Donna Ladd's interviews with Frank Melton have been conducted in several meetings since March 23 in his office in City Hall, his home and around the streets of Jackson in the Mobile Command Unit. More interviews and details of visits of with Mr. Melton will be published in the next few issues of the JFP, and posted in their entirety, as well as podcast, on the JFP Web site. The interviews touch on several issues, names and events that are not explained fully in the text--references to specific people and past allegations, in particular. Here are factual summaries about some of those issues, names and incidents brought up by the mayor, many of which will be covered in more detail in upcoming issues.
Rumors and Allegations
In the interviews, Melton brings up accusations brought against him by former Police Chief Jimmy Wilson of sexual molestation and possibly murder of two young men. Melton first mentioned these allegations to the JFP in March 2005, saying that that are the source of rumors about him in the community.
In 1993, after allegations of corruption and rape at the Hinds County Juvenile Detention Center emerged, Wilson appointed investigators to look into the allegations. Soon after, he started urging the FBI to join in the investigation because, he said then, "prominent" people in the community were involved.
On Aug. 23, 1993, Wilson wrote a letter to local FBI Agent Joseph J. Jackson, urging him to investigate the allegations. In a five-page report attached to the letter, Wilson detailed the investigation, which among other accusations, discussed then-Detention Center Manager Frank Bluntson's "administrative violations," sexual harassment allegations, sexual abuse of minors in the center and a bribery scheme. During the controversy, Bluntson made a deal with then-District Attorney Ed Peters not to be prosecuted if he would resign--and then went to work for Peters as an investigator.
Wilson also alleges that young boys "complained they were sexually molested by Melton after they were placed in his custody by youth court judges and Bluntson," adding, "Melton was not a certified foster parent." He also said that two of the young men had been killed. Those two young men are Robert Shepherd and Joseph Staffney, both of whom Melton discusses in this interview.
Agent Jackson soon resigned and went to work for Melton at WLBT as his No. 2 man. After the report was mailed to media outlets in a plain brown envelope, Melton told The Clarion-Ledger that he would hire the highest-paid lawyer in America to sue anyone who disseminated the allegations. They soon disappeared from local news reports, although Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Jim Mulvaney, then of Newsday, investigated the story in 1994, finding no resolution one way or the other.
Today, Melton says that after then-Mayor Kane Ditto fired Wilson, the allegations were dismissed as unsubstantiated rumor spread because he criticized police on "The Bottom Line." Other law-enforcement sources say that the investigation was disbanded without reaching solid conclusions. Melton also says that police have routinely accused him of being a drug lord. He makes many references to these accusations throughout this interview series.
Donald Ray Quinn
Donald Ray Quinn--now known as rapper "Donnie Money"--was one of Melton's early "thug" targets in Jackson. Melton put the face of Quinn, then a gang leader and drug dealer, on billboards in the city, and helped get him prosecuted and sent to prison for 12 years. Quinn is out of prison and is a co-founder of the M.A.P. Coalition. He also works for the city's Youth Division as a liaison with at-risk children.
Wood Street Players
The Wood Street Players are a former "gang"--largely associated with the Vice Lords--that is now a drug organization, according to law enforcement. Reputed leader Albert "Batman" Donelson is now on trial for ordering a hit on Aaron Crockett. Melton admits in this series that Wood Street is an "obsession" for him, as signified by the amount of time he spent purusing them at MBN, rather than making drug arrests, and his mention of them by name in his inaurgural address last year.
Sullivan, Staffney, Warner
As head of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, Frank Melton "brought in" three men, who he said are loosely associated with the Wood Street Players, for killing Carey Bias*. The three were acquitted several weeks ago when a witness recanted. However, Melton does not hold the disdain for these three men that he holds toward the Donelsons and other Players. He worked with the men closely in their younger years and helped get two of them jobs at WLBT. Anthony Staffney is the brother of Joseph Staffney, and Maurice Warner is his cousin. Staffney now works for the city in Youth Services, but is paid by Melton, he said.
Melton has given conflicting stories on the young man who he, first, called the "most dangerous man in Jackson," and then only arrested on a pot charge. He says now that Sullivan is not "in custody," but that he is being protected in anticipation of turning state's evidence in the future.
After The Clarion-Ledger angered Melton by investigating his recent trip to the Bahamas--first revealed on the JFP Web site--the paper reported that Melton told reporter Kathleen Baydala that "I will cream you personally" if she pursued the story. The story ran the next day, saying that Melton had charged the city for his bodyguards' $1,800 plane tickets. Melton told The Clarion-Ledger that the purpose of the trip was to get a museum dedicated to black Mississippians like B.B. King, Oprah Winfrey and Morgan Freeman on Farish Street.
See the JFP's Melton blog for more information on these topics.
* Note: In the print version, the reader's guide states erroneously that Sullivan, Staffney and Warner were acquitted recently for the murder of Reginald Versall. That should have read Carey Bias. Mr. Melton does suspect that members of the Wood Street Players killed Versall, however.
WONDERFUL ARTICLE , INCLUDING THE MULVANEY STORY FROM 1994!!
The more things change, the more they remain the same.
As JFP has wonderfully illustrated the following in detail: the Melton-Bluntson-Peters-Danks debacle back in 1992-94, involving allegations of pedophilia against Melton, alleged murder of two foster children under Melton's supervision who complained of being sexually abused by Melton, sexual harassment allegations against Bluntson, detention center raping of underage girls under Bluntson's watch and an out of court settlement between Bluntson and Peters, while Danks was Bluntson's attorney at the time. Bluntson is then hired by Peters?!
Well, the stars and planets seem to have alligned themselves at just the right time to bring these den of liars and lawbreakers back together AGAIN under one roof in Jackson.
Melton's the mayor, Bluntson's city councilman, Ed Peters' representing the city against "strippers" (supposedly for free? YEAH RIGHT!) and Dale Danks' representing the city against Babes Adult entertainment (by the way, NOT for free), while at the same time representing Byram in a lawsuit against Jackson. Talk about conflict of interest?! What the h-ll is going on here?
Again, as pointed out by JFP, back in '94, Atty. Ed Peters seemed to have issues about prosecuting pedophiles for raping underage girls at the detention center, yet he wants to prosecute adult women for showing their nipples.
Now that's real justice!
It's seems to be a matter of "you grease my back and I'll grease your backside".
How long will the citizens of Jackson allow this OPEN corruption and violation of individual rights to go on without standing up and speaking out?
This is incredible and beyond belief!
It boggles the mind that the TV media and C-L have not made mention of this unholy axis of corruption.
Flowood, Clinton, Pearl, Byram and Ridgeland mayors have to be laughing all the way to the bank.
Businesses are leaving Jackson headed for those towns in droves due to this kind of corruption.
Can you smell a conspiracy against the city of Jackson?!
I don't know about conspiracy but something does seem "rotten in Denmark". (Jackson)