis courts, Jackson Academy for the kids, tennis leagues, and numerous friends in high-powered circles. Ms. Harmon touted herself on her website as: "a member of the Downtown Jackson Rotary Club, a board member at MS Society for Disabilities, and an active member of the Junior League of Jackson, MS and the Kappa Delta Alumni Association."

Focus One and Trial Focus both purported to provide focus group research to clients for affordable prices. Ms. Harmon even sold franchises for a tidy fee of $5000 (form). Several lawyers at prestigious law firms provided Ms. Harmon with references for her website:

"Your services were provided in a timely manner and the results were veryhelpful to us. I would be glad to talk to any potential clients about your good performance in the cases you've done for us." - Cliff Hodge, PhelpsDunbar, LLP

"I have found Trial Focus' approaches to be highly effective and of tremendous value. We can afford to use them even on smaller cases." -Harold Barkley, Barkley Law Firm"

However, behind the luxurious facade was a string of tax liens, judgements, and financial problems. The online edition of the Hinds County Judgement Rolls reveals the following past judgements against Ms. Harmon:

  • A judgement in 2001 for $9,027.45 and attorney's fees. It was satisfied in 2008.
  • A judgement by Citizens State Bank for $70,058.64 in 2001. It is listed as not satisfied but this is probably a mortgage and the release was not filed by the creditor.
  • A judgement by Bancorp South for $23,032 in 2003 that is listed as not satisfied.
  • A judgement by a leasing company for $11,452.12 in 2004 that was satisfied in 2008.
  • A judgement by American Express for $6,827.86 in 2002. It is listed as not satisfied.
  • A judgement by Unifund CCR Partners for $9,142.72 in 2005. It was not satisfied.
  • A judgement by John T. Noblin for $35,438.56 in 2006. Satisfied in 2008.
  • A judgement by Household Finance for $14,121.95 in 2003. Satisfied in 2006.
Ms. Harmon also saw her house subjected to repeated tax sales, which she redeemed. It is quite obvious Ms. Harmon has been living "high on the hog" as the reporter so aptly put it, while gypping investors and creditors all the while. What is sad is the fact Ms. Harmon subjected her two sons to this behavior and endangered them by her actions. It's amazing how Ms. Harmon has been able to fool prestigious people in several cities for so long. Hopefully justice will be served once and for all where Ms. Harmon is concerned.

Police Press Release (Go to page 2)
Update 1/9/2009: I am told she moved from Jackson to Bell Buckle, TN first, before moving to Franklin. Her sons were enrolled in a private school there for one semester. It was there she was first arrested and held for extradition to Mississippi in late 2005.

Click Here to Read More..

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Another Strike on Hamas

Meanwhile Tom Head and his CAIR buddies grieve.

Click Here to Read More..

Watch the RNC Debate

See rest of video of debate at this link

If you want to lobby RNC members, here is their contact info: RNC Members

Click Here to Read More..

Spring Break at the Legislature

2009 Mississippi Legislature Social Calendar

Read it and weep.

Click Here to Read More..

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Latest Poll Question:

Should Kingfish run for Mayor of Jackson?

Click Here to Read More..

Monday, January 5, 2009

Make your voice heard.

Here is a link to the video for the debate for the election of RNC Chairman today in Washington. Video. The Chairman is selected by the 158 members of the RNC. The best part came when the question was asked (at 29:00) who they would not want to "emulate". Most of them said any Republican president was better than a Democrat president in a display of political immaturity as well as a lack of intellectual depth and backbone. Blackwell immediately said Herbert Hoover was the worst as he "opened the door to big-government activism and I think unfortunately President Bush in the last few months has opened up the door to Mr. Obama's big government activism". It was the only answer that received an ovation.

If you desire to contact the Mississippi members of the RNC, here is their contact information:
Chair Brad White
Member: Henry Barbour
Member: Cindy Philips

A list of all RNC members can be found here.

Click Here to Read More..

Recent Comments

Search Jackson Jambalaya

Subscribe to JJ's Youtube channel


Trollfest '09

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.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

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!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS