Sneak Attacks | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Sneak Attacks

Jacksonians first caught a glimpse of the kind of mayor they had elected less than a week after Melton won the primary. WAPT sent reporter Greg Flynn to the YMCA on Farish Street, where Melton volunteered, to get Melton's thoughts on how he felt about his win and where he planned to take the city.

When the news team arrived, Melton was filling the YMCA pool with water from a fire hydrant without permission—essentially stealing city water.

Melton has a tendency to make the most of his authority. Melton is the plaintiff in Melton v. Community Broadcast Group, Inc., Jerry Russell, MRS Ventures, Inc., and Panola National Bank, in which he seeks to collect $2 million in loans and legal fees that he says he is owed.

Attorney Jeffrey Hellberg, who is representing defendants Community Broadcast Group, Inc., Jerry Russell and MRS Ventures, Inc., submitted letters to the court that Melton wrote in 2003 on Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics letterhead demanding payment and threatening legal and criminal action for the personal debt.

One letter, dated Aug. 10, 2003, was addressed to Thomas Diggs of the Malachi Group in Atlanta. In that letter, Melton reminds Diggs that he had agreed to "satisfy" notes, with interest, within 90 days. Melton also writes that "failure to get this matter resolved within the time period that you suggested will require that I begin any and all procedures to secure my debt at both the civil and criminal level."

The letter carries the threat of MBN letterhead, and Melton wrote three such letters, all on the same letterhead.

State Auditor Phil Bryant said he would not prosecute such a petty abuse of state resources, but he did criticize Melton.

"[F]rom an ethical standpoint, this is not the proper use of letterhead. State letterhead should never be used to collect a personal debt," Bryant told the JFP.

Melton has also used his position to punish those who have crossed him, especially during the election.

The mayor vetoed the council's decision to print the city's legal ads in The Mississippi Link, despite the fact that it had the lowest bid. The Link is owned by Harvey Johnson supporter Socrates Garrett.

"It's the right thing to do for the taxpayers," Melton told reporters, arguing that the ads would get more exposure in his personal preference, The Clarion-Ledger.

After Melton's veto, his Council loyalists Charles Tillman and Frank Bluntson, of Wards 5 and 4 respectively, did not vote to override the veto, even though they had voted in favor of the Mississippi Link getting the ads in the original vote.

Melton's decision launched the city into another lawsuit over the legal bids.

"He specifically said he wants it in The Clarion-Ledger, and to me there's no clearer breach of the statute than to say he wants it to go to a specific paper. This was the council's decision. Not the mayor's," said Garrett's attorney Dorsey Carson Jr.

Garrett said he is waiting for Hinds County Circuit Court to issue a court date. He still maintains that Melton's veto was illegal.

Melton also has a habit of trying to incriminate those who cross him. Melton told the Jackson Free Press that he is investigating the City Council, particularly one member who has been the most publicly critical, but the state attorney general's office has not confirmed the mayor's investigation, and he has provided no proof of any of his assertions.

Council President Marshand Crisler, who frequently butts heads with Melton, said that Melton seems to undermine critics through defamation.

"Seems to me like every time we turn around, there's some investigation going on or whatever," Crisler said, and referred to another "investigation" of the office of Hinds County D.A. Faye Peterson.

In a recent press conference Melton alleged that Peterson was corrupt, that he was investigating her office, and that Peterson was having sexual relations with a bail bondsman who was shot and killed near downtown Jackson.

Though Melton did not make the allegations regarding Peterson's relations personally, Melton's young friend, Christopher Walker, made the allegations at the press conference—and Melton himself made those assertions to Donna Ladd of the Jackson Free Press.

Walker was a witness that Peterson refused to use in the state's murder case against Albert "Batman" Donelson because of film footage showing Melton coaching Walker in his testimony. Melton also paid Walker's rent, bought him a car, allowed him to stay in his home and gave him a credit card.

Walker is on federal probation for an unarmed carjacking and has an extensive criminal history, and was recently arrested by the county for failing 11 drug tests (for during the time he was staying in Melton's home), but not before slurring Peterson on television.

Peterson raged back in a later press conference, criticizing Melton for numerous tactics.

"Melton is a master of the media," Peterson said. "He can say things that, even if they aren't true, they make an impression on people and they affect their perception," Peterson told the JFP. "Mostly you ignore some things, but sometimes you can't just let things go. Sometimes you can't let the bully get away with it."

Previous Comments

ID
80135
Comment

Great piece Adam. Along with the "Sex, Lies and VideoTape" piece you paint a great picture of the lies and bad judgment Melton has made since the election started. How his biggest supporters can continue to go on radio, tv, and the blogs without realizing they too are "part of the lies" Melton makes is amazing! Now with Vidal's latest maybe some of those people will realize that crime is emanating from City Hall!

Author
pikersam
Date
2006-06-28T19:16:50-06:00
ID
80136
Comment

Thanks Adam for once again laying the cards on the table. After reading these articles that you have put together, even a blind man can see who Melton really is. I wonder just how many lawsuits Melton has been the plantiff in? Mayby this is how he got in the financial position that he claims he is in. I always hear or read about how he has sued, taken over or just plain old strongarmed people out of their wealth. I have yet to read of him doing something really worthwhile for anyone. Don't get me wrong, it's a blessing that he does things for the youth. But when you really look at what he does, so can anyone. The things that he promises to do that others cannot, he does not come through. Perfect example is the promise that he made to Mary Johnson. If Melton is who he claims to be, it would not have hurt him to pay for this woman a new house since he bullsh$#%% her out of the place that she had. If he felt that his life was on the line, why didn't he just beef up his own personal vehicle instead of riding around in a vehicle that was purchased for the police department for other reasons? Frank E. Melton will truly go down in history with his picture right beside Hussien, Napoleon, Amin, Hager the Horrible, and many other tyrants.

Author
lance
Date
2006-06-29T06:13:37-06:00
ID
80137
Comment

Lugirtha Carter, my grandmother, told me as a little boy trying to steal cookies from the cookie jar that "if you will lie you will steal too."

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2006-06-29T07:47:10-06:00
ID
80138
Comment

Ray Carter. your grandmother was right: Remember the water he stole from the City for the YMCA. Some continue to blog FM's blessings for the things that he does for the youth. For me, this is his greatest injustice, the biggest lie and the relationships with the greatest liability. Where do these kids go other than to jail or the grave? He (FM) claims to be educating 150 kids from Jackson (college kids). During the election, not a single kid came forth to sing any of these praises that he has given himself. All of this man's energy goes to maintaining relationships with a select few while the mass goes unattended. There is no exposure or praise for good kids and girls, you can hang it up. Videl Sullivan, "Jackson's most notorious criminal"....."armed and extremely dangerous" was found in a fetal position in a closet. There was no gun in the closet with him, yet it was reported that police had a severe scuffle arresting him. There were no signs or symptoms that this happened. Who were the two (2) women who were kidnapped by Sullivan? who/where did he fire a gun? Where is the evidence of any of this actually happening. This case has all of the trimmings of a made for TV movie and don't be suprised if this is another that will be thrown out. I'm not saying that Sullivan is a poster-child for good behavior but what stands out is the need for psychological assessmet. I'm not saying that the man is crazy: I'm saing that is very strange behavior to walk out of a closet in handcuffs and you are smiling. Either something ain't right or nothing was wrong!

Author
justjess
Date
2006-07-03T11:21:44-06:00
ID
80139
Comment

The irony of this is should not be missed. “We haven’t had a whole lot of response from that,” Boyd said. “So, for the first time, we’re looking at having those people charged with theft of utilities.” Boyd said his department is still working out the details of this plan. Shouldn't any form a stealing water be a crime? BTW: Just re-read this article. We picked a winner of a mayor didn't we?

Author
pikersam
Date
2007-02-20T00:14:27-06:00

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