Statement on North Lee Water Association Scandal
Mississippi Republican Party Statement
on North Lee Water Association Scandal
JACKSON – Mississippi Republican Party Chairman Arnie Hederman has issued a statement on the growing scandal surrounding the North Lee Water Association and its impact on the Northern District Public Service Commissioner election.
“It’s Brandon Presley’s job to regulate utility companies, including water associations. It’s Presley’s job to make sure they are serving customers well. It begs the question: how could the North Lee Water Association’s behavior, which we are only now beginning to learn the extent of, be permitted to go on?” Hederman asked.
“Maybe it’s because Brandon Presley, the same person who should be overseeing the Association, took an illegal campaign contribution from its director. The only good news for those victimized by the North Lee Water Association scandal is that there is clear choice in this November’s election: Boyce Adams for Public Service Commissioner,” Hederman said.
The North Lee Water Association is a non-profit group that serves water customers in North Lee County. Public Service Commissioners and candidates for the office are prohibited from accepting contributions from water associations. Commissioner Presley, at the time candidate Presley, illegally accepted a contribution from Mitchell Scruggs, a board director of North Lee Water Association, in April of 2007. He returned the contribution in January of 2008, after his campaign.
In September of 2011, it was reported that the Supervisor of North Lee, Dan Durham, was illegally having employees of North Lee do work for his side business, while on the clock for North Lee. Many have claimed that Mitchell knew of the illegal work, and even had some of the work done on his properties. The Daily Journal broke the story and has pursued it since the beginning. Commissioner Presley announced that he would have his office launch an investigation into the matter, but can his office truly complete an unbiased investigation from one of his donors?
- April 27, 2007 – Brandon Presley illegally accepted a contribution from Mitchell Scruggs for $1,000.
- January 31, 2008 – Presley eventually returned the contribution in January of 2008, but did so 10 months after receiving the contribution that he used toward his successful campaign. Clearly, the law does not allow a candidate to keep an illegal campaign contribution for 10 months.
- September 28, 2011 – residents of Tupelo continue to complain to Public Service Commission and nothing gets done.
- September 30, 2011 – Emily LeCoz, writer for the Tupelo Daily Journal, reported that employees of the North Lee Water Association were doing odd jobs by order of their Supervisor, Dan Durham.
- September 30, 2011 – Commissioner Brandon Presley announced his office had no knowledge of the wrongdoing, but would launch an investigation and submit his findings to the Attorney General.
- October 1, 2011 – Customers of North Lee Water complain to Emily LeCoz of filthy water.
- October 4, 2011 – North Lee Water Association hires an independent attorney to investigate the allegations of wrongdoing by Dan Durham.
- October 4, 2011 – North Lee Water Associations holds regularly scheduled meeting – ratepayers flood the meeting to voice their concerns. Brandon Presley attended the meeting with two investigators.
- October 6, 2011 – Dan Durham, North Lee Water Association Supervisor, resigns.
- October 6, 2011 – It is discovered that North Lee Water Association board members have been receiving an extremely discounted rate on their water bill, only $10.30 per month, because employees had been directed to not check their meters.