Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fine Arts Institute of Mississippi +Tim Johnson = Trouble?

The Clarion-Ledger reported the State is investigating a charity/bingo operation called the Fine Arts Institute of Mississippi:
"State gaming regulators are expected to decide today whether to approve a staff recommendation denying license renewal to a bingo hall that supports a Ridgeland nonprofit.
Fine Arts Institute of Mississippi, which receives money from bingo operations in Olive Branch, has had a gaming license since 2006.
In August, the organization was given a three-month license to continue operating while the state Gaming Commission investigated the group..."

Seems as though while the "charity" raked in millions of dollars not much was spent on programs:
"According to the secretary of state's office, the institute in 2007 posted revenue of nearly $4.5 million. It spent nearly $173,000 on programs, just shy of 4 percent of its total revenue.
In 2006, the agency collected nearly $1.3 million in revenue and paid out $1,000 on programs, less than 1 percent of its budget...." Article, WLBT story with video

Apparently an employee turned them into the State and Bill Murphy, the agency's Executive Director, prosecuted her for embezzling less than a thousand dollars. She filed a wrongful termination suit in response to being indicted for the alleged embezzlement.

Let me round out this picture a bit for you. What the Clarion-Ledger did not mention was WHO the so-called charity's lobbyist was: Tim Johnson. Yes, Mr. Elvis himself, (who will NOT be appearing tomorrow night at The Auditorium), had been working for Mr. Murphy's group. According to lobbyist reports filed with the state, Mr. Johnson has exactly two clients as a lobbyist: Fine Arts Institute of Mississippi and the Mississippi Outdoor Advertising Association.

Mr. Johnson reported them as a client in 2009, report, and in 2008, report. This report filed by the Institute shows Mr. Johnson is registered as the "charity's" lobbyist through the end of the year. Mr. Murphy's "charity" paid Mr. Johnson $24,000 in 2008 for his, um, services according to the "charity"'s 2008 annual report. The Madison County Journal reports the lobbying was illegal and the state ordered the "charity" to stop paying Mr. Johnson in 2008 (even though Mr. Johnson lists them as his client through December 2009 on a 2009 report). The newspaper also reports Mr. Murphy was the manager of the County Road Department until 2007. Article (By the way, the MCJ story is MUCH better than the CL version). Mr. Johnson is also listed as a director on this filing with the Mississippi Secretary of State's office.

Hmmm.... employee rats out some financial shenanigans she claims to have observed at Mr. Murphy's "charity" and suddenly the Madison County Power Structure comes down on her. Connect the dots, folks, connect the dots.

Copy of state filings

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

Burning question: where did all of the income go if such a piddling amount was paid out? That's pretty hefty income.......

Anonymous said...

Come on now it cost a lotta dough to run a bingo operation. You got those cards, and numbered balls and that high tech round cage the balls are in,,, that's gotta cost some serious scratch. Then there are the prizes. Tchotchkes ain't free you know.

JB

Kingfish said...

You left out the defibrillators.

Anonymous said...

I read this somewhere yesterday (PROBABLY the C-L web site) and Tim Johnson was definitely mentioned. I don't know what today's paper may have said.

Anonymous said...

Maybe that's the answer....all the electricity going to the defibrillators. That meter must be smokin' outside.

Anonymous said...

Charities CANNOT pay any part of gaming operations. It is prohibited.

Anonymous said...

My mistake (10:44) - the WLBT web site reported Tim Johnson's involvement (http://www.wlbt.com/Global/story.asp?S=11396433#at)

It gets better - a comment on that site claims that Johnson is listed on the Board of Directors for that charity in the Secretary of State's office, so working as a lobbyist for them may be illegal.

As I noted in another comment yesterday, the C-L is a useless joke as a "news"paper.

Kingfish said...

Found it and updated the post.

Anonymous said...

"You left out the defibrillators"

ROFLMAO

JB

Anonymous said...

BINGO!

Kingfish said...

Wonder how much of the money went to the directors.

Anonymous said...

Directors of charities cannot be paid.

Kingfish said...

True. was a question someone emailed me. thanks.

Anonymous said...

Directors can be paid if you hire them as lobbyists.

Anonymous said...

LOL

Kingfish said...

From Gallo's email that goes out afternoon.



8:05 Larry Gregory, Executive Director of Ms. Gaming Commission-The Gaming Commission today denied a license to the Olive Branch bingo hall that supports the Ridgeland-based Fine Arts Institute of Mississippi.

Today we learned that Madison County Supervisor, Tim Johnson was paid $5,500.00 in 2007 and $19,000.00 in 2008, to lobby the Legislature on behalf of Boxcar Bingo for the reform of the Bingo Law.

According to the MS Gaming Commission letter, FAIM entered into an asset sharing agreement with MYART. The terms were for FAIM to pay MYART 70% of the net assets received from the bingo operations. State laws authorizes that expense may not exceed 60%. The notification letter also stated, "However, no money was ever paid from FAIM to MYART."

So, what now? Who's in charge of recouping the money? I spoke with State Auditor Stacey Pickering today. The auditor told me that the FAIM and participants were, and have been on the radar. I ask Pickering if there was an investigation either pending or underway. Pickering stated it may be, but he could not comment at this time. After several additional phone calls, it appears we will be hearing a lot more about this story.

Anonymous said...

Per WLBT, Lynn Johnson is listed at the Sec. of State site as an incorporator of MYARTS (Mississippi Youth Activities & Recreation Team).

And it is illegal for ANY elected official to work as a lobbyist. See SOS regulations for lobbyists.

Anonymous said...

I have a question? who's paying the Attorney(Eric Hamer) Madison County or FAIM or who is he representing Johnson or Murphy? This has gotta cross some kind of legal lines.

Anonymous said...

On Murphy's Myspace page he say he say's he makes $150,000 to $250,000. Tell me again why he donated $1000.00 into programs.

Anonymous said...

Isn't there a Board of Director that have to approve salaries for non-profits. But I forgot HIS BEST BUD is on the BOARD. WOW!! He makes more than the Governor of The State of Mississippi. Who wants to be Bill Murphy........ I don't..I don't...I don't

Anonymous said...

He raised his salary to $155,000 per the hearing documents. He also has the charity pay for his Infiniti, and he had himself on the Board. Yeah, someone needs to investigate Tim Johnson for many things. He also took some friends and went to S.American and the charity paid for it. He bragged about it at Pan Asia.

Anonymous said...

Can he have voting rights on the board and serve in a hired position? The SOS needs to really needs to close this thing down.

Anonymous said...

"Yeah, someone needs to investigate Tim Johnson for many things. He also took some friends and went to S.American and the charity paid for it. He bragged about it at Pan Asia."

Bill Murphy bragged about it at Pan Asia. We were there!

Anonymous said...

I heard the Gallo Show this morning,the Gaming Commissioner said this charity has only served Bill Murphy and Freinds. But I agree with the blogger... What about Eric Hammer being the Attorney for Mr. Murphy and Madison County? Has anybody talked with Tim Johnson or Lynn Johnson yet? what are they saying.

Anonymous said...

Johnson embarrassment to madison county.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why he is backing Murphy....this destroying him.... I don't get it.

Kingfish said...

Why did Brunini and Johnson show up? Sounds like someone might have cooked up a scheme to use Murphy as a front for a bingo operation.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Not only does Murphy pay himself and Tim Johnson hefty sums, many of the supposed "charitable donations" are actually donations to his arts friends. Additionally, he loves to take his friends out and have FAIM pay for it. He is living it up on the Bingo income. They should really research WHO the charity donations are actually going to.

Kingfish said...

Took that one down because it crossed the line in a few places.

Anonymous said...

I heard the Gallo show yesterday morning and I could not stop crying Bill and the Art's/Bingo gang has destroyed that young lady's life. They need to pay dearly.

Anonymous said...

Sabrina Wright is a hero in all this political scheme. I heard from some freinds of Murphy that he pays himself and his freinds to write music for the charity that he refers to as his retirement plan. I met him once In Hattieburg at an event and he bragged on how he paid for the entire show and how he was the biggest sponser USM has. In my opinion he is a smart mouth jerk. I don't know if that last statment cross the line but sue me!!! Great Site bye the way..

Anonymous said...

Silbrina Wright.

Anonymous said...

The FAIM website says it's hired Jack Kyle as Director of Cultural Development. Someone better tell him to "hit the road, Jack", before he's caught up in this. He probably has NO clue what's been going on.


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