Why Hancock County Can’t Afford Nice Things Part 2: Back Room Deals, Lack of Sunshine

Reader Submitted Photo of Front Gate of the Bay Waveland Yacht Club
Reader Submitted Photo of Front Gate of the Bay Waveland Yacht Club

It is safe to say the Yacht Club’s tax exemption has reverberated around the county a time or two so now it’s time we put everything together and illustrate both how the process under which tax exemption was given is fatally flawed, lacking any semblance of transparency and what the elected officials can do to fix it.

There has been lots of information posted already and then Geoff Belcher’s article for the Sea Coast Echo proved as an invaluable resource because the players behind the events made on the record comments. First things is to emphasize the update to the first post because we did get a fact wrong and the correct facts need to be emphasized:

Slabbed has been contacted by the Department of Revenue in response to communications from Jimmie Ladner’s office. Jeff Foreman of MDOR indicated this this type of tax exemption does not require MDOR approval:

As I understand from ……. below, the Bay Waveland Yacht Club is claiming exemption as a “perpetual or fraternal and benevolent organization”. As you have already established in this thread, such an exemption is clearly authorized under Miss. Code Ann. Section 27-31-1(d). Under current Mississippi law, case law and guidance from the Mississippi Attorney General, the duty to determine eligibility for such an exemption lies solely with the county. The Department of Revenue plays no role in the approval of such exemptions and, as such, there is no requirement for any information regarding such exemptions to be filed with the Department.

The takeaway from Mr. Foreman’s very important clarification needs highlighting because it drives the inescapable logic that follows:

Under current Mississippi law, case law and guidance from the Mississippi Attorney General, the duty to determine eligibility for such an exemption lies solely with the county.

Mr. Foreman’s word are precise and he didn’t say the duty to determine eligibility for such an exemption lies solely with the tax assessor/collector, rather he was referencing the County Board of Supervisors and the Tax Collector. Lana Noonan of the Hancock County Alliance for Good Government asked the follow-up question to confirm with Mr. Foreman his very precise remarks. This is what he said: Continue reading “Why Hancock County Can’t Afford Nice Things Part 2: Back Room Deals, Lack of Sunshine”

For those that have been wondering about Ashton…..

AROD is a budding radio personality now appearing several times with WGSO NOLA Jeff Crouere. The transcript of Ashton’s August 29, 2017 interview is here courtesy of the Bernofskys at TulaneLink. His last interview with Courere on Tuesday is here beginning at 3:05:00 or there abouts.

“It’s deja vu all over again”

Photo Courtesy of David Wells
Photo Courtesy of David Wells

A quick PACER sweep indicates there are two active civil suits against the City (Marquar and Issman) with three suits resolved within the past year or so. The docket at the local Circuit Clerk’s office would have the rest of the active cases involving the City.

Just a thought, but it seems like just yesterday the Bay City Council took some very bad legal advice and got in trouble with Ethics. When the opinion came out the lawyer that gave the bad advice got none of the blame as 100% of that went to the elected officials. Deservedly so I might add.

As the coming weeks unfold I’m probably going to be bringing that concept back up.

Welp, word is out….

Slabbed has another story coming on the Bay Waveland Yacht Club exemption but we are waiting for Paul Hampton over at the Sun Herald to check in on the sail boat donation. We’ll see.

Bay-Waveland Yacht Club charter changed; club now exempt from paying property taxes ~ Geoff Belcher

Belcher snagged quotes from Jimmie Ladner and Yacht Club Treasurer Chris Roth which is good. Slabbed has some additional quotes to share from Jimmie while Lana got an important clarification from the Mississippi Department of Revenue. We also are in the final stages of information gathering on how the by law change went down at the Yacht Club. This is really a discussion that should have taken place in October 2015 at a Supervisor’s meeting that is open to the public but that never happened folks so we’re going to have it now.

If you are a church or a 501(c)(3), I would urge you to read Mississippi Code Ann. Section 27-31-1, which has the property tax exemptions listed. I imagine there will be some fear mongering and there is no reason for that. Churches are exempt as would most 501(c)(3) organizations.

Finally folks, consider what the statute that Jimmie Ladner is relying upon actually says because there are words after “fraternal and benevolent organization” that are very important and they appear in the very code section (MCA 27-31-1(d)) that Ladner told Slabbed he relied upon to grant the tax exemption to the Yacht Club:

All property, real or personal, owned and occupied by a fraternal and benevolent organization, when used by such organization, and from which no rentals or other profits accrue to the organization, but any part rented or from which revenue is received shall be taxed. (Emphasis added)

While the Crooks in the Swamp are Exposed….

You gotta love the Haji, wrapping themselves up in the flag blaming immigrants for all their problems while they are being robbed blind by their own kind.

Some of other emails admitted into evidence revealed Manafort’s lobbying of Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner on behalf of Stephen Calk, the chairman of Federal Savings Bank. Prosecutors say Calk approved $16 million in loans for Manafort — despite several red flags — because Calk wanted a job in the Trump administration.

The emails showed that in the weeks after the 2016 election, Manafort urged Kushner to consider Calk for Secretary of the Army, a position Calk had put at the top of his list in an earlier email to Manafort. Calk also listed seven other senior domestic appointments and 18 ambassadorships — ranked in order of preference — that he would accept.

Even better we learn of these emails from the media here in the US via US prosecutors rather than the Russians. To some that is evidence of the deep state but people wearing tin foil hats have been with humanity since 1910, the year Aluminum foil was invented so that is expected.

The evidence of pervasive corruption has literally been slapping everyone that cared to notice across the face since day 1 of America’s experiment electing a carnival barker to the Presidency. Tom Marino never got the chance and Scott Pruitt may yet prove he is a piker against Wilbur Ross. And then there is Trump putting Goldman Sachs in charge of the US Treasury after railing against them during his campaign. The signs were everywhere folks and so called conservatives everywhere have proven themselves no better than Hillary Clinton democrats in standing by their man.

Even better since this is bat shit crazy 2018 we have people that were so cowardly in the 1960s as to crap their own pants to get the 4-F shilling for the coward that had bone spurs all while running down those that have served. I personally can’t wait for the new season of South Park.

Oh and then there is this:

Ex-Trump attorney Michael Cohen pleads guilty in hush-money scheme ~ AP

2018 is also the year without the dog days of summer. Continue reading “While the Crooks in the Swamp are Exposed….”

Why Hancock County Can’t Afford Nice Things….. (Updated)

Reader Submitted Photo of Front Gate of the Bay Waveland Yacht Club
Reader Submitted Photo of Front Gate of the Bay Waveland Yacht Club

It all started with a comment left by Sold Out on The Optics are Terrible:

The Yacht Club was paying over $19K a year in advalorem. She showed them how to go non profit and quit paying local taxes run the non profit thru her and just pay her.

That comment raised two distinct questions in our minds here at Slabbed. The first question is whether or not the Bay Waveland Yacht Club was paying property taxes. The second question would pertain to the local Chamber of Commerce being involved in getting tax exemptions for a social club. I’ll answer the second question first because we need to line through it for the purposes of the rest of this post as we found no evidence the Chamber was involved in the Yacht Club’s local property tax assessments. The Yacht club however, was given a tax abatement by Hancock County Tax Collector Jimmie Ladner and that is plenty interesting on its own.

On October 5, 2015 the Bay Waveland Yacht Club, Inc filed a status report with the Mississippi Secretary of State which indicated it changed its corporate charter:

The period of existence is perpetual Second: The purpose for which it is created are: Mission and Purpose: Associate as a
fraternal and benevolent organization for the common purpose, promotion and pleasure of doing good works related to boating, racing, athletics and related activities Donate use of its facilities, boats and personnel for the advancement of high school sailing, sailing instruction to the children of the community, providing boat storage and launching to the Department of Marine Resources and for search and rescue initiatives, sponsoring annual events open to the community in the celebration of national holidays, hosting civic club functions and fishing rodeos Encourage the owning and use of power and sailing boats for pleasure and a safe harbor for boaters in distress Host international, national and regional regattas in order to exhibit the resources of the Mississippi Gulf Coast to international, national and regional visitors Erect and maintain a building and marina facilities to be used for its good works, charitable endeavors and as a club house for its members Provide periodic donations of use of its facilities and property for the benefit of the community.

That is interesting that it donates its facilities for sailing instruction. The summer program cost $450/child so I am not sure what is exactly being donated to the public but boy that new mission statement sure sounds good. Jimmie Ladner indicated to Slabbed that after the club changed its by laws he gave it the property tax exemption under authority section 27-31-1(d) of the Mississippi Code, which does allow for certain nonprofits to gain a property tax exemption. The problem is the Bay Waveland Yacht Club, per its own 990 forms filed with IRS, is a 501(c)(7) social club. Worse, the 990 forms indicated that no changes were made to its governing documents so there is a fundamental contradiction between the story BWYC is telling the local tax collector and the one it is telling the IRS. Continue reading “Why Hancock County Can’t Afford Nice Things….. (Updated)”

Bless Their Poor Hearts, Which Suddenly Now Thirst for Knowledge

It would help if Mayor Dane would whip the other City Council persons in line so they could keep a consistent story:

This comes after Mayor Maxwell revealed last week the city is facing a $14 million budget deficit, and that the city and state are reviewing spending from 2012-2017. The city has already turned over financial records to the State Auditor.

“The misconception out there in the social media world is that we should have known this coming in,” the mayor said.

Maxwell took office in July. The budget had to be adopted by October. He said the city passed a budget based on the current numbers.

Bless their hearts this is what Councilman Scott Tipton told Karen Nelson:

It was a common practice in years past to move money from the utility fund into the general fund to balance the budget, Councilman Scott Tipton said Wednesday.

The only reason it wasn’t done in the last two years is that, “there was no money left in there to do it,” Tipton said.

So who are we to believe, Mayor Dane who claims not to have a clue but who had the September 30, 2016 audit which showed the general fund was broke waiting for him when he assumed office in July, 2017. Mayor Dane actually submitted the audit which showed the general fund was broke to the Office of the State Auditor in October, 2017. Or should we believe the City Councilman that just admitted raiding the Utility fund for years until it ran out of money. The financial mismanagement here crosses into the realm of malfeasance IMHO folks because Mayor Dane and Councilman Tipton were clearly mining money from the lemonade spring area of Big Rock Candy mountain. Continue reading “Bless Their Poor Hearts, Which Suddenly Now Thirst for Knowledge”