Sunday, March 21, 2010

Past Executive Director of Ethics Commission destroyed "large number of old files"

I recently submitted a public records request to the Ethics Commission for an opinion issued back in 1990. The complaint at the time was filed by Governor Mabus against Adjutant General Farmer. I received a letter from Tom Hood, the Executive Director, informing me the records no longer existed. The letter stated: "We have searched our records, but we cannot find any complaints or investigative files which are that old."

Mr. Hood continues: "My tenure at the Ethics Commission began in 2003. I am told that several years ago my predecessor had a large number of old files destroyed." Mr. Hood also stated such files are often confidential and can not be released but in this particular instance, the file did not exist. The Department of Archives and they do not have any records of the case either.

Mr. Hood has been a very able Executive Director and is very proactive on the issue of public records. Indeed, there have been times I've thought the wrong brother was serving as Attorney General. His candor and quick response to my request is greatly appreciated. However, the fact a previous director took it upon himself to throw out old files and not leave any record of their existence is troubling, to say the least. Previous opinions can serve as precedent when similar situations occur. In the case at hand, it is simply inexcusable for a Director to destroy all records about a case that received such attention. The issue of public officials using insider knowledge to obtain favorable land deals will undoubtedly arise in the future and his actions should be considered nothing short of delinquent. The Ethics Commission exists to keep our leaders honest, not sweep their sins under the run in the interests of convenience.


Anonymous said...

I don't know about the complaint filed by Ray Mabus against AG Farmer, but I know he was right in relieving Farmer of his duties as the state Adjutant General of the National Guard. Can you share with us why you wanted to see the complaint?

Kingfish said...

You will know soon enough and its not related to any previous subjects. Something new.

Anonymous said...

Records of the Ethics Commission have been destroyed?
Records that K.F. wanted are some of those destroyed?

"Previous opinions can serve as precedent when similar situations occur. In the case at hand, it is simply inexcusable for a Director to destroy all records about a case that received such attention."

I'm inclined to agree with you, but will withhold judgment until you reveal the newest scoop.

In the mean time there is a song with lyrics that fit by LynyRd SkynYrd...."That smell" goes
"...Ooh, ooh that smell.
Can't you smell that smell?..."

Anonymous said...

Effective in 1981, no one could destroy records without the consent of the Director of Archives and History. Permission was (I think) implicit if the agency had an approved retention policy on file with A&H that specified when certain categories of records would be destroyed.

I'd be really curious if there was a policy on file, OR if permission was given outside of a filing. Knowing Elbert Hilliard, I have a hard time seeing either.

The fine for improper destruction of records isn't that big, unfortunately -- $500-$1000 (§29-59-23), and it doesn't appear to be per-record.

Anonymous said...

I think Tom Hood is the brother in law of AG.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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