Saturday, December 31, 2011

Iowa thread

Here are some of the latest videos from Iowa. Enjoy. ;-)


This one is a parody and pretty funny:

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Does any of this sound familiar?

"Recently released results from the Baltimore Convention Center Hotel show rising room receipts in 2010 were not enough to cover a $11.5 million loss, the fourth consecutive year of red ink for the property heralded as the savior of the city’s still sagging convention business.

The hotel also failed to meet projections consultants used to sell the deal to the City Council in 2005. This year the hotel collected 27 percent less than projected for each room sold and fell 36 percent below projections for the crucial Revenue Per Room statistic, or REVPAR, which often determines a hotel’s potential for profitability....

Heywood Sanders, an urban planning professor from the University of San Antonio Texas, said significantly missing projections used to forecast debt service on the $305 million bonds sold to finance construction of the project could indicate the corporation which runs the hotel might have trouble meeting interest payments in the future.

“The fact is that the hotel is only selling three-quarters of the rooms that the consultants projected at this point,” Sanders said.

Along with failing to meet projections, Sanders said that his analysis of the most recent financial statements raises questions about the project’s ability to make interest payments on the bonds without dipping into reserves.....

Thus far the hotel has racked up a $42 million deficit in roughly three-and-a-half years of operation.

The hotel was approved in 2005 by the City Council after the Baltimore Development Corporation convinced a divided council the project was crucial to making the city’s Convention Center more competitive. However, since the hotel opened, the city's Convention Center business has dropped.

Besides depreciation, the project adds property taxes it does not have to pay, the result of tiff or tax property deferment to its revenues, a move which actually adds a paper gain to the hotel’s results...." Article

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Friday, December 30, 2011

Bring in the New Year at Olga's

Enjoy New Year's Eve at Olga's. Olga's will offer two seatings at 6:00 & 9:30. The first seating is a three-course dinner at $45 per person with live piano music. The second seating offers a limited menu. A $10 cover charge includes champagne toast, party favors, and music by Ronnie McGee & The Boys. Call 601-366-1366 for reservations (Required).

This post is a paid advertisement.

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The latest from 2 Gutta. Enjoy.

Warning: Explicit language.

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City & JRA had no marketing study on hotel?

Ted Carter reports in the Mississippi Business Journal:

"A Jackson Redevelopment Authority board so eager to get a developer on board to build Jackson’s $96 million convention hotel met the day before Thanksgiving to issue a request for proposals with a reply period cut down from 30 to 15 days.

But when a second developer entered the picture — Journeyman Austin Holdings of Austin, Texas — board members got cold feet and decided Dec. 16 to bag proposals from both Journeyman Austin and Transcontinental Realty Investors, a Dallas real estate investment trust with which two Jackson mayoral administrations, including Harvey Johnson’s, have sought to negotiate a public-private development. Authority members say they needed more time to scrutinize the proposals and could not do so within the tight timeframe they were working under.

This time around, Johnson brought a deal close to completion only to see it scrapped in the late going. He vowed last week to renew efforts to get a deal done. “Getting a convention center hotel is still a priority for this administration and we will continue to work to make it a reality,” Johnson said in a statement issued by spokesman Chris Mims.

Regular readers of JJ are familiar with the hotel saga. There is an interesting tidbit of information at the end of the story. Apparently the city and JRA never looked at a marketing study:

"City officials were prepared to proceed with the TCI partnership despite not having a market feasibility study done on its behalf. TCI said a market study performed for it by PKF provided assurances that hotel revenues could cover the hotel’s bond debt.

Now, however, city officials are saying the Jackson Redevelopment Authority was responsible for having the hotel market examined and determining whether a convention hotel could pay for itself. “We relied on JRA and its board to vet the deal,” Johnson said in the statement his office issued.

The JRA never commissioned a market feasibility study. The study for which it contracted with H.C. Johnson Consulting of Chicago assessed marketing opportunities and suggested market strategies, say representatives of both the firm and Redevelopment Authority
." Rest of article

So does this mean Harvey was pushing a deal that awarded millions of dollars in fees to his um, associates, while not even "vetting" the deal? Is the Mayor once again placing the blame for TCI somewhere else? I seem to remember the Mayor pushing the deal as hard as he could. Did I miss something here?

Meanwhile Westin announces they will build a hotel on the site of the Mississippi Valley Title building with little public money. Nice.

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Thursday, December 29, 2011


Kenneth Stokes missed his own swearing-in ceremony. I swear he will miss his own death.

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Pro-Tem going to be Brown

"COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) - State Senator Terry Brown (R-17) of Columbus is likely to become the next Senate President Pro Tempore.

According to sources close to Lt. Governor-elect Tate Reeves, Brown is his choice to take the position, now held by Sen. Billy Hewes.

While not official, since Brown must be elected by the majority (GOP) party caucus and confirmed by the entire senate, it appears, with the backing of the Lt. Governor-elect, that he'll move into the spot when the senate reconvenes in 2012." Article

Supposedly it came down to Dean Kirby or Terry Brown. The other gentleman from Columbus made good after all. ;-) No word yet on what the chairmanship assignments will be. One little question speculated about by insiders is what do do about Hob Bryan. You see,he is considered soooooo much smarter than most of the Senate. There is one school of thought that he should be given a committee, you know, bring him in the fold, keep him happy sort of thing since he can be such a dangerous opponent. Then there is the other school which is treat him like any other Democrat and put him out in the cold.

My advice? Yes, he is very smart, yes, he has a great deal of procedural and institutional knowledge that enables him to run rings around his opponents. Yes, he can be very vindictive. However, the Lieutenant Governor-elect should put him on the outside. The Bryant team played the get along game last year and for their troubles they got to see Mr. Bryan dominate Terry Burton and the rest of the redistricting committee to the point where Phil had to fight to kill his own committee's plan. A source of no small embarrassment to the Republican Party. They can engage in detente with Mr. Bryan all they want. They give him a chairmanship and engage in other acts of so-called smart politics. All to the applause of most of the media. The problem is Mr. Bryan is very mercurial and well, will get his panties in a wad over a real or imagined slight and turn on his Republican benefactors in a heartbeat. They will regret the day they decided to be statesmen. Better to treat him as the rest of the Democrats. Treat him with respect, treat him as a fellow Senator, but make him earn any favors before he receives them. If statesmen the new leadership wants to be, there are better Democrats appoint.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Canton Estates files new eviction suit over video

Warning: Video is very disturbing. The "N" word is used repeatedly.

Canton Estates Apartments sued to evict the parent of a participant in a very disturbing rap video posted on Youtube. The lawsuit was filed in Madison County Court in November against the parent of a participant in a very disturbing rap video seen on Youtube. The video included the frequent use of firearms and several small children were present in the video. The apartment complex filed several eviction actions in Madison County Justice Court in October but withdrew the lawsuits.

The video is rather shocking in nature, as 25-30 black youths and children lip-synced "Welcome to my Hood". Guns repeatedly brandished. Small children always present throughout the video. Roughly half the youths in the video are shirtless. The song uses the word "nigga" over and over. Canton Estates is owned by North Mart Corporation, which is in turn operated by Bruce and Carol Kirkland. The same Bruce Kirkland who owns Baymeadow Apartments in Ridgeland. Canton Estates is also listed by HUD as a recipient of Section 8 payments.

The complaint names Jennifer Williams and her son Clyde Jones as the defendants. It states they produced a video that used the Canton Estates signs, repeatedly waved deadly weapons in the air in a "threatening manner", used vulgar and abusive language in the video, and the "use of intimidation". The complaint states their lease was terminated but they refuse to vacate the premises.

This correspondent obtained through a public records request copies of emails between HUD and Canton Estates (See documents posted below). HUD inquired about the video in an email to Canton Estates on June 16:

"A Youtube video is circulating around town that was filmed at Canton Estates- rather disturbing that it was staged with guns withe the large clips in the video. Please review the video and lets talk. Thanks"

Canton Estates replied:

"I have spoken with the Manager of the complex who was not aware of the video and who is appalled that it occurred. ... It appears that the police cars used in the video were actually called to the complex to break up the loitering. We are in touch with the Madison County Sheriff Department and other residents to continue our investigation. Management will take immediate action to those residents involved in this disturbance."

Local attorney Damon Stevenson represented the defendants and told several tv stations police were present to "supervise". It would appear Mr. Stevenson is not telling the truth as sources at the Madison County Sheriff Department have confirmed the information provided to HUD by Canton Estates. HUD sent another email on June 28:

"Management has asked me for an update on your investigation. I would appreciate any information that you have."

Canton Estates replied it had "identified eight residents in the video" and was preparing "termination notices." Canton did file termination notices but the sweet and innocent residents lawyered up as Mr. Stephenson sent a letter to the manager on July 25, 2011:

"As you should be aware, my clients received a 30 day notice of lease termination on June 30, 2011. The letter stated my clients and/or members of their household violated the lease agreement due to certain members of their household being identified in a video titled "Welcome to my Hood."

While my clients and their family members deny any wrongdoing, my office is interested in knowing why only certain individuals received lease termination letters when the video featured "an exorbitant number of individuals." Additionally, my office has seen no proof that "weapons" were real and not props. Your letter states the video was filmed without the knowledge or permission of management. However, nothing in the lease agreement states that the use of recording equipment requires prior management approval..."

My office is only attempting to put you on notice that we do not believe any of my clients have committed a substantial breach of their lease agreement and therefore my clients do not intend to vacate their apartment units or increase their monthly rents. Please understand that ANY attempt to prevent my clients from exercising their lawful right to enjoy the use and possession of their apartment units without a valid court order will result in immediate legal action from my office against Canton Estates Apartments..

The hearing is set for January 11 at 9:00 AM. Judge Ratcliffe will preside.

Justice Court complaints. Withdrawn.

Part II of earlier complaints.

Editorial comment: The media covered this story after it was posted on this website but lets just say the coverage was not exactly critical in nature. Here is one reporter who contemplates auditioning for groupie: WAPT story. David Kenney over at WLBT was not much better. Funny how they didn't ask the yewts to reproduce the "fake" guns. I'll say it right now, Mr. Stevenson is lying and those were real guns in the video. They also couldn't wait to report they were no longer facing eviction.

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Is Rye making a comeback?

The Wall Street Journal published a little essay last week promoting the virtues of Rye whiskey:

"Rye is damn good stuff. Think of it as bourbon's edgier cousin. Where bourbon is primarily made of corn, giving the whiskey a smooth and sweet flavor profile, rye is at least 51% of its namesake grain, lending it a spicier, fuller bodied, angular taste. If you like bourbon, but want to try something with more muscle, you need to get yourself some rye.

Although it's America's first whiskey—George Washington distilled it and bottles were as good as cash in 18th-century Pennsylvania—rye steadily fell out of popularity after Prohibition. It wasn't until the early 2000s that it became repopularized thanks mostly to craft bartenders who liked rye's robust flavors in cocktails, as well as its historical accuracy—rye was the original whiskey in classics like the Manhattan and the Sazerac...." Rest of essay

Briarwood has the following Rye's:
Old Overholt 12.99
Jim Beam Rye 18.29
Bulleit Rye 21.99
RI 1 39.99

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Monday, December 26, 2011

Winners & Losers of 2011

Seems like Christmas 2010 was just yesterday but here we are, the end of yet another year. Since everyone else is into lists, I thought I would try my hand at it. Feel free to fire away in comments.


Haley Barbour
: Changed the Governor's office to one of strength by using the special session and a Republican Lieutenant Governor to get his agenda passed. Had some controversy nearly a year ago over remarks about the Citizen's Council. Brushed it all off to teach the legislature who was boss yet again and make Billy McCoy's last year miserable. Next up: Leading American Crossroads to repeat the success he had leading the RGA. Will he become a Chief of Staff if the Republicans take the White House?

Phil Bryant
: Completely botched redistricting and had to be saved by Haley and Delbert. Rebounded to crush his opposition in the primary and general elections. Questions remain if his two advisers, Quentin Dickerson and Josh Gregory, will retain their influence in the new administration.

Joe Nosef: Strong team player for Haley, then Phil, now stands in line to assume Chairmanship of Mississippi GOP.

Arnie Hederman
: The "numbers guy" led the Mississippi GOP to unprecedented success in taking over the House and keeping the Senate. Finally lined up voters voting for GOP Presidential nominees over and over with voting for legislators.

Tyrone Lewis: First black Sheriff of Hinds County. All jokes made at his expense aside, he came back from being demolished by Sheriff Mac four years ago to redemption on election day. Started putting out signs and getting endorsements in February. He went after Mac and didn't cede any votes. Will he realize he is now bigger than the powerbroker wannabe's such as Chokwe that supported him or will they run him is the question.

Frank McCorder: Everyone laughed at The pundits thought it was cute but useless. The Democrats planned on a fight for the next speaker between Bobby and Cecil. The Firemccoy effort took hold and became reality. Assumed operation of GOP mouthpiece Y'all Politics.

Robert Graham
: Shook off months of bad press coverage, exposure of votes for sweetheart deals, and won re-election by a bigger margin despite being disliked by a strong part of the so-called black power structure in Jackson. Having Bennie on your side helps.

Majority in Mississippi: became the premier website for election analysis in Mississippi this year. Provided detailed coverage of redistricting that left the regular media in the dust. Now that elections are over, can Mr. Kitteridge replicate his success in 2012?

Will Longwitz: Shook off an embarrassing loss for county court judge with a list of rookie mistakes and ran to replace Walter Michel against a Barbour. No family name, no political background, just a fighting heart and a will to win carried him through a bruising fight to victory on election day.

The Score 620: Clearchannel gods decreed non-Clearchannel stations in Jackson will no longer carry Clearchannel programming. The Score thus got Limbaugh and Hannity radio shows.

Josh Gregory & Quentin Dickerson: Made millions off of Haley with the Frontier Strategies gravy train. Jumped that ship to get a ride with Phil. Made over half a million dollars off of the Bryant campaign while lobbying out of Phil's office in the legislature as they became the gatekeepers for Phil. Now that Phil has moved up, they will be the two players to watch.

Lobbyists: Power is expected to move back to the legislature as Phil is not considered to be as strong a leader as Haley, lobbyists are licking their chops.

Dick Hall: Elvis, no problem. Bennie & Marshand- I'll take you on, not raise as much money, and still beat you. Hall took nothing for granted and ran scared from day one. Paid off with two election victories.

Randy Tucker: Took on a sitting police chief of largest city in Madison County and won even though he had less money.

Jim Hood: Did it his way. Raised a ton of money, didn't pull any punches, and kicked Simpson's ass.

Hayes Dent& Lynn Fitch: Backed an unknown candidate for Treasurer, ran her campaign, and surprised everyone who didn't think a woman who once worked for Democrats stood a chance in this race. She campaigned hard and early, spent every dime raised, and left nothing on the table come election day.

Fight against animal cruelty: Managed to get a felony component added to current law.

Mississippi Farm Bureau: got its eminent domain initiative passed and won in its fight to keep a first-offense animal cruelty law off of the books.

The Gang of Five in Madison: Karl, Rudy, Eric, Tim, and Paul. Managed to get their way on everything this year then pulled off a redistricting coup as they redrew the lines after the qualifying deadlines to put strong opponents in other districts. Survives audit by Pickering's office.

Tate Reeves: Treasurer for eight years, seen more and more as someone in the Haley mold. Now has the Senate. Set a record in fund-raising and beat Phil's man Billy Hewes in a race that got nasty at times.

David Watkins: got city to provide help for Farish Street project in the form of bonds and removed any meaningful opposition on council by hiring Quentin Whitwell.

Delbert Hoseman: Took heat for it but saved Phil Bryant on redistricting.

Anna Rogers: Ole Miss grad, finance director for Tate Reeves, promoted to finance director for American Crossroads. Major promotion.

Johnny Dupree: Had the guts to run for Governor, ran his campaign with class, and earned a great deal of respect in the process. Mr. Dupree lost but showed one could get votes and respect without acting like Barbara Blackmon.

Elizabeth Crisp: Clarion-Ledger reporter earns her chops covering state politics and becomes the leading journalist at the "state newspaper".

Les Miles: 13-0. SEC Champs. Honey Badger. Beat Saban in his own house. His own players.

Byram Police Chief Luke Thompson: Stands up to Hinds BOS and against wasting more money on Graham cronies and wins.

WLBT: Leaves other media in town in dirt on investigative journalism. Might be why they are number one in ratings, hint, hint.

Chokwe Lamumba: Led the charge for Tyrone Lewis. Flexed his political muscle as he gears up to run for Mayor in 2013.


Mississippi Democrats
: Lost the House. Didn't even field a full slate of candidates. Complete embarrassment at all levels.

Northeast Mississippi: McCoy. Holland. Musgrove. Mabus. Tuck. et al. Northeast Mississippi dominated Mississippi politics much the same way the Delta used to decades ago. No more. Power now passes to Central Mississippi: Gunn-Clinton, Reeves- Rankin, Fitch- Madison, Bryant- Rankin, Hoseman- Hinds.

Steve Palazzo: Staffers embarrass him. High-profile turnovers in office. Rumors wife meddles too much in its management. Taylor may want rematch. One-hit wonder?

Ole Miss: Football team quits early in the season. More ineptitude from Boone as he allows Nutt to stay on even as he announces he is leaving. Boone shows an inability to get even basic things right as an award is given to a professor at the Alabama game whose family is wearing...Bama jerseys. Pretty bad when your opponent is beating you so bad he calls it quits with five minutes to go by taking a knee. Only thing missing was the Honey Badger taking a nap on the sidelines.

WFMN: Supertalk Mississippi went waaaaay over the line for Phil Bryant and especially Billy Hewes. Now the gravy train in advertising dollars they get from the state is probably going to stop. Davenport probably squirming right now.

more layoffs. Worse coverage. Staff laid off while managers and editors who have been there for decades remain. Makes decision to use Facebook for comments only to see comments dry up. Continues to show inability to use new media as reporting itself continues to slip. Candidates used social media and blogs more and more to render the newspaper more irrelevant.

Lucien Smith: Had huge fund-raising lead and didn't even make the primary for Treasurer. Poor ads and little name recognition.

George Smith: pummeled by media coverage and exposure of votes for questionable deals. Bad enough but then to finally lost to Kenny Stokes. Ouch.

Hinds County Board of Supervisors: Awarded illegal contract to Derrick Johnson for redistricting. Kept map secret, didn't publicize notices for hearings. Spent millions on companies owned by cronies while the county goes in the hold over $5 million. No problem, just borrow next year's taxes. Meanwhile police are unable to get equipment they need while Airwave gets a $94,000 payment the same day.

Mac: Refused repeated pleas to run as an Independent. Attracted critical media coverage after storming out of forum at New Horizon. Didn't campaign much until the last few weeks.

Dave Dennis campaign staff
: Ran one of the weakest campaigns for governor in memory. Took a candidate who serves at the Federal Reserve and tried to use him in a cherry picker a la Mick Jagger. Didn't attack Phil until the end and wasted Bryant mistakes during the legislative session.

Jackson Free Press: endorsed candidates lose. Paper becomes known as a Harvey mouthpiece and noted for its refusal to cover negative stories about the Hinds County Board of Supervisors. Stories broken rarely make next level of media coverage.

Jimmy Houston: Chief of largest police department in Madison County but quits after Hatch Act questions raised. Raises much more money than his opponents. Wins the primary. Then makes an ass of himself at the Haute Pig because there were Randy Tucker signs at the restaurant to much media play. Didn't help another Mayor was fired up working against him.

Ablene Cooper: Good job. Don't read The Help until much later. Have a meltdown in front of cameras after Tomie Green of all judges ruled you really dropped the ball.

Staffers for Billy Hewes: Several decided to geaux nasty and dirty on Tate during campaign, now they get to be on the receiving end of what they dished out. Word is its not pretty right now. Woe to those who have clients needing help in the Senate.

Steve Simpson: Ran against Hood on Obamacare. Can't make that up. No mention of Scruggs in campaign. No mention of Ed Peters. Didn't raise much money and made repeated mistakes. Might be able to rebound from that with a clerkship in the House. Um, Phillip, why aren't you looking at Pete Perry?

Y'all Politics: Went to Facebook log-in. Comments disappeared and the site was rarely discussed in this year's election coverage. When will YP and the CL learn: Facebook is not a magic bullet for abusive comments but it is a magic bullet for killing comments and traffic.

Rankin County School Board and Superintendent: Gave themselves Ipads and drew heat for it. Super hires relatives. Board tries to pass a $170 million bond issue and gets creamed for it. First time Facebook is used so effectively for a political cause in Jackson area for a local issue as the bond issue goes down in flames.

John Burwell: Harborwalk still not happening. Gets arrested twice.

Northeast Jackson: Burglaries up 60% for the last two years while they drop for everyone else. Property values start to drop, more rentals appear on the market. Harvey tries to stop residents from using public access gates and other security measures. Meanwhile their councilman has to recuse himself whenever David Watkins comes to council for more money... and gets it.

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Don't talk to the cops.

Since its the party, oops I meant holiday season, I'm reposting these videos from a few years ago. Long videos but worth watching and very educational. The second video is very good as the speaker, a very experienced police officer, discusses some of the tricks they use to get confessions.

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Holiday humor

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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Have a football craving?

Here's a good one to tide you over until kickoff tonight.

Kelly and Thomas were on the sidelines. Whole second half is on youtube. just keep following along when clip ends.

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Ghosts of Christmas past

Nothing like a ticked off MJ on Christmas Day.

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Some Christmas music


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Charlie Brown & Christmas

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Merry Christmas (NSFW)

Here is a little Christmas cheer for you. Not safe for work or kids. Enjoy.

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What's the scoop?

Hearing rumblings about a large number of terminations at the Nissan plant. Anyone know anything? Feel free to shoot me an email if you do.

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Friday, December 23, 2011

Olga's open Christmas Eve. Gift certificates available.

No time to cook? Want to enjoy a nice dinner after evening services or Midnight Mass? Olga's is open Christmas Eve. Call 601-366-1366 for reservations.

Last-minute shopping? Olga's has gift certificates available. If you can't make it to Olga's, the family of Olga's wishes you a Merry Christmas.

This post is a paid advertisement.

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TOLD YA!!! TCI never made payment on Jackson loan

WJTV coverage

The Clarion-Ledger reported today the city of Jackson is taking steps to gain title to the land next to the convention center owned by TCI:

"The city of Jackson took its first step Thursday to formally end a partnership with a Dallas-based developer that lasted more than three years but failed to produce a full-service hotel to serve the Jackson Convention Complex.

That process could include litigation regarding how Transcontinental Realty Investors will repay a $6.7 million federal loan the city says the company has defaulted on.

The City Council voted 4-0 to authorize city officials "to take any and all action necessary" to resolve any remaining issues and wind down an agreement between the city and TCI to build a 16-story, 309-room hotel across from the convention center

However, the article included this tidbit of information:

"He said TCI hasn't made any principal payments on $6.7 million of a $10 million Housing and Urban Development loan issued in 2008 to a local subsidiary, TCI MS Investments, to help developers acquire land for the project.

The loan was twice modified afterward to cover architectural fees and other costs, Teeuwissen said.

He couldn't immediately say why TCI hasn't made any payments, but indicated developers had told the city those payments would be made once a deal to build the hotel was finalized.

Developers never used the remaining $3.3 million in the loan, city spokesman Chris Mims said."

I knew it. I knew it I knew it, I knew it. I knew when I read their lawsuits and financial statements they had already done something on this deal, the question was what. Now we know. I heard about the default last week but was unable to confirm it with anyone on the record and didn't feel comfortable publishing the information without further verification. Now before the commercial realtors get up in arms, I know it is common practice for commercial borrowers to make interest-only payments some time while development takes place.

However, we are not talking about most commercial borrowers but TCI. They have not made an principal payments and nearly 100% leveraged. During public hearings their representatives have given evasive answers about their ownership and financial condition.

Well, I can tell you what is coming down the turnpike. Don't be surprised if TCI MS follows the practice of other TCI subsidiaries and files bankruptcy. That will allow them to tie Jackson up for a while where TCI will eventually lose the case or force Jackson into a settlement more to its liking. In fact, I will say it now: Jackson, go get yourself a good bankruptcy lawyer. Based on my Evans case observations, I'll even make a few recommendations: Richard Montague, Kristina Johnson, John Corlew, and since he won a few rounds, Scott Jones of Adams & Reese. I would recommend Jeff Rawlings but since he busted a couple of Bennie's cronies in bankruptcy court, that is probably not a good idea. TCI's share price is $1.64 and the market cap is $13.8 million.

Then there is this comment by KIM Waaaaaaaaaaaade in the comments section:

"The Hud 1 statement(s) cites the City of Jackson as the Lender. Hud involvement only raises the stakes re:liability. TCI assembled the acreage drawing on a $7 million dollar line of credit from City of Jackson. It bought property from several entities including JRA at prices that doesn't appear to be supported by comps.(I am not suggesting the initial sellers did anything wrong).

However, one plot of land sold for $135,000. Then 20 mins later a contiguous plot of land sold for $1.5 million dollars at the same closing table.
Best I can tell from the docs I've seen. We're talking about a total of 9 acres. The hotel land is about 4+/- acres. The question is will TCI get to keep the other acres bought with taxpayer money.

In this recent effort to build a hotel. The city was ready to pay TCI $14 million for the 4+/- acres. This would have paid off TCI's $7 million loan.And at closing TCI would have walked away with $7 million dollars at closing. Again, I've seen no appraisal to justify these numbers at this point.

They need to put crime scene tape around those closing docs. This whole thing is a Sandusky shower scene for the citizens of Jackson. We might come out of there clean. But we won't be able to sit down for a week.... "

Earlier posts about convention center hotel:
JRA rejects hotel proposals and says see ya next year
Earlier post about financial statements
Developer makes bid cheaper than TCI
More info on hotel deal
TCI pays all late taxes one day before vote
More TCI lawsuits
Kingfish discusses hotel deal on WJNT
Meet Jackson's new partner. Bankruptcy. Alleged mortgage fraud. Straw companies. Who cares?

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Live from Greenwood

From the Greenwood Christmas parade:

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Heeeeeeeeeeeeere's Greg Davis

Yup. He made The Tonight Show. Enjoy.

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Fox40 on Hinds rejecting police requests

Fox40 reported on Hinds County rejecting requests from police departments to purchase radio equipment because it raided the E911 funds to pay for other bills:

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Is Zachie gettin a new toy?

Looks like Zach and family might be getting a new toy:

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

SEIU leader: We should copy the commies in China.

Union Dictator and Obama pal Andy Stern penned a little essay in the Wall Street Journal last week. Lets just say the American labor movement has come a long way since the days of George Meany and Lane Kirkland fighting communism as Stern advocates we copy the Chicoms. We've seen his kind before back in the 1930s when Joe Kennedy and Henry Ford thought the Nazis had a great system and useful idiots like the New York Times and George Bernard Shaw thought Stalin and the forced collectivization genocide was a great thing. Since a few generations have passed, its time to repeat the cycle yet again:

"I was part of a U.S.-China dialogue—a trip organized by the China-United States Exchange Foundation and the Center for American Progress—with high-ranking Chinese government officials, both past and present. For me, the tension resulting from the chorus of American criticism paled in significance compared to reading the emerging outline of China's 12th five-year plan. The aims: a 7% annual economic growth rate; a $640 billion investment in renewable energy; construction of six million homes; and expanding next-generation IT, clean-energy vehicles, biotechnology, high-end manufacturing and environmental protection—all while promoting social equity and rural development.

Some Americans are drawing lessons from this. Last month, the China Daily quoted Orville Schell, who directs the Center on U.S.-China Relations at the Asia Society, as saying: "I think we have come to realize the ability to plan is exactly what is missing in America." The article also noted that Robert Engle, who won a Nobel Prize in 2003 for economics, has said that while China is making five-year plans for the next generation, Americans are planning only for the next election...

The conservative-preferred, free-market fundamentalist, shareholder-only model—so successful in the 20th century—is being thrown onto the trash heap of history in the 21st century. In an era when countries need to become economic teams, Team USA's results—a jobless decade, 30 years of flat median wages, a trade deficit, a shrinking middle class and phenomenal gains in wealth but only for the top 1%—are pathetic.

This should motivate leaders to rethink, rather than double down on an empirically failing free-market extremism. As painful and humbling as it may be, America needs to do what a once-dominant business or sports team would do when the tide turns: study the ingredients of its competitors' success. ...

While we debate, Team China rolls on. Our delegation witnessed China's people-oriented development in Chongqing, a city of 32 million in Western China, which is led by an aggressive and popular Communist Party leader—Bo Xilai. A skyline of cranes are building roughly 1.5 million square feet of usable floor space daily—including, our delegation was told, 700,000 units of public housing annually.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government can boast that it has established in Western China an economic zone for cloud computing and automotive and aerospace production resulting in 12.5% annual growth and 49% growth in annual tax revenue, with wages rising more than 10% a year.

For those of us who love this country and believe America has every asset it needs to remain the No. 1 economic engine of the world, it is troubling that we have no plan—and substitute a demonization of government and worship of the free market at a historical moment that requires a rethinking of both those beliefs.
..." Rest of column

A labor leader promoting a political system and economy built on slave labor. Its a good thing George Meany is not around to see it.

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Latest crime stats

Jackson crime stats for week ending December 11, 2011.

Jackson major crimes overview for week ending December 11, 2011.

Violent crime dropped 7% from a year ago (YTD) and property crime fell 4%. The big number in Precinct 4 - home burglaries- increased 11% YTD. This is an improvement believe it or not as the total for home burglaries in Precinct 4 increased by at least 30% for most of the year. 11% means there were 78 more house burglaries than a year ago (YTD).

City of Madison through November 16, 2011.

Byram crime reports through December 17, 2011.

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Hinds to police needing money: See ya next year.

Warning: Former Crystal Springs mayor Dan Gibson and current insurance agent Dan Gibson is singing Christmas carols at the beginning of clip 1. The meeting starts at 21:00. That's right, you have 20 minutes of Dan Gibson singing. Enjoy.

Request made for $13 million for Old Capital Green project at 14:00 in clip 2. The board approved a $20 million loan from the Mississippi Development Authority to provide support for the project. Representatives of the project asked for a resolution for the funding.

Blake Wallace, Executive Director of the Hinds Economic Development Authority, recommended the county not commit the $13 million at that time but rather down the road when certain conditions were met. Mr. Wallace told the board (27:00) "I'm not comfortable with it unless you have language in there with guarantees you are not committing $13 million right now, that down the road you have the ability to say no, we are not going to do it. That's me. I haven't had an opportunity to look at all this, I haven't been involved in negotiations, but if you're committing yourself today to $13 million, our recommendation is that you do not do that...always leave yourself a way out." In other words, the County Economic Development Authority has not been involved in any negotiations over the Old Capital Green project (Editorial comment: One would think that agency would be involved in um, economic development.).

Continuation of Old Capital Green discussion. Discussion at 19:00 in clip 3 about audit of Sheriff's audit

Discussion begins at 26:00 about recommendations of E911 council for spending requests. Several law enforcement agencies requested funds from the E911 account to purchase new radios and other equipment. The council approved the requests and forwarded them to the board for consideration. The supervisors only approved the purchase of 5 portable and 5 mobile radio units for the Byram Fire Department and rejected all other. The rejections included a request from JPD to purchase radios for 35 new officers and 35 starting at the academy next month. The board also rejected requests from Raymond, Utica, Clinton, and Terry because there was not enough money in the account to pay for the nearly $600,000 in requests. Earlier post about E911 council meeting and recommendations

The board borrowed $635,000 from the E911 fund to pay other bills several times this year, including a $600,000 loan that morning.* E911 funds have to be used for purposes not related to 911 services. However, state law (Section 19-5-313) allows a county to borrow against the fund and pay it back at a later date (The Clarion-Ledger has a very good account of the discussion that you should read.). Superviser Phil Fisher said law enforcement was suffering because the board kept raiding the E911 fund to cover other bills. The fund had $3 million but expenses and loans are $3.4 million.

Regular business here.

*Jackson Jambalaya first raised this practice a year ago when the controversy over GPS-911 services arose. The board has treated the fund as line of credit as it "borrows" against the fund, repays it a few months later, borrows again, repays, and so on:

November 15, 2010: $2,000,000 loan
November 2, 2010: $400,00 loan
October 18, 2010: $650,000 loan
March 1, 2010: $2,300,000 repayment
February 1, 2010: $15,000 repayment

November 16, 2009: $235,000 loan
October 19, 2009: $2,700,000 loan
September 30, 2009: $1,550,000 repayment
August 31, 2009: $750,000 loan
July 20, 2009: $1,500,000 loan
March 2, 2009: $2,900,000 repayment
January 5, 2009: $500,000 loan

December 15, 2008: $600,000 loan
November 17, 2008: $2,500,000 loan
February 19, 2008: $2,220,000 repayment

December 17, 2007: $2,220,000 loan
October 15, 2007: $1,095 loan
February 20, 2007: $3,655,000 repayment
February 5, 2007: $155,000 loan
January 2, 2007: $730,000 loan

December 18, 2006: $2,300,000 loan
December 4, 2006: $700,000 loan
February 21, 2006: $2,560,000 repayment
February 6, 2006: $550,000 repayment
January 3, 2006: $550,000 loan

December 19, 2005: $2,540,000 loan
December 5, 2005: $100,000 loan
February 22, 2005: $2,100,000 repayment
January 4, 2005: $100,000 loan

December 20, 2004: $2,400,000 loan
March 1, 2004: $1,660,000 repayment
February 10, 204: $760,000 repayment
January 4, 2004: $760,000 loan

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

12 months to go

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Vann Leonard indicted.

A grand jury indicted former attorney Vann Leonard today for one count of embezzlement in the Downing estate.

Mr. Leonard currently resides in the Rankin County jail, courtesy of Judge Grant. The Chancellor imprisoned Mr. Leonard after he found him in contempt of court. An earlier JJ post reported the alleged embezzlement:

"Local attorney Vann Leonard is currently incarcerated in the Rankin County jail after a judge found him in contempt of court on May 5, 2011. Mr. Leonard was the attorney for the executrix of the estate of Bobbie Downing. Mr. Downing owned several properties. One property was sold after his death and the court permitted $111,925 to be placed in Mr. Leonard's trust account to satisfy expenses. Heir Samuel Downing asked for an accounting of the estate and the monies placed with Mr. Leonard. Mr. Downing filed a motion October 8, 2010 to compel an accounting of the estate. Mr. Downing pointed out Bobbie Downing died in 2005 and the estate still had not been inventoried due to the failure of the executrix and Vann Leonard to provide any information about the funds and accounts in their possession. The parties agreed to an order on December 10 to provide the accounting within thirty days (File is posted below.).

Well, what do you know but here comes Vann Leonard on January 4, 2011 with the "dog ate my homework" excuse. Mr. Leonard you see, would have loved to provide the accounting of the funds. He really wanted to help the court. The only problem is "On December 26, 2010, he discovered that his computer would not "start up" correctly, nor would it allow him to retrieve files recently stored on said computer." He even provided an affidavit from a techie signed on December 31, 2010 stating such was the case. Mr. Leonard asked for an extension to January 25, 2011.

April 15 rolled around and there was still no accounting by Mr. Leonard of the money deposited in his trust account. Mr. Downing filed a petition for an emergency hearing and temporary restraining order on April 15, 2011 (page 14 of the linked file). Mr. Downing argued the money was "in jeapordy of being stolen" after he learned of Mr. Leonard's conviction for embezzlement in the Shirley Douglas bankruptcy case and the lawsuit accusing him of embezzling proceeds from a life insurance policey meant for a widow in Madison County (I can't imagine how they found out about any of these events.). Mr. Downing asked for an immediate accounting, a return of all monies by Mr. Leonard, and a freezing of the estate's assets.

Mr. Leonard was notified of the hearing by telephone, fax, and email. The court granted the request on April 15 and froze all trust/escrow accounts of Mr. Leonard. Mr. Downing then filed a motion for contempt against Mr. Leonard on April 21. The motion accused Mr. Leonard of failing to comply with the order and that at a hearing on April 18 removing him as counsel for the executrix, he "would not provide any information regarding the subject funds or his trust account." The executrix also stated Mr. Leonard had not returned to her any documents about the estate. Mr. Downing asked the court to imprison Mr. Leonard and freeze his assets.

The court found Mr. Leonard in contempt of court and ordered his immediate incarceration in the Rankin County jail. The court decreed he will not be released until he pays the $111,925 to the court, provides all documents provided to him by the estate, and pays Mr. Downing $1,500 for attorney's fees. The court also froze all of his assets. This correspondent confirmed yesterday afternoon in a visit to the jail Mr. Leonard is still imprisoned."

Mr. Leonard was convicted of one count of embezzlement in federal court earlier this year after he absconded with $327,000 of a client's settlement that was supposed to be deposited with the bankruptcy court. It will not surprise this correspondent if more indictments are forthcoming. The Mississippi Bar has revoked his license to practice law and seized his files.

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Governor Barbour makes 2013 budget recommendations

From the Governor's office:

Gov. Haley Barbour urged the next administration and legislators to curb spending and streamline state services in the current slow economy in his Fiscal Year 2013 Executive Budget Recommendation. The fiscal year begins July 1.

The $5.48 billion budget would spend slightly less on state agencies than the current year budget. Gov. Barbour recommends an average 2.9 percent spending reduction for most agencies. Directors can better manage the reductions if granted lump sum budgeting and freedom from bureaucratic Personnel Board rules.

“Do not expect significant increases in revenue or spending in the coming years,” Gov. Barbour said in his proposed budget. “Mississippi, like other states, continues to feel the crunch from the weak national economy.”

He also urged legislators to resist old habits, such as shortchanging the state’s debt payments and cutting funding for job creation and revenue generating agencies, such as the Mississippi Development Authority and the Department of Revenue.

“The next administration and Legislature should build on these successes and resist falling back into old bad habits,” Barbour said. “Keep taxes on our families and businesses low to encourage investment in our economy. Do not arbitrarily underfund mandatory spending or the budgets of agencies that generate revenue and jobs for our state.”

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New poll

Favorite beers. Vote early and often. Could've gone crazy with listing so I included just brands. I'm sure some drink Michelob or bud with lime but I lumped them into other beers by AB or Miller-Coors. Same with Abita.

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Evans brothers get 14 & 20 years for largest mortgage fraud ever in Mississippi

Collection of all posts on the Evans case.

A federal court sentenced the Evans brothers to jail yesterday in the largest mortgage cause ever in Mississippi. U.S. District Judge Dan Jordan, III sentenced Chris Evans to 168 months and Charles Evans, Jr. to 240 months in prison for bank fraud and money laundering. The two brothers created over thirty companies to defraud over fifty banks to obtain approximately $80 million in mortgage loans. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst said "It was a fair sentence for the Bernie Madoffs". Judge Jordan also imposed a three-year term of supervised release after imprisonment and forbade either man from obtaining a line of credit without approval.

The two brothers sat passively through the hearing- sullen and resigned to their fates. Chris Evans looked older, more gaunt, than he did when first seen a year ago. He had been free on bond. Charles Evans looked the same as he did then- shackled in orange, looking ahead into space while the proceedings whirled around him.

Charles Evans, Jr. was an attorney approved by Mississippi Valley Title Insurance Company to provide title certificates to MVT and lenders showing a borrower had clear title to property. Chris used over 30 LLC's to obtain fraudulent loans from over 30 banks in Mississippi. Chris Evans would use one company to purchase a large tract of prime commercial real estate in Madison and Desoto Counties. Another company owned by Evans would obtain a commercial real estate mortgage on a smaller section of the tract yet that borrowing company never obtained a deed showing ownership of the land from the other company. Thus the smaller tract did not exist as the larger tract was never subdivided. Charles provided a title certificate however showing the borrowing company owned the land even though it didn't. The brothers used other LLC's to borrow $27 million from Texas banks to purchase properties in the Dallas area. Note to Clarion-Ledger: Mr. Evans did not work for Mississippi Valley Title (I imagine Scott had a conniption when he saw that one. ;-) ).

Over 80 loans for nearly $50 million were issued by Mississippi banks to companies owned by Chris Evans for lands those companies either did not own. Both Charles and Chris Evans filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy petitions. Mississippi Valley Title testified 65 title insurance claims for approximately $41 million have been filed by banks affected by the Evans case.

The court said the amount stolen was $27 million. This amount is not the same as the amount obtained through fraud by the Evans brothers. The Fifth Circuit ruled in U.S. v. Goss the damages for mortgage fraud cases had to be calculated after the property was returned to the lender and the value of the property was deducted from the amount gained through fraud (Example: Banks loans $100,000 to purchase a property. Borrower uses fraud to get loan. Bank gets land back but it is worth $80,000. Banks loss is only $20,000). The Evans brothers obtained $27 million in loans from Texas banks for properties in Texas. However, the Texas banks were able to foreclose on their collateral, thus mitigating the losses in Texas. Jackson Jambalaya reviewed the loans in an earlier post and exposed the fact the brothers had obtained over $80 million in mortgages.

Evans attorney John Collette made several objections to the loss amount, enhancement for using sophisticated means to commit fraud, and enhanced penalties for fraud. Judge Jordan overruled the objections as he said the brothers used over 30 companies to hide assets and agreed with the prosecution the fraud was a Ponzi scheme using banks and as an investment fraud it qualified for enhanced penalties.

An emotional Chris Evans told the court:

"When I first stepped across the line, I had good intentions. I never intended to hurt anyone, I got deeper and deeper. I was wrong, there is no excuse for it. I've disappointed society, my family and friends. What I did was wrong. Whatever is left of my life, if I can do anything constructive I will."

Charles Evans was more sullen and tight-lipped as he said "I accept full responsibility for what I have done. I was wrong."

That was his whole statement. No victims spoke but in a move that surprised everyone in the courtroom, bankruptcy trustee Derek Henderson addressed the court before sentencing. Mr. Henderson very forcefully told the court

"What offends me is these two are attorneys. They used their licenses as a member of the bar to do what they did. They want you to believe they did not line their pockets (Collette's argument)." Mr. Henderson said they abused the escrow account and lived off of it. He said although Chris Evans was compliant "they knew what they were doing, they were members of the bar, and that should offend this court" (Made me wish the bar would replace Kilgore and Waddell with this guy.).

Chris Evans will report to prison on February 21, 2012 at 12:00 PM. Charles Evans will remain in custody. Mr. Evans was arrested Memorial Day weekend in 2010 after he tried to reach for a gun in a gun bag when two marshals tried to apprehend him for for a bench warrant issued by the bankruptcy Court. Mr. Collette argued with a straight face if anything Mr. Evans "would have never pulled a gun on anyone" and if anything, "Mr. Evans was at risk." Several people in the audience fought to keep from laughing when hearing this statement. Judge Jordan said Mr. Evans actions during the arrest could be used to enhance the penalty. Judge Jordan also imposed an $18.5 million judgment against each brother


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Monday, December 19, 2011

Federal panels rules on congressional districts. NE Jackson stays with Harper. Maps included.

A three judge federal panel issued a redrawn congressional district map for Mississippi today. The members of the panel were Judges Henry Wingate, E. Grady Jolly, and David Bramlette. The plaintiffs requested the court move several precincts in Northeast Jackson to the second district. The panel kept Northeast Jackson and Belhaven in District 3. Precincts 1, 32, 33,34,35, 36, 37, 44, 45, 46, 9, and 79 all remained in the third district. Link to old maps

The racial composition of each district is:
District 1: 72.36% white, 2.62% black.
District 2: 36.29% white, 61.36% black
District 3: 64.19% white, 32.41% black
District 4: 74.50% white, 20.99% black

The target population for each district is 741,822. Defendant and current Secretary of State Delbert Hoseman stated in a press release tonight:

“The Congressional redistricting plan proposed by the Federal Panel will allow us to proceed with the 2012 Elections without preclearance from the Department of Justice. The Federal Panel has decreased the number of split counties from eight to four, did not split any precincts, and generally followed county lines existing for Congress. The Secretary of State will not file an objection to the Plan.”

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Evans brothers sentenced today.

U.S. District Judge Dan Jordan, III sentenced Charles Evans, Jr. to 20 years and Chris Evans to nearly 15 years in prison today after the two plead guilty to money laundering and bank fraud.

More to follow later.

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USM goes to the TV bowl.

I saw TV Bowl because that is where 99.5% of USM fans will have to see USM play its bowl game.I just checked Expedia for round trip flights to Honolulu from Jackson leaving Friday and coming back Monday. Cheapest ticket was $1,800 and had two connecting flights. Cheapest flight with one connection was $2,000. Flying out of New Orleans was $2,300 believe it or not. Memphis was $2,100. Yup Gianinni, there are a lot of Southern Miss fans who can and will spend four grand or more for two people, not counting kids of course, and spend another five hundred to a thousand dollars on hotel rooms to go support the Eagles.

When USM came up with the slogan anywhere, anytime, I don't think this is exactly what they meant.

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

JRA rejects hotel proposals and says start over.

Note: This is the actual write-up of the meeting and decision Friday. The post on Friday was an attempt to publish the videos as fast as possible.

The Jackson Redevelopment Authority voted Friday to reject all proposals for the construction of a convention center hotel. Chairman Ronnie Krudup said a request for proposals will be published in January. Journeyman Austin LLC and Transcontinental Realty (TCI) submitted the only proposals for the project. Austin Journeyman proposal, TCI proposal

The room was overflowing with attorneys, developers, and the media as the board struggled to reach a decision. WJTV, the Clarion-Ledger, and the Jackson Free Press covered the meeting. Journey Austin made the first presentation:

The proposals provided three options to the City. Austin projected either of the first two options to cost $75.5 million, substantially lower than the $90 million bid by TCI. Austin representatives said Go Zone bonds could be used but were not an absolute necessity as interest rates were low enough that there was little difference between the two types of bonds due to an "anomaly" in the markets. The proposal was based on 304 "keys" and presented three options. The options are (p.10-11 in proposal):

1. 1.84 acres of area bound by Farish, Lamar, Pascagoula, and Pearl streets.
2. Firestone property and the parking area to the south. Main problem with this option it is in the path of planned expansion of the convention center.
3. Re-use and expand the 12-story City Centre South Tower (old Skytel building). Cheaper than other two options since structure is already in place.

The owner of Austin provided a personal guarantee. Austin said it constructed 12 similar hotels in the last ten years. Austin also said its financing would include 10% from private equity.

Alred Crozier made the presentation for TCI. Mr. Crozier said the deal would not work without Go Zone bonds when asked directly if they were essential to close the deal. The bonds have generated some controversy as the deadline for Go Zone is December 31, 2011. The looming deadline caused several attorneys to back away from approving the deal for JRA, including long-time Zach Taylor of Walker Jones as well as leading bond lawyer firm Balch & Bingham. The TCI deal used the sale of $90 million in Go Zone bonds to finance the project.

The TCI proposal required the city to purchase the land from TCI and then lease the hotel to the company for ten years. The city sold the land to TCI in 2007 (Melton administration) and provided HUD financing to TCI for the purchase.

What was interesting was (15:56 in video below) was the questioning of TCI finances. Mr. Crozier said 85% of TCI was owned by one company, calling it a family trust. At first he would not provide the name. He said "we believe our stock price does not totally reflect the capitalization of the company and that due to accounting standards, the "value of the company far exceeded the shareholder price." The board member asked "who is it that owns that (meaning the 85% share or the family trust)?". Mr. Crozier said "well, its one company and there's family trusts, I couldn't tell you exactly, we've had our CFO here numerous times, he's gone over it with Porter.." Porter Bingham finally answered the question and said Gene Phillips was the majority owner. It is unknown why Mr. Crozier would not provide the name upon direct questioning by the board.

This is not the first time Mr. Crozier has used evasive language to answer questions about TCI finances. Mr. Crozier told councilman Quentin Whitwell in September TCI's future was "bright" when asked about the company's financial condition. In reality, TCI has lost over $50 million this year, $76 million last year, and $82 million in 2009. It has only turned a profit (small ones at that) three times in the last ten years. The company is leveraged at nearly 100%: assets of $1.2 billion and liabilities of $1.1 billion. Earlier post about TCI financial statements

Here is the TCI presentation. It starts at 1:15.

JRA attorney Zach Taylor (Walker Jones) informed the board he would not approve the deal with TCI and recused himself from the matter (See 27:11 of the above video and then the start of the video below. Very interesting discussion.). However, attorney Lucien Bourgouis (Butler Snow) told the board he would issue an opinion stated they had complied with the law and that the bonds have been "validly issued". The board then went into executive session and discussed the two proposals.

The board voted unanimously to reject both proposals (see video below). Board member John Reeves withdrew his recusal and voted with the rest of the board. Mr. Crudup said due to the "magnitude", "complexity", and "time frame", it would "reissue" a request for proposals in the first quarter of 2012.

Mr. Crudup took issue with a story printed that morning in the Clarion-Ledger reporting several "advisers" received substantial fees from both the city of Jackson and TCI. The newspaper reported:

"Several firms advising the city of Jackson on a convention-center hotel deal have been paid for various services by a development company that's been attempting to build the hotel for years.

Those firms have been paid at least $124,000 by Transcontinental Realty Investors of Dallas, Texas, according to emails obtained by The Clarion-Ledger.

The Jackson Redevelopment Authority today is expected to choose either TCI or a second developer to build a hotel across from the downtown Jackson Convention Complex. The deal would then require the city, through JRA, to issue nearly $90 million in bonds to fund the hotel project that is seen as essential to the revitalization of downtown.

At least one of the advisory firms has been selected to receive a personal services contract worth $1.6 million should the bonds for the deal be issued
." Article

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Happy belated birthday Frank.

Last week was Frank Sinatra's birthday. Wouldn't do to let is just pass by without remembering it so here are some of his tunes I selected. Enjoy.

Not in the clip but Johnny introduced him as "and now for our hoodlum singer"

Then there is the Rat Pack. Start at 6:38.

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

No comment.

From Comedy Central. Not safe for work or kids.

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JJ hit three million page views since June 1, 2010 this week. Just wanted to say think you for the support.

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Evans brothers sentenced Monday

Sentencing for Evans brothers has been reset for 1:00 PM Monday in Judge Jordan's courtroom.

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Fill in the blank.

State Auditor coming after you for some money: Trouble.
FBI coming after your ass: Big trouble.
Getting outed because you were stupid enough to spend money at gay adult stores and claim said purchases on city expense report: _____________.

Commercial Appeal story

Sure would hate to be an Alderman who voted to approve that claims docket. Now you peeps in Fondren see why Jeff Weill was always fighting Harvey over inspecting the claims docket.

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Breaking: JRA rejects both hotel proposals (Video)

JRA board just voted to reject both convention center hotel proposals and put out another rfp.

Update: I am uploading the videos right now but I am going to add each clip as it appears on Youtube. Here ya go:

Discussion on hotel starts at 25:22. You can skip over everything before it as its just introductory stuff and a discussion about the Porter building.

Journeyman Austin makes presentation at beginning of the video.

Journeyman Austin presented three options (See proposal below). Austin stated it could use either Go Zone bonds or regular bonds. Austin argued bond rates were low enough that it did not make much difference if either were used to finance the project. The cost of the first two options were $75.5 million. The third option is cheaper because it proposes using the old south Skytel building as part of the development.

TCI presentation starts at 1:16.

Discussion starts over which attorneys represent JRA on this matter. Gets interesting.

JRA announces decision to reject after meeting in executive session:

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City rejected hotel bid that was $75.5 million and only needed $67 million in bonds

Looks like Jackson is going with the more expensive of two proposals for the convention center hotel. WAPT reported a few nights ago:

"Two companies met Tuesday's deadline to submit proposals to build a convention center hotel in downtown Jackson.

TCI, of Dallas, is one of the companies, but the name of the second company was not released..." Story

JJ was able to obtain a copy of the other proposal and posted it below. The other developer is Journeyman Austin, LLC. It listed three options. The two main ones were $75.5 million each and only used $67.5 million in Go Zone bonds. The bid is substantially lower than the one submitted by TCI. However, the consultant for Jackson recommended the higher bid, stating it was the only one that offered full recourse to the city. The TCI bid requires the sale of $90 million in Go Zone bonds.

One observation about the hotel deal. JRA's long-time attorney refused to sign off on the deal. Balch & Bingham, the leading bond law firm in the state, refused to engage the city of Jackson on the deal as well. Not a good sign. Not a good sign at all.

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Murder Mystery at Olga's

Enjoy Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre this Sunday at Olga's at 6:00 PM. Reservations are available at 601-366-1366.

Olga's will be open Christmas Eve. Call now for reservations.

No time for last minute-shopping? Olga's can take care of your Christmas giving with gift certificates.

Click on flyer for more info on Murder Mystery.

This post is a paid advertisement.

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And the gnashing of teeth over PERS begins

First there is Cottonmouth:

"In a report issued this afternoon, the PERS Study Commission called for a freeze on cost of living adjustment (“COLA”) payments. This would mean that current retirees would continue to receive 13th checks but without any inflation adjustment. For public employees contemplating retirement, acceptance of the Governor’s Commission recommendation would mean no 13th check for three years after retirement.

After the three year freeze out, the Commission proposes inflation be tied to the Consumer Price Index rather than the current statutory rate. If the legislature were to accept this proposal it would mean a considerably lower payout for retirees than what they’re currently receiving.

There are other recommendations in the report that merit attention like the defined contribution plan study and the addition of more financiers to the PERS Board but we’ll give our public employees a chance to recover from the initial frozen COLA brain freeze before addressing those

If Cottonmouth is going to down this path, lets start being intellectually honest, something Cottonmouth is loathe to do. The COLA is NOT a cost of living adjustment. If it were, it would be tied directly to the inflation rate as is social security. Now, I tend to favor tying it to the Fed's headline inflation rate number instead of CPI, but the fact remains the COLA is not a true cost of living adjustment. The retirees received it even when there was deflation. Cottonmouth also ignores the compound part but we can discuss that another day. No surprise as he never discusses any actual facts about PERS and avoids all direct questions about PERS. Like Hob Byran, he prefers to engage in political or philosophical arguments about PERS and avoids any discussion of facts.

Then there are the comments at the Clarion-Ledger:

Karr West · Ole Miss
I don't care where the hell they get it from, from the Legislators themselves if need be, but these underpaid state employees faithfully paid into the system their entire careers after being told what to expect when they retired. Mismanagement is not their fault. Something needs dong and now to keep from making it harder on the retirees or those preparing to retire.

Susan Purvis Mitchell · University of Southern Mississippi
The retired people of the state of Miss. deserve this Cola check each year as they were promised when they retired. The legislators of this state have done enough to hurt education programs and retired teachers like myself. Some educators had to work two jobs to support their own families! It's time something else is cut in this state besides education and the PEERS Program! Don't put a three year freeze on Miss. retirees' Cola check! Change policies in Peers' program for future retirees NOT retirees already retired.
(Hey dumbass. Why don't you learn to spell? yeah, I shouldn't call you a dumbass but when you are passing yourself off as a teacher you could at least learn to spell PERS correctly.).

Here we go:

Kathryn Ellis Piazza · University of Mississippi
Let's see: the Legislators have an ADDITIONAL plan to: the PERS plan: "The Supplemental Legislative Retirement Plan (SLRP) covers all members of the Mississippi State Legislature and the person serving as the President of the Senate. Mississippi Code Annotated §25-11-305 ", per the PERS website. LET’S DELETE THAT EXPENDITURE, since it’s dishonest that they voted that for themselves only.

As state employees the state CONTRACTED with us, that if we stayed employed, even with low wages, for 25 yrs, or greater, we could retire and earn a percent of our (low) wages based on the number of yrs. of employment . After age 55, our COLA would compound each year. We could opt to save our COLA to be issued to us as a “13th check” or get the COLA in each monthly check.
MANY stayed with the STATE though we did NOT get "cost of living" raise...s during our employment. (The last 5 yrs. in which I was employed at a community college, we had NO raises, and at the end of that time, according to National Labor Bureau statistics, had lost close to 15% buying power.)

Retirees have based their retirement income on the contracted “COLA” to help us take care of ourselves in retirement. WE HAVE NO TIME TO MAKE UP THE PROPOSED LOST INCOME!!!

IF COLA IS FROZEN OR REDUCED: I personally will go to the Capitol and institute my own Occupy MS Statehouse. I will publicly remind the voters of what their legislator has voted for, including RAISES for him/herself.
I will join others in RESEARCHING AND PUBLICIZING the spending on wasteful departments and processes, especially including TRAVEL perks, OVERTIME,
BEEF PLANT (Mr. McCOY, et al)-like, shameful, wasteful expenditures. The STATE contracted with the current retirees: It MUST deliver the terms of the contract.
Are all you retirees ready to march? I pray so.

I do agree with her about SLRP. However, Please keep in mind SLRP only has $13 million or so in assets. Eliminate it tomorrow and it would not affect PERS one bit. I do like the idea of eliminating it tomorrow.

Maurice Cammack · Trinity University
I might be missing something, but where in this "recommendation" does it mention cutting the double rate that the legislature voted itself? If we are expected to do without any cola increase for three years, then the legislators, if they are honorable men and women, will volunteer to abolish the extra retirement they voted themselves a few years ago. Anybody want to take bets on that happening?
No argument here.

Dustin Dettor · Division Director at North Mississippi Regional Center
We all see they waited until after elections to do this crap. The typical state employee has a salary that is 10-20% below the naional medium. The pension plan is nice, but not superb. Now it falls below average and last year they changed the cost of insurance, deductible and shrank the providers. How about we start a legal petition to call for a special election for ALL state legislatures. The only state employees that are not effected by this is the legislatures who get benefits from lobby groups and insider information on finances for their personal investments. Its a shames that employees with bachelor degrees only average 27350 & masters degree average 32500. The legislatures who have same education make 2-3 £times that plus per diem, housing allowance, and travel. Then when tney get called for extended session recieve salaries plus 1/3 overtime. As I have said we need a clean out and special electiom

Now to the PERS members and retirees who are wailing so much: How many of you have actually read the actuarial reports? How many of you have looked at PERS finances? I've posted all the reports on this website for you to read. I've attended the meetings of the investment committee and posted the videos for you to watch. Lets say I'm the most biased against PERS person in Mississippi. I've still posted the original source documents and videos so you could make your own judgments about PERS without any input from me. So if you are going to make comments about PERS, try actually reading the most recent actuarial report for starters.

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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