As it appears that Patsy Brumfield is one of the few members of the Mississippi press corps who has decided against an early holiday, we thought we’d bring you a rundown of political stories developing across the state. Gather the family 'round the hearth for these instant Christmas classics:
Jacked by an Angel
In what has to be one of the saddest cases making its way through the Mississippi legal system this holiday season, a Lee County Chancellor found that 67 year-old Florence Aldridge was “looted” by her brother-in-law with the help of the charity run by Rep. Brian Aldridge (R-Tupelo).
In rendering his decision, Chancellor Michael Malski acknowledged that Touched by an Angel Ministries was “formed for [a] laudable purpose” but the niceties end there. The Judge spent most of judgment day excoriating the Aldridge family for taking advantage of a family member who entrusted them with her life savings. The Judge also expressed his befuddlement at the woeful mismanagement of the charity and wondered openly at the incompetence or worse of Rep. Aldridge’s work as CEO. At the end of the day, Malski levied a $552,000 judgment against Aldridge’s parents and a $140,100 judgment against Touched by an Angel Ministries.
While the Judge ruled that a fiduciary relationship did not exist between Aunt Aldridge and her nephew, he was struck by a string of questionable purchases made on the Representative’s behalf including Aldridge’s honeymoon, clothing, ski trips, a timeshare, Hawaii vacation, payments for motels and casinos, and contributions to the Republican Party.
For further reading, see Ms. Brumfield’s article complete with a play-by-play courtroom blog.
Running for Governor of Mississippi? You don’t even have to quit your day job
Politico’s Ben Smith has posted a story reminding readers that Governor Barbour’s reported return to lobbying is a little misleading since he never really quit. Thanks to the blind trust that was the subject of some discussion during the Governor’s reelection campaign, Barbour never stopped receiving paychecks from Washington, D.C. based BGR. Smith’s article also includes an embedded video showing the Governor checking in at the BGR office last October. We all know that Mississippi ranks near the bottom of U.S. states in virtually every important category but we have to be the country’s best banana republic, right?
As he has every year since taking office, Governor Barbour, released his budget recommendations for the upcoming fiscal year. What makes this move interesting is that, come January, Governor Barbour won’t be around to implement his plan. This would amount to shrewd politics if a Democrat were assuming office and would give Republicans a guiding light and talking points as they entered the budgeting process but to make such a release as another Republican prepares his entrance speaks to the animosity between Barbour and Bryant. Thanks to Barbour, Bryant’s first budget as Governor will have an unlikely measuring stick—the recommendation of his former boss and fellow Republican.