Friday, August 12, 2022

How the Barksdale Bullion Flows

It is often said Mississippi is nothing more than a small club with only a few degrees of separation.  What is interesting about the Battle of Blue Cross is how it brought together some of the orbs in the Barksdale universe.  While Blue Cross goes after UMMC and Mississippi Today, Barksdale bullion flows to both the hospital and the digital newspaper.  

Blue Cross subpoenaed last week all communications between UMMC and Mississippi Today as the insurer zeroed in on a reporter who used to work at UMMC.  Both subjects of the subpoenas share  something else in common: the favor of Mississippi magnate Jim Barksdale.  The subpoenas aren't much of a surprise as Blue Cross has been the subject of some critical reporting by Mississippi Today, a rather new experience for the insurer in Mississippi.  

Mr. Barksdale is rather passionate about the University of Mississippi. He established a non-profit foundation, the Mississippi Common Trust Fund in 1997 as a vehicle for charitable donations in Mississippi.  However, the bulk of the donations have gone to the University of Mississippi.  

The trustee is the University of Mississippi Foundation.  The President is Wendell Weakley.  The treasurer is Maggie Abernathy while Sandra Guest serves as Vice President and Secretary.  

The foundation's donated $14.3 million to the Ole Miss Foundation since 2015.  The fund began donating $1 million per year to UMMC in 2016 ($4 million as of 2020).  $2.5 million went to the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation.  The donations are posted below. 

Mr. Barksdale created Mississippi Today after the failure of Initiative 42. The initiative was his baby and he did not take its failing too kindly.  The astute businessman created Mississippi Today at the perfect time, just as the Mississippi media began to implode.  Still astute, his digital newspaper has been picking off the cream of the crop, especially from the ranks of the Clarion-Ledger, which is but a shade of its former self.  Mississippi Today allows other media outlets to reprint its content for free, thus making it a defacto wholesaler in Mississippi media as its competition shrinks. 

Mr. Barksdale's support for Mississippi Today has grown over the years as well, more than doubling from a $200,000 donation in 2015 to $500,000 in 2019.  The tax returns report the foundation gave $1.4 million to Mississippi Today since 2015.  

Mr. Barksdale and Dickie Scruggs (Yes, that Dickie Scruggs) founded  Mississippi Today in 2015.   The members of the non-profit's board of directors are Mr. Barksdale and his wife Donna (Chairwoman), Andrew Lack, Tray Hairston (Lord Snow), Will Norton, Charles Overby, Tom Pittman, Seetha Srinvasan, Vangela Wade, and Jonathan Jones.  Mary Margaret White is the Executive Director.  

The online newspaper regularly conducts fundraising drives, bragging about its donors in fund-raising letters (One such letter is posted below.).  However, the fundraising boats fall rather silent when it comes time to file the good ole tax returns.  Mississippi Today hides this information on it's own 990 tax returns. The non-profit digital newspaper chooses to keep that information private. 


 The contribution information is redacted on all tax returns since

MT prides itself on bringing a new civic virtue to Mississippi journalism. The 2020 tax return states: 


However, the online newspaper is a money-loser for the angel investor (or demon investor if you ask some Republicans) as it reported expenses of $1.458,702 million  and revenue of $13,552  in 2020.  The total contributions and grants received were $2.5 million.  

Board members are Mr. Barksdale and his wife Donna (Chairwoman), Andrew Lack, Tray Hairston (Lord Snow), Will Norton, Charles Overby, Tom Pittman, Seetha Srinvasan, Vangela Wade, and Jonathan Jones.  Mary Margaret White is the Executive Director.  



* Annual Donations for Mississippi Common Trust since 2015. 


$3 million to the Ole Miss Foundation for scholarships and support of the university. 

$3 million to the New Venture Fund, long term support for community

$200,00 to the Foundation for Mississippi (Civil Rights Museum)

Mississippi Today: $200,000

Miracle League: $25,000

Donations/Expenses: $6,567,188

Revenue: $6,404,144


Contributions: $6,728,153

Expenses/Disbursements: $6,711,066

$2.9 million: Ole Miss Foundation

$! million to UMMC Office of Development

$200,000: Civil Rights Museum (Foundation for Mississippi)

$200,000 Mississippi Today

$1 million: America's Promise-Alliance for Youth

$500,000: Mayo Clinic

$500,000: Ole Miss Athletics Foundation

$200,000: St. Andrews


Contributions: $6,748,005

Expenses/Disbursements: $6,670,753

$3,870,000: Ole Miss Foundation

$1 million: UMMC

$200,000 Foundation for Mississippi (Civil Rights Museum)

$200,000: Mississippi Today

$500,000: Mayo Clinic

$500,000: Ole Miss Athletic Foundation

$200,000: St. Andrews


Revenue: $8,561,034

Expenses/Disbursements: $6,998,413

$4.3 million: Ole Miss Foundation

$1 million: UMMC

$300,000: Mississippi Today

$200,000: St. Andrew's

$100,000: Stewpot

$500,000: New Venture Fund

$100,000: Pearl River Vision Foundation


Revenue: $5.4 million

Expenses/Disbursements: $5.4 million

$3.2 million: Ole Miss Foundation

$1 million: UMMC

$500,000: Mississippi Today

$500,000: Ole Miss Athletic Foundation

$200,000: St. Andrews


Anonymous said...

All the philbillies approve this message!

Anonymous said...

The best college athletes money can buy, bar none!

Anonymous said...

Hotty Toddy!

Anonymous said...

It takes real money to discover and report the real news.

If they don't do it no one will. The local media who are easily fooled by a distinguished looking regular church goer who dresses well. Or by big talking big hat wearers. Or by the frequent repetition of repetitive talking points.


"Family Values"

"Faith Based"

"Non Profit"

Anonymous said...

The Mississippi Today article on the stockpile of cash that bsbs is hoarding was eye opening. I’m surprised no other media outlets or politicians have run with that info.

Anonymous said...

Cudos to Mr. Barksdale for giving back. Many on here would hoard like Smaug

Anonymous said...

I've never heard of any of these donors. Are they mainly out of state donors, or am I just not part of the cool kids society?

Anonymous said...

Thankfully Mississippi today is keeping an eye on the feckless hillbilly's
running this state .

Lynn , Phill , cowboy Andy , Tater Tot and Gunn

One thing about Tater I can believe is he needs a trainer said...

Over the last decade, Lacoste ingrained himself in Mississippi politics, prompting the state’s welfare program to strike a lucrative partnership with his foundation. Not only was the expenditure a violation of federal regulations, auditors and attorneys eventually argued, but emails obtained by Mississippi Today allege Lacoste also paid himself upwards of $300,000 in bonus paychecks from the program.

The trainer was so gung-ho about getting his grant funding from the state, he even told former welfare director John Davis that he’d bring the hammer down on Reeves and another lawmaker in their workout if they didn’t give Davis the budget he wanted. And that the politicians agreed to oblige.

“I told Tate and Senator Josh Harkins this week at training to fully fund you or I would make them pay for it at training,” Lacoste wrote to Davis in a February 2019 text obtained by Mississippi Today. “They told me…”oh, we are taking care of John.””

Anonymous said...

The news dogs and crusading editorialists at Super Talk could have discovered and made public the TANF scandal and all those texts.

For some reason, they didn't.

Anonymous said...

Man, I didn’t realize so many MS Today “investigative” reporters commented on this blog. What a shit show. They are embarrassing themselves and then coming on here to continue to joke. When did the tabloids become the news. And anna Wolfe is cracking me up with this reporting. Anyone who has ever cracked a code book thinks she’s an absolute idiot. She clearly thinks she’s smart. I love a self embolden reporter. It’s like they grab the fools hat and parade around like it’s a crown. Go look up that law and tell me whether anything you’ve said makes any sense. #itdoesnt MS Today has dug it’s own grave. But for those people who don’t normally read this blog, you should know that the commentators are Ms Today reporters, old unmarried bureaucrats who live with their parents, and the mad at life lobbyist and Mr Burns politicos. Do yourself a favor and just disregard the news. It‘s only half the story half the time so you won’t miss much.

Anonymous said...

The Mississippi Today article on the stockpile of cash that bsbs is hoarding was eye opening.

How so? How much is 'hoarding'? Be specific.

With Mississippi Today transparency is apparently only a word.

Anonymous said...

Ironic that a little two-bit pissant blogger like yourself, is criticizing one of the Holy Trinity of the Internet.

Yes, Tim Berners-Lee of CERN invented HTML.
Yes, former Senator and VPOTUS, Al Gore invented the Information Superhighway.
Yes, Jim Barksdale invented the modern Web Browser, Netscape. (Now known as Mozilla Firefox)

Without these three men, there would be no Jackson Jambalaya and there would be no Google, Facebook, or Amazon.

Show some respect dude.

Anonymous said...

Grifting is a tried and true Mississippi pastime. Like going to church on Sunday morning hungover. That’s why most of the state voted for the grifter in chief for POTUS, just a reflection of what we grew up with and continue to live with.

Anonymous said...

Of all the news orgs in this corrupt state to write an article on, you pick Mississippi Today hahahahaha

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't be surprised to learn Barksdale gets the majority of his funding for Miss Today from out of state. I know that'll piss off a lot of trolls on this blog who have hate boners for Republicans.

Anonymous said...

KF, a couple of thoughts on your story. First is that Dickie Scruggs is not a founder of Mississippi today. Andrew Lack, former chairman on NBC News, is the founder. Scruggs was among the early donors. It would add understanding to the story if you remind the readers what Proposition 42 entailed and why Barksdale was so active. Records will show that he invested over $100 in public education for Mississippi and continues to be a tireless advocate for public schools.

Anonymous said...

If all those politicians and grifters texts Mississippi Today has rooted out and published weren't real, do0n't yo0u think there would have been some differnt complaints?

The entire TANF crewe have hoist themselves with their own words!

Kingfish said...

Chill out on the Lacoste stuff. Will give you a chance tomorrow. Not approving any comments on it.

Don't ever think I respect Mr. Barksdale. Ever. Nice story about him. You may remember I did a bit of fundraising for Reimagine Prep a few years ago so the kids could go to the WWII Museum and other such field trips. Mr. B funded the opposition to charter schools but he still made a nice donation to that fund-raising drive. Didn't have to do that and very nice of him. The man cares very much for this state and has put his money where his mouth is. Just don't mean its beyond scrutiny either. ;-).

Anonymous said...

I guess the 77 million in corrupt spending at MDHS is fake news. I guess it was all a misunderstanding. Interesting that this site chooses not to follow the story very much. But then again, it is fake news I'm sure.

Anonymous said...

Jim Barksdale invented the modern Web Browser, Netscape.


Kingfish said...

Keep lying.

Anonymous said...

"Don't ever think I respect Mr. Barksdale."

KF - why not? Everything you say after that is very positive about Mr. Barksdale.

Anonymous said...

Back in the 1990s, a SysAdmin or or super user would use Internet Explorer just long enough to download Netscape Navigator, and then never use IE again.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Barksdale could be living anywhere but instead returned to Ms & is spending much of his net worth on making Ms
a better place for all citizens. So, its his money & he gets to spend it anyway he wants. I’m just thankful that we have a few
very successful business folks that invest in our state.

Anonymous said...

12:02, this is so far out of the league of Philbillies, that’s like comparing tee ball to MLB. Phil Bryant would donate a testicle to spend an hour in Jim Barksdales or it.

Anonymous said...

If I were Mississippi State or Southern Miss, I'd be pissed. To have the University of Mississippi Foundation personnel being involved in funding millions that result in hit pieces against the institutions is journalistically problematic. And that should have been disclosed on every past piece and every future piece.

Anonymous said...

@12:13 This is what you posted "Records will show that he invested over $100 in public education for Mississippi and continues to be a tireless advocate for public schools." I'm sure Jimmy has invested well over $100 in public education for Mississippi, and I feel pretty certain that he continues to be a tireless advocate for public schools. That being said, he would get a much higher return on his investment if he was a tireless advocate for the schools being operated by qualified individuals instead of what is actually being done. And he has to look no further than the JPS school system. At one time Murrah was one of the best public high schools in the country - look at it now and who is running it. Nothing else needs to be said.

Anonymous said...

Mississippi today has an account on reddit and frequently posts there. When reminded that reddit is a venue for porn, Mississippi today had no reply.

I wonder if the BoD there know how desperate the outlet is for clicks that they go to the cesspool of the internet for cheap clicks.

Anonymous said...

My favorite Jim Barksdale quote went something like, "anything left in my estate when I die will be due to a miscalculation." Point being he has made it a goal to give it all away. Ole Miss, the Reading Institute were beneficiaries. He well-values the effect of education on people and families, and on poverty. He paid for two of my kids' undergraduate degrees. Neither of their grandfathers went to college. Both are professionals, doing quite well, thanks. What do you suppose they do with their money? Well, of course, they give it away. What goes around, comes around.

He's as close to a secular saint as I can think of. Please save your venom for some more deserving person.

Anonymous said...

Mr Barksdale may be well-meaning, but if he opposes charter schools and school choice he is on the side of Marxism. Investing and donating to the public school system is a waste. We need to abolish compulsory education, take half the money wasted on public education, and issue vouchers so people can have a choice of where and how to educate their children. This would of course continue the socialist, unjust system of robbing the taxpayer to give money to private individuals, but it would be a more honest, effective form of socialism than the crap we have now, which is an educational/governmental scam complex racket whereby consultants and administrators get fat and happy off the backs of the taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

Secular saint?

Dude, he was peddling influence with all those "educational" donations..Sheesh. Get a grip.

Anonymous said...

Curious post, impressive investors aside, the management and staff at Mississippi Today do not appear to pick winners and losers. They seem to report on relevant issues without regard to the ‘special status’ most local media seem to give Governors, Former Governors and their inner circles. Without their investigative reports many of us would be clueless about the corruption that appears to have taken place during the Bryant years.

Anonymous said...

I’m confused, seems to me that Mississippi Today is reporting on both sides of the BCBS - UMMC debacle. They don’t seem to be covering for either entity. What is your point?

Anonymous said...

8:18, you’re joking right? Seriously?

Anonymous said...
Ugh…both UMMC, who was refusing to provide a life saving surgery, and BCBS refusing a beneficiary coverage, look careless and bad…
Hopefully, this young man is getting the care he needs at a hospital with a better reputation and track record, and his services are being covered by a more ethical insurance company!

Anonymous said...

SuperTalk will likely look about as bad in this deal as Mississippi Today. The subpoena in that lawsuit is asking for things that UMMC, Miss Today, Barksdale and SuperTalk are desperate not to have out there.

Anonymous said...

This BCBS/UMMC battle pales in comparison to the alleged hypocrisy and wrongdoing during the Bryant administration.
Why are y’all fussing about who is or isn’t reporting about that mess?
SuperTalk has always been biased and panders to their sponsors, and to the extreme right.
For years they shamelessly promoted PFEEL, NanCY and their ilk, thanks to Mississippi Today we all know why…
apparently like many others they were very well paid off in TANF funds to shill for the Bryant clan.

Anonymous said...

10:15 - desperate, why would the entities you mention be made to feel desperate by subpoena’s from lawyers trying to shift the public focus…the innocent don’t fear a subpoena, which is often a legal tactic to intimidate or grandstand.
Speaking of that, who’s behind trying to shift the focus from the alleged criminal behavior of the Bryant administration and their cronies?

Anonymous said...

7:10 am - Gee, you seem nice...! Calling pubic school supporters Marxists??? What's your problem?

Anonymous said...

Kingfish and all the rest of you who dare to criticize Mr. Barksdale have more than a lot of damn nerve. None of you are worthy. Such a good family. Such a good, giving and caring man. He gives nor takes any bullshit. All of you are jealous of anyone’s success. If you had the same, you’d take it and run and never look back. Shut up and go get a life.

Kingfish said...

I forgot my place. Sorry, Massah, I'll do better.

Anonymous said...

Damn right Stinkfish. You are like the soft skilled house boy he takes pity upon, but you are barely fit to empty his chamber pot.

Anonymous said...

If those subpoenas reveal that ms today is for sale to the highest bidder like It appears to be, they’re toast. Having UMC sponsor them with money that could be used to lower costs for care or pay nurses just to please a big donor is bad juju. Follow the money.

Anonymous said...

11:06 a.m. - my problem is that I don’t care to have my money confiscated and handed over to a wasteful, bureaucratic system that produces a terrible outcome at two to three times the price of private education. Public education is a Marxist idea whether you understand that or not - go research it. It is nothing but socialism - as much so as publicly subsidized housing, food stamps, rental assistance, etc.

Thankfully the exodus from the public system has accelerated as people realized during the COVID scam that their children are being indoctrinated with anti-white and gender fluidity poison and such. Public education and Liberty are incompatible.

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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.

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

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