One possible reason Supervisor Barry Cumbest is against the Community Hospital Transparency bill

Perhaps because Mr. Cumbest has some transparency issues of his own involving the Hospital system. The Mississippi Ethics Commission has issued four opinions directly addressing the issue of an elected official’s spouse  working in a community hospital since 2008. Three of the four opinions directly address the issue of a Supervisor’s wife working at a community hospital.  Here is one:

Click to obtain the entire 4 page Ethics Opinion

It is a bit more complex than that however as this opinion from March 2012 demonstrates but the end result is ultimately the same. To the extent the facts in the 2012 opinion mirror Supervisor Cumbest’s fact pattern one wonders how it was missed by both the County and Hospital’s legal departments.

37 thoughts on “One possible reason Supervisor Barry Cumbest is against the Community Hospital Transparency bill”

    1. I’ll be tackling that tomorrow in a litigation update. There are some filings in the Federal suit that are disturbing we need to highlight.

      I would hope given the circumstances the MSSC would rule on the appeal on an expedited basis given what is at stake for the vested retirees and current employees of the Hospital.

  1. A flow chart on the Cumbest family would startle those who do not know them. From the Plant Daniels insider land deals to the Brickyard Bayou properties that the taxpayers put a road and other infrastructure to so they could sell for a shipyard site to I think Halter or Moss Point Marine and so much more. Time to open them up for discussion. Barry Cumbest can not take the heat and could not stand real transparency.

  2. I would seriously question anyone’s integrity that is in a position of trust or authority who would actually question this bill. Of course, I still think that Sen. Wiggins fully realizes that this is an election year and he is gaining brownie points by riding “the transparency bandwagon”. A key word that Jamie Miller quickly forgot after his inauguration speech. IMHO, Wiggins still owes the public an answer in regards to his DMR boat trips and his old man’s wild cannon chase which was funded through the DMR by acquired monies.

    I don’t know anything about the Cumbest family but I have heard many people speak of their strong hold on North Jackson County–AKA, “God’s Country”

  3. Would someone please fill in Eye Spy about the Cumbest family’s history…especially, Lum Cumbest…then they would have a good idea why our great supervisor Barry Cumbest is so secretive.

    1. No details are needed. I have a very good mental picture of what the family legacy is all about. Its just another typical politically connected hick-town family….

    2. If someone is curious they could start by reading a Mississippi Supreme Court Decision. Lum Cumbest v. State of Mississippi.

      “Lum Cumbest and Dale Coleman were convicted in the Circuit Court of Jackson County of perpetrating a fraud upon Jackson County in violation of Miss. Code Ann. § 97-11-31 and each sentenced to a term of four (4) years in the Department of Corrections, with three (3) years suspended.

      Cumbest was supervisor of District Number One, and Coleman was a road foreman of that district.”

  4. Is Paula Yancey clueless or is she aware of Cumbests’s conflict? Was Roy Williams clueless or was he aware that Morris Strickland was breaking the law?
    WTF is going on with these attorneys? Thank goodness the reputable and ethical firm of Dogan Wilkinson is representing the health system and the employees and retirees. Is there a connection between the Lassiter’s and Cumbests’s?
    I propose changing the name of Lum Cumbest park and call on Barry to start the process.
    I can’t wait to vote!

    1. In no particular order, what I know about the Cumbest family (from various sources):
      1. Jackson County is full of Cumbests. The family has been there for several generations. Like any large family, they have some crooks, some saints and everything in between. There are also the Cumbests at the Cumbest law firm (who would be something like 2nd or 3rd cousins, at least, to Barry, Amy St. Pe, etc.) and Mark Cumbest, who I think is a 1st cousin (maybe 2nd) to Royce and Barry, in the real estate business in Jackson County. Mark, from what I’ve heard, probably isn’t really crooked, just sort of an all-purpose idiot who would not be where he is if he weren’t a Cumbest. I would not say that just because someone was related to the Cumbest family, they were dishonest. On the other hand, I’d be very careful to check them out, too, simply because there have been too many Cumbests involved in too many interesting situations (or just stupid-ass deals) not to play it safe.
      2. Yes, the Lassitters and the Cumbests are connected. Benny Lassitter, Amy Lassitter St. Pe’s father, is married to Mack Cumbest’s daughter (Amy’s mother), who, surprise, surprise was involved with Jackson County government and SRHS. Amy is married to Jerry St. Pe’s son, who works at SRHS. Benny and Jerry have had their noses in various troughs since their days at Ingalls Shipyard. There was an old rumor that Jerry managed to climb the ladder at the shipyard through some sort of chicanery (if I remember correctly, he showed up in Pascagoula as a high-school grad news photographer/reporter and quickly wound up in the chips). Are they crooks? Let’s just say I would not be in any business arrangement with these folks.
      3. Lum Cumbest, Barry’s father, was the convicted Jackson County supervisor. Another son, Royce, is the head honcho at M & M Bank, where he and Amy Lassitter St. Pe are on the board (and Jerry St. Pe is/was? on the board, as was Lum until he got busted back in the 80s).
      4. My take on Barry Cumbest’s wife being an RN at SRHS: an RN is a real job, not some made-up job to pass out to cronies, like some of the jobs at SRHS talked about here on Slabbed. I don’t know the slightest thing about the internal workings or politics at SRHS. I cannot even remember the last time I even drove past the place. I just know a very few folks who work or worked there. From an objective standpoint, it seems a bit silly that a supervisor’s RN wife, who apparently has worked at SRHS for some time, would be forced to quit because her husband became a supervisor. But those are the rules and if they didn’t know them before he ran/got elected, that is their own fault – life is about choices, and many are difficult ones.

      Some other related thoughts:
      5. If I wanted to be an amateur investigator who really wanted information, I’d get a list of all the current or recently “retired” partners at Dogan and Wilkinson, including recent additions such as Kelly Sessums and former chancellor Chuck Bordis, a list of past associates (“jr. lawyers”) at the firm, a list of the board at Charter Bank (started by Roy Williams and Ed Trehern, along with others, including Drs. connected to SRHS), add Gerald “Jerry” St. Pe and Benny Lassitter to the list, and start searching online.
      6. I’d be VERY curious about how the whole “recuse Neil Harris” situation plays out. It’s going to be interesting to see just how Dogan and Wilkinson can continue to practice in 16th district chancery matters, what with Bordis’ situation with Mike Fondren’s wife. If it is grounds for Harris to recuse himself in any case involving Dogan and Wilkinson members because of the Harris/Gunn lawsuit over a few feet of beach, it would seem that a partner who was the former judge, who committed adultery with the new judge’s wife, and the replacement judge ran against him because of the adultery, is sure-fire problem. The only chancellor left is Bradley and if rumors are true, she has had numerous issues with being “part of the Dogan and Wilkinson team.” And those rumors mesh pretty well with the “Dogan and Wilkinson team” attempting to get another player, Paula Yancey, on the bench and them adding Bordis to the team after he couldn’t keep his britches buckled with Fondren’s now ex-wife. And on top of it all, Harris flat-out accused Dogan and Wilkinson of not only lying, but manufacturing evidence. If that is true, they may have a VERY serious problem well beyond any SRHS issues. That is the kind of thing that will get a bar card yanked for eternity. And it all is the kind of hinkey crap that makes much of what passes for a legal and judicial system in Mississippi a punchline in wider legal circles.
      7. Last but not least, Scott Taylor, SRHS pension plan’s newest trustee: Dick Scruggs may have tried to bribe or earwig one or more judges, but he did so to keep what he believed was his money, that he beat out of tobacco and asbestos companies, not looted from the public, in his own pocket. Hardly commendable behavior, but it is a whole different type of crime than looting from the taxpayers. If rumors are true, Taylor was involved in convincing Dick that the money was his and that Alywn Luckey, Roberts Wilson, etc. actually owed him money. I’m not suggesting that Taylor knew about or was involved in the bribing (I don’t know one way or the other), and true enough, Dick is a grown-up lawyer who should have known better on several fronts. If the advice had been, “Look Dick, their claim is at least arguable and you’ve got more than your great-grandkids will be able to spend, so throw them a few scraps and move on,” it would have cost him less than his and Zach’s legal fees in the civil and criminal trials and he and Zach would still have bar cards. Anyway, given the monumental stupidity of the supposed advice, assuming Taylor did give it, combined with the end result, I’d be very concerned as to whether Taylor is the right man for the job (and how he came to get it, too).

      1. Oops, forgot someone in the suggested list in #5, above: Morris Strickland. And if anyone else can think of others, feel free to add to the list.

        In my opinion, rumors or even facts about this or that SRHS exec hiring his girlfriend, a friend’s wife or kid, etc. isn’t where folks ought to concentrate their efforts at the present unless that same person is involved in larger, worse things. Sure, that stuff isn’t good, but that in and of itself isn’t what got things at SRHS and in Jackson County so fouled up. If anyone is going to investigate, concentrate on the larger, more important stuff. Just my opinion, though.

      2. Taylor is a lawyer albeit one described as retired. His defense of the inherent Dogan and Wilkinson conflict of interest representing both the Hospital and the Pension Plan told me everything I needed to know because he is either not as brilliant a lawyer as Supervisor McKay made him out to be or he has another reason to overlook such a blatant legal conflict of interest. And if the Plan Trustee waived all the legal conflicts for the plan then another massive breach of fiduciary duty has occurred in my opinion.

        No matter which way you go with his statements on Brett Williams and D&W it ends up in a bad place. I think Mr. Taylor is a smart man. I think he is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

      3. I don’t intend to be critical of the Nunn’s most informative comment above. I’d like to add my thoughts on #4:

        4. My take on Barry Cumbest’s wife being an RN at SRHS: an RN is a real job, not some made-up job to pass out to cronies, like some of the jobs at SRHS talked about here on Slabbed. I don’t know the slightest thing about the internal workings or politics at SRHS. I cannot even remember the last time I even drove past the place. I just know a very few folks who work or worked there. From an objective standpoint, it seems a bit silly that a supervisor’s RN wife, who apparently has worked at SRHS for some time, would be forced to quit because her husbandbecame a supervisor. But those are the rules and if they didn’t know them before he ran/got elected, that is their own fault – life is about choices, and many are difficult ones.

        I believe the intent of the statutes underlying this interpretation is to prevent temptations of various forms due to spousal employment at an institution where the supervisor has budgetary authority. Spousal employment can cause situations where a newly elected supervisor’s RN wife suddenly receives a “promotion” to the Director of Nursing position for example. The ethics opinions referenced apparently would remove a major possibility of temptation from both sides IF FOLLOWED.

        Why should the taxpayers be put in a position where the possible motives for possible unethical remunerations and possible quid pro quo arrangements have to be sorted out? It is the same reasoning for having state mandated purchasing and bidding policies. Both sides are protected from appearances of possible conflicts of interest, not to mention actual conflicts of interests re spousal employment IF THE OPINIONS REFERENCED ARE FOLLOWED.

  5. People, you are still all missing the point. Each and every one of these crooks mentioned were enabled by Fata$$ when the Katrina money started rolling in – and then the BP money, and now still, the BP money. He has since distanced himself from the goings on here in Mississippi to seek higher green grasses and so that he does not get caught in the grabble of his own makings. He will let other lower minions take the falls.
    I, for one, will not vote for another republican (although I am a true conservative). The tea party enabled the republicans to get where they are. The Tea Party needs to shut their mouths and take that Puh-ass-o back into their fold and stick him where the sun doesn’t shine. He is the poster child of Fata$$ because Fata$$ put him in a position of power.
    We now have republican crooks heading the money committees in Jackson. The money is being spent on their personal agenda projects. Our children are being jerked back and forth on what they need to learn in school. The hard-working State employees who are at the bottom and middle, can’t get a break or raise (even though they are the true backbone of state government). The Fata$$ minions are being put in positions of power and given large salaries and are either are 1. Pardoned felons, 2. Good old boys (no women or black people), or 3. Part of Fata$$es personal friends and family plan.
    So, to ensure that I don’t elect or re-elect any more of this garbage, I will hold my nose and vote for the first democrat that I see on the ballot this election (or no one affiliated with the tea party or republican party). It is the only way. I blame the Tea Party for what has happened to us here in Mississippi. It may not have been their intent, but that is what they have enabled by standing solely by the republican party and allowing the crooked aspect of the party to slither in instead of looking at the individual running for office. This is my opinion and I am sticking to it!!
    Cut off the head of the snake and Mississippi can repair itself. Block out the long arms of the republicans. The democrats can’t do any worse than the Fata$$ gang has done to us – and is still doing today.

  6. P. S. You woman and black people, mexican people, asian people, and anyone who sits on their arses and don’t vote are part of the problem. Get out and vote!!

  7. That Cumbest drama is great reading!
    I don’t work there but I heard physician contracts are something that needs to see the light of day. There may be some sweetheart deals that may not be legal.
    Maybe Scott Walker can investigate. Lol

  8. Here we go again –
    “One federal prosecutor last week said he’s had his fill of this cycle of government malfeasance. He quit his job and threw his hat in the ring for the state attorney general post.

    Former prosecutor Mike Hurst said Attorney General Jim Hood has been absent during these probes, including the most-recent one that was punctuated by the suicide of Harrison County Supervisor William Martin of Gulfport. Martin killed himself Thursday, shortly before he was due in federal court to face corruption charges.”
    This quote above is from an article in the SH today. It goes on to say :
    “Hurst said he has had a willing partner in the corruption fight in state Auditor Stacey Pickering.

    “We work real close with the auditor’s office and they work really close with the FBI,” Hurst said. “I wish they had prosecutorial authority.”

    Hurst and Pickering are Republicans. Hood is a Democrat.”

    Read more here:

    My question is this:
    Why would Hurst think that Pickering is a “willing partner in the corruption fight” on republicans, (after witnessing his terrible performance with his “friends and family” in the DMR scandal, and why would a Federal agent (Mr. Hurst) even consider stepping down to run for a State elected position? Hmmmm, something is wrong with this picture. Any ideas??

    1. Any ideas? Sure – he’s a white Republican in Mississippi and he wants his shot at the brass ring. If he stays at DOJ, he is years away from much more than he has now. The current AG (Holder, more a pol than an AG, seems to cycle wildly between intelligent and brain-damaged, often in the same conversation and racially fairly radical) is not long for the job and his replacement will be a real change – yeah, she’s black and leans Dem, which freaks out a lot of the MS player-types, but if rumors are true, she’s serious, sharp and knows her stuff – she is supported not only by Obama, but Lindsey Graham and Orrin Hatch and other fairly normal Repubs and opposed, so far, by rednecks like David Vitter and Jeff Sessions. And then, there’s the coast’s AUSA, Greg Davis, who almost certainly headed for bigger things, that don’t include giving a damn about what MS GOPer-types think.

      The MS GOPers are nervous about things, from scandals to indictments to pissed-off voters, so they’ll fund damned near anything that has a shot, esp. if they can use the ol’ favorite, OPM – other people’s money, to do it. If Hurst is in the AUSA’s office when some friends of theirs get bagged and tagged, he might have some ‘esplainin’ to do. If he ain’t there, he can’t get grief over what happens. And if he were still at DOJ and the names of some of those bagged and tagged start with “The Honorable” and-or end with “Esq.,” Destin (where your MS Bar Assoc. holds it annual conf.) won’t be any fun AT ALL for him, and nary a Peresich or Wilkinson or Williams one will be his buddy. On the other hand, if gets out of DOJ now and manages to unseat Hood, he’s Chivas in a dixie cup to any number of redneck morons, and if he doesn’t, he’ll get attaboy points for giving it a shot.

    2. Charlene,

      Jim Hood’s hair style should be a good inclination of his character by itself–business in the front, party in the back. As far as Pickering goes, there should be an investigation conducted on him and his team regarding the fight against corruption. He himself is corrupt and has a criminal record to back it up.

    3. Yes. . Laundering the 150 million.. the state AG gets the checks … SRHS pension JCUA lawsuit all about a 150 million bp and approx 13.7 million they are stealing from my son the heir to that 13.7 + estate !

  9. Former Federal Prosecutor Mike Hurst is full of you know what! They did such a great, jam up job at DMR, most of the crooks got off with little jail time, some a slap on the wrist, some paid back what they stole, some paid very little of what they stole and the show goes on. The feds were fed information on the going ons at DMR yet they did little for the amount of time they so-called investigated. And how much did it cost the taxpayers? And how much did they recover? And how much did the crooks steal? And how many crooks got off scott free? Hurst will not get my vote!

  10. I personally am not worried about a nurse who is in the business of helping people. What concerns me is that the board approved four contracts for the son of the board’s attorney. The health system subsequently sued the board attorney’s son. Does anyone happen to know what has taken place regarding this lawsuit against JCOG?

    1. “I personally am not worried about a nurse who is in the business of helping people.”
      You might be a little more worried about a supervisor voting to bail out a pension plan with increased taxes on all county residents and businesses, when wife would directly benefit since draws monthly retirement benefits from that same plan.

      On its face, the opinion seems to reach far. Should the law include spouses who work in maintenance, or the cafeteria for a public hospital? I see where reasonable people can differ. But I also see how a supervisor’s spouse could easily get favorable treatment (regardless of his/her job or responsibilities) from hospital management, in hopes the supervisor will treat them the same (the old quid pro quo).

  11. LEEANNE, Eye-Spy, Nunn and Charlene;

    I can give da’ early family tree as I done just retrieved it from the Mormon depository in Salt lake City Utah:

    Abraham Cumbest was not originally a good CUMbester but finally he Came and begot Isaac pronounced ” Isacked” Cumbest;

    Isacked Cumbest begot Esau, pronounced “I saw” Cumbest, who had 5 unnotable sons and Jacob, pronounced ” Jackedup” Cumbest who begot Si- me-on, Judah and Ze-blew-lun ……. yo’ getting da’ picture ? ………..

    And finally recall God told Abraham Cumbest “….. if you believe yo’ can Get It Up yo’ offspring will be more numerous den da’ stars in the sky, so much so dat dey will have to move to da’ new promise land in Mississippi…..” and da’ rest is local family history of da’ prolific Cumbest-ers.

    But who gotts da’ goods on dat’ Cumbest Park? Wit the past early biblical history one can only imagine why dat park was dedickated.

  12. All I can say is I’m grateful dat I not bees Dickie Cumbest who once ordered his unclaimed sandwich at Mother’s when da’ counter person shouted, ” Order #69 – Pick-up ready fo’ Dickie Cumbest’s pulled pork ” or…

    Ok kids dis’ being yo’ first day in school I want everyone to stand up when I call yo’ names, “……..Dickie Cumbest, Dickie Cumbest, Is Dickie Cumbest here?” ……” I’m here, but I prefer to go by my nickname, Woody Cumbest”…..

    Wit’ names like Lum Cumbest or Les Fillingame can we really expect human excellence in office ?

  13. I cannot understand why Supervisor Barry Cumbest is not supporting SRH employees and retirees. Is it that he cannot understand what is happening or maybe does not want to understand? I usually do not hold people responsible for their parent’s or siblings’ mistakes. If he is Lum Cumbest’s son, as I am told, is his motives questionable?

    District 1 residents of Jackson County needs to wake up and see who they have supporting them or is really against them.

  14. The bill passage for SRHS was total BS but it does not surprise me considering how they acted when they passed the DMR accountability bill which only pertained to the DMR. I think its clear that our elected leaders are not serious about accountability. They are more concerned with putting on a show and stuffing pacifiers only in mouths of the bad kids who happened to get caught.

    With respect to elections: We got exactly what the majority voted for.

    1. Well said. I for one will not be voting for any incumbents. Last time I checked, hospitals don’t vote in elections, WE THE PEOPLE do! The folks in Jackson MS as well as Jackson County MS need to remember that! And if you don’t vote, you have no right to complain!

    2. The arrogance of our elected politicians has no bounds. Some (in powerful positions), “truly is limited” in their ability to see past their own political agendas.

      Layne Bruce’s opinion piece on the “watered down” version of the house committee’s hospital transparency bill is spot on.

      At least we now know the Senate can get stuff done. They re soundly passed the bill 51-0. However, the House of Representatives – not so much. We can all thank our cowardly Speaker, Phil Gunn, for sending the bill to committee rather than taking it to the floor for a straight up vote. We can also thank the very well funded Mississippi Hospital Association’s lobbyists for doing an outstanding job “persuading” the house “leadership” into killing any shot of true reform when it comes to hospital transparency.

      Unless the “joint” Senate/House team charged with “reworking” the bill can come up with something better soon, we will be stuck with a worthless piece of legislation. Not to mention, the public will still be on the hook for decisions made in private with our tax dollars.

      Also, it’s important to note there are MANY more hospitals in terrible financial shape, but how would the public know? Only folks that work in the industry at a high level have access to the kind of financial info that paints a truly grizzly picture. That group certainly does not include your local hospital board of trustees. Most don’t know this type of info exists nor would any administrator willingly share this info with them.

      One of the many reasons SRHS and others are facing declining revenues is the fact that millions of dollars that used to go to local hospitals through the State are now going elsewhere. Good ole Phil has worked out a sweetheart deal with UMMC and has been siphoning away money from local hospitals to fill the coffers of UMMC. This money is being used to “expand” UMMC services into more “rural” and underserved areas. Whether UMMC is expanding “relationships” with existing hospital systems or planning to develop their own sites, make no mistake this is happening at a rapid pace. On paper it may look good, but the reality is and will continue to be UMMC’s continued expansion will be at the detriment of many other “publicly” backed and privately owned hospitals.

      Hancock Medical is DEEP in debt and has had a hard time keeping a decent patient census. The BOS had no issue BORROWING MORE $$$ to bring Ochsner in to save the day. In the interim, they are busy suing Quorum for “mismanagement” of millions of dollars in funds. Marion County was in the same boat until Forrest Gen took them over. They are still digging out of their mess. The list could go on and on. Anyway you look at it the actions of Phil Gunn, Sam Mims and the MHA are repulsive. The Republicans are just as bad as they paint the democrats out to be. No difference. Just the same old politics.

  15. Well said Justice, and if we vote for any incumbent, we have only ourselves to blame. All they want to do is enrich their pocket books and pension fund.

  16. All anyone interested in finding out the history has to do is to go to the internet and on Google or whatever and type in Lum Cumbest of Jackson County, MS and you will get an eye opener.

    And then the idiots named a county recreational facility against someone that stole from the county; how intelligent!

  17. Barnacle , I’m with yA on that ! I’m closing my account with M&M bank too!

    Each business that has connections with these shysters need to be hit hard and that be in they wallets

    Me and the Mrs have made us a list of businesses that we will no longer patronize

    I told grandma that if I have to drive her to Mobile or Gulfport then dats what we gots to do

    ‘Nuff is Enuff’

  18. This week’s “Hoof & Mouth Disease Award” goes to District 1, Jackson County Board of Supervisor, Barry Cumbest. The Sun Herald article paints his picture quite well!

  19. When pigs fly dere usually an eventual Sui-cide

    Speak in’ bout suicide if I done had a name like Barry’s I done hung meself and shot me final load long time ago when da’ elementary school teacher assed me to stand up and dentify meself.

    Then again when yo’ bees supa narcosistic yo’ just keeps CUMing back wit mo’ and mo’ and mo’ till yo’ bees in reality da’ CUMbest in da’ whole state of Mississippi.

    My congratulations to Barry fo’ his persistence in EXTENDing heself and CUMing da’ BEST in all da’ state glovement.

    And dere fore I nows encourage Barry to stand proud and ERECT, let it all out and shoots fo’ da’ moon and da’ big glovernorship.

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