Monday, June 17, 2024

Timber Consultant Accused of Million Dollar Fraud

Is timber fraud taking place in south Mississippi? Two lawsuits accuse timber consultant Jeff Taylor of bilking the plaintiffs of nearly $1,000,000 in timber-related deals.   

Taylor is a forestry consultant in Summit.  His bio states: 

Jeff is a registered forester, received his B.S. Degree in Forest Management from Mississippi State University in 1993 and has worked in the forestry consulting business ever since, assisting over 300 clients in Mississippi and Louisiana. He has managed his clients’ timberland investments for maximum timber production and return. His detailed involvement with the land includes wildlife habitat enhancement, forest management, recreation, environmental diversity and water quality. I have achieved full member status in the elite National Membership of the Association of Consulting Foresters, an organization with rigorous membership requirements.

Taylor is also a realtor with Whitetail Properties.  

The two lawsuits accuse Taylor of using his company, Taylor Forestry, LLC of committing fraud in a variety of ways.  


Russell Evans Jones Lawsuit

Russell Evans Jones sued Taylor and Taylor Forestry in Pike County Circuit Court on June 10 for $653,000 and damages.  

The complaint alleges Jones engaged in three investment "agreements" with Taylor.  Two contracts were for the purchase of timber while another contract was for improvements to land.  Jones would harvest timber on two properties in Pike County.   The plaintiff paid Taylor $200,00 up front for the harvesting.  The complaint states:

9. In return for the first timber purchase, Taylor reimbursed Jones $85,000 of the $ 100,000. Taylor subsequently wrote Jones a check for $53,000 owed by Taylor to Jones for the first timber purchase and a return on the investment, but that check was returned by the bank for insufficient funds. Taylor still owes Jones not less than $53,000 in connection with the first timber purchase.

I0. In return for the second timber purchase, Taylor has not paid Jones any amount or money, and Taylor still owes Jones the full promised amount of $140,000. Taylor has failed to pay Jones any of that amount.

Jones claims Taylor owes him $193,000 under the timber harvesting agreements.  There is also the matter of the land improvements contract.  

The plaintiff loaned the defendant $400,000 to buy two parcels that would be improved.  Taylor agreed to repay Jones $400,000 and a $60,000 return on the investment.  However, Taylor allegedly has not paid Jones any money under this agreement.  

The complaint charges the defendants with breach of contract, conversion, unjust enrichment, and promissory estoppel.  

Brunini attorneys Cody Bailey and Hunter Ransom represent the plaintiff.  The case is assigned to Circuit Judge Michael Taylor.  

Ridgway Management Lawsuit

This lawsuit follows the Jones lawsuit in a similar vein.  Ridgeway Management sued New South Logging, LLC, Jeff Taylor, and Taylor Forestry on March 14 in Pike County Circuit Court for over $300,000.  

The complaint alleges Ridgway contracted with New South to harvest timber on properties in Simpson and Rankin counties.  Taylor agreed to act as Ridgway's agent in handling the payments and weekly settlement records for all timber cut the prior week.  

New South paid Taylor but Taylor never paid Ridgway.  New South provided a list of checks totaling $329,835 that were paid to Taylor.  Taylor allegedly kept the money instead of forwarding it to his client.  However, Ridgway stated New South was supposed to send payments directly to Ridgway, hence its inclusion as a defendant.  

Ridgway charged the defendants with breach of contract.  Taylor and his company are charged with unjust enrichment and breach of fiduciary duty.   

Taylor never responded to the complaint. Ridgway asked for a temporary restraining order.  Circuit Judge David Strong approved the motion and ordered Taylor to deposit the funds with the Court by April 20.  

April 20 came and went yet no funds were remitted to the Court.  

The plaintiff filed a motion for a default judgment on May 31 although it has not filed a motion for contempt of court.  Judge Strong will hold a hearing on the motion on June 24.    

Phelps Dunbar attorneys James Shelson and Nash Gilmore represent Ridgway.  



Numba one! said...

Woohoo, Mississippi is first in some categories: Grifting, embezzlement, lying, cheating, and just plain stealing.

Anonymous said...

Bunch of crooked SOBs

Anonymous said...

Who let the DAWGS out??!! Wuff, wuff, wuff, wuff.

Karl Childers said...

Doyle Hargraves! I don’t think he allows lawnmower blades at his concerts.

Dogwood said...

There are more companies and landowners he hit too. Lot more money involved

Anonymous said...

This Taylor dude hunts at Togo Island, a share club south of Vicksburg with a $650,000 buy in. Always wondered how a Forster has that kinda jingle jangle. Now it makes sense. Also interesting how both sets of plaintiffs retained big firm defense lawyers instead of traditional plaintiffs lawyers. I guess even the big firm guys are learning that billing hours sucks and they are tired of getting screwed by insurance companies.

Anonymous said...

I see no clear allegations of fraud. Did I miss something?

Anonymous said...

Do you think Taylor is hanging around to face the music, or do you think he's dipped out to some country without an extradition treaty?

Anonymous said...

TOGO Island has a $650,000 buy in? WOW! When did that happen? When Jeff and his buddy started inviting a local company with a large video following to film there to promote it? Seems inflated from the TOGO I remember.

Anonymous said...

looks like garden variety failure to pay a debt. Most interesting part here will be the big firm fees for al their overkill

Anonymous said...

Keeping in mind that so far there are just allegations:

Looks like some guy with a similar name was on the Board of Managers at Togo Island.

With a $650,000 invitation only buy in the Togo Island hunting might have been good for more than just whitetail, turkey, and duck...

Anonymous said...

$650,000.00 seems like a lot of money to buy a piece of an island created from the trash and sewage dumped in a river and floated down the Mississippi. I grew up in a Mississippi River town in Mississippi. If some one were cut by stepping on garbage glass or garbage beer cans, they knew an infection was virtually guaranteed.

Anonymous said...

There will be very little to collect, especially after the fees Phelps and Brunini charge. I would have hired a lawyer to take this on a contingent fee. The failure of the defendant to answer is not a good sifn for collection.

Anonymous said...

I don't know this particular individual, but I do know something about timber buyers. The only thing slimier than a timber buyer is a lawyer.

Anonymous said...

@1:49. Yes. I hunted it with my dad and uncle when I was a kid and it was just a slightly more than modest annual dues setup. Got bought out by big money, converted to share club, it’s now $650,000 buy in. Right there on the website. You and I remember the same Togo apparently

Anonymous said...

A few decades back, there was a real estate developer, who had studied, in a Hippie collective out-west, under a guru. This developer had some interesting grifter ploys. He'd give, to people he wanted to bend to his will, "special names" - just as a cult leader would. I watched him name someone "Cosmo", for example. I guess this was seen as a first step in "forming a bond".

Well, this developer tired of working First Baptist, for marks (victims), with whom to "share investment opportunities", and decided to move up the religion ladder, and join, with his wife, an exclusive and artsy little Episcopalian congregation (full of big, solid, old money). He was looking for RICHER MARKS.

Is this why someone does a 650k buy-in in a hunting camp? They don't want to waste time on unqualified "associates"? You know, in case of "business deals"?

Are there other sub rosa motivations someone would like to share with me?

Anonymous said...

Not too long ago there would have been people posting that $650,000 was chump change for their friend Todd Mardis.

Kingfish said...

I meant where did what you told me about yesterday happen?

Anonymous said...

My forester puts the timber out for bid. Buyer pays me directly for my timber and pays my forester directly for his commission. Several sales over the last 20 years with no problems. Get yourself an ethical forester and get paid up front. Just makes sense to my ignorant self.

Dogwood said...

Lump sum sales ( money upfront) is fine on clear cuts but if you are thinning your timber it not good. No way to know exactly what will be removed. If a company were to front money on a thinning they would protect their self in other words landowners not get paid for every tree removed. Deal with a company that has a good reputation- ask around they are there

Anonymous said...

Timber Pimps. This state is slap full of them.

Anonymous said...

It may be hard to believe, but there are multiple stories of these hunting camps selling small tracts of timber disappearing.Obviously not clear cuts, and members never knowing what went on.

Anonymous said...

another SEC pretty boy with his 100,000 $ truck, costa sunglasses, million dollar hunting club and yeti coolers full of michelob ultra light.

every bit of it mortgaged for more than it's worth. can't even afford to pay attention much less pay cash. pure fake.

god mush love these types, he makes so many of them.


4pick up

Anonymous said...

why hasn't this taylor guy had his real estate license revoked?

SEC privilege???????

Anonymous said...

Wouldn’t want him being my realtor. Wonder if this type of fraudulent behavior is taught at Whitetail Properties seminars ?

Anonymous said...

Contrary to popular assumption, McHenry, at this time, appears not to be involved.

Anonymous said...

Always hire your own field counter if involved in a pay as you cut arrangement.

Anonymous said...

another SEC pretty boy with his $100,000 truck, million dollar hunting club, costa sunglasses, and yeti cooler full of michelob ultra light.

all of the above mortgaged for more than its worth. a total fake who can't afford to pay attention , much less pay cash.

now he's running a film-flam.

how does this guy still have a real estate license?

god must love these types cause he makes so many of them.

Anonymous said...

When your family home doesn’t touch a Togo membership $…. Shows what’s important to this dude/high roller.

Anonymous said...

Are Jeff Taylor & Judge Taylor related?

Anonymous said...

No, Jeff and Judge are not related.

Anonymous said...

That was quick - He's no longer on the Whitetail Properties website.

Anonymous said...

How has this not made local or state news. The McComb paper has reported nothing. No state outlets have reported anything. This needs to be in the press so that landholders know to protect themselves.

Looks like y'all got the scoop on this one. It is crazy that no other outlet has picked it up.

Anonymous said...

Is this the same Jeff Taylor that is a partner of the realtor Brad Farris at Whitetail Properties ? I believe they also along with the plaintiff in this case Russell Jones owned shares for a short time in Togo Island Hunting Club. Theses so-called realtors /foresters/and land mangers always seem to find away to “squeeze in” deep into your land and pockets. Wise up people and do some checking before you go giving your money away.
Stop trying to be someone you’re not and just be yourself. It’s a heck of a lot less stressful and a hell've a lot cheaper. All the possessions in the world DO NOT make you the man that you are. Especially for the ones you can’t afford and you even try so desperately to afford to the point of being dishonest and cheating clients/friends out of large amounts of money. This sounds just like Bill McHenry and poor old Lamar Adams.
If someone does some digging I feel sure this has gone on more than just in these two suits with Jeff.

Anonymous said...

Jeff Taylor and Brad Farris are NOT partners in any sense of the word.

Anonymous said...

Brad Farris and Jeff Taylor are NOT PARTNERS!

Anonymous said...

@Anon 7:21: Farris and Taylor are both listed as Mississippi agents with Whitetail. Taylor was removed from the company website last night, but until he was removed, the previous post was correct. Also, both are deep in with Togo. Togo will get a lot of attention as the investigation proceeds. This story is going to blow up and a lot of people will be dirtied by it.

Anonymous said...

Brad Farris and Chipper Gibbes are partners with Whitetail Properties in a whole different Mississippi territory than Taylor. As far as Togo, Brad Farris and his family left three maybe four years ago.

Anonymous said...

There are 16 other agents in Mississippi with Whitetail Properties. Just because Taylor did something wrong doesn't mean all Mississippi Agents are bad. This is a great group of men and women working in Mississippi for the people that they represent and they shouldn't be thought of or talked about negative because of one dumb ass. If someone you work with steals something does that make you a thief too? I don't think so. Grow up people!!!

Anonymous said...

@9:44: except what he did is interrelated with and in the course and scope of conducting said business. A lawyer gets caught stealing client funds, guess what, the firm as a whole is gonna get looked at. A doctor gets pinched for Medicaid fraud, guess what, the clinic and his partners are gonna get looked at. Yeah, it’s not wrong to start looking and asking questions if you’re doing business with Taylor and businesses associated with Taylor right now. You grow up first homie

Anonymous said...

Gotta love the experts on this site. First off, Taylor actions were undertaken individually or under Taylor Forestry. Taylor Forestry is not affiliated with Whitetail Properties. Furthermore, as a real estate agent, he was undoubtably an independent contractor for Whitetail. Unless Whitetail and Taylor Forestry had a side deal (again, highly unlikely), there are no dots to connect.

Anonymous said...

It appears to me that New South is on the hook for the $300K to Ridgeway. He had a pay as cut contract with Ridgeway to pay for timber. He chose to make out checks to Taylor for some unknown reason, but he is still contractually obligated to pay Ridgeway. Nobody who has any sense at all would make checks out to a third party in a timber sale. That would be like going into Mercedes to buy a $300K car and making the check out to the salesman. Stupid on the timber buyer. I only see someone doing this if there had been some shady dealings together in the past.

Since the timber was basically stolen (taken without payment), are the mills that bought the timber liable for receiving stolen property??

Anonymous said...

How do you know that all three parties (New South, Taylor and Ridgeway) didn't sign a contract outlined the payment terms and that said terms had the check being made out to Taylor who was then obligated to disbursing the funds to Ridgeway, minus Taylors consulting fee? Not the way it's normally done but they might of written it up that way.

Anonymous said...

Paragraph 2 of Rankin Timber Contract and the Simpson Timber Contract requires
New South to make payment to Ridgway, supported by weekly settlement records, "for all Timber
cut and removed the preceding week."

Just reading paperwork

Anonymous said...

That paperwork also states that Taylor is Ridgway's agent. An ethical would receive payment, take his cut, then forward the rest to the entity he, as agent, represents.

Anonymous said...

I have been a forestry consultant for let's just say, quite a long time, doing the exact thing Mr Taylor does. Not one single solitary time have I ever seen the need or had a need for client timber sale revenue to flow through my bank account. Not one CENT. Something is Rotten in Denmark.

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