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Taxpayer Win in Court: Judge Says Former Southaven Mayor Must Repay Money

JACKSON, Miss.–It’s money that you paid in, if you live in Southaven. But it’s an example for the rest of the state that when you use taxpayer money for personal enjoyment, you will be in big time trouble. That’s the message State Auditor Stacey Pickering says is coming from a ruling against the former mayor Greg Davis.

The ruling happened Tuesday morning when Hinds County Judge Dewayne Thomas said Davis must repay all the money he owes that was misused, plus interest and investigative costs.

That comes out to $73,915.27, in addition to $96,000 that he had already paid back.

This is what happened, from a press release from Pickering’s camp:

The investigation into Davis began in March 2011 when OSA received a complaint from a Southaven Alderman regarding Davis’ reimbursements from the city.

In November 2011, OSA issued a demand to Davis in the amount of $170,782.28. That sum consisted of the following: $128,642.59 that was paid to Davis’ Capital One credit card based on the personal invoices that he submitted to the City Clerk; two payments of $8,410 and $12,108 that the city made for marriage counseling services on Davis’ behalf; $4,428.19 in charges to Davis’ city credit card related to his trip to marriage counseling; $16,822.14 in interest, and $13,571.18 in investigative costs.

Davis repaid the city $13,199.82 for marriage counseling, was credited for $10,319.24 in charges on his personal credit card, and made a payment on the demand in the amount of $96,000 in December, 2011.

In April 2012, OSA issued a subsequent demand for reimbursement totaling $73,915.27, which included $62,881.89 from the first demand; $5,951.96 of charges on Davis’ city issued credit card; 12% of Davis’ mileage reimbursement, totaling $4,477.92; and $603.50 in per diem that Davis received in connection to his marriage counseling trip. Davis received a reduction in interest for the credit previously received. 

In August 2012, OSA sued Davis to recover the amount owed. Davis then filed a counterclaim requesting that the Court order the return of the $96,000 that he paid in response to the initial demand. Judge Thomas ruled in favor of the State Auditor’s Office today.

Unrelated to the civil demands, Davis has been indicted on two counts of embezzlement by a public official and one count of false pretense. The criminal trial begins on June 9 in Desoto County. 

“Prosecuting public corruption is not easy, but elected officials must be held accountable for their actions and I am pleased with today’s ruling,” said Pickering.

He was asked what are the most common setups that get public servants in trouble.

“When you see an elected official that gets a sense of entitlement to resources that belong to the taxpayers and they use it for personal gain. The other thing we see is where people get themselves into financial trouble, whether through addictions, gambling, bad management, trying to maintain a lifestyle that’s not their own, and they start looking for an easy way to get out of the trouble they’ve gotten themselves into.”

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