Forrest County Board of Supervisors paid twice for voting precinct.

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Normally, with competent, honest people in positions of the public's trust they work to save money, to get the most for the people they serve. Then there are those who enter politics, and act in a manner through sheer greed or stupidity, where they or their friends benefit financially.  The latter seems to be more common in Hattiesburg and Forrest County. One example of highly questionable decisions by local politicians can be seen with events connected to Forrest County's Beat 3 Barrentown voter precinct.

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With decisions like these by Mr. Cartlidge, taxpayers have a right to be concerned about his actions on the Board of Forrest General Hospital.

It all started in 1985 when Forrest County Beat 3 Supervisor and Board President, Lynn Cartlidge, pushed for the board to sign a 30 year lease for land belonging to two of his friends, Jim Dukes and Bud Holmes, in order to construct a new voting precinct in his beat. It was just three acres at the time, and on the 15th of May, 1986 bids were put our for its construction, and the building and other improvements were constructed using taxpayer money.

Five years later, in 1990, the county decided to expand the area from 3 acres to 9 acres, and some time later, additional improvements were made to the property, including a walking track, funded by Forrest General Hospital. It is important to note, that the county had never negotiated an option to buy the land for a predefined price in the 1985 or 1990 leases at anytime prior to making the improvements.

This after all is a deal among close friends and for the benefit of the citizens, right?

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Burket Ross used money from his community fund to pay for a building taxpayers paid already paid to build 30 years prior; giving Jim Dukes and Bud Holmes a financial windfall.

Then, 24 years later, the lease term is coming to an end for the Barrontown voting precinct and activity center. By this time Lynn Cartlidge is no longer making decisions on behalf of the citizens on Forrest County Board of Supervisors, but instead is now making decisions on the board of Forrest General Hospital.

When Cartridge retired from the Forrest County Board of Supervisors, Burkett Ross, who was then on the board of FGH, campaigned and won Cartlidge's vacant seat.  Ross then put Cartlidge up for his vacant seat on the Board of Forrest General Hospital. So, the two effectively swapped places.

Several years ago, the board of the hospital decided to start giving the Forrest County Board of Supervisors money for their community funds. Each supervisor has their own fund, which is funded by both Forrest General and taxes from Forrest County.

When Jim Dukes and Bud Holmes lease was nearing completion in 2014, Burkett Ross paid $193,415 from his community fund to buy the Barrentown voting precinct property. It's interesting that the funding didn't come out of the general fund, but instead came from Ross' recreational fund, which includes monies from Forrest General hospital.

Jim Dukes was the Forrest County Attorney and FGH Attorney at that time of this transaction, and he was a direct beneficiary to the transaction.

Generally the Supervisors do not oppose another board members when they decide they want to spend their recreation money. In this case, according to the minutes, all supervisors voted to approve Ross' request to pay for the precinct building once again.

Documents below include the original 1985 bid sheet, the lease agreement between the parities, the appraisal report, and deed.

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51 thoughts on “Forrest County Board of Supervisors paid twice for voting precinct.

  1. Linda Walters

    I am embarrassed for the top notch physicians and other health care workers who have to listen and learn that the head of the hospital appears to be this incompetent. His actions negate the quality work that is done there on a daily basis. His resignation should be accepted immediately.

    1. Linda Walters

      We are so fortunate to have the medical knowledge and abilities in this town! I have friends around the area in larger cities, and I am always surprised at the higher quality of care we have here. Hope some of these really smart professionals stand up and say “enough is enough.”

  2. John Carter

    It has been alleged that he has or has tried to use companies that he had stock in or owned at FGH to outsource jobs that were already being done by FGH enployees. Then for FGH to pay rent on the Taj Mahal for the support services to work in. Pretty swanky for such a thrifty county hospital. There are banks in town that arent as nice as the digs at the Taj, but long term employees were told ” no raises” for several years. Kinda strange how the MONEY is handled there. It could use investigation Hattiesburg Patriot.

  3. John Carter

    He is a crook and has been all along. To heck with employees as long as the community sees all the “improvements” that FGH contributed to the midtown farce. Another sham to cover embezzling going on. Follow the money and find a crook!
    He might not be a good swimmer. Sorta like Porter.

  4. Lynn Palmer

    The Federal Government also needs to investigate Forrest General for Medicare Fraud. They will hold a Medicare Patient for a week, all the while telling them, we can’t do anything for you here. The Doctors say,” You need to go to a hospital that can provide a higher level of care”. Those hospitals are always out of state.

    Once you go out of state for any form of treatment, Forrest General will never again treat you. It happened to us last month with our elderly mother. She had been previously sent from Forrest General to New Orleans. Again, the Drs. at Forrest General would not touch her.

    Again, we were sent to New Orleans. Mother was placed in a semi-private room with guess who? Another patient from FORREST GENERAL, who by the way was also told by the very same Doctor ” you need to go to a hospital that can provide a higher level of care” . Coincidence, I don’t think so.

  5. Jock Ewing

    Sounds like we still owe for the property, you even made a note to this in the article. May have been a little shadiness going on back in ’85 and ’90 with putting the center on private property, the land should have been bought outright back then, but since it wasn’t, to keep the center, I am assuming we must now purchase the property or sign another long term lease. It would be good to have them explain what we are actually paying for this time around. The building? or the Land? And if it is the latter, is it another lease or is it a purchase?

    1. Hattiesburg Patriot

      The appraisal was for land and improvements. We paid to build the building and make the improvement to private property, then we purchased the land, with improvements.

      There will be a follow up article dealing with your questions.

  6. Chris Puckett

    Seems pretty similar to how the USPS leases land, biilds a building and when the lease runs out the land owner win$….

    This isn’t much different. … just a smaller scale….

    Is it wrong?… I think so…
    Is it legal?…. depends on how good your lawyer is… bit in this case probably yes.

    1. Chris Puckett

      Petty response. What happens here is more of a symptom of what happens everywhere. .. yes I think it’s fraud and abuse… all of it..

      Firstly I wasn’t trying to argue with you and if you read what I wrote I think this behaviour is wrong (so I agree)
      Secondly, Napoleon gets quoted a lot on this site… does the manager of this site share the complex named after him, especially with such a trite response?

    2. Hattiesburg Patriot

      Just making sure people understand that this site isn’t alleging anything illegal, only that it is a waste of money, and that “stupidity” isn’t a crime either.
      There is no argument to be had. It is what it is. The facts are there.

  7. Charlee Cole

    The good people of Forrest County School District, Hattiesburg and Petal Municipal School Districts REALLY need to ‘Google’ 16th section (Mississippi) School Land leasing(FACQ’s). Before local government tries to pull the wool over our eyes AGAIN(ie: I thought that was a much nicer way of saying- ‘before they f¿€l< us AGAIN')!!! There is a Q & A section, as well as categorize topics that is easily navigated. 16th section land is zoned differently as any other land. Whether it be agricultural, hunting and fishing, industrial, commercial or residential. The following is a list of the land managers for local School Districts: FORREST COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICTMIKE PAPAS 400 FORREST STREET HATTIESBURG MS 39401 (601) 545-6055 / (601) 545-6054 [Fax] HATTIESBURG MUNICIPAL SCHOOL DISTRICTALAN OUBRE P O BOX 1569 HATTIESBURG MS 39403-1569 (601) 582-5078 / (601) 582-6666 [Fax] PETAL MUNICIPAL SCHOOL DISTRICTWALTER FARRIS P O DRAWER 523 PETAL MS 39465-0523 (601) 584-4702 / (601) 583-4348 [Fax]

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