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Local newspaper owner claims Clarksdale mayor offered him $30K to fire publisher

Clarksdale Mayor Chuck Espy

A local newspaper owner is accusing Clarksdale Mayor Chuck Espy of bribing him $30,000 to fire an employee at the Clarksdale Press Register.

Wyatt Emmerich of Emmerich Newspapers revealed on an episode of The Gallo Show earlier this week that Espy offered him the bribe after Press Register publisher Floyd Ingram wrote a story on Clarksdale city officials giving themselves raises just days after being reelected.

“Now, he’s on a jihad to get rid of a very competent publisher in Clarksdale and even personally offered to pay me $30,000 if I would fire him,” Emmerich said. “I don’t think that’s ever happened to me in my 35 years as president of Emmerich Newspapers.”

According to Ingram’s article, Espy and other city officials held a secret executive session in July 2021, voting to raise their salaries by around 40 percent. The meeting resulted in the mayor’s salary being upped to $122,421 while city commissioners were given pay increases of $20,000. In total, the raises cost taxpayers nearly half a million dollars.

Now, several years later, Espy has started publicly boycotting the newspaper, calling Ingram “evil, wicked, and racist” over social media.

“I have dealt with Floyd Ingram personally, and I have watched the destructive pattern that this man is doing in this great city,” Espy said.

The mayor has also accused the newspaper of purposefully choosing not to publish positive pieces about the city, one example being the recent opening of a Wing Stop in downtown.

“What he’s mad about is he can’t run Clarksdale like his own personal fiefdom, so he’s trying to use race and label our paper as racist in order to basically trick the people,” Emmerich continued. “This is the guy who’s called a boycott against our paper, because we report when someone gets murdered in Clarksdale. It’s absurd.”

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