“Behind every government plot,” gangster guru Jimmy Cagney once said, “there’s a dirty rat.”
Mississippi government insiders are stealing bread amounting to the hundreds of millions of dollars out of the mouths of hungry Black and white children.
White supremacists are passing laws that are baldly unconstitutional designed to deprive 156,000 Jackson residents of their right to self-government.
Greedy Black and white thieves are plotting to steal over $600 million that belongs to Jackson’s water system.
And meanwhile, the Jackson City Council is locked in a vicious court battle with Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba over garbage collection.
So, who are the dirty rats?
Longtime political activist Ike Brown says the biggest dirty rat in Mississippi government is Gov. Tate Reeves.
“Tate Reeves is the problem,” Brown says. “Black people have got to organize the vote so they can get rid of Reeves, or else he’s going to make all our lives more miserable than ever.”
Reeves consistently blocks both federal and state funds that are due Jackson for its infrastructure and essential needs, although millions of federal and state dollars are allocated to the state for Jackson. During the COVID pandemic, Reeves sent $130 million in rental assistance back to Washington rather than allow the needy people of Mississippi access to this assistance.
Reeves signed the Anti-Critical Race Theory Law that came before him last year, although the white author of the bill said he did not know what CRT was, but that he had heard a lot of negative talk about it in the media and therefore decided to sponsor the bill in the Mississippi Senate.
Retired state Rep. Jim Evans, a state and national labor organizer, says it’s the same “Good Ol’ Boys” who worked with Leland Speed and Ben Allen back in the 1990s in the attempt to take over Jackson City Government once the first Black Mayor Harvey Johnson was elected. And they never went away.
“Their Capital City Improvement plot CCI, was nothing more than an attempt in broad daylight to steal all the city’s wealth and goods and services for themselves and to leave the people of Jackson without any funds to operate,” Evans said. “Leland Speed might be dead and Ben Allen might be out of prison, but there’s a whole gang of those thieves who worked with them still hanging around the state Capitol and passing the laws that will wreck the city of Jackson, if we don’t stop them.”
Allen, a former Jackson city councilman, was sentenced to five years in state prison in 2016 after being convicted of embezzling $487,000.00 from Downtown Jackson Partners.
“This CCID is nothing but that old CCI thing being foisted off on the people of Jackson once again,” Evans said.
“They exist in a grave of stupidity, covered with a blanket of ignorance and hatred,” he said.
Ex-football star Brett Favre should certainly rank high among the dirty rats because of his meaningless defamation lawsuits against Mississippi State Auditor Shad White, network sports announcer Shannon Sharpe, and retired football player Pat McAfee. Favre knows that former U.S. Attorney Brad Pigott, the state investigator later fired by Gov. Tate Reeves, was the legal authority who had the goods against him. Pigott said that Favre was still complicit in the misuse of $7.5 million in TANF money for his Prevacus Medical company’s venture and his pledge to USM to build a $5 million volleyball arena, but finagled to use the welfare funds siphoned off from the Department of Human Services.
Auditor Shad White wasn’t the least bit intimidated by Favre’s brazen claims in the lawsuit Favre filed against him.
“Everything Auditor White has said about this case is true and is backed by years of audit work by the professionals at the Office of the State Auditor,” the auditor announced in a Feb. 9 statement. “It’s mind-boggling that Mr. Favre wants to have a trial about that question. Mr. Favre has called Auditor White and his team liars despite repaying some of the money our office demanded from him. He’s also claimed the auditors are liars despite clear documentary evidence showing he benefitted from misspent funds. Instead of paying New York litigators to try this case, he’d be better off fully repaying the amount of welfare funds he owes the state.”
Another knowledgeable source says the number one dirty rat is House Speaker Philip Gunn, the openly aggressive chief agent of the sinister group called ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Council) whose mission it is to deprive government institutions like schools and social welfare agencies of the money they need for operation.
PLAYING WITH THE LAWS
In addition to controlling all State House legislative business, Gunn also chairs the House Compilation, Revision and Publication committee, the committee in charge of writing and providing the bills that are to be acted upon by both the House and the Senate.
Many community advocates believe committee members Angela Cockerham; Philip Gunn; Kevin Horan; John Thomas “Trey” Lamar, III; Thomas U. Reynolds; Jason White; and Shanda Yates are also playing games with the health, the lives, and the government of the people of Jackson.
Reynolds is the only Democrat on the committee. Three other Democrats betrayed their party and either joined the Republicans or declared themselves Independents.
“The members of this committee are able to look at all the old bills and might select one or two to update,” Evans said. “Or they might actually accept bills coming from outside of Mississippi state government that were already written by ALEC, the bigoted group that Gunn represents in our state government. Like this guy Trey Lamar, the sponsor of HB 2010, who used to be my seat mate in the House. He didn’t write this bill. Either ALEC wrote it for him or he found the old CCI bill and just updated it and changed the name a little. That’s how they do this stuff and their own people know this and act as if they just don’t give a darn.”
Evans says Trey Lamar assumed his seat shortly after the white supremacists tried to prevent Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson from assuming authority of all of Jackson.
“They tried to install a group called CCI that would in effect create a private police force for the Jackson Business District. Guys like Leland Speed and others wanted their own courts and the right to arrest anyone they decided to. Their security would wear their own police outfits, drive their own patrol cars on the streets of downtown Jackson. And city police would have no authority in the district that was ruled by CCI and the so-called Downtown Jackson Business Partners.”
Most of the racist and white supremacist legislation that has come to the House floor vis-à-vis this disfranchisement attempt of Jackson’s voters in 2023 was sponsored or written by members of this committee. All seven committee members, except one, are Republicans or Independents. Angela Cockerham of Magnolia is a Black woman who defected from the Democratic Party and declared herself an Independent in 2019. During her tenure as a Democrat, the American Conservative Union ranked her as the most Conservative Democrat in the Mississippi Legislature. She sponsors a slew of bills that are of little or no interest to the large number of Black families in her House district 96, consisting of Adams, Amite, Pike, and Wilkinson counties.
Shanda Yates of North Jackson, a white woman in this instance elected as a Democrat in 2019, betrayed the Democrats in 2022 after getting 10 of the senior Black Democrats to sign on to a bill designed to block the City from directly accessing both the federal funds and the local luxury tax money due the city. People questioned how this neophyte who had never even read a legislative bill before being elected as a Democrat could write a sophisticated bill like the infamous House Bill 1031 in 2022. Under the bill, Jackson was not assured any funds, but if it did get money, the Department of Finance Administration would decide on how much and when it would get it, the only municipality in the state that had such restraints placed on it.
Since going Independent, Yates has sponsored more bills that are a direct insult and an attack on the rights and dignity of the people of Jackson. In January 2023, she wrote the bill that would allow the governor and a state judge to remove the mayor of Jackson from office under the pretense that he was not doing his duty.
Another bill sponsored by Yates blocks the Third-Party Water Administrator of Jackson from assessing a water-use fee on households based on property values. The metering system in Jackson has been broken for years and will take at least five years to reinstate, the administrator says.
The bill sponsored by Lamar, HB 2010, the Mississippi “Apartheid Bill” will allow people from outside of Jackson to impose new judges on the city and a new police force in the so-called Capital City Complex (The CCID). The legislature would use the boundary lines created under the Capitol City Improvement District (CCID) to establish this undemocratic court system. HB 1020 gives CCID courts jurisdiction over civil and criminal matters that occurred within the legislatively defined lines of the CCID. The illegally appointed judges would also have exclusive jurisdiction over any matters involving the state.
The current bill would give judges the authority to hear and conduct court action without the participation of any Jackson judges or other officials. The bill passed largely along party lines in a 76-38 vote and will now travel to the state Senate. Lamar lives in Senatobia, 186 miles north of Jackson, in a predominantly conservative white district.
Former state Rep. Kathy Sykes said she created a bill during her time in the legislature that would help offset the losses Jackson was suffering because of the state buildings that took up most of the downtown area but paid no taxes.
“I introduced a bill when I was there (in the state legislature) asking for funds in lieu of taxes for the City of Jackson, because all of our prime real estate is occupied by the government buildings. Just about all of downtown Jackson is occupied by government buildings. But you can’t tax government buildings. So in lieu of taxes, you ask for money.”
At first, the committee leaders said they agreed, said Sykes.
“They said they wanted improvements to infrastructure and the streets and a much-improved system of tourism. We wanted the streets paved. And they said those funds would free up money that could be used by the city in other areas. The state would repair the streets and the sewers in the capitol complex area where the government buildings are located. But meantime, during the current term, it has morphed into an all-out takeover; the boundaries have been expanded. The police have been given almost Gestapo powers, even the same power of the old white knights and the paddy rollers who used to round up Black people suspected of running away from slavery. It’s worse than what’s goes on in Russia, or the Kremlin,” she said.
“I do not understand these people,” U. S. Attorney Brad Pigott, who wrote the lawsuit that has ensnared 38 suspects in the TANF theft, told Mississippi Today in May 2022. “What kind of person would decide that money the law required to be spent helping the poorest people in the poorest state would be better spent being doled out by them to their own families, their own pet projects, and their own favorite celebrities?”
“It’s obvious from published information that Brett Favre admitted in a text that that $5 million in Department of Human Services grant money was, in his mind, a gift to him, which he made clear was to absolve him of paying that money himself to his alma mater to build such a volleyball facility,” Pigott told Mississippi Today. “That was wrong and it was against the law and it cost the TANF program $5 million.”
Favre is still accountable for $5 million that he persuaded Nancy New to give him to build the volleyball court at USM. He also is accountable for the $2.5 million given to the medical business venture called Prevacus, Pigott said. Former Gov. Phil Bryant, who left office in 2020 and was succeeded by Reeves, was promised a payoff in shares of stock after he left office, Pigott revealed.
Pigott argues the lease agreement that Favre had with USM related to the volleyball court was intentionally deceitful.
Favre is anxious to get the feds and the state officials off his tail. Friday, Feb. 10 was the deadline for filing a plea in the case against him. Favre and his lawyers have been filing as many lawsuits and depositions and counter lawsuits as they can, basically to see if anything might stick.
“State officials like (John) Davis, former Governor Bryant, and current Governor Tate Reeves were aware that (Nancy) New, through MCEC, used State money to provide services and funding to various State initiatives through, among other things, the Family First Initiative of Mississippi, an anti-poverty program started by Governor Bryant in conjunction with other State officials,” Favre’s motion reads.
Tate Reeves said in his State of the State speech two weeks ago that Mississippi had its best year ever this past year. Is Tate Reeves a genius?
“What happened is we cut service, we shut down health centers, cut back on government employees,” Kathy Sykes said. “Those funds were coming into the state. But what good is it to have those funds when they are not making the lives of the people of Jackson any better? We have to beg to keep our hospitals open. Then you shouldn’t brag about having a $4 billion surplus.”
The state got their hands on over $100 million that Democratic Congressman Bennie Thompson had been able to get for Jackson. Thanks to the federal system of checks and balances and a sympathetic Biden Administration, the city has been able to get direct control of in excess of $800 million for its needs and obligations coming from Washington over the next few years.
Reeves, however, is delusional and is on the verge of being kicked out of the governor’s office. He’s running ragged.
A Jan. 19 poll shows that 57 percent of voters would support “someone else” over Reeves in the upcoming November election, while just 33 percent would support Reeves, who will seek a second term as governor.
In a February 13 poll commissioned by the Southern Poverty Law Center, conducted Jan. 21-25 by Tulchin Research, 47 percent supported Democrat Brandon Presley, compared to 43 percent for Reeves, ten percent of respondents were undecided.
Most revealing of all was that a 64 percent majority of respondents held an unfavorable impression of Reeves for firing investigative attorney Brad Pigott.