It’s called Mississippi Mud…..

The most frequent bit of feedback I get from the readership is that Slabbed is written too much to the inside. It is a valid point. I often write to the inside with both a purpose and on purpose so it is not unusual that inside commentary often follows:

Is anyone else confused about these comments? Is there something here I need to know?

The answer is yes, there is good information to be gleamed from the commentary to yesterday’s post. I’m just not certain that any term fits it better than Mississippi Mud.

Mississippi Mud? The dessert? The song? The book? Nope, I’m talking about the ol’ mudhole filled with 100% genuine Mississippi gumbo mud, the kind of mud that once it sticks to you does not easily wash off. Mr. Pickering at OSA is an expert in the topic. So are certain of Slabbed’s commenters.

To understand how the Singing River debacle happened is to understand decades of associations between and among the local power players. In the case of Jackson County the lineage traces back literally to the very top of the GOP power structure (once upon a time) and state government (once upon a time). Some of the fault lines we see today in the SRHS disaster can be traced back through the Scruggs bribery prosecution and before. And once again it is the little people at the bottom that are getting dumped on.

My takeaway from yesterday’s comments is that folks are connecting past events to other past events as certain prior associations surface time and time again. Here are three prior posts have some good background:

Analysis: Rumors of sweetheart insider contracts swirling around Singing River Hospital (Updated)

The dominoes begin to tumble: SRHS files suit against Jackson Co Outsource Group

And from Slabbed’s archival DMR coverage:

The Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain helps DMR Director Bill Walker buy his son’s property. A DMR friends and family program update.

13 thoughts on “It’s called Mississippi Mud…..”

  1. I know the Mississippi Mud has been around a long time. Maybe I have paid more attention to the corruption industry since Katrina came ashore and the Jackson connected cronies soon arrived on the Coast. There are so many examples of the GOPers not doing what is in the best interest of the public but arranging that which will put the most money in their supporter’s pockets. Then these same people send back a percentage in campaign donations to the politicians that sponsor them. Will this type of grand theft ever end? Only when the taxpayers all rise up together and run these incompetent people out of office. The public should also shun those that we know make their business deals in secret behind closed doors with the very people we pay to represent the interests of us all.

  2. What is even stickier and smellier than Mississippi mud are all those unholy alliances people have with Kevin. Once the Board of Trustees throws him out and taps the new power couple of SRHS, Lee Bond and Celeste Oglesby, The old guard that has been hiding and collecting their paychecks is going to see the light and feel the heat!

    1. Yeah, nothing says, “I’m half of new ‘power couple’ and I’m here to help y’all out” like a big ol’ FU!:
      http://www.sunherald.com/2015/03/18/6129211/srhs-public-has-no-right-to-records.html

      I’m not the MS Supreme Court, but I suspect they will be sorting out yet another aspect of this fustercluck. If were Ms. Oglesby, I’m not sure I’d be all that excited about arguing that this:

      “Miss. Code Ann. § 41-9-68 (2013): Records maintained by public hospitals, ***except the official minutes of the board of trustees, and financial reports filed as required by statute with the board of supervisors or municipal authorities or __any other agency of government__***, shall be exempt from the provisions of the Mississippi Public Records Act of 1983.” (Note that it doesn’t limit which statute, county, state or federal, nor which “agency of government – MS Code § 1-3-65 (2013) “All words and phrases contained in the statutes are used according to their common and ordinary acceptation and meaning; but technical words and phrases according to their technical meaning.”).

      says that the hospital (or pension) can refuse to disclose the financial records, in light of MS Code § 25-61-5 (2013).

      And some of these folks might want to read over § 25-4-105 (“Certain actions, activities and business relationships prohibited or authorized; contracts in violation of section voidable; penalties” – it is LONG – if you’re interested, Google it), which provides for the following, under § 25-4-109:
      ” (1) Upon a finding by clear and convincing evidence that any elected public servant or other person has violated any provision of this article, the commission may censure the elected public servant or impose a civil fine of not more than Ten Thousand Dollars ($ 10,000.00), or both. The commission may further recommend to the Circuit Court for Hinds County that the elected public servant be removed from office.
      (2) Upon a finding by clear and convincing evidence that any nonelected public servant has violated any provision of this article, the commission may censure the nonelected public servant or impose a civil fine of not more than Ten Thousand Dollars ($ 10,000.00), or both. The commission may further recommend to the Circuit Court for Hinds County that the nonelected public servant be removed from office, suspended, or subjected to a demotion or reduction in pay.
      (3) The commission may order restitution or other equitable or legal remedies to recover public funds or property unlawfully taken, as well as unjust enrichment, although not public funds. Any pecuniary benefit received by a public servant in violation of this article may be declared forfeited by the commission for the benefit of the governmental entity injured.
      (4) In the event a public servant does not appeal the decision or recommendation of the commission, the commission may petition the Circuit Court for Hinds County for the removal, suspension, demotion or reduction of pay of the public servant as provided by law.”

      See also: § 25-4-113 (Civil action for damages against violator of article; forfeiture of pecuniary benefit; costs and attorneys’ fees): “The Attorney General of the State of Mississippi, the commission, or any governmental entity directly injured by a violation of this article may bring a separate civil action against the public servant or other person or business violating the provisions of this article for recovery of damages suffered as a result of such violation. Further, any pecuniary benefit received by or given by a public servant in violation of this article shall be declared forfeited by a circuit court of competent jurisdiction for the benefit of the governmental entity injured. In the discretion of the court, any judgment for damages or forfeiture of pecuniary benefit may include costs of court and reasonable attorney’s fees.”

  3. Imagine my surprise when I look across the smoky tomm and I see that formidable force of fashion with the bright red lipstick, perfect hair, and the bay collection dress (showing just enough leg) trot out and shut down the Sun Herald and someone hits the lights and it’s really Roy!

  4. Why would the SRHS not want to create some goodwill and do some repair work on their damaged image by releasing the requested records? What do they have to gain? The more the lawyers try to keep the operations of this public hospital a secret, the more the public will suspect rampant wrong doing. Eventually all will be known and if illegal activities have taken place those involved will be exposed. The legal department can only be the firewall for so long. We all know the Dogan, Wilkinson, Williams an Others law firm is behind all of this SRHS resistance with Oglesby as nothing more than their puppet. I bet they tell her what to wear to work each day. I see her as one half of a powerless couple and predict you will be gone soon

  5. Somebody (or multiple somebodies) at or connected to SRHS seems to be worried about something. Three of the cases:
    2015-AC-00174 Donna B. Broun v. Singing River Health System
    2015-AC-00175 Cynthia N. Almond v. Singing Health System
    2015-AC-00176 Virginia Lay v. Singing River Health System
    have these:
    Pro Hac Vice Statement Issued – Carly D. Duvall
    Pro Hac Vice Statement Issued – Andrea M. Kimball
    as docket entries back in early Febuary, in response to pro hac vice admission motions (pro hac vice gets a non-MS attorney the ability to practice in MS for specific cases). Kimball is a partner with Dentons Kansas City and Duvall is an associate there. Thus far, it seems, they haven’t actually done anything YET. Dentons is the real deal. If they aren’t currently the world’s largest law firm, they are in the top 3. Just making a guess, but it would not surprise me if an E&O carrier or other insurance company required this. If, however, SRHS hired them, it could be that something unknown to the public is REALLY, REALLY bad, much worse than what the public suspects. The hourly rate is for a Dentons partner and a baby lawyer and support staff (paralegals, etc.) in the KC office is probably on the order of $400 an hour for the partner, $200 for the baby, $100-125.00 for the para, etc., plus expenses. By the time they got through defending multiple cases, in both MS and federal court, somebody’s bill would be “significant,” and if there are appeals, “significant” might soon seem like a pittance.

  6. More Mississippi Mud? Louisiana Mud too? Flipping swamplands and CIAP funds? FBI has been asking questions? Say it ain’t so. Oh, and that name seems strangely familiar.

    Land deal appraised by tax assessor Barber probed

    “Federal authorities have been looking into Madison County Tax Assessor Gerald Barber and his role in a Louisiana land deal that scored almost $3 million in profits for private citizens and a conservation group.

    The lynchpin for the deal may have been an apparent inflated appraisal done by Barber’s firm, Barber & Mann Inc., that the U.S. inspector general called “noncompliant” and unreasonably priced in an audit.

    See also:
    DMR Scandal day 53: The bucks are beginning to stop.

    Rooked: Elizabeth Rooks Barber of Barber and Mann exports the DMR friends and family program…

    1. RFP,

      Great research but I would like to point out a few things. Many moons ago when the DMR first made the headlines, there was a government report furnished that questioned the purchases of numerous properties funneled through the DMR channel. One of the properties in question was owned by the HEBERT family. The HERBERT (heavily politically connected) family who is related to TINA SHUMATE worked at the DMR–hint, hint.. In addition to this, the report also outlined plausible conflicts of interest. Fortunately for the HERBERT and SHUMATE families, it appears that this was all swept under the rug or there was not enough “evidence” to prosecute.

      We should ask Stacey Pickering to enlighten us on any details regarding this matter. He just might know. or the real truth may have been found in the back of a U-Haul.

      1. If Dentons is on board and this turns into an appellate ERISA battle, Pickering will get left in the dust. Scott Walker’s piss-ant little scam was in the 100s of thousands. If this thing goes to biglaw fighting an appellate test/battle over ERISA claims, 100s of thousands will cover the printing of the briefs and some legal secretarial time. If – _IF_ – Dentons is expecting a knifefight, I’d not be surprised if the retainer was in the mid six figures, because once you’ve petitioned for a ticket in, the only way out is to have the courts let you out; they cannot just say midway, “oops, our bad, we’re out” and walk away (albeit a “corp” client not paying is a pretty sure way out). Given the overall situation, I can see a 500 grand – million dollar retainer.

        As purely a guess, Gregg doesn’t really apply here for several reasons. Court-wise, any alleged support would be in the dissent, not the precedent – an argument, yes, but that’s all. But from the facts present here, if SRHS’s “conflict” can be tied to a willful (or negligent) disregard to supervise the pension, with that being a reasonable cause of the situation (and moreso if any of trustees pr other controlling people were involved in shenanigans), Gregg really fades away. For those that care, read over the decision; it provided no refuge to an employer-managed plan in which the trustees are implicated in proactive (or negligent, even grossly negligent) mal- or misfeasance. But hey, that’s what some folks get at least 4-500.00 an hour to argue over.

        All that said, there is a potential silver lining: Kimball is also a mediator. What she might be able to mediate, given the situation, is subject to debate. But if that’s the case, retirees/employees, get ready to be satisfied with a compromise with which you won’t be happy.

        HERE’S A TIP (not legal advice): Courts are not the place for retribution. They can, at best, make you as whole as their power and the situation allow. SRHS pension folks are going to get less than they bargained for – there is just no way to turn 100 million into the 250 million needed. But if it were me, I could live with less if that is all that is available _IF_I knew that the folks that caused the situation weren’t retiring to their condos and yachts.

  7. DO NOT FORGET! The following Jackson County Board of Supervisors are not supporting the Singing River Hospital Retirees and presently working members.

    District 1 – Barry Cumbest
    District 2 – Melton Harris, Jr.
    District 3 – Mike Mangum
    District 4 – Troy Ross
    District 5 – John McKay

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *