OPINION: Settlement Marks Victory for SRHS

The settlement agreement filed in federal court marks a solid victory for Singing River.  The hospital is setting forth a payment plan to return $149 million to the pension plan over the next 35 years and wants something sinister in exchange.

We find that this is a bum deal.

Judge Hilburn, who is presiding over concurrent cases in Jackson County Chancery Court, has already ruled that Singing River owes the pension trust for the money it failed to contribute from 2009 – 2014.  It is now a matter of law that Singing River owes the money.  It is estimated that this amount is $55 million.

It is apparent that Singing River doesn’t have $55 million to return to the pension plan.  Instead, Singing River is asking the court to grant it a 35 year payment plan.  They are also asking for something very big in return: the release of any and all claims against any trustee or employee of SRHS.  This includes Chris Anderson, who is being sued individually in the case.

Rather than wringing our hands and saying “aww shucks, they got away” as is the Sun Herald editorial board.  We suggest  that employees of Singing River not be released from liability until it is learned the role they played in the demise of the plan.

Remember folks, Chris Anderson took every penny of his pension with him as a lump sum when he ran for the hills. If he he played a role in the demise of the pension, he should sacrifice along with retirees and employees.

 

Everybody Knows

If you’ve ever watched Shrek or been to an open mic night, you’ve heard the poetry of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.

We hope that opening verses Cohen’s Everybody Knows don’t become a memorial to the fight of honest, hard-working people in Jackson County.

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That’s how it goes
Everybody knows
Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling

Everybody knows the deal is rotten

 

Cohen summarizes nicely: you all received signed letters from the captain showing the contributions to your pension plan, yet not one court will call on him to explain his signature at the bottom of those glossy pages. Yet you will be expected to bear the burden with absolutely no answers.  The perpetrators won’t even have to face a single tough question.

The next days and weeks will prove to be the most important and definitive of the struggle for truth and justice. It is time to man the watchtowers. It is time sound the clarion call and ring the bells.

The hue and cry, an ancient and long-abandoned protocol, has been revived in the internet age.  We ask that you use all available methods: Facebook, e-mail, telephone calls, text messages, postcards, carrier pigeons, smoke signals and drum beats to get out the word. Do not relent, do not fear, for truth is on your side.  Keep it up until the perpetrators are apprehended and called to account.

 

Two Held on Prostitution Charges

The Jackson County Sheriff’s department has held Chan Y Martin, 41,  and Young Ha Kim Carlton, 39, on a misdemeanor charge of prostitution.

Chan Y Martin

Young Ha Kim Carlton

Given the age and surnames of the women, it is unlikely they are the victims of human trafficking. They are likely citizens or permanent residents who were previously married to American servicemen in Korea and followed them home to America. Sometimes these servicemen were unwitting victims in a ploy for citizenship, sometimes the women were victims of abusive relationships, and other cases have found where servicemen were compensated to enter into sham marriages in order to facilitate a green card.

Continue reading

UPDATED: Former Trustee Strickland’s Tenant Raided in Human Trafficking Sweep

JJ Spa on Washington Ave. in St. Martin was raided today by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, District Attorney Tony Lawrence, and federal law enforcement agencies on allegations of prostitution and human trafficking. Doug Walker with WLOX reports this is as a result of year long investigation. The spa rents space from Eagle Express, LLC and is located in Eagle Plaza.  Eagle Express is owned by former SRHS trustee Morris Strickland.

Alleged prostitution activity at the location has been documented on several online review sites where customers rated the women, discussed specific acts, and compared prices. The business was open into the early morning hours.Customers also discussed the rotation of women between different states and locations.

 

WLOX appears to have captured Mr. Strickland reviewing lease documents. Note the eagle sculpture and jewelry that Mr. Strickland is fond of wearing.

Read Warren Kulo’s story in the Mississippi Press

WLOX Story on Spa Raid

JCSO Press Release on Lake George Brouhaha

PRESS RELEASE

 

On 27 Nov. 2015, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department responded to 4300 Highway 614, in reference to a fight call at the East Central Community Center.

On arrival Deputies found all parties involved, in the fight, had been separated from one another. Sabrina Jean Smith, Elvis Mark Cumbest and Eddie Ray Manning were attending the Lake George Community meeting when the altercation took place. During the meeting a heated argument occurred with yelling and name calling between Ms. Smith and Mr. Cumbest took place leading to a physical altercation and Mr. Manning joining in the fight.

All parties involved were provided a case number so they may pursue charges through Justice Court for Simple Assault

Sheriff Mike Ezell

Elvis’ Greatest Hits

The scene from Tuesday’s meeting on Lake George was one that could have been set In the Ghetto. Elvis Mark Cumbest (his full name) probably wants to Make the World Go Away today after “the slap heard ’round Jackson County” left him All Shook Up. The Trouble started when Cumbest began his Harum Scarum address to the audience, for some it was simply Too Much. It appears many had Suspicious Minds regarding the potential profits for the Cumbest family. With the people of Jackson County Catchin’ on Fast, answers to questions were in short supply.

Mark Cumbest currently serves on two state boards: the Mississippi Real Estate Commission and the Mississippi Windstorm Underwriting Association. He was appointed by Gov. Haley Barbour and re-appointed by Gov. Phil Bryant. Cumbest has donated to and helped fund-raise for both. Continue reading

If You Can’t Trust a Trustee…

If you can’t trust a trustee, who can you trust?

Governor Ross Barnett

 

Special Fiduciary Steve Simpson set off alarm bells over here at SRHS Watch HQ with his comments on WLOX. That caused the staff to start digging and since Simpson ran against Jim Hood for attorney general last go-around, we didn’t have to dig too deep. We are grateful to the reporters and publications who have already clear cut a path of research that calls in question Simpson’s suitability as a Special Fiduciary.

Statements to WLOX

Simpson is now part of the campaign to change the definitions and hallmarks of this case.  Echoing attorney Jim Reeves, Simpson explains that retirees will get 100%, but that 100% only means 100% of the missed payments by Singing River.  In the year-long battle, the rallying cry for retirees has been 100% – meaning 100% of their promised retirement benefits.  Special Master Britt Singletary should have reasonably known that a statement to retirees to sleep easy, as “very shortly, there’ll be an announcement and it will be 100 %” would be misleading. The campaign continues under Simpson’s stewardship. Continue reading

McKay Endorses Williams

John McKay, having suffered a massive defeat in the August Republican primary, is now endorsing the independent candidate for District 5 Supervisor, Allen Williams.  This should be a clarion call to those who campaigned so hard against McKay and the incumbents. McKay is said to have hosted a fundraiser for Williams Monday night.

McKay is a long-time Republican who was supported by the Jackson County Republican establishment including Bill and Scott Walker and Joe Cloyd.  McKay was in such trouble during his mayoral race against Connie Moran that Governor Phil Bryant had to be called in for an endorsement. Now he claims that has never been a partisan.

McKay points to Williams’ support of tax breaks for the likes of Gentry Williams, Jim Estabrook, Chevron, and the Angolan state dictator-owned oil company, on the backs of Jackson County homeowners. McKay also notes that Troy Ross is facing losing his seat.

The endorsement of Williams struck some as odd given Williams comments on the night of McKay’s defeat: Continue reading

Is Simpson Qualified to Oversee Pension?

SRHS Watch is working on a thorough profile of newly appointed Special Fiduciary Steve Simpson. Simpson is a Gulfport attorney who previously ran for attorney general. During his run for office, reporting by the Clarion Ledger revealed that nearly $5,760 in property taxes had gone unpaid on Simpson’s $378,000 home.

Simpson explained that he re-financed the home and was unaware that he would be responsible for paying the tax collector and was hit with a surprise bill.

This alone, in our estimation, is enough to disqualify Simpson as holding any position of fiduciary responsibility.

The “reasonable man” leaves the closing table with an understanding of to whom he owes mortgage payments and his duties to pay taxes and property insurance and in which manner.

Simpson, a lawyer, by his own admission, had not the diligence to understand a common financial transaction that would affect his personal and family finances.

SRHS, Judge Hilburn, Special Master Singletary and “certain plaintiffs’ attorneys” expect the retirement plan members to trust Simpson to oversee the complexities of a $140 million pension plan, when he literally cannot keep his own financial house in order.

Steve Simpson Satisfies Debt to Remove Tax Lien

Simpson Pays Back Taxes

UPDATE: It appears Simpson’s property taxes are currently in arrears.  The tax collector’s records can be seen here.