Tagged: Hugh Freeze

Bennie’s still silent and his chief of staff is still working

(Note: The commentary below was published on Tuesday, Oct. 31. A day later on Wednesday, Nov. 1, Rep. Thompson told a Gannett reporter in Washington that he fired Avant on Monday, Oct. 30. Gannett owns the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. Yet, after Avant’s felony conviction last year, Thompson apparently terminated Avant after the most recent federal indictment. That indictment came on Oct. 11, almost three weeks before the date Thompson said he fired Avant.)

Crime doesn’t pay. (Unless you work for Congressman Thompson)

Last February I commented on some strange, to say the least, circumstances in the office of U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi. Thompson’s chief of staff, Lanier Avant, had pled guilty to $150,000 tax evasion. And after serving a month in prison, Avant was completing the rest of his sentence serving weekends in jail. Avant remained in his job with Thompson. Earlier in October, The Washington Post and other media reported Avant has been indicted again, this time for filing false security clearance forms. Avant, in addition to being Thompson’s chief of staff, also served for a time as Democratic staff director for the House Homeland Security Committee. Mind you – the Homeland Security Committee, not the Agriculture Committee or one of the many other less sensitive committees of Congress. If you want to read some bizarre claims Avant made, I suggest you read an article in The Daily Signal, http://dailysignal.com//print/post_id=363860  The Daily Signal reported Lanier lied about donating $50,000 to a religious group and tried to claim tax write-offs for rollerblading, biking, chess, and a bass guitar. At his sentencing, Avant, who made a paltry $170,000 per year salary paid by taxpayers, told the judge he could not afford the rent on his apartment. In 2015 the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation gave Avant an award for “exemplary leadership”. Also, while Avant served as staff director of the committee, some Republican staffers and members were concerned that whenever Avant met with vendors, he always asked them about contracts being awarded to minority contractors. How silly some of us think contracts should be awarded to the contractor making the lowest bid and who is most qualified.

Makes one wonder, does Avant know where the bodies are buried?

The latest charge against Avant carries a statutory maximum of five years in prison. Yet he remains Thompson’s chief of staff. It is not unreasonable to surmise perhaps Avant knows

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Race card fails in UAW’s push for union at Nissan

Landslide vote against union at Nissan is a win

for Nissan workers and also for Mississippi

On the Monday after the Saturday when workers at the Nissan plant in Canton overwhelmingly rejected the United Automobile Workers attempt to unionize, The Wall Street Journal called the vote “another humiliation” for the UAW. The editorial noted the UAW spent heavily to win the unionization vote and enlisted supporters such as Sen. Bernie Sanders, Democratic National Chairman Tom Perez and actor Danny Glover. Of course, the UAW was supported by Mississippi’s own congressman Bennie Thompson, the state NAACP and Jackson’s new mayor, Chokwe Lumumba. I had previously been told about 65 percent of the workers at the Nissan plant are black, but the WSJ said more than 80 percent of those who voted were African Americans. Of course, the UAW tried to exploit racial politics before the vote. Socialist Sen. Sanders said the UAW supporters were “connecting workers rights with civil rights.” Fortunately for the Nissan workers and future industrial development in Mississippi, playing the race card did not work for the UAW and its supporters like Bennie Thompson, longtime radical Danny Glover and Mayor Lumumba. The WSJ editorial was right on target when it said “race-baiting fell flat in Canton.” Most workers at the plant make $24-26 per hour. What do you think most of them would be making elsewhere? The WSJ also noted, and I assume the Nissan workers were also aware, a week before the vote a deceased UAW vice president teamed up with an official at Fiat-Chrysler to allegedly steal millions of dollars from a fund that was intended to train auto workers. The wife of the late UAW VP and the Fiat-Chrysler official have been indicted. UAW leaders often live high off the hog compared to the workers they represent. It is no wonder during the past 35 years the UAW’s ranks have shrunk by more than 75 percent. The Center for Union Facts also estimates during the past 10 years big labor unions have used more than $1 billion in member dues to donate to the Democratic Party and other left-wing special-interest groups. While workers at Nissan were voting 2,244 to 1,307 against joining the UAW, Toyota and Mazda announced they will spend $1.6 billion to build another assembly plant in the South. The plant is expected to have 4,000 jobs, a huge prize for whatever southern state is the winner of the competition to build the plant. That competition will be very stiff and Mississippi may be a longshot to win the plant, but one thing is very clear – if Nissan had lost the vote to the UAW, Mississippi would have zero chance to secure the economic development prize.

Correction and apology to Clarion-Ledger columnist Billy Watkins

In the August 2 WeidieReport, I commented that popular radio talk show host Bo Bounds noted a disclosure lapse at the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson. In that post I was incorrect when I wrote that veteran Clarion-Ledger columnist Billy Watkins had written several

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Another disclosure lapse for the Jackson Clarion-Ledger?

Apparently, popular sports talk show host Bo Bounds of Jackson has noted another disclosure lapse at the Clarion-Ledger. In a column written by Josh Peters in USA TODAY,  veteran Clarion-Ledger columnist Billy Watkins and two others were listed as “contributing” to the Peters article which essentially asked the question, “Who is Hugh Freeze?” The conflicting perceptions are of a football coach who wore his religion on his sleeve or a flawed coach who cheating in recruiting and possibly cheated in his personal life. Billy Watkins of the Clarion-Ledger is the brother of W. G. Watkins, Freeze’s personal attorney. Nothing really surprises me anymore about the state’s largest newspaper that has also been very shallow in its coverage of the NCAA allegations against Ole Miss and the resignation of Freeze. (Editor’s note: In this original post, I said that Watkins had written several columns about the NCAA investigation of Ole Miss. That was not correct and for that, I apologize to Mr. Watkins. My next post will have additional comments about this issue.)

Mississippi neighbor as the next President of the United States?New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu called darkhorse and longshot to be Democratic presidential nominee in 2020   LOL

The Big Easy or easy to get mugged?

Once upon a time, there were three ambitious governors in the neighboring states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas. All three were considered hot national political property, all three were Democrats, and all three had degrees from Ivy League schools. There was also no question that Buddy Roemer in Louisiana, Ray Mabus in Mississippi, and Bill Clinton thought they were all going to be President of the United States. Roemer finished third in his re-election campaign for governor, Kirk Fordice derailed Mabus’ reelection bid in Mississippi leaving Clinton as the only one left with presidential ambitions. Interestingly enough, Clinton’s well-known reputation as a womanizer was expected to sidetrack his ambition. I remember being on a commercial flight to Washington, D.C. with Mabus and his security guard when Mabus openly talked about Clinton’s female problems. Mabus thought Clinton would not overcome the problem.Not long after that, but before Clinton won the Democrat nomination to oppose George H.W. Bush, I had a talk with Republican Haley Barbour. Barbour told me he hoped Democrats would nominate Clinton to oppose Bush for the same reasons cited by Mabus. They were

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Alleged Ole Miss cheaters must be concerned about embarrassment, humiliation or worse

John Doe and others are like Richard Nixon except in this case, the crime (allegations of NCAA recruiting violations) is as bad as the cover-up

The Ole Miss NCAA football violations saga continues. Part of the story almost seems like a soap opera. Apart from the NCAA process, perhaps the most soap-opera like part of the story in how some Ole Miss boosters involved in the alleged cheating are doing everything possible to avoid being publicly exposed. There’s little doubt public exposure would cause embarrassment, humiliation and possibly even worse for some prominent and, in some cases, well known Rebel alumni or boosters. On March 22, the WeidieReport filed a Freedom of Information (FOI) request with Ole Miss for the names of any alumni or boosters who Ole Miss had disassociated from Rebel athletics because of the NCAA allegations. On May 3, the assistant general counsel at the school furnished me four letters sent to boosters notifying them of the decision to disassociate them from Ole Miss athletic programs. Shortly after that a reliable source informed me Ole Miss athletic officials had made five calls to boosters to inform them they also were being disassociated from Ole Miss athletics. The calls were reportedly made one evening and I was given four of the five names. Apparently, the individuals were not the same ones in the redacted letters. A John Doe filed action to stop the release of the names. The staff at the Mississippi Ethics Commission recommended names be released and apparently Ole Miss was going to comply. Ole Miss backed off giving the names pending the July 14 meeting of the Ethics Commission when the staff decision would be considered. Steve Robertson, Mississippi State beat writer for Scout.com, and blogger James Hendrix, took aggressive FOI action with the Ethics Commission. On July 14 members of the Ethics Commission ruled in favor of releasing the booster names and John Doe promptly filed legal action in Hind County against Ole Miss and the Ethics Commission to prevent them from making public the names of the boosters involved in the NCAA allegations (i.e. Ole Miss football cheating). If

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Clarion-Ledger versus Mississippi State officials (plus burning football questions for the Dawgs and Rebels)

No, State did not name a new AD on Oct. 18

Mike Bonner is the Jackson Clarion-Ledger’s beat reporter for Mississippi State athletics.  I think Bonner does a darn good job. Of course, partisans of MSU, Ole Miss or any other school never think beat reporters are as positive as they should be towards their team. On Wednesday, Oct. 12, Bonner, citing unnamed sources, reported Bulldog head baseball coach John Cohen would be named athletic director the next week, on Oct. 18, to replace Scott Stricklin who has moved on to be AD for the Florida Gators. MSU officials were very upset with the report and the Clarion-Ledger. President Mark Keenum issued a very strong statement criticizing Bonner and the newspaper. MSU spokesman Sid Salter, a former Clarion-Ledger staff member himself and political columnist, quickly went on the state’s leading sports talk radio show to deny Bonner’s report that a decision had been made. Rick Cleveland is also a former Clarion-Ledger sports editor and columnist. Cleveland, who I think is one of the best, if not the best ever Mississippi sports columnist, promptly wrote about Bonner’s controversial report in his syndicated column. He also wrote that Hugh Kellenberger, the newspaper’s sports editor, backed Bonner.

The bottom line:

Should Bonner have contacted Dr. Keenum for a comment before his news article stating baseball coach John Cohen would be named athletic director on Tuesday, Oct. 18? Absolutely. There is a difference between a request for comment in

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Is “Coach” Hosemann the Reason Bo Wallace Threw Interception Against LSU?

After Gov. Phil Bryant made a strong run for the Chuck Schumer Award initially won by Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, Hosemann may be making another push to retain the award. For three straight weeks Hosemann has been on the sidelines for big games: Mississippi State-Auburn, Ole Miss-Tennessee, and last Saturday night in Baton Rouge for Ole Miss-LSU. There may be more to the story than competition for the Chuck Schumer Award and more self-serving photo ops.

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