Jackson Ward 6 City Councilman Aaron Banks repeated claims that a Jackson pastor tried to bribe him for his vote on a waste hauling contract recently. Banks maintains New Jerusalem Pastor, Dwayne K. Pickett, Sr., offered him $50,000 for his support on an FCC Environmental Services Contract. In August, the city council twice voted down a measure that would have entered the city into a six-year, $11 million/year agreement with FCC, citing lack of time to review the contract and increased pick up fees as the reason.
Banks alleges Pickett had worked out a deal with FCC to help them with building a headquarters in Jackson.
Pickett, who is a principal with National Waste United, said last week in his complaint that Banks told other members of the council that he was offered money by Pickett. Pickett also asserts that Banks admitted to receiving favors from Waste Management – a claim that Banks denies.
“He is still engaged in an attack on my credibility,” Banks said. “He knows exactly what he did and I know the legal system will bear out what he did. I know I have not done anything illegal.”
Pickett is seeking an undisclosed amount of damages for what he says has been “significant and irreparable harm” to his reputation. Pickett’s attorney, TreMarcus Rosemon, made this statement: “My client, Mr. Pickett, has followed the legal process by filing a complaint because he was wronged. My client is not interested in trying the case in the media. My client will try this in the court of law, where justice and truth will prevail.”
Banks says he’s surprised that the lawsuit was even filed because it lacks merit and serves as a distraction to other more important issues in the city.
“It is unfortunate that, as leaders, we find ourselves here when there are so many other issues that we need relief for,” he said. “The gun violence, crime, and homicides, along with sewer overflows and water leaks – that constituents face everyday – is the priority of my office. However, I look forward to the truth coming out in court.”
On September 17, Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba declared a “State of Emergency”, saying that the current company that the city is contracted with, Waste Management, attempted to force the city into a lengthy contract. The original expiration date for that agreement was September 30, but the council voted that same day to enter into a new six-month agreement with Waste Management to continue pickup. Banks was one of three council members who challenged the mayor’s State of Emergency. He deduces that had a proposal been introduced in a more timely fashion, there could have been a different outcome.
On Monday, a new request for proposals for the city’s garbage collection was released. Submissions will be due by November 23 at 3 p.m.