Archive for the ‘Dickie Scruggs’ category

Hood’s Campaign: “Protecting Mississippi Families”

October 9, 2011

No, this is not a joke.  Jim Hood is running for reelection with the tagline “Protecting Mississippi Families.”

The obvious question is “Whose family is he protecting?”

Dickie Scruggs, Steve Patterson, and former Special Assistant Attorneys General Joey Langston and Tim Balducci

Remember what he told the Clarion Ledger?

State Attorney General Jim Hood said today it would be a conflict of interest for his office to file charges against several attorneys involved in a high-profile judicial bribery scandal.

Filing a state case now could interfere with a federal case that is already in the courts, Hood told The Clarion-Ledger at an editorial board meeting.

“I’m too close to them,” he said. “It would be like prosecuting my relatives.

Jim Hood…protecting Mississippi families.

Fortunately, the feds were protecting laws.

Leniency was key to 24-month prison sentences Friday for judicial bribery co-defendants Timothy Balducci and Steven Patterson.

It was Senior U.S. District Judge Neal Biggers Jr.’s first “slack” shown in the federal case, which has scandalized the legal profession and public, and brought down one of America’s best-known attorneys, Richard “Dickie” Scruggs of Oxford.

The two men, who lived and worked together in New Albany when they were indicted Nov. 28, 2007, were the last co-defendants of the conspiracy known as Scruggs I. They, Scruggs, his lawyer son Zach and a law partner pleaded guilty to varying levels of crime associated with the attempted bribery of Circuit Judge Henry Lackey of Calhoun City in the spring of 2007.

Jim Hood: Contracts for Contributions?

December 3, 2010

The American Tort Reform Association released a report on Attorneys General in six states: Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York and West Virginia. The Report is titled: “Beyond Reproach? Fostering Integrity and Public Trust in the Offices of State Attorneys General.”

Sadly for Mississippi, Hood has not operated his office “beyond reproach” or else this, er, reproach would not be directed toward him. Even if he did everything right, it smells so bad that he has diminished the confidence of the people in his office. Consider this from the Legal Newsline coverage of the report:

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood has seen several of his largest contributors run afoul of the law. Dickie Scruggs and Joey Langston are both in jail for judicial bribery schemes.

In the five years following Hood’s election in 2003, he hired at least 27 law firms to file at least 20 lawsuits, the report says. Those firms and their attorneys gave Hood $543,000 for his campaigns.

One of those firms is Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossman, which was selected to represent a state retirement fund in a lawsuit against Delphi Corp. that resulted in a $333 million settlement and $40 million in attorneys fees.

The firm has given $149,056 to Hood since 2005. Hood also received $75,000 from Houston-based Bailey Perrin Bailey, which he chose to represent the State against Eli Lilly.

So you contribute to a campaign and then get a contract from the state and make millions of dollars. Some will say that happens all the time. You put in a bid, the application is reviewed, some independent committee picks the best deal for the state, and you shouldn’t be punished for contributing to a candidate.

The difference here? Jim Hood picks who gets the contracts. There are no bids. No applications. No independent review. The guy who gets the contributions is also the guy awarding the contracts. Like I said, maybe he did everything right, but it still smells and that alone brings the reproach.

Hood Files Katrina Lawsuit in Two Weeks; But Can’t Decide on Obamacare in Two Weeks

April 8, 2010

Respond Mississippi posted a transcript of an interview with Attorney General Jim Hood. The reporter asked Hood how long it would take him to make a decision about filing a lawsuit against Obamacare. He answered:

“Well, you know, we’ve had that issue for about two weeks now and so we’re we’re. You don’t normally file a suit within a two week period. You work on it, you work on your complaint, you review it. Florida is about to file an amended complaint. I’d like to see what their allegations are in that amended complaint. So, we get all the information we can and we’ll make a decision based on the evidence and the facts.”

If only there was someone who could persuade him to work quicker. If only there was a major campaign contributor who had interest in this. If only Dickie Scruggs was not in jail. If you go back and read the transcript during the Jim Hood and State Farm dispute you’ll see that two weeks was not too soon to file a lawsuit involving the biggest natural disaster to hit Mississippi.

From pages 78-79:

Q. General Hood, this is the settlement agreement that you’ve been testifying about for the last ten minutes, isn’t it?

A. That’s correct. It’s been marked Exhibit 27. That’s the Chancery Court, Hinds County, settlement agreement.

Q. Right. This resolved the case that you filed two weeks after Hurricane Katrina hit on August 29th, 2005?

A. Yes. Your Honor, two weeks after the hurricane I learned on Saturday when I went in and talked to the sheriff of Jackson County about the problems that they were having with this exclusionary clause and the anti-concurrent cause.

From pages 82-83:

Q. All right. You filed this case after consulting with Dickie Scruggs, didn’t you?

THE COURT: Which case are you talking about?

MR. ROBIE: The Hinds County case to try to Invalidate the water damage exclusions in the State Farm homeowners policy.

A. I consulted with a lot of people. And, your Honor, I don’t — I won’t go off on it, but I think it’s important for the court to understand why this suit was filed. It was filed two weeks after. It was strictly filed to get a quick answer so there wouldn’t be a lot of litigation. That was what I had hoped for people because I knew our courts were already shut down. The idea came from the sheriff in Jackson County. I met with Mr. Scruggs. I met with a lot of lawyers from around the state before we filed it because we wanted to pinpoint the issue just on those two issues and make it clear so we’d have a decision. We wouldn’t have had all this litigation had we had that decision.

Q. So if I heard your answer correctly, you met with Mr. Scruggs to discuss your strategy before you filed that suit within 14 days of Katrina.

So the question here is, if “you don’t normally file a suit within a two week period” was Jim Hood working outside the normal procedures with Dickie Scruggs against State Farm? How interesting.

Dos de Scruggs

January 8, 2009

Holbrook Mohr writes an excellent recap of Scruggs II for the Associated Press (hattip folo). The new characters, cast for this performance by Joey Langston, include former Hinds County District Attorney Ed Peters and Hinds Circuit Judge Bobby DeLaughter. Returning from the previous franchise will once again be Dickie Scruggs, former Mississippi Auditor Steve Patterson and New Albany attorney Timothy Balducci.

Balducci and Patterson have been cooperating with federal investigators and await sentencing.

A lot of people tracked down interesting connections between this gang and elected officials in the first Scruggs case.  It will be interesting to see who else has political or financial ties to Balducci and Patterson and the others that comes out this time around.

Quick, it’s an emergency, Ronnie needs a new fainting couch!

September 29, 2008



Ronnie’s record will make you “Blush”

September 29, 2008

The NRSC is doing a great job getting these YOUTUBE spots out.  This one called “blush” brings back a few of our favorite Mississippi political characters and is worth a look.

Travis Childers and Joey Langston, Guilt by Association Volume 7

April 14, 2008

Below are somewhat shocking photos of the Travis Childers and Joey Langston project to extend the Booneville Airport Runway so that Joey Langston (who was the board Attorney at the time) could land his 5 million dollar private jet. During the process Childers and the county bulldozed a church that sat on this spot and dug up at least 8 graves.

See this post (Volume 3) for the whole story. (link)

What gets me about these photos is that not only were some graves disturbed and relocated but now the entire cemetary is blocked off by the airport fence.  Who wants to go pay respects in a graveyard when you have to dodge landings by trial lawyers private jets?

Childers can not possibly be proud of this.

Thanks to BarneyFife for the pictures.

Booneville runway extention through a cemetary



Travis Childers and Joey Langston, Guilt by Association Volume 3

April 9, 2008

ROM- It appears that Travis Childers and Joey Langston partnered together or made a back-room deal to raze a church and re-locate some graves so Langston could land his $5 Million Dollar private Jet.

DJounal- BOONEVILLE – Negotiations have been under way for more than a year between Prentiss County and a church that stands in the path of lengthening the Booneville-Prentiss County Airport runway.
Having reached an impasse, county officials have begun eminent domain proceedings to acquire property where Ruben Chapel CME Church and a small cemetery now stand.
Trustees of the church have received papers summoning them to court in September, said the church’s pastor, Rev. Henry Damons Sr.
“We’re praying we do not have to go to trial, and that this be settled without going to court,” Damons said.
At issue is conflicting appraisals of the property by representatives for the county and the church.
The church’s appraiser, Jack Sabely of Pontotoc, has said the fair market value of the property is $285,000, although to rebuild will cost the church $340,000.
The latest offer the church received was $180,000 from attorney Tyler Moss on behalf of the county, and members of the church voted to not accept the offer.
“All we’re asking for is a fair market value, and they claim they don’t have the money to give us what we have as the appraised value,” Damons said.
Information was not immediately available as to what other property owners may be subject to the eminent domain proceedings.
However, Chancery Clerk Travis Childers said Friday that settlement had been reached with at least one other property owner earlier in the week.

ROM- So basically the county (Travis Childers) was trying to low-ball this minority church in order to lengthen the airport runway at the request of the Langston’s so they could land their private jet. Then threatened to seize the land through eminent domain when the congregation balked.

DJournal- Charitable donation
The Rev. Henry Damons had a situation back in 2006. His Ruben Chapel CME Church and Prentiss County were at loggerheads over a year-long dispute.
The county wanted the church property so it could extend the Booneville-Baldwyn Airport.
It planned to take the property by eminent domain, raze the church building and relocate eight graves from the property.
The problem was simple: The fair market value of Ruben Chapel’s building wasn’t enough to pay for a replacement facility. And so the congregation balked at the legal proceedings.
Joey Langston broke the stalemate with a $40,000 donation through The Langston Fund, a charitable organization he and Tracie set up in 2002.
Today, Ruben Chapel is about two months from completing the new building alongside Highway 45 on the Prentiss County side of Baldwyn.
“Joey came through for us,” Damons said. “It’s a win-win for Prentiss County and the church.”
He described Langston as a “kind man” who does a lot for his community. “Everyone is satisfied,” he noted.
Besides his benevolence, Langston was interested in the case because his law firm has a large plane housed at the airport, although media reports late last week said the $5 million jet is up for sale.
The plane has been used in the Corporate Angel Network, which ferries cancer patients to treatment centers across the nation.

ROM- So was this “charitable donation” really as charitable as reported or is this the same kind of operation that Joey Langston is now infamous for? It APPEARS that when Langston needed a longer runway he called his old buddy Travis Childers who was more than happy to bulldoze a church and dig up the final resting place of Mississippi citizens to make it happen for his old friend and business partner. Childers and the county also had the audacity to try and seize the church under eminent domain.

When the congregation balked at the low offer (too low to rebuild) Langston came in to “save the day” with a “donation”. My gut tells me that this was all worked out ahead of time between these “business partners” and “good friends” but of course we will never know.

Digging up graves, bulldozing churches, bags full of cash, private jets, pulled hamstrings, this is getting FUN!!!

Feel free to comment


P.S. Bardwell our Hamstrings are REALLY sore after this one. Put us on the IR!!! Hopefully a real reporter can pick up where our resources (google, gossip and rumors) have left off and figure out what really went down.

Travis Childers and Joey Langston, Guilt by Association Volume 2

April 9, 2008

From the Daily Journal

“FBI spokeswoman Deborah Madden in Jackson declined to say what the agents took when they executed a search warrant at Langston’s office early Monday.

Prentiss County Chancery Clerk Travis Childers, who is close friends with Langston and his family, reacted to the search with some cynicism. “This is America,” he said. “People are supposed to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, but high-profile people sometimes don’t have that luxury.””

“Close friends” and business partners, seems like they may be closer than Oscar De La Hoya and Oscar the Grouch but I suppose everyone is 6 degrees apart anyway.

Something else to think about.