Bill on Jackson Capitol Complex moves to Senate

After passing earlier in the month, but held for reconsideration, a bill that would form a new infrastructure improvement district in Jackson was amended and sent to the Senate. House Bill 1226 would create the Capitol Complex Improvement District with a five-member board of directors and an executive director to oversee the district and a 11-member advisory board. During debate on the bill Feb. 1, Rep. Adrienne Wooten, D-Jackson, protested, saying that members of the Jackson delegation had not been briefed on the bill even though its sponsor, Republican Rep. Bill Denny, is from Jackson. Under the original bill, two board members would be appointed by the governor, two by the lieutenant governor and one by the mayor of Jackson.

Hood sues to recoup $800 million in prison scandal funds

Attorney General Jim Hood will sue 25 companies and individuals he says illegally profited from a Mississippi prison bribery and kickback scheme. In all, Hood has filed 11 civil RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) lawsuits against entities that he says “defrauded” Mississippians “through a pattern of bribery, kickbacks, misrepresentations, fraud, concealment, money laundering and other wrongful conduct.” “These individuals and corporations that benefited by stealing from taxpayers must not only pay the state’s losses, but state law requires that they must also forfeit and return the entire amount of the contracts paid by the state. We are also seeking punitive damages to punish these conspirators and to deter those who might consider giving or receiving kickbacks in the future,” Hood said. In 2014, the federal government indicted Christopher Epps, then the commissioner of the state prison system, charging him with orchestrated a bribery scheme for contracts with the Mississippi Department of Corrections.