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Lawsuit against MDOT begins to crumble

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A lawsuit filed against the Mississippi Department of Transportation, and others, originally listed the Hinds County Board of Supervisors along with three black residents of Hinds County as the plaintiffs.

Central Mississippi Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall, MDOT and the Central Mississippi Planning and Development District are listed as defendants.

The suit alleges that residents of Hinds County (a predominantly black population) were victims of discrimination after federal road funding was channeled to Madison and Rankin counties (predominantly white populations.)

In part, the suit reads:

“Despite the fact that Madison County, MS, and Rankin County, MS, standing alone don’t qualify as an urbanized area with a population in excess of 200,000 persons, …MDOT (Mississippi Department of Transportation) and CMPDD (Central Mississippi Planning and Development District) since 1970 intentionally and deliberately joined Madison County, MS, and Rankin County, MS, with Hinds County, MS, in order to divert federal highway funds from black majority Hinds County…”

However, members of the Hinds County Board of Supervisors say they never wanted to be counted among the plaintiffs seeking damages and reparations in the suit. On Monday, June 5, the Board voted unanimously to clarify the position that they do not wish to be a party in the lawsuit.

Currently, the plaintiffs are listed as the Board of Supervisors and three black residents of Hinds County:Charles Holmes, Dwayne Starling and Terry Starling.

In a statement obtained by News Mississippi on June 5, 2017, MDOT’s Public Affairs Director Jarrod Ravencraft said “As of today, MDOT has not been served with this complaint. When and if we are, it will be addressed by the Assistant Attorney General who leads the Legal Division for MDOT.”

This is a developing story.

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