Mayor Dupree Throws Hail Mary and Gives Two Middle Fingers With Two New Appointees

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Two of the Mayor's new appointments, City Attorney and Police Chief, read like a Hail Mary accompanied by two middle fingers, and they have many prominent citizens of this community and top Dupree supporters in the white community horrified at his announced intentions. Flak is flying in all directions, and people are putting great pressure on the city council to prevent a major power grab by the mayor and his friend, televangelist Kenny Fairley.

Sources tell the Hattiesburg Patriot that Frazier Bolton’s tenure as police chief may be cut short, and that a rift about vacation time between the Mayor and Chief recently occurred. Regardless, the Chief may be forced out by the mayor’s own action, or by a judge ruling in favor of Councilmen Bradley and Carroll in their latest legal action suing the mayor to perform his duty and make department head appointments.  Bolton’s days are clearly numbered, unless a deal is struck with at least three council members to keep him on.

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Councilwoman and Groundworx Advocate Mary Dryden #greedworx

What’s particularly interesting is that Ward 4 Councilwoman Mary Dryden was not a plaintiff in the recent lawsuit against the mayor, and sources have told the Hattiesburg Patriot that in recent days, Dryden has had an extended conversation with Mayor Dupree involving his appointments. These decisions have some asking, is this a political opportunity for Dryden to bring  Groundworx back to the table with the Mayor? Will she support the current Chief?  They are questions worth asking. What is known is that a meeting occurred between Dryden and the Mayor, and shortly after than meeting these appointments were put forward. (Read more about Dryden’s family connections with Groundworx here).

Councilmen Kim Bradley and Carter Carroll’s most recent lawsuit over Dupree’s failure to bring all department heads up for a vote “within a reasonable period of time,” as required by Mississippi Statute, is almost identical to the action filed in 2005 by councilmen Red Bailey, Carter Carroll, and Kim Bradley. Circuit Judge Bob Helfrich’s ruled in favor of the three councilmen back in 2006, and that ruling was unanimously upheld by the Mississippi Supreme Court after 16 months of litigation and the appeal process.

Since the 2013 special election, Dupree has had 15 months to put appointments up for a vote. Dupree’s odds of prevailing in the current scenario, up to now, were next to nothing. Now, with every position having been brought forward for appointment, Dupree has a new defense in his case.

The key positions in question are currently held by Police Chief Frazier Bolton, City Attorney Charles Lawrence, Pro Tem Municipal Judge Carol Jones Russell, and Public Defender Alethea Shaw.  Interestingly the person being put up for police chief is none other than Fairley’s brother in law, Mitchell Dent.

Mitchell Dent Hattiesbrug Police Chief

Mitchell Dent was demoted from Chief all the way down to Captain in 2001 by incoming Mayor Laurence Leyens.

Dent has a long standing career in law enforcement; however it isn't without questions or concerns. Dent was demoted in 2001 when Lawrence Leyens was elected Mayor. Dent left VPD in 2002 and worked in the private sector for approximately 10 years.  Dent was hired back on at the Vicksburg Police Department from 2010 to 2013 by Mayor Paul Winfield after Winfield won the election against two term incumbent Mayor Laurence Leyens in 2009.  Winfield is now one year into a two year prison sentence for accepting a $10,000 bribe while acting as Mayor. It is not clear if  Winfield has written a letter of recommendation letter from prison for Dent.

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Lawrence's Facebook posts seem to be obsessing with Ferguson and the violence that erupted in the small Missouri town. Click to enlarge

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Lawrence seems to focus on the actions of a miniscule minority to validate his radical, militant viewpoints. Shouldn't we all work together to move our community forward? Click to Enlarge.

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Could this be Hattiesburg's next City Attorney? Click to enlarge.

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A City Attorney nominee who condones violence, rioting, and looting? Click to enlarge.

Another appointee is “CJ” Lawrence for City Attorney. Mr. Lawrence is a Jackson attorney and the son of current City Attorney Charles Lawrence. Lawrence is a self described "public figure" and "activist." Lawrence went to Ferguson, Missouri to protest in the "Hands Up" campaign. Lawrence has referred to black America as "second class citizens." His actions and style mimic the Reverend Al Sharpton, but seem to condone violence in the process, as was seen in Ferguson.  Lawrence said,

"Well now it's time to rock the boat again, while resistance in the form of rioting and looting may not be your cup of tea, understand that for some, their passion and energy is all they can give for change."

Lawrence's  father,  the current City Attorney Charles Lawrence, cannot get council support for reappointment, That stems from his role in ordering a criminal federal background check against Arthur Smith, an African-American witness set to testify against Dupree in the Ware vs Dupree trial. Smith never testified, and when the matter became public, Lawrence went on camera and made statements which Smith alleged were defamatory. Smith has sued Mr. Lawrence for defamation among other allegations. Lawrence’s use of federal, criminal resources in this manner was a clear violation of Mr. Smith’s rights and an abuse of the FBI’s NCIC system. You can read that story by clicking here.

City Attorney Lawrence was also accused by council of "white washing" facts and crimes in a report he prepared for the city council over corruption within the City's Municipal Court. More can be read on that matter by clicking here. At that time, the court was under the control of Police Chief Frazier Bolton. The court is now run by full time judge, Gerry Evans.

A third appointee is the widow of Dupree trial attorney Precious Martin. Mrs. Crystal Wise Martin is up for Municipal Court Judge Pro Tem. a Pro Tem judge sits on the bench when Judge Gerry Evans recuses himself from hearing a case or is unable to hear a case. A Pro Tem Judge is an "as needed judge." While Martin lives in the Jackson area, she could perform her duties by commuting. It is speculated that Dupree is trying to help the wife of an old friend gain health insurance, benefits, and earn state and city retirement pensions. Since the death of her husband Martin has sued the mistress of her husband for alienation of affection when it was discovered that Precious Martin left his mistress $500,000.  Read more about that by clicking here.

If approved Martin would replace Judge Carol Jones Russell. Russell was reported on this site and WDAM for having two homesteads, having her cars tagged in Stone County, residing in Stone County, and voting in Hattiesburg last election. More on that can be read by clicking here.

A concern expressed by others is that if actions on these appointments are tabled as opposed to being voted down, the mayor may appointment Mitchell Dent and/or  CJ Lawrence as temporary replacements, if Chief Bolton and/or Charles Lawrence step down. The Mayor could then delay putting the temporary appointees up for council approval for as long as 16 months.

With evidence of FBI and State Auditor investigations swirling around the Hub City, and guilty pleas of illegal voting among appointed members of the administration, political tensions are high, yet  Dupree's Machiavellian-style leadership is still alive and well.

**The Hattiesburg Patriot encourages all citizens to email their councilperson and express their support or non support for Mayor Dupree's latest appointments.

Mary Dryden Ward 4 - mdryden@hattiesburgms.com
Kim Bradley Ward 1- kbradley@hattiesburgms.com
Carter Carroll Ward 3 - ccarroll@hattiesbrugms.com
Deborah Delgado Ward 5 - ddelgado@hattiesburgms.com
Henry Naylor Ward 2 - hnaylor@hattiesburgms.com

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83 thoughts on “Mayor Dupree Throws Hail Mary and Gives Two Middle Fingers With Two New Appointees

  1. Carlyn M. Hicks

    Despicable attempt to mischaracterize this individual by using a photo intended to demonstrate the disparity of media bias. You failed at the mischaracterization, you succeeded at further proving the media bias. Though, I am not certain I would consider this blog a “news site”

  2. Michelle James Way

    This is the CJ Lawrence Esquire I know,. The man that slept outside in 20 degree temperature weather to raise awareness and funds for the homeless shelters in Jackson. Why didn’t this photo surface? He cares about the welfare of all individuals. Ask yourself a question next time you try to point out something negative about him. Did I care enough about the homeless and mothers with children to sleep outside in these conditions? The answer is you didn’t even bother to make a donation.

  3. Garry Loper

    It is these type of voters that relected Marion Barry AFTER he was caught, on video, smoking crack with a crack hoe in the room. You could have a video if him smoking crack, arm robbing a store…….it would not matter to most of the people on here.

  4. Tommy Swopshire

    Hattiesburg Patriot I understand what nepotism is. Let me rephrase. My question is how do you know this is nepotism and not the appointment of a qualified candidate? I just want to understand how you can say someone is not qualified if you do not know his stance or message.

  5. Tom Head

    Dear Hattiesburg Patriot: You’re either intentionally misrepresenting the context of this photo, or you’re too stupid to understand the context of this photo. Neither reflects especially well on you.

  6. April Rhodes

    The misrepresentation of CJ Lawrence Esquire is simply astounding. This man is highly educated and qualified. He’s an advocate and activist. He does not support violence. He supports equality. He supports facts and the truth. Obviously not something you all are concerned with.

    I challenge people that are reading this low grade nonsense to really research CJ. Educate yourselves. You will quickly realize that he is a wonderful man with integrity and a great deal of knowledge and strength. Don’t allow this typical, Fox News like spin to provoke prejudgment. Be blessed fellow Mississippians!

  7. Dallas Tucker

    so the mayor knows there will be some trouble over his appointments to the city council from the citizens, so the best thing to do is not have NO ONE at the meeting except the mayor and council members, this includes fairly and henderson and all the others that have given the chambers problems in the past .

  8. 'Silk Delorian

    As a Hattiesburg resident, I feel that Mr. Lawrence is the kind of person we need in our city government. Everyone is saying this and that about what someone in that specific office should portray, but what have the others before done? We need more people like him that actually does things that are right and to truly help everyone! If any of you opposers had any sense you’d research something this controversial before stating your opinion but like ALWAYS you base an opinion based off of a non creditable source as such. This isn’t the first time this paper has TRIED to discredit and destroy someone’s image and it definitely won’t be the last. I just feel that before judging someone based off of a picture that you obviously saw and ran with to try and make this man look bad you need to know the story behind it. He is a pioneer, an activist, a great lawyer and an awesome man! I’m behind you all the way CJ LAWRENCE!!!!

  9. Brittany LeCesne

    This is the most despicable post I have ever seen!! Has it really come to this???? Slander at its greatest!!! CJ Lawerence is one of if not the most upstanding citizen Hattiesburg Mississippi has!!! The last of the Mohicans!!!! I am utterly appalled and ashamed that you would even try it!!! Trying to portray one of the most honest men I know as unfit to do the job?? Seriously?! I stand behind everything CJ Lawrence believes in and fights for and has done for our community!! This is definitely what Hattiesburg needs right now!!! A leader that’s strong and will fight for what’s right!!! One who has a heart and all of the capabilities to get the job done!!!! Did I mention he’s from the class of 99?? Ha!!! Well done CJ Lawrence, people will always criticize what’s different!!!! But GOD has the last say!!!! I stand behind you 100%!!!! Only votes count!!!

  10. Greg Griffin

    And I say journalist because as a blogger you are most certainly aspiring to be a journalist and in doing so should at the very least present all sides of a particular issue. Is the picture fair game? Most certainly. Is it a fair representation of the man? Most certainly not.

  11. Marilyn Reed

    I initially thought this was a qualified news source. Clearly, I was wrong. Any bachelor level journalist would investigate this individual’s qualifications before posting this story. Your attempted slander of this person, who is more than qualified to do this job, is just another example of media bias. Shame of your for not telling the whole truth. Your agency is why people no longer have faith or confidence in the media.

  12. Antwion Ford

    I hope he is. . He is a better guy than these past ones. . Horrible that you try to paint a negative pic of people you don’t know. Typical of this page to always criticize and downgrade CERTAIN GROUPS of people. That’s sad. Yah please forgive your children

  13. Sha'Ronna Austin

    The Hattiesburg Patriot is a BIG JOKE. Go to his page and you will see the reasons behind this picture. You proved his point on this picture on how the media will go looking for a picture like this but over look the other pictures he has on his page! Do Your Homework on Attorney CJ Lawrence and see what he stands for.

  14. Greg Griffin

    So this is a classic attempt at character assassination that hasn’t a leg to stand on. Mainly because this man, this professional, community oriented, servant of the people, stands up not only for what he believes in but what is right and what is just. This is a mockery of journalism and no person of sound mind and reason capable and willing to do just the bare minimum research would allow this to be a factor in forming an opinion of him. Why not post his CNN interview which evidences his professionalism? Shame on you.

  15. Coleon Coleon Coleon

    Just take the picture down and say you sorry. You’re fighting a losing fight. Cj CJ Lawrence Esquire. They sorry please forgive them for they dont know what they are talking about. Hattiesburg Patriot picked the wrong photo and clearly the wrong person to attack.

  16. Ory Morlins

    There is no excuse for the violence that occurred in Ferguson. & there is no excuse for anyone condoning the violence that occurred there. The Grand Jury reviewed all available evidence & found there was not enough to warrant a conviction of the officer. You may not like the jury’s decision but that’s how our justice system works. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than mob rule.

  17. Mary Walker

    Am I watching FOX News…oh…I forgot…I just live in Mississippi where the suits replaced the white Klan sheets. I guess all of the Republicans and White America will now patrol African American’s Facebook pages (especially those proven to be educated and a threat) to see if they are drinking (personal leisure) and exercising their American Rights…whoever wrote this article CLEARLY shows how they support those who fill their pockets with $ to write baloney. #makeasandwich #leaverealjournalismtorealjournalist

  18. Anthony Gatlin

    Laurel used to be a thriving city until its administration was taken over by corrupt blacks who basically destroyed it. Hattiesburg is well on its way to the same fate. It may take 10-15 years to really implode, but you can kiss the Hattiesburg you know now goodbye.

  19. Vickie Sanchez

    Hattiesburg Patriot I cannot take you seriously at all. This cannot be journalism more like sensationalized new stories to further divide the Hattiesburg residents. Here is your first problem, you chose two of my classmates from the class of 99 of Hattiesburg High to try to discredit and slander. You should have did your homework, we’re one of the best class to ever come out of that school. Very well educated across an array of professions and yes, dare I say it activists looking to build up the community. You first started with Trey DeLaine and now CJ Lawrence Esquire. Horrible move. These were two of our class leaders, highly educated, and successful men. One thing you did serve to do is bring awareness to the cause with your biases. And if just one of your readers is enlighten to your bogus news reporting, then it is a job well done. In this case, I say thank you. #iftheygunnedmedown

  20. Kandy Mac

    Or you could have used this picture for a “correct” representation of the “true” actions of Att. Lawrence. Violence is not in his nature or exhibited in his demeanor. CJ is a Hattiesburg native that practices law in Jackson Ms. however, the article seemed to NOT want to lend any assurance to his rooted passion of his hometown’s economic and social development. This lousy attempt to “spin” an incredibly qualified young man’s accomplishments is pathetic. I really do feel sorry for the City of Hattiesburg with its constant acceptance of ignorance.

  21. Garry Loper

    And to the Ferguson thing; there is absolutely nothing wrong with punching stupid cops in the face and going for their gun, if they need it for being rude A holes! Just cause someone does that does not mean the cop can just kill them.

  22. Leslie Tennelle

    I know this will be ignored and/or deleted, but since you all @hattiesburg patriot chose not to answer under CJ’s page. Again we ask why not use any of these positive photos of him working in our community? Instead you choose to pick a HALLOWEEN photo that was actually used side by side for the #IfTheyGunnedMeDown hashtag that was covered on REAL news and media such as CNN! Typical indeed that you are showing your ignorance. Ignorance breeds fear and fear breeds hate! Everytime I see this page I am reminded that the people behind this page, and those who support it are cowardly, stupid, and hateful. Be blessed! Love you Cj! 😘😘

  23. Garry Loper

    Johnny gonna do what Johnny wants to do…..y’all ain’t learned that yet?
    So sit down and shut the hell up!
    He the mayor, the last word, the only word and you crackers can’t stand that he can play the game better than you.
    Don’t hate the player, hate the game….

  24. Jes K. Smith

    This is the greatest article I’ve ever read. Obviously these ignorant idiots are more compelled to propaganda than actual journalism. This easy route towards discrediting another black man is getting so boring. You people are pure geniuses, in a world of unicorns that is. This is beyond ridiculous. You have a degree in this field of journalism I’m assuming and this is the best way you could manage to bash CJ Lawrence Esquire your time is less than valuable to you and I’m working to replenish the brain cells you’ve destroyed due to reading this mundane crap. Save your words next time and just say, we don’t want this black man in this position. Period. You will save ink and time. “Your people” will understand simply that because that’s all this article articulated because the opinions are invalid and not asked for and presented maliciously. By the way, nice photos, idiots. You parading this type of charade is a disgrace to journalist who actually have integrity. And by the way, Amanda Arcement, you are ill informed dear. Don’t be naive all your life sweetie. Life is too short to be so dumb and caught up in a racial propaganda war. Wake up!

  25. Miranda Pampley Kincaid

    So that’s the only picture you could find? Really?
    Which is quite ironic since you proved his point. Maybe you all didn’t have access to the other one the day he graduated, or the one when he slept outside to raise awareness of the issue of homelessness.
    And another thing, since it’s obvious you all don’t fact check, you may want to really see why Mitchell Dent was demoted.
    I’m not on your payroll, so that’s your job.
    But looking at how you’ve not done your job thus far…..

  26. Shakena Monek Bowie

    All I have to say is obviously they don’t know CJ Lawrence Esquire! He is a well educated respected Black man! He does not condone violence! He is an activist who proudly fights for what is right! I’m blessed to know him personally and wish him well in any and every thing he choses to do!

  27. Drell Harris

    Its interesting that you all used this photo, out of context. I call CJ Lawrence Esquire friend and so do others who have all types of backgrounds. I know Attorney Lawrence will serve all citizens of Hattiesburg, quite frankly they should be honored to have him on their team. He fights for what is right, there is no other way to put it.

  28. Victoria Siler

    I remember when he posted the picture with the #iftheygunnedmedown caption. It was a split of this photo and one with him in a suit and tie. Although he thank GOD has not been gunned down this shows how right he was. If someone were to just skim through and see the photo they would assume he was a thug (white code for another word you love to throw around). Just stop it.

  29. Michael D. Morrison

    Behavior does play a part when that individual is being considered to be the chief legal advisor for both the mayor and council. This individual position is extremely important and the advice being provided needs to be trustworthy for both bodies of local government. The Fergusion issue is a major concern to the way this gentlemen thinks. Are these values which Hattiesburg needs.

    It is not racist to question the mayors decisions after so many of his decisions have been extremely questionable over the past years.

  30. Tawana Brown Hill

    Everyone is instructing Coleon to read the article and the about section, how about some research on the photo. This photo was used as a demonstration in #iftheygunnedmedown project. Now research that. CJ Lawrence Esquire Is a highly educated and outstanding young black man. But you all will never give him recognition for that because of the picture posted. Even if the picture wasn’t for his campaign can a young black man have a drink without being classified? This young man has always been very well mannered and respectful and has encouraged his classmates to act the same. So in review for the slow don’t quickly judge someone because of their picture and comments made by people who have little or no respect for a Black man based on a picture. That’s what’s wrong with society today.

  31. Coleon Coleon Coleon

    Another appointee is “CJ” Lawrence for City Attorney. Mr. Lawrence is a Jackson attorney and the son of current City Attorney Charles Lawrence. Lawrence is a self described “public figure” and “activist.” Lawrence went to Ferguson, Missouri to protest in the “Hands Up” campaign. Lawrence has referred to black America as “second class citizens.” His actions and style mimic the Reverend Al Sharpton, but seem to condone violence in the process, as was seen in Ferguson. Lawrence said,

    Well now it’s time to rock the boat again, while resistance in the form of rioting and looting may not be your cup of tea, understand that for some, their passion and energy is all they can give for change.
    Lawrence’s father, the current City Attorney Charles Lawrence, cannot get council support for reappointment, That stems from his role in ordering a criminal federal background check against Arthur Smith, an African-American witness set to testify against Dupree in the Ware vs Dupree trial. Smith never testified, and when the matter became public, Lawrence went on camera and made statements which Smith alleged were defamatory. Smith has sued Mr. Lawrence for defamation among other allegations. Lawrence’s use of federal, criminal resources in this manner was a clear violation of Mr. Smith’s rights and an abuse of the FBI’s NCIC system.

    City Attorney Lawrence was also accused by council of “white washing” facts and crimes in a report he prepared for the city council over corruption within the City’s Municipal Court. More can be read on that matter by clicking here. At that time, the court was under the control of Police Chief Frazier Bolton. The court is now run by full time judge, Gerry Evans.

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