Understanding the Good Ole Boy System: Steve Simpson Gets a Job

We have already told you about how Steve Simpson admits that he is lazy in reading the fine print and doesn’t understand how mortgages work. He is an attorney, remember. We have already told you with an income of $138,000+ he still couldn’t pay his property taxes on time, but could afford a 42 foot boat.

Simpson has no real pension or trust experience, little complex litigation experience, and limited commercial experience.  Most of his experience has been in criminal matters. (Ironic?)

So how did Simpson get the job?  He was appointed in by an outsourced judge (called a special master.)  Outsourced judges are brought in when matters are so complex that it would completely overwhelm one judge, or sometimes because the judge is extremely lazy.  That Special Master was Britt Singletary.   We’ll come back to Singletary in a minute. Continue reading

A Homily from St. Arthur Christopher Anderson, Patron Saint of Accounting Scandals

This was part of a recent Friday Update at Baptist Hospital in Jackson.

An updated [sic] from Baptist Health Systems President & CEO Chris Anderson:

Good Friday is the day we commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary. As we draw toward the end of Holy Week here at Baptist, it is a wonderful time to reflect on the privileges we enjoy as Christians living in a free society, and especially the honor of working for an organization that not only permits us to celebrate our faith at work, but one that encourages the practice of our faith. I am thankful for our Mission, for our commitment to leading in healthcare and following in faith, and for our Faith Relations and Pastoral Care team that every day support our mission at Baptist. Just in the past few days I have personally witnessed the impact that these men and women can have, in working with our staff, patients and guests, in the lives of others. We all have the opportunity each and every day to impact the lives of the people in our community and I am thankful that we have this important work to do.

You can see the full post and even leave a comment for Chris Anderson by clicking here.

Mayor & Developer Buy Plane at Same Time Developer Begs Millions from City

Back when Scott Walker suffered severe back injuries in a plane crash, the Mississippi Press called up one of the plane’s other owners for a status report. That other owner was late Pascagoula mayor Robbie Maxwell.  Maxwell told the paper that he and Walker owned the plane along with attorney Roy Williams and that they had only bought the plane two weeks prior to the accident.

That accident occurred on March 19, 2011. Let’s take a look at the timeline:

  • March 1, 2011 – Plane is purchased by Maxwell, Walker, Williams (on or about)
  • March 15, 2011 – Pascagoula city council agrees to apply for $3.3 million in grants for Hilton site; also agrees to hire bond consultant to review issuing $1.36 million in TIF bonds for Hilton site
  • March 19, 2011 – Plane crash
  • March 23, 2011 – Demolition of LaFont Inn begins

So at the same time Williams and his son have their hands out for $4.6 million from the city of Pascagoula, they just happen to buy a plane together with the mayor, and the mayor’s consulting partner.  Very coincidental timing.

There is an interesting facet of that plane’s registration: it was listed as an individual owner, not as having co-owners. Though, this could have been a hiccup in the processing. The plane was registered to Maxwell-Walker Consulting Group’s office in Pascagoula.

FAA registration information.

Who’s Afraid of Chris Anderson?

A contributor writes in with some cutting questions. If any of our readers can tell us more about how Morris Strickland came to be appointed to the SRHS Board of Trustees that would help shine some light. Remember, Billy Guice didn’t want John McKay deposed. Then Britt Singletary stopped all depositions.  Singing River wouldn’t come to the bargaining table unless financial immunity for Strickland, Anderson, and the Williams were provided.    Why was John McKay afraid of Chris Anderson?


 

Chris Anderson was the centerpiece of every relationship in this debacle.

Why haven’t any charges been brought against him?

He was notorious for making vendors pay for lavish trips.

He guarded relationships that benefited him financially.

Has anyone ever asked if he received bonuses because of falsely reported financial information?

He brought Morris Strickland on as a Board Member and now Strickland is partners in many different ventures with people tied to SRHS.

Has anyone looked into contracts SRHS had with the Hilton Garden Inn?

Does Chris Anderson have any ownership in affiliated entities that sub contract with SRHS?

Is everyone afraid of Chris Anderson? John McKay was.

Chris Anderson is the smoking gun. It’s very obvious.

OPINION: Vestiges of Corruption Cancer Remain, Must Be Removed

A lot of the players who were either complicit, confederates, or otherwise conniving in the corruption surrounding Singing River Health System and the Jackson County Board of Supervisors are now gone. Retirement saw the departure of Nebo Carter and Mike Crews. A higher paying refuge in Jackson beckoned to Chris Anderson. Downsizing and out of state moves took out Stephanie Taylor and Celeste Oglesby.

Elections shed John McKay and Mike Mangum, which resulted in the firing of Paula Yancey. A path to settlement saw the SRHS Board of Trustees overturned. You have racked up quite a score, but are still on the path to losing.

Jackson County suffers from a cancer of corruption. You the voters have applied pressure and removed several of the nodes to which the cancer has spread, but the tumors still remain: the lawyers. Continue reading

Inside Baseball: How Roy Williams’ Son Got a Sweetheart Deal at SRHS Part I

When the Affordable Care Act passed, full implementation of the plan wouldn’t occur for a few years. In order to immediately address the problem of people with pre-existing conditions who were unable to purchase insurance, the government set up a temporary plan call the “Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan” or PCIP.  The government put billions of dollars into PCIP to pay for medical treatment of participants. Since the government would be funding the plan, they chose an administrator to handle the claims and payments.  That administrator already had a contract providing the same services to government employees: GEHA.

This created a lucrative incentive for Singing River to sign patients up to the new plan. SRHS and GEHA had a contract that GEHA would pay 75% of Singing River’s billed charge – much higher than the industry average. For instance, if a patient came in for a surgery where the billed charge was $100,000, GEHA would pay SRHS $75,000.  Blue Cross might only pay $12,000.  The gravy train was coming to town and SRHS needed to get on board.

The problem was that many patients couldn’t afford the premiums of PCIP. Instead, the hospital would pay those monthly premiums of $400-$500 on behalf of the patient. The hospital would come out ahead when the insurance paid the bill.  Due to state laws, SRHS was unable to pay the patients directly, so they hired a middleman to make the payments.  For these services the middleman was paid a percentage of what the hospital initially collected.  Singing River already had an existing contractor in place to do this, called “The Outsource Group” (TOG).

Instead of using the incumbent contractor, SRHS’ newly promoted Financial Services Manager Josh Cole took an idea to Jon Reynolds. Reynolds was a financial advisor working with Charter Bank. Reynolds is well known around Pascagoula for his involvement in youth baseball – which is how Cole came to know Reynolds.  Indeed, it is through youth baseball that Cole even got a job at SRHS.  Cole had no degree and no prior healthcare or business experience, yet was promoted to lead the financial services department under Wayne Smith, the Director of Financial Services.  In fact, a competent and experienced female manager was demoted to make room for the inexperienced Cole in the good ol’ boys club.

Cole and Reynolds cooked up the idea of forming a new company to which SRHS would award a contract to sign up patients for the PCIP.  Cole would direct his employees to identify patients who were uninsured and would require major surgery or ongoing treatments such as chemotherapy. Those employees would then refer the case to Reynolds who would fill out the paperwork, cut a check for the insurance, and then collect 11% of whatever Singing River was paid.

Just a dozen chronically ill patients requiring surgery and further treatments could easily yield $1 million in revenue to Reynolds.

Reynolds teamed up with Gentry Williams to assist in providing funding and connections. Williams’ father, Roy, was the attorney for the SRHS Board of Trustees.  He was also a business partner with board member Morris Strickland in different investments, including the Pascagoula Hilton Garden Inn. That hotel was one which Cole was trying to get a landscaping contract for a family member – a business in which Cole was interested.

Editor’s note: This is part one of a multi-part series on Gentry Williams and the Jackson County Outsource Group.

Singletary Working with KPMG Attorneys

Canon 1 of the Code of Judicial Conduct provides:

An independent and honorable judiciary is indispensable to justice in our society. A judge should participate in establishing, maintaining, and enforcing high standards of conduct, and shall personally observe those standards so that the integrity and independence of the judiciary will be preserved.

It was a curiosity that KPMG, who is a defendant along with Transamerica and Singing River, wouldn’t object to judicial officers who had the appearance of impropriety.  Likely any doubts KPMG had about Singletary’s ability to impartially execute his duties were assuaged by the fact that he was trying a separate case with KPMG’s attorneys.

KPMG is represented by Taylor McNeel at Brunini.  McNeel also represents the Golden Nugget  in a lawsuit against the City of Biloxi and the Secretary of State.

 

Again, you have a situation where a sitting judicial officer continues to allow the appearance of impropriety.   The public now has great doubt as to the independence and honor of certain judicial officers. It’s time to restore credibility back to those offices. We again encourage you to file a complaint with the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance. It is their job to to assist in enforcing these laws.

To learn how to file a complaint, see our previous article by clicking here.

Swiss Cheese Chronicles: Nailing Down a Sequence of Events

With all of the responses in to the Mississippi Supreme Court, it’s time to start sorting out what exactly happened.  The responses are lacking, but we endeavor to distill truth and fact from what has been presented to the Court.  They have a tremendous undertaking before them.

We first wish to understand the sequence of events at the meeting.  There are two different versions of this.  Judge Hilburn’s story follows the pattern A – B – C while almost everyone else follows the pattern A – C – B.  The below statements are verbatim excerpts from each response; we have only removed sentences or phrases that were not pertinent to the sequence of events.

Judge Hilburn:

  • A – I immediately told them there would be no discussion of any state court matters.
  • B – I inquired as to the status of the federal court litigation;
  • C – I told those present they would not need to appear at the Jackson County Courthouse the next day, that I had prepared an email temporarily staying the state court litigation and canceling the hearing scheduled at 9:00 the next day.

Sessoms & Williams:

  • A – Judge Hilburn subsequently arrived, and again it was mentioned that there would be no discussion about the Chancery Court cases.
  • B – Plaintiffs’ Counsel, Jim Reeves, who represents clients in the Jones litigation, but not in the Almond litigation […] discussed the Jones Federal Court litigation.
  • C -Judge Hilburn announced he was staying all proceedings pending the Federal Court litigation. He also said that he was cancelling the hearing set for 9:00 AM the next day.

Incredibly, Sessoms & Williams response differs from their earlier response to the Court on behalf of SRHS.  In that version, Judge Hilburn announced the stay at the beginning of the meeting and not at the end.  It appears Sessoms & Williams sequence of events changed after having the benefit of  Judge Hilburn’s statement. See below. Continue reading