In Jackson airport case, eight lawmakers subpoenaed

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Eight members of the Legislature received subpoenas in the yearlong case about control of the Jackson airport.

State Sen. Josh Harkins

Gil Ford Photography

Sen. Josh Harkins, R-Flowood

Attorneys for members of the Jackson Municipal Airport authority filed notices on April 6 to serve subpoenas to legislators for documents going back five years related to the authority’s performance in managing the Jackson-Medgar Evers International Airport as well as any information that went into the decision to introduce a bill in 2016 to install a new airport board.

In 2016, lawmakers approved legislation that would replace the five-member board of commissioners selected by Jackson officials with a nine-member commission appointed by the governor, lieutenant governor and supervisors in Madison and Rankin counties as well as Jackson officials.

The bill prompted a lawsuit from the Rev. Jeffery Stallworth, a Jackson resident and former airport commissioner. The city of Jackson, along with each of the city council members, later joined Stallworth’s suit as plaintiffs in the federal suit. U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves, who is presiding over the case, later dismissed Stallworth from the case.

The legislators receiving subpoenas include Sen. Josh Harkins, R-Flowood, who sponsored the Jackson airport bill last year along with fellow Rankin County members Sen. Dean Kirby, R-Pearl, and Rep. Mark Baker, R-Brandon.

Rep. Alex Monsour, chairman of the House Ports, Harbors and Airports Committee, also is receiving a subpoena, as are Sens. Philip Moran, R-Kiln; Chris Caughman, R-Mendenhall; Sen. Nickey Browning; R-Pontotoc, and John Polk, R-Hattiesburg.

Each legislator is ordered to comply with the subpoena on or before May 1.

Tylvestor O. Goss, the attorney for current Jackson airport board members who requested the documents, said he is unable to comment on why these lawmakers were chosen to receive subpoenas.