CityBuzz [09.27.06] | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

CityBuzz [09.27.06]

Musgrove Sucks Toes

According to a report in the Nashville Post, newly unsealed legal depositions allege that former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove had an affair with Robin Costa, the trustee and director of the Maddox Foundation, in 2001 and 2002. Musgrove represents Costa in an ongoing legal dispute over the foundation.

In the unsealed deposition, which was taken in 2004 and represents only one side of a legal argument, former Maddox employee Tera Hermansen said that Costa bragged about her affair with Musgrove. "She told us that (Musgrove) undressed her and proceeded to lick her toes," Hermansen said. Hermansen claimed that Costa pointed out spots where she and the governor had made love.
"This seat is just the right height," Costa said, according to Hermansen.

Link to court documents here.

Where's the Weed?

Since the Jackson Free Press broke the story of Mayor Frank Melton's alleged rampage on Evans Welch's Ridgeway Street home, local media, including The Clarion-Ledger, WLBT and WAPT, have consistently reported that Welch was arrested that night for open container, paraphernalia and possession of marijuana violations. The last of these gives the impression that Melton and police found drugs in Welch's home. In fact, the marijuana charge dates from 2005. Welch did not show up for his court date on that charge, so he was found guilty in absence. As a consequence, he was arrested for the charge on Aug. 26 even though no marijuana was found.

In the month since, the Associated Press, CBS and MSNBC have reported the misleading list of charges. The AP story has run around the world, as far away as Taipei, Taiwan. MSNBC went so far as to report that Welch was previously arrested on possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, which does not appear in his record.

Of course, these errors do not compare to the mendacity of Melton himself. "We have got cocaine, marijuana, paraphernalia and children out of that house," Melton told WLBT on Sept. 1. Except they hadn't.

Everywhere a Crack House

Last week, City Council passed a "crack house abatement" ordinance proposed by Councilman Kenneth Stokes by a 3-2 vote, with Marshand Crisler and Margaret Barrett-Simon both absent.

The ordinance, which was not vetted by a committee, may not have been ready for a vote. "I had some issues procedurally with how we handled the legislation because we really didn't have it in the appropriate order," Councilman Leslie McLemore said. "We had the order that had been developed in conjunction with legal and Councilman Stokes. But then the definition was not attached to the legislation."

Despite the fact that the ordinance was incomplete, City Council passed the ordinance with a pledge from City Attorney Sarah O'Reilly Evans to add necessary language after passage. "The dangerous part is that we were violating our own rules and procedures as a council. … There was a rush to judgment on the part of Stokes because he could see that Crisler had taken a walk and that Barrett-Simon was not there," McLemore said.

The ACLU has raised questions about the abatement ordinance. "Overall, the ordinance is fatally constitutionally flawed, and it is primed to be challenged if the city ever tries to enforce it," said John Williams, Mississippi ACLU legal director. Williams said that the ordinance is unconstitutionally vague about what constitutes a "disorderly house," and it lacks procedural safeguards to protect property rights. "The ACLU will be monitoring this."

Link to PDF of the ordinance here.

Tisdale, Meet Hegel

In an editorial entitled "Hey baba rebop," Advocate publisher Charles Tisdale calls former Mayor Harvey Johnson a "thieving scoundrel" who "paid off" many members of the Magnolia Bar Association during his tenure. Now, Tisdale writes, Johnson wants to return to unfinished business, which is to "finish selling out to the likes of (MDA Director) Leland Speed and (Farish Street developer) John Elkington, so they can more efficiently destroy black neighborhoods and culture."

One of many problems with this screeching blather is that Leland Speed was a huge supporter of Melton in the last election. His wife, Bessie, hosted Melton's campaign meet-and-greet at Bravo! last year, where he admitted to the little white ladies there that he was running as a Democrat rather than a Republican because that was the only way to win an election in Jackson.

One thing more: If you're going to be so snotty as to quote "German historian philosopher Joseph Hegal," at least take the time to get his name right.

That's Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.

The MCC Diaries

The JFP ran an image of Frank Melton as Che Guevara on a t-shirt last week. If you care to own this piece of local cultural history, head to profile.myspace.com/nolenworld, where the t-shirt is available for purchase.

Link Litigation a Loss

Hinds County Circuit Judge Winston Kidd has ruled against the city in a lawsuit brought by the Mississippi Link over legal ads, according to The Clarion-Ledger. Kidd ordered the city to publish all future ads in the Link and pay "all funds it would have received from the beginning of the contract up to today's date," plus attorney and court costs.

Mayor Frank Melton vetoed a City Council decision awarding the Link (Jackson circ., 4,000) the ads and gave the contract to The Clarion-Ledger (Jackson circ., 22,000).

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