JustUs: Jackson County Chancery Court #SRHS Proceedings Rotten to the core

A bit over eight years ago Slabbed appeared in the local cyber scene as a blog dedicated to covering the wind-water insurance court battles when a nice lady from central Mississippi the world would later know as Nowdy and I met at the Cracker Barrel in Hattiesburg and made common cause to tell the coast’s story from a local point of view. In the time since we witnessed the Scruggs prosecution and it’s use as a hammer against people who had lost their homes to Hurricane Katrina. Nowdy would later describe the phenomenon as “JustUs” and it usually reared it ugly head in the Mississippi judicial system when massive amounts of money were at stake.

Yesterday, thanks to a bombshell legal filing at the Mississippi Supreme Court, JustUs again reared its ugly head here on the coast with news that the major players in the Chancery case Almond v Singing River et al, were holding a meeting in which the Plaintiff’s counsel in Almond were excluded. Less than three hours later an order staying Almond was entered by special Judge Breland Hilburn one day before motions on his recusal from the case were to be heard.

Ms. Almond and around two hundred other Singing River retirees have been deprived of their day in court thus far in favor of a forced settlement that saddled the scandal ridden pension plan with an unqualified trustee whose main qualifications appear to be his political connections.  To add to the Alice in Wonderland like quality we have Jackson County Board of Supervisors pretending they are not a full partner in the Singing River disaster yet the county is paying the legal fees of the politically connected lawyers that helped caused the Singing River disaster.

For the Singing River retirees that are being lined up like sheep before being herded to the financial chop shop, the events of the past month must be absolutely maddening.  Worse yet for morale is the punditry advocating for a settlement that sweeps possible illegal acts under the rug while the largest single group of retirees are cut out from access to the legal process all while a proposed compulsory settlement is allowed to advance before Judge Louis Guirola in US District Court.

But now the clients of local lawyers Earl Denham and Harvey Barton whose state court case has been stonewalled for months at least know the fix is in against them and they have no chance at receiving justice from Judge Hilburn and Special Master Singletary.  And despite Mr. Singletary’s protestations to the contrary, to the public this secret meeting between defense counsel and the Court reeks worse than a dead skunk in the August heat. And it’s not just the public that feels that way.

Last night SRHS Watch published the reaction of a local attorney without a financial horse in the Singing River litigation. It begins this way:

I am an attorney, and tonight I am hanging my head with shame and disappointment. Mississippi’s judiciary, bar and people are presented with yet another display of apparent back-room dealing by lawyers, a judge and special master.

That lawyer is far from alone in those sentiments.

Now it appears we have a major scandal resolving the Singing River pension meltdown to go with the original scandal of retirees being lied to for years by the Health system. Judge Hilburn, Magistrate Singletary and their Special Fiduciary need to be gone ASAP.

23 thoughts on “JustUs: Jackson County Chancery Court #SRHS Proceedings Rotten to the core”

  1. Remember the old Hee Haw TV program when they would sing the song that goes something like this: Where or where are you tonight?

    Where are our elected officials? What part did they play in the scenario? Are they thinking that if they keep quiet, it will save their A$$? DA Lawrence did not do his elected duties. Why did he not supuneo Chris Anderson? Why haven’t people involved not been called to testify? Who is protecting who?

    And the most important question is it the motive of SRHS to drag this out further so SRHS will go bankrupt and the retirees will get NOTHING?

    Where are you Jackson County Board of Supervisors? Do the Right Thing!

    1. Holy Moly Another Audit-ory Story Batman,

      Who says Mississippi has the lock on hospital corruption and under funding/ misrepresentation of debts and pension plans via bad audits !

      Here proudly comes Louisiana and Jefferson Parish- you remember- how some brains on JP Council said the public didn’t have enough brains to vote on the leases of their publically owned East and West Jefferson hospitals and thereby got La. House Rep. Joe Lopinto to float a legis, power grab bill taking away the public’s sole right to lease their hospitals. And turning said right to lease over to the brains on the JP Council.

      http://www.theneworleansadvocate.com/news/15364698-186/west-jefferson-hospital-deal-could-cost-jefferson-parish-28-million-more-than-expected-consultant-sa

      Seems like the Council brains proved themselves brainless all by their little lonesomes with many thanks to infamous Joe Lopinto !

  2. This stinks to high heaven! Are these employees and retirees ever going to get justice? The MS Supreme Court needs to act and act fast!

  3. Who participated by telephone? We know who was physically present, but there are attorneys whose offices are at great remove from Biloxi. Attorneys in this case are based in Kansas City, Oxford, Tupelo, and Jackson.

    What other attorneys had knowledge of this ex parte hearing? The Mississippi Rules of Professional Conduct require that an attorney disclose such acts when they learn of them.

    If this meeting was in relation to the federal settlement, would it not have been sanctioned by the court? Was David Houston, who served as mediator in this case and formerly as a judge in US Bankruptcy Court, aware of this meeting? Was District Judge Guirola?

    We doubt that either Houston or Judge Guirola had knowledge, but these are the questions that are raised in the public discourse. Such judicial mud holes splash and stain anyone in proximity. It is for this reason exactly that such secret meetings are prohibited. The public should not have one shred of doubt about the judges hearing their cases.

  4. I am amazed that any of you expected anything different. Didn’t we watch in horror while the DMR “management” did what ever they wanted (legal or not) without repercussion??? Didn’t we watch the biased punishment of “selected” employees while others are still there working today??? Didn’t we watch Stacey Pickering snub Judge Schloegel’s order and did what the hell he wanted to protect = who??? He did this so that the evidence showing WHO gave the orders was protected. So much more that could be said here, but I think you get the drift.
    Haven’t we watched the same type of “You and me” government transpire over in Hancock county at a school located over there and in the city government where funds have come up missing, special favors are given to special people (free dumpster for “friends and family”, free water bills for “friends and family”, and a bus system that no one wants but “friends and family” so that they can have dependable rides home from their drunken nights out???
    When will you all wake up and understand that this once wonderful State has been under a type of martial law that is directed by “friends and family” and lonely alcoholics clubs??? When will the families of these crooks stand up??? (Doubt that will happen – they are benefitting from our tax dollars.
    These poor people here in Jackson county have been simply screwed by the “friends and family” system. BUT – they should stay diligent and stay focused and stay on the right path they are travelling because they are in the right. They have EARNED and been promised those funds. NO ONE has the authority to take it from them. I hope that Mr. Denham will keep up the good fight for them – even if these people run out of funds because it is the right thing to do. If other individuals that have been run over by the “friends and family alcoholic club” would take their noses out of the sand and stand up, then other innocent people could be helped.
    Stay with it people-make those crooks pay!!! Go to the Capitol in Jackson while those sheep Legislators are in session. Let those sorry elected officials know you are a force to be reckoned with!!!! And don’t forget the Governor who claims to be the “people’s Governor” – Ha, Ha, Ha!!! IMO, he is the “friends and family” CEO. Make a stand up there for the Public to see! Speak on the Capitol floor and don’t stop until you can share your grief. Don’t feel all alone – we are all rooting for you!!!!

  5. I read where Trustee Scott Taylor is protesting his innocence or ignorance of last week’s meeting subject matter. Does he really expect anyone to believe him? With his appointment by ousted Supervisor John McKay, who in their right mind would believe his selection? McKay was the same person who claimed Cobb had all the right paperwork on the McGregory Land Deal. Yep, and it was a lie. Does the general public believe any person involved in the SRHS fiasco? It appears every one of the former and present supervisors knew about the SRHS pension plan being axed yet did nothing to help their constituents that have paid in and worked for many years at the hospitals. We really need to thank McKay, Mangum, Ross, Cumbest and Harris for their assistance in screwing the Singing River Health System retirees!

  6. If you can find an attorney in Jackson County that will go after another attorney for legal malpractice publish their name. I am sure their have been other cases where wrong doings have happened. Examples would be Judges filing motions for attorneys , Judges hearing motions that were before another Judge on a case that was postponed to another date. Attorneys not knowing the facts in a case they are defending. Attorneys being friends with opposing party or has represented them in the past and not telling their client.Attorneys not telling the Judge about wrong doings of other Attorneys involved in a case. Attorneys sharing testimony outside of the court room to witnesses. Court documents being added too that did not take place in the court room. Tapes of court proceeding being turned off during trial. Cases being delayed for years and clients having to change attorneys because of attorneys changing jobs or Judges changing jobs. Every citizen deserves a fair trial with fair representation from their attorneys and Judges that listens to the cases before them. This is not the only case that has had legal malpractice involved.

  7. Earwigging-To annoy or attempt to influence by private talk.Scott Taylor learned this practice at the Scruggs firm years ago and appears to think Chancery Rule 30 does not apply to him because he is acting as a SRHS Trustee and not a lawyer.Obviously this group of merry men who met in private will have some ingenious method for evading this rule.First they will say that none of them would ever try to influence the court. Second they will all swear this meeting was not secret by any measure and third they will claim that no cases were discussed or even mentioned. Of course they did not plan on being filmed coming and going. Taylor appears to be no better that the slave sex selling landlord he replaced or the corrupt person who appointed him.I believe this meeting was held to plan a strategy on the distribution of the sweet potatoes once the forced settlement is finalized. I guess the next place Taylor will show up is as the Grand Marshall for the John McKay Day parade tomorrow which begins at Ocean Springs City Hall and ends up at Boots and Spurs for the after party. This event is probably sponsored by the SRHS BOT, 3 out of 5 of the JCBOS and some Psyco aldermen. McKay will be given a key to the city and probably a lifetime pass to the 777/JJ/MS Massage & Recreational Complex.The theme of the parade should be “I got my multiple retirements so to hell with yours”. Sort of sums it up for many.

    1. To Whomever posted the exact time lines of the entrance and exit of the Clowns at this ex-parte Ringing,Barnum Bailey Circus why not Periscope with a cellphone the whole smelly affair? Do you have to check phones at entrance of The Big Tent?- if not, record the timely proof so none of the Clowns can deny they arrived hours before the other Clowns and started blowing up their hot air, funny balloons sooner.

      http://srhswatch.org/timeline-of-ex-parte-meeting/

      Ex- parte judiciary meetings are fine as long as all parties with standing enter and exit the judges’ chambers and his presence at the same time, otherwise there usually will be Cotton Candy deals. With all smelly ex- parte meetings the judicial officer bearing the greatest burden to protect blind justice is the judicial judge himself.

      However, in many cases it are the judges, who as Masters of Ceremonies and ring leaders under da’ Big Tent, allow these ex- parte circus performances to continue in private….

      Like Ringling, Barnum and Bailey, who recently retired their big fat elephants from dere performances allegedly because of PETA complaints( however us in da’ noe, noe dat it was the smell of BS under The Big Tents dat was da’ cause); the SRHS watch should likewise shout out the elimination of these elephants’ BS private performances. Sometimes the retirement of the Master of Ceremonies may also improve impartial reviews of a over booked, smelly Circus before they get railroaded out of town.

      1. In Louisiana there is Operation Wrinkled Robe, one of the costliest FBI judicial investigation. Little has changed in Gretna since.

        In Mississippi we had the Eaton v Frisby scandal involving special masters riding the trough along with judges being improperly influenced to go with the lying cheating and stealing.

        http://www.thefederation.org/documents/06.Eaton%20v%20%20Frisby%20Ethics%20Paper-Brett%20Preston.pdf

        http://www.mslitigationreview.com/articles/eaton-v-frisby-2/page/2/

        http://www.cleveland.com/business/index.ssf/2011/01/eaton_lawsuit_thrown_out_over_attorney_misdeeds.html

        It appears little has changed in Mississippi since.

  8. http://blog.gulflive.com/mississippi-press-news/2016/01/john_mckay_deserves_our_thanks.html

    It comes as little surprise, however, that there are those who have used the occasion of McKay being honored to heap inappropriate and, in many cases, largely uninformed criticism upon him.

    During McKay’s time in elected office, he was fair game, as are all elected officials. It is a citizen’s right to criticize public officials when they believe such criticism is warranted.

    But McKay is out of office now and whether you believe he did good job or not, the fact remains he was there, doing what he believed was best for the people of Ocean Springs and Jackson County. To levy criticism at him now is not only inappropriate, but classless.

    Does the same apply to guys like Bill Walker, Scott Walker, Ray Nagin, and Aaron Broussard? Or does it take the combination of both being elected to office, and then later criminally convicted for actions while ‘servicing’ the public, before retrospective criticism is allowed?

    Ask me one more time, why do these things keep happening?

    Shit like the dirt pit, the DMR, SRHS accounting failures, …

    1. More than one of John McKay’s accomplishments was not mentioned in the article.

      Isn’t the construction new Jackson County Adult Detention Center another of his glorious achievements? Just so Slabbed readers are not part of the uniformed masses, I’ll include a few links.

      Slabbed explores the almost completed Jackson County Adult Detention Center – Introduction

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

      Bonus informative ‘Cobb’s Catfish ponds’ link:

      Nothing fishy here, what’s a hole in the ground between friends. Slabbed takes a trip down memory lane with Jackson County Supervisor John McKay

    2. rfp:

      What did you expect out of the Miss.Press ? They, as many other media and local ethical legal experts, have a regional infamous reputation of polishing political turds to a high luster.

      To see the best national polishers tune into MSNBC nitely but better be wearing yo’ sunglasses as the reflective shine could be blinding.

      1. I guess I don’t know what I expect anymore out of Miss Press or any other media. I thought I had low expectations of the press in general, but after this, they are apparently not nearly low enough.

        1. rfp:

          Mythbusters proved conclusively it can be done with a little elbow grease…

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yiJ9fy1qSFI

          Anything over 70 gloss units is termed “shiny”….

          “Lions’ dung can be polished to 180 gloss units, ostrich dung only to 106 gloss units “, however SRHS political cony ( Mc Kay’s) turds to a mighty six ninety ( dats 690) units by regional turd polisher, da’ Miss.Press ( whose media motto is “…. don’t done stop buffing til yo’ peepers bees blinded by da’ light”).

          And don’t forget the Miss. Press was given exclusive coverage of the SRHS debacle so dem could start polishin’ all da’ crap dat was to come down da’ political pig trough….

  9. John McKay Day? Is this a joke? After reading the provided Gulflive/Ms.Press article I just wonder who asked that this public recognition be given? Does anybody ever remember a local political incumbent, who lost a re-election bid by a landslide, ever being put up on a pedestal and honored like this? Yes he has held office for a long time,probably to long, based on his performance and actions in the last 4 years. Was he not paid for his service? Did he not end up with a retirement pension in PERS? What has he done that is so extra special? I worked two jobs,raised 3 kids,served in the military and have been a good honest member of the area for many years.No special attention wanted or needed. I just hope that tonight at the Ocean Springs City Hall, when the powers that be present John McKay with the key to the city, he leaves behind his arrogance and becomes a humbled individual. If he is going to be congratulated for being a paid public servant he should finally be man enough step up to the microphone and finally apologize for the misuse of taxpayer money on the DMR fishing trips, for conspiring with others on the illegal Cobb dirt pit in Vancleave, for the money he helped waste at the Ocean Springs High School on bad fill dirt,for the new Jackson County Jail that he hijacked along with Chris Epps,Scott Walker and others, for his total dereliction of duties as a county supervisor who was charged with overseeing the Singing River Hospital System.I could go on but those mentioned would be a good start.So who in the world do you think asked that this man of questionable character be honored in public? No one should be surprised to find out that Linda McKay and son requested that the city give John McKay his own day in Ocean Springs.Even after the successful arm twisting I would assume that the family will be very sad that cousin Kim Savant will not be able to attend.He was also a long time public servant, of similar reputation, that had a Kim Savant Day in Harrison County a few months ago.This public celebration was not at in a city hall but at the Dan M.Russell Jr. Federal Court House.Savant was punished for the bribes he accepted.Maybe others will also be held accountable for their wrong doing.

  10. If JCBOS lawyer Guice thought anyone with any ounce of sense would believe his tirade at the board meeting today, he should have stayed at home.

    Why doesn’t the JCBOS want the truth to come out on who, what, etc. did the dirty work on the pension instead of being against the retirees? Thank you Bosarge and Taylor. But remember, you have 3 working against you and the retirees.

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