Just The Facts: A Reader's Guide to JFP Melton Interviews | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Just The Facts: A Reader's Guide to JFP Melton Interviews

The interviews with Frank Melton touch on several issues, names and events that are not explained fully in the text. Here are factual summaries about some of those issues, including fact checks on several of Melton's statements.

Meridian/MBN Lawsuit

Melton leaked an internal memo to Clarion-Ledger reporter Ana Radelat in April 2003, incriminating a short list of MBN agents. A story appeared in The Clarion-Ledger the next day citing information from the memo. State Auditor Phil Bryant later debunked the memo, exonerating agents Bill Taylor, Ronald Pitts and others. Agents Earl Pierce and Jimmy Saxton sued former MBN Director Frank Melton, but he repeatedly denied under oath having leaked the memo. A judge ordered Radelat to reveal the source of the memo, but Melton admitted to lying before Radelat complied with the order, days after he took office as mayor. Judge Robert Bailey found against Melton, with damages to be determined in October. Last week, Melton sued Gannett, which owns The Clarion-Ledger, for not fact-checking the MBN memo, written by Roy Sandifer, before reporting it. A decision in that case is pending in Hinds County Circuit Court. Melton cannot answer questions about the case due to a gag order. (See page 6.)

Two Lakes Project

Developers, such as the Army Corps of Engineers and Waggoner Engineering Inc., of Jackson, and the Rankin-Hinds Pearl River Flood and Drainage Control District, have suggested raising levees to stem future floodwaters on the Pearl River, while also creating prime lakeside waterfront property. Environmentalists warn that the lake will harm endangered animals and engulf scenic campgrounds and walking trails.

Damming and dredging the Pearl would not be cheap. New federal money procured by Reps. Chip Pickering and Bennie Thompson may stoke the fires of opposition yet again. Bills supported by both politicians will allow HUD money and USDA financing to encourage private investment to the tune of $1 billion. "I think this could be something that happens in our lifetime," says economic development contractor Jimmy Heidel.

Cancelled Bus Contract

In the interview, Melton says he cancelled the city's bus contract, held by someone in Texas, on April 1, thus saving money that could restore arts funding. But Carl Allen, interim director of the city's Planning and Development Department, said Monday that he knew nothing of a canceled bus-service contract. "The transit service is managed by McDonald Transit Associates (of Fort Worth, Texas,). They're under contract, and I don't know when their contract comes up for review. But this is the first I've heard of this."

Farish Street Studio

During his mayoral campaign, Melton promised members of the M.A.P. Coalition that one of his first actions as mayor would be to open them a recording studio on Farish Street. However, the project has had trouble finding a home, and he now says it will be built with private investment, offering no further details.

Christopher Walker

Christopher Walker is an informant that Melton wanted to testify against the Wood Street Players, the men he says killed Aaron Crockett, Harrison Hilliard and Keyon Perry. However, D.A. Faye Peterson would not put Walker on the stand because he perjured himself before the grand jury. She also provided evidence that Melton may have paid for his testimony by allowing Walker to live in his home, renting him an apartment in Ridgeland, provided him a "Frank E. Melton" credit card and buying him a car. WAPT recently ran the videotape of Walker's confession, which Melton criticizes in the interview, saying, "All of his interviews were done with Roy Sandifer. I never interviewed him." A transcript of an Oct. 14, 2003, interview with Walker shows that in addition to Sandifer, questions were asked by Melton, MBN deputy Joe Jackson (formerly FBI and then Melton's No. 2 at WLBT) and MBN agent Faron Gardner. That transcript, however, does not indicate any financial inducements.

Reginald Versell

Melton said in a previous installment that he believes Albert Donelson and his associates also killed 16-year-old Reginald Versell "back in the 1980s." In fact, Versell was beaten to death in 1997. Neighborhood people believe that he was robbed for money he won in a dice game and do not blame the Wood Street Players for the murder.

Melton's Raids/Searches

Melton says in the interviews that Donna Ladd has observed him on raids and knows that he has only entered homes or searched cars when given permission. However, she did not observe him asking people at every stop or house. She also observed him letting some cars pass through his checkpoints without attempting to search them. She did see many people, however, consenting to the searches, although many were not pleased.

King Edward Hotel

After months of criticizing the investors in the hotel and saying he wanted to "implode it," Melton signed a letter in March, under pressure from supporters of the project. He says now its renovation is a top priority—and says that he has Texas developers waiting in the wings if action is not taken by June. See jacksonfreepress.com for more details.

A Movie Theater?

Melton said on April 14 that a movie theater is coming to Jackson. However, we can find no one to confirm that fact. Economic-development contractor Jimmy Heidel said Monday: "I can't say I know anything about a movie theater coming to Jackson, but I was out of town this last week."

Travel-Gate?

In the interview, Melton indicates that Council President Marshand Crisler has spent more of his travel money than anyone else and takes unnecessary staff with him. The JFP is requesting travel-expense records for city officials, and will address this charge in an upcoming issue. Meantime, Melton has drawn harsh criticism for charging the city for travel expenses for his two bodyguards to accompany him to the Bahamas.

Previous Comments

ID
79522
Comment

How can anyone keeps making the same errors over and over again? Frank hasn't learned a thing so far. He's sick or far dumber than George Bush. Im starting to wonder whether Frank is suffering from amnesia, or a mental malady. I hope Shirlene, Heidel, Sanderfer or somebody is talkinig with some good doctors concerning an appointment. I wouldn't go on any show trying to explain any of Franks crap. I would be looking for a job. His whole administration has to be a bunch of wussies. They can't possibly love Frank. No one would let their love ones play mayor or ploice chief when it's clear they suffer alzheimer or something quite similar.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2006-04-26T17:05:14-06:00
ID
79523
Comment

WHERE IS VIDAL SULLIVAN??????????????????????????????????????

Author
justjess
Date
2006-05-01T14:29:43-06:00

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