Last night, local businessman and media personality Jeff Harding was acquitted by Bay St Louis Municipal Court Judge Stephen Maggio of simple assault and following too closely charges brought against him by Bay St Louis Mayor Les Fillingame’s daughter Katie Stewart. Maggio found Harding guilty of reckless driving for having a vehicle that had engine trouble on the roadways. Harding has not made a decision as to whether or not he will appeal the reckless driving conviction, which stemmed not from the facts alleged in Stewart’s affidavit but rather on defense’s admission the vehicle’s engine would not allow it to exceed 10-15 miles per hour on the roadways.
In her affidavits, Stewart alleged that Harding “did purposely, knowingly and unlawfully attempt to put (Stewart) in fear of imminent serious bodily harm by following her bumper to bumper, blasting horn, putting (her) and her 7-year-old in fear of causing accident or bodily harm”, an assertion that was directly contradicted by video evidence in the form of surveillance camera footage from various local business along the route that showed Harding’s vehicle was at times more than 150 feet behind Stewart, only catching up to her when she brought her vehicle to a virtual stop after hitting the curb at the intersection of Turner Street and U.S. 90 in Bay St Louis. Defense witness Aaron Whitney speculated that Stewart was trying to photograph the “Les Fillin’ Machine” before she sped away down 10th Street to the her parent’s residence, again well ahead of Harding, who apparently only sounded his horn once while passing the Mayor’s house instead of continuously, as alleged by Stewart.
Slabbed has learned that local businessman Jeff Harding aka the Poolman was arrested for Simple Assault and Disturbing the Peace after he had an altercation with “interim” Building/Code Department Director Charles Oliver. I just interviewed Mr. Harding telephonically, who indicated to me that he was arrested yesterday at his home without incident and posted a $1,000 cash bond. Harding indicated to Slabbed that despite the Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approving his site plan, Oliver refused to sign off on the plans unless Harding agreed to construct a 6 foot privacy fence across the entire frontage of his property on Highway 90. In turn, today Mr Harding swore a battery affidavit against Oliver, a close and longtime associate of Mayor Les Fillingame. Harding tells Slabbed that unlike his treatment yesterday, City Attorney Donald Rafferty has indicated to him that Mr. Oliver will be served with a summons and not arrested. Sources at City Hall tell Slabbed Judge Maggio will make the final call on how Harding’s complaint will be handled.
Additionally sources at the City Council have told Slabbed that Tom Chain of the Technical Assistance Division of the Office of the State Auditor visited City Hall and the City Council Chambers gathering documentation including the November 2013 City Council meeting minutes this afternoon. This was the month the City took a $500,000 loan with The First, a loan Councilman Lonnie Falgout has referred to as an “illegal loan” as it has been alleged that it was made without any statutory authority in the Mississippi Code.
Stay tuned to Slabbed for further details as City Hall is buzzing on this Friday before a long labor day weekend.
In today’s installment of right wing nuts gone wild I offer Grace “Bea” Harrison, owner of The Encore Group, a dissolved Mississippi Corporation and host of the Sunday morning show That’s What I Like About the South, where her wingnuttery goes on full display each Sunday morning. I discovered the show by pure chance and figured out quickly she was buying the time slot from the local Fox affiliate and selling her own advertising. After seeing her coverage of the August 2009 Gene Taylor Town Hall meeting, an event I attended as a member of the local media it did not take long to open my mind to the possibility that ol’ Bea may have a few screws loose to go along with the serious hard on she has for our Congressman, Gene Taylor. I never blogged about ol’ Bea but did resolve to not patronize any of her advertisers including the local italian restaurant Salute (which has good food) as I was not interested in helping Ms Harrison fund her jackassery.
The Moss Point meeting was my first experience with the local TEA Party movement. I want to make sure the Slabbed Nation in Louisiana understands we’re all for political expression here at Slabbed but these right wing nuts on my side of the line are what gives the TEA Party movement such a bad name nationwide IMHO. After reading a poll which appeared in the New York Times earlier this year, I also figured out the local TEA Party here on the Mississippi Coast does not match the demographics revealed in the NY Times poll, which did happen to closely mirror my experiences from meeting the Jefferson Parish based Citizens for Good Government back in June. Simply put Citizen Activists like Margie Seemans show for all the meetings but do not disrupt them.
The gang over here follows Gene Taylor from town to town across the 4th district trying to disrupt all of his constituent meetings. These meeting are important to local folks in places like Waynesboro, Mississippi who get a great opportunity to get help with navigating the federal bureaucracy. At the Moss Point meeting for example, there was an older man on the front row with an adult child that was severely mentally handicapped who attended the meeting for a damn good reason. It sure is easier to help people when there isn’t a group a 15-20 wingnuts acting like asses. This of course explains some of the more biting criticism I’ve levied against the TEA Party movement. Here on Slabbed though, we are all for open exchange of ideas which is why even Dan Triplett has commented here in the past free from personal attack. If I were asked, my advice to the Mississippi coast TEA Party movement would be to go meet Miss Margie over in Jefferson Parish and learn some manners. Continue reading “What I like about livin’ way down south are the occasional Cat Fights. An Ana Maria of the Slabbed nation in the news again.”