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.
Simpson worked for Paul Minor back in the late nineties. (Yes, that Paul Minor who went to jail for bribing judges!) Also working with Simpson at that time were Jim Reeves and Mark Lumpkin.
OK, so the guy who is charge of the pension plan, is buddies with the guy who took the first offer Singing River made? Yes, you got it!
Now, the boys in Paul Minor’s office were all good friends with another attorney just a few hundred feet away: Britt Singletary. Lumpkin used to work for Singletary and they had worked together in the federal courthouse in Biloxi. Back before they were in private practice, Singletary was a judge and Lumpkin was a clerk.
Singletary and Minor used to team up on some cases. Sometimes Minor would send Singletary work.
Fast forward to 2015 and Jim Reeves needs a helping hand. Judge Hilburn appoints good ole boy Britt Singletary to be a special master. The day finally comes to appoint someone over the pension plan, and Hilburn is gone. Nowhere to be found. Out of town on another matter and it couldn’t be helped. In his place is Britt Singletary.
Since Singletary was the one actually doing the leg work in the case, it only made sense that he should hold the hearing, right?
Nevermind the fact that Judge Hilburn had only given Singletary very limited power. Singletary wasn’t authorized to appoint anyone to oversee the pension plan. Despite that fact, he decided he was going to anyway and he did. He appointed another good ole boy, Steve Simpson.
In most cases, if a buddy-buddy outsourced judge appointed a buddy-buddy trustee, who would hire another buddy-buddy attorney to represent the pension trust, the defense would have been screaming bloody murder. They would have been screaming louder than Singletary during the hearing where he appointed Simpson. Even now, months later, Singing River hasn’t even let out a single peep.
Singing River’s silence should speak volumes.
A side story about Paul Minor & Jim Reeves:
When Paul Minor got arrested, Lumpkin and Reeves changed all the names on the signs to “Lumpkin & Reeves.” (Lumpkin & Reeves would eventually become Reeves & Mestayer) Minor sent out letters to all his clients telling them they were in good hands with Jim & Mark. Federal prosecutors were really interested in what Lumpkin and Reeves heard, saw, and did during their time working for Paul Minor. The prosecutors called Lumpkin & Reeves in front of the grand jury and offered them immunity in exchange for their testimony.
Once Minor was on trial, he thought that Lumpkin & Reeves’ testimony would be a big help. His lawyer wanted to call them as witnesses, but they didn’t want to testify. They no longer had immunity because federal prosecutors didn’t believe that Lumpkin & Reeves were being honest in their testimony to the the grand jury. Lumpkin & Reeves told the judge that if he made them testify, they would plead the fifth.