Slabbed explores the almost completed Jackson County Adult Detention Center – Part 2 | Maxwell-Walker gains an unlikely ally

I ended part one with the emergence of then Pascagoula Mayor Robbie Maxwell and Scott Walker touting a cheaper jail solution to an incomplete architectural jail design which had not yet been bid at the time Walker and Maxwell appeared before the County Board of Sups.  Remember folks this went down in January 2011, the start of an election year.  Maxwell Walker must have had a hard time getting traction for David Deaton and Richard Rula of Hemphill, two of the three parties behind Southeastern Composites because a few months later the now disgraced Chris Epps appeared before the County Board of Supervisors touting a hub and spoke prison design of the type Deaton had experience in previously constructing in a “spoke” dome county jail for Tishomingo County in 2006, then as President of a company called Composite Building Systems.  Today David Dean Deaton II is no longer associated with the company except as registered agent, where he is listed on the Mississippi Secretary of State database as Dean Deaton.

So folks, let’s start a timeline:

  • January 24, 2011 – Maxwell Walker appear at Board of Supervisors meeting touting cheaper alternative to a jail which was still in the design phase on behalf of a new client, which is owned by Richard Rula of Hemphill Construction and  David Deaton.
  • March 14, 2011 – Scott Walker and David Deaton of Southeastern Composites form Gulf Coast Consultants LLC.
  • April 2011 – MDOC Executive Director Chris Epps appears before the Jackson County Board of Supervisors touting the design being pushed by Maxwell-Walker Consultants.
  • April 16, 2011 – OpEd column written by Supervisor Tommy Brodnax appears in the Mississippi Press under the title “Commissioner Epps should butt out of jail plans” Broadnax points the finger squarely at Maxwell Walker in this very public letter to then Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour:

It appears Mr. Epps is being influenced into this project by Maxwell and Walker consulting of Pascagoula.

His intervention has caused a lengthy delay in this project. Since this is an election year, his propaganda has caused the board to hire an independent company to compare the composite pod design with the conventional concrete design of Pryor and Morrow.

Something else happened in this time period and that was the 2011 party primary elections. Supervisor Tommy Broadnax, who had opposed the Maxwell Walker attempts to redo the prison’s design was defeated by Troy Ross in District Four. By July 2012 the Board was hearing from four architectural firms and April Havens was there to give the official word:

The board heard from Virginia-based PB-Heery Americas Inc.; Missouri-based Goldberg, Sullivan and McCrerey Architects & Planners; Florida-based Clemons, Rutherford & Associates Inc.; and Ocean Springs-based Kaybeau Development LLC:

On Tuesday, Goldberg, Sullivan and McCrerey Architects & Planners pitched modular steel cells that can be stacked two or four cells high upon a deep foundation, an option that representatives touted and compact, lightweight, hygienic, flexible in design and less expensive.

Lawrence Goldberg said he could have the project ready for bid within six weeks and that construction would take about 12 months.

The total cost — including furniture, fixtures and equipment — would be $29.5 million to $30 million, he said.

Goldberg’s option would include individual two- or four-man cells with a small amount of dormitory space.

And this is where I personally get lost. Was Jackson County building a Supermax prison to house county inmates or was it building a county jail the difference between the two being significant. Most county jails do not need a majority of their cells to be of the Supermax variety where steel cells hold one or two inmates designed to minimize contact with corrections officers. For prison trustees and the like dormitory type facilities are much cheaper to build.

The county has spent $1.2 million on the Pryor and Morrow design so far, Supervisor Melton Harris Jr. said, but he noted the county expects to save “several million” by constructing a different design.

And the political dynamic changed when Supervisor Barry Cumbest flip-flopped:

Mangum and Supervisor Barry Cumbest originally voted against allowing new proposals, saying they supported Pryor and Morrow’s design and didn’t want to waste time.

Cumbest said he has since changed his mind after learning that there are designs available that will better suit the needs of the jail personnel and come at a better price.

“I just began to see that I was wrong,” Cumbest said. “The more I looked at it, the more I was compelled to switch directions.”

And of course the gang already knew who they wanted to design the jail when they let Pryor and Morrow go:

Supervisors McKay, Harris, Ross and Cumbest said Monday that they are on the same page in terms of which company to seek out, but they could not name the company.

Ross noted that he likes the idea of individually locking cells, which would help jail personnel manage inmates.

Let’s conclude this installment with an accounting of the amount spent through August 2012:

Pryor and Morrow: Design Fees – $1,200,000

Changing architects marks the second event we’ll need to examine in more detail but there was a third “drill down event” to come which sheds even more light on the five year saga of building a Mississippi County Jail. This event is the fodder for part three.

Stay tuned.

16 thoughts on “Slabbed explores the almost completed Jackson County Adult Detention Center – Part 2 | Maxwell-Walker gains an unlikely ally”

  1. A busy week in Mississippi scandals continues.

    Two more indictments in the MDOC/Epps scandal. Bigger fish are reeled in.

    The Department of Justice said 69-year-old Irb Benjamin of Madison 61-year-old and Sam Waggoner, of Carthage,were charged Friday with paying bribes and kickbacks to former MDOC Commissioner Epps in exchange for receiving contracts involving the MDOC and its operations.

    “The abuse of power and position by public officials has plagued our state for many years,” said Harold Brittain, Acting U.S. Attorney in this case. “Our tolerance for public corruption is zero. We will hold accountable under the law everyone who bears the responsibility of public service and sells the trust that has been bestowed upon them. We will not tolerate such fraud and abuses by public officials that have cost our citizens so dearly.”
    “We will continue to fight public corruption in Mississippi and work with our partners,” said State Auditor Pickering. “Our agents and this team are working daily to identify and bring charges against all individuals associated with the Mississippi Department of Corrections case. I’d like to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office, FBI, IRS, and the U.S. Postal Service for a joint effort in this ongoing case.”

  2. I just wonder if Slabbed is now coordinating news releases with the various law enforcement agencies like the DOJ/FBI? The breaking news on the latest Epps scandal indictments and this Part 2 story were online within minutes of each other. Maybe just coincidental. You just have to wonder if this rolling Epps kickback scandal will be coming to a jail near us soon. I was going to suggest that when the DOJ/FBI comes to shake the tree over in Bay St.Louis they might just drive on down the coast. They could look into the Epps-Maxwell-Walker-McKay new metal building jail (composite it’s not) but then I remembered the FBI has already been questioning some about this matter already. After reading this new Slabbed installment I also feel obligated to add Ross-Cumbest to those seeking the credit for the new ADC. That would only be fair. In fact my sister, who lives in District 4, gave me a very colorful flyer she received in the mail from Troy Ross yesterday. One of his checked bullet points says “Was supervisor when the Jackson County Jail broke ground and got built”. I just wonder if he would like to maybe replace that one today with something like “I was listening to my IPOD in the SRHS Board of Trustees meeting, that I attended, when they voted to liquidate the retirement pension” Now that does sound safer based on what we now know. I also had to chuckle when I saw his ad on Slabbed which I think is great.Take all he will give. His little phrase “A Voice for ALL of US” is so catchy. I bet those same words might have be easily used in the conversation at the meetings with Robbie Maxwell,Scott Walker,John McKay and Barry Cumbest. Maybe as the Epps investigation moves south we will find out how many times Epps attended . Ex-Sheriff Mike Byrd stayed out of this one because he has enough experience to know a shake down when he sees one. I hope one day soon we are be able to see what the real total costs of that metal building jail really are and how much of the total got paid out in change direction money.

    1. I think some civic minded citizen ought to obtain and post the campaign contributions reported by Supervisor Ross.

      The relevant time period? ALL OF THEM.

      No need to do anything other than obtain them and send them along to Slabbed (or one of the other interested blogs.) Once posted they will probably be reviewed and cross referenced fairly quickly.

      Nothing to hide? Then why don’t you do it Supervisor Ross?

      1. I have Ross 2011 and 2015. I’d really like Brodnax’s too for compare and contrast purposes.

        I’d like to see Cumbest 2011 as well.

        All that said Deaton was a 2011 Ross contributor.

        1. Agree on the compare and contrast.

          Sometimes all beaks are wetted in an equal opportunity/affirmative action manner.

          Knowing some of the known knowns, the timing of contributions could be revealing in an ex post facto way .

          A quick examination of all the BOS filings could tell the tale.

        2. Only certain years are on file with the county – only a 5 year retention requirement. Brodnax doesn’t appear to have any donors this go around.

          1. I have the 2015 report he filed on August 17th. I’ll post both Ross’ and Brodnax’s last filing tomorrow.

  3. I just do not understand the Ashley Madison news. I guess my biggest question is why do people go their? Are they not satisfied with anything they have anymore? I guess at my age you wonder what this old world is coming to. I do admit my rooster hasn’t crowed in a while but even when it crowed every day I still would not seek out someone to have an affair with. I hope they reveal them all. I am convinced that the this jail deal is no different than the McGregor Road illegal dirt pit. A few more players have been added but think about this. In both the dirt pit and the jail you have McKay, Walker and Maxwell trying to get approval of something for others against the best interest of the people and Brodnax fighting them every step of the way. On the jail McKay added Ross and Cumbest because he wanted their vote and did this immediately after Brodnax left office. Now we just need some help figuring out who got paid for their participation. Also just like in the dirt pit scam us taxpayers will be paying for the jail scam .This is just another damn reason to TOSS ROSS and BURY BARRY CUMBEST on Tuesday.I am getting up at 4 am in the morning to get my chores done and then hit the road with my signs. I will be moving around all day trying to educate some and motivate others. Both of these incumbents must be defeated. I hope ya’ll are doing something to help get the word out.

  4. I was going to take my wife out to dinner tonight but have canceled those plans. I now am staying home so I can assemble a list of the top ten reasons to vote against incumbents Ross and Cumbest. The number one reason will be very difficult to decide on. So many choices. Johnny Carson style for sure. Will post tomorrow.

  5. Just reporting to all that I spent the entire day Saturday and Sunday afternoon driving around both District 1 and 5 with my sign crusade to see if I can help get rid of the last 2 knuckle headed incumbents. I am honest when I say many honked and cheered about my “TOSS ROSS” and “CUMBEST is LESS” signs. I traveled from Hurley to Ocean Springs stopping at stores,gas stations and busy intersections for short periods of time. I had several folks stop and talk with nobody disagreeing with my one man and a truck political campaign against these 2 incumbents.I feel really good this morning predicting that both Cumbest and Ross are going to lose tomorrow. When you read this Slabbed post about the new Jackson County jail and you see that both of these guys voted per John McKay’s instructions on that damned overpriced warehouse you just have to be more convinced they got to be let go by the voters tomorrow. I again ask that all concerned citizens who are sick and tired of the corruption an ignorance that has been on display in our county to take action this morning. Please contact anyone you can by phone,email, or text. Send out a tweet on Twitter. Send up smoke signals. release your pigeons, put a note in a bottle.Go to the grocery store and talk to people in line.Communicate with those you know using every resource you may have.Turn up the volume today. We must TOSS ROSS and BURY BARRY . If you are with me please start immediately. We, as a band of brothers and sisters, got rid of that dirt pit John McKay. We can do the same thing tomorrow. Lets clean house!!!!

  6. One slight correction to my above post.I meant District 1 and 4. I still have that sweet victory we made happen in District 5 on my mind.

  7. Do you think this is the reason Barry Cumbest voted against the SB 2407 bill , open transparency, so the citizens of Jackson County want know what’s going on behind close door’s? He, Barry Cumbest, all so was the lone BOS to vote against his appointee to resign his BOT position at the hospital knowing he had two residents in Mississippi and Alabama. He also was one of the BOS that hired Billy Guice, and paid him over $400,000.00 to tell the public what the retirees was telling them, and if they would have listened , it would not have cost the county any money. It seems that the current BOS does not care how long the current retirees/employees of SRHS worked to have a good retirement fund so they could enjoy their golden years, all they are concerned about is their own. If you remember back, when 3 retirees went to see Barry Cumbest and talk to him about the pension fund, he said yall are just screwed. Now he saying he has a solution but want say until after the election. Rumer is out that the DMR scandal is just the tip of the iceberg compared to what has been going on in Jackson County. Keep up the good work Slabbed, and keep us posted on the jail issue and the mis-coding of the tax exemption with the business in Jackson County. I want to thank the young lady, Sabrina Manning Smith, Ken Taylor, and Randy Bosarge for supporting us retirees on the picket line. We also want to thank all the citizens who have blowed there horns in support of us while we are picketing in front of the hospital on Tuesday and Friday. Our slogan is DO THE RIGHT THING, let’s do the right thing and vote out Barry Cumbest and Troy Ross.

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