Insider says USA YEAST used retalitory politics via Governor Barbour’s office to stop downtown MDA funding. (developing story)

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A high level government insider has disclosed to the Patriot that USA Yeast used its political connections with Governor Barbour's office to halt Mississippi Development Authority Grant money for two years, in retaliation for the city suing USA Yeast.   USA Yeast allegedly violated the waste disposal contract with the city. This official said that Barbour told the city it didn't want the state municipalities suing private industry. Barbour also told the city that until the lawsuit was settled the money would not be forthcoming. The suit has since been settled and USA Yeast is now building a pre-treatment facility to reduce the amount of its waste to 1/10 what it is now.

 

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108 thoughts on “Insider says USA YEAST used retalitory politics via Governor Barbour’s office to stop downtown MDA funding. (developing story)

  1. Lhay Browning Thriffiley

    As I understand, city officials then (who are long gone now) hired a consultant to validate USA Yeast's proposal. Obviously Council members/the Mayor would rely on experts, since they cannot become microbiology experts overnight. Was it thorough enough? Were warnings ignored? I don't know. Ultimately, USA Yeast was managing its waste levels on the honor system, so it appears that USA Yeast was at a minimum unknowingly non-compliant, or at a maximum, they aggressively abused a loophole in the contract, and told the City (and the EPA) to prove they were non-compliant.

    An investigation (or even the appearance of impropriety) could have lead the MDA to put a halt on any grant funding until complaints were resolved. I'd like to know more about the grant part of the story.

    Ideally, the Economic Development agency that represented our area then would have protected us from a wolf in job creator's clothing- they should turn away predatory businesses, and pursue and encourage only those development opportunities that are most healthy and sustainable for the community. Is that how it works? Of course not. There are no cheerleaders shouting, "Go team- unless indicators suggest that going is not in keeping with the best interest of the people in the bleachers!" Maybe a need exists for an agency to defend the community's best interest by playing devil's advocate in matters of economic development.

    1. Jane Clair Tyner

      I'm most curious as to the grant part of this story as well. I'm also most curious if the current owners of The Ross Building would agree the hold up on re-construction has been solely a lack of MDA funding from federal grants as Mr Garmon asserts. Such an agency is most desperately needed. Thanks for clarifying some of the murkiness of these allegations, Lhay.

    2. Jane Clair Tyner

      I'm most curious as to the grant part of this story as well. I'm also most curious if the current owners of The Ross Building would agree the hold up on re-construction has been solely a lack of MDA funding from federal grants as Mr Garmon asserts. Such an agency is most desperately needed. Thanks for clarifying some of the murkiness of these allegations, Lhay.

    3. Lhay Browning Thriffiley

      I don't know any of it first hand- I just studied the news reports a while back. IMO- the "real story" tends to involve more bumbling and murk than sexy mystery/excitement. I do think there's no doubt that USA_Y dropped the ball by responding to pollution concerns with giant wave of PR that was very defensive- like a bitter ex instead of like a "community minded good neighbor who is proud to cal HB home." There was not a shred of "Howdy Neighbor/we're all in this together/we love the environment" to be found in any of it.

      re: Ross Building- I do not know first hand- but I did hear that the State ran out of New Market Tax Credit funds, because it took two years to finally figure out how to apply for them, so some applicants had to wait until new funds were added/the new fiscal year started, something like that.

      And re: grants- although its a pain, and the delay could very well have been punishment via paperwork; however, people generally *want* funding to be interrupted when the first scent of rat appears.

    4. Lhay Browning Thriffiley

      I don't know any of it first hand- I just studied the news reports a while back. IMO- the "real story" tends to involve more bumbling and murk than sexy mystery/excitement. I do think there's no doubt that USA_Y dropped the ball by responding to pollution concerns with giant wave of PR that was very defensive- like a bitter ex instead of like a "community minded good neighbor who is proud to cal HB home." There was not a shred of "Howdy Neighbor/we're all in this together/we love the environment" to be found in any of it.

      re: Ross Building- I do not know first hand- but I did hear that the State ran out of New Market Tax Credit funds, because it took two years to finally figure out how to apply for them, so some applicants had to wait until new funds were added/the new fiscal year started, something like that.

      And re: grants- although its a pain, and the delay could very well have been punishment via paperwork; however, people generally *want* funding to be interrupted when the first scent of rat appears.

    5. Hattiesburg Patriot

      I was told, SPECIFICALLY, that Governor Barbour said he "would not release MDA money until the suit against USA Yeast was resolved." This source also stated that the Governor said that the "state didn't want municipalities suing private industry." This is from a very reliable source.

    6. Hattiesburg Patriot

      I was told, SPECIFICALLY, that Governor Barbour said he "would not release MDA money until the suit against USA Yeast was resolved." This source also stated that the Governor said that the "state didn't want municipalities suing private industry." This is from a very reliable source.

    7. Hattiesburg Patriot

      I just spoke with another individual regarding this. They would not go on the record, because of their relationship to MDA, but he did indeed confirm that Governor Barbour backed the MDA's position that they would not release funds until the lawsuit with USA Yeast was settled. This source added that MDA was "furious" over the city filing a lawsuit against USA Yeast, because MDA helped to get USA Yeast to move to Hattiesburg. Barbour was involved in this decision.

    8. Hattiesburg Patriot

      I just spoke with another individual regarding this. They would not go on the record, because of their relationship to MDA, but he did indeed confirm that Governor Barbour backed the MDA's position that they would not release funds until the lawsuit with USA Yeast was settled. This source added that MDA was "furious" over the city filing a lawsuit against USA Yeast, because MDA helped to get USA Yeast to move to Hattiesburg. Barbour was involved in this decision.

  2. Lhay Browning Thriffiley

    As I understand, city officials then (who are long gone now) hired a consultant to validate USA Yeast's proposal. Obviously Council members/the Mayor would rely on experts, since they cannot become microbiology experts overnight. Was it thorough enough? Were warnings ignored? I don't know. Ultimately, USA Yeast was managing its waste levels on the honor system, so it appears that USA Yeast was at a minimum unknowingly non-compliant, or at a maximum, they aggressively abused a loophole in the contract, and told the City (and the EPA) to prove they were non-compliant.

    An investigation (or even the appearance of impropriety) could have lead the MDA to put a halt on any grant funding until complaints were resolved. I'd like to know more about the grant part of the story.

    Ideally, the Economic Development agency that represented our area then would have protected us from a wolf in job creator's clothing- they should turn away predatory businesses, and pursue and encourage only those development opportunities that are most healthy and sustainable for the community. Is that how it works? Of course not. There are no cheerleaders shouting, "Go team- unless indicators suggest that going is not in keeping with the best interest of the people in the bleachers!" Maybe a need exists for an agency to defend the community's best interest by playing devil's advocate in matters of economic development.

  3. Jane Clair Tyner

    Anyone who has any information that could expose the illegal activity of government officials and in turn help other citizens who refuses to come forward with said information I can't respect. Nor can I bother to give any credence to such information. Such activity is divisive and doesn't build community but inhibits it by creating an alarmist, fear based climate. A patriot does not allow fear or self interest to impede their ability to help others. If we want transparency in government, we need to be transparent ourselves.

  4. Jane Clair Tyner

    Anyone who has any information that could expose the illegal activity of government officials and in turn help other citizens who refuses to come forward with said information I can't respect. Nor can I bother to give any credence to such information. Such activity is divisive and doesn't build community but inhibits it by creating an alarmist, fear based climate. A patriot does not allow fear or self interest to impede their ability to help others. If we want transparency in government, we need to be transparent ourselves.

    1. Hattiesburg Patriot

      Ms. Tyner, Your opinion is appreciated; however I do disagree with your conclusion. There are people out there who have information. If these people publicly divulged such information they would be retaliated against. They would even lose their jobs and livelihoods. I greatly respect anyone who wants to pass along information to the public; EVEN if they don't want their names known. The Patriot knows who they are; so they are not anonymous to myself.

      I don't see how this information could be categorized as "alarmist" or "divisive". It is thought provoking and revealing as to the real nature of big business and back door politics that have negative consequences on the citizens of our city. While you don't appreciate the people willing to come forward and report these things, I do.

    2. Hattiesburg Patriot

      Ms. Tyner, Your opinion is appreciated; however I do disagree with your conclusion. There are people out there who have information. If these people publicly divulged such information they would be retaliated against. They would even lose their jobs and livelihoods. I greatly respect anyone who wants to pass along information to the public; EVEN if they don't want their names known. The Patriot knows who they are; so they are not anonymous to myself.

      I don't see how this information could be categorized as "alarmist" or "divisive". It is thought provoking and revealing as to the real nature of big business and back door politics that have negative consequences on the citizens of our city. While you don't appreciate the people willing to come forward and report these things, I do.

    3. Jane Clair Tyner

      When Woodward and Bernstein broke up Watergate, they did it by providing huge public and subsequently prosecutors facts, not simply the hearsay of Deep Throat. You have provided no factual, traceable information for the public to either confirm nor deny nor research to draw their own conclusions. Yes, I believe such handling of information of such magnitude is

    4. Jane Clair Tyner

      When Woodward and Bernstein broke up Watergate, they did it by providing huge public and subsequently prosecutors facts, not simply the hearsay of Deep Throat. You have provided no factual, traceable information for the public to either confirm nor deny nor research to draw their own conclusions. Yes, I believe such handling of information of such magnitude is

    5. Jane Clair Tyner

      …creates an environment of alarmism because there is no validity to the claims nor is there the capacity to bring bout justice. Giving the public information which causes them to outrage and distrust without the means to follow it through the channels of justice helps no one. While I sympathize with anyone's fear of loss of livelihood, serving the greater good always comes at a steep cost and melt reiterates my point.

    6. Jane Clair Tyner

      …creates an environment of alarmism because there is no validity to the claims nor is there the capacity to bring bout justice. Giving the public information which causes them to outrage and distrust without the means to follow it through the channels of justice helps no one. While I sympathize with anyone's fear of loss of livelihood, serving the greater good always comes at a steep cost and melt reiterates my point.

    7. Jane Clair Tyner

      If you want to bring down the king, chop off his head and make sure you bring down his co-conspirators as well. Otherwise, you're only giving them the information they need to know what tracks to cover up. Again, if someone cares up truth and wishes to see justice served, it requires bravery. If you want the public to know the truth of big business and big government, give them something tangible.

    8. Jane Clair Tyner

      If you want to bring down the king, chop off his head and make sure you bring down his co-conspirators as well. Otherwise, you're only giving them the information they need to know what tracks to cover up. Again, if someone cares up truth and wishes to see justice served, it requires bravery. If you want the public to know the truth of big business and big government, give them something tangible.

    9. Jane Clair Tyner

      I don't know what words I have to eat, Mr Garmon. I'm not claiming it to be accurate or inaccurate. I'm claiming it to not hold cite worthy evidence. If Gov Barbour told "the city" he would withhold this funding until the case with USA Yeast was off the books, then show us. I'm not doubting whether it's truth or not. I'm acknowledging you've given the public nothing to believe nor refute. I only ask that if you are to provide such information, provide the source as well. That's merely being ethical and thorough. I'm not a fan of USA Yeast. I'm not a fan of Gov Barbour. But I am of fan of downtown and a stickler for truth and justice. I'm asking, on behalf of all of those who are supporters of our downtown, that you reference who "the city" is and when and how Gov. Barbour went about withholding such federal funding. Let's don't create a witch hunt, let's bring about real change. Furthermore, your language of my word eating, only proves I find you to inflammatory. That never builds community. As to my esteemed colleague Mr Prine, I'd say his language is equally inflammatory.

    10. Jane Clair Tyner

      I don't know what words I have to eat, Mr Garmon. I'm not claiming it to be accurate or inaccurate. I'm claiming it to not hold cite worthy evidence. If Gov Barbour told "the city" he would withhold this funding until the case with USA Yeast was off the books, then show us. I'm not doubting whether it's truth or not. I'm acknowledging you've given the public nothing to believe nor refute. I only ask that if you are to provide such information, provide the source as well. That's merely being ethical and thorough. I'm not a fan of USA Yeast. I'm not a fan of Gov Barbour. But I am of fan of downtown and a stickler for truth and justice. I'm asking, on behalf of all of those who are supporters of our downtown, that you reference who "the city" is and when and how Gov. Barbour went about withholding such federal funding. Let's don't create a witch hunt, let's bring about real change. Furthermore, your language of my word eating, only proves I find you to inflammatory. That never builds community. As to my esteemed colleague Mr Prine, I'd say his language is equally inflammatory.

    11. Greg Prine

      Print when you have a story, and I will.

      You told me to "take a hike." well, I take hikes, but I talk about you the whole time I am walking.

      I supported you, and drove traffic to you.

      STOP PRINTING GOSSIP, AND, BACK UP YOUR STORIES.

    12. Greg Prine

      Print when you have a story, and I will.

      You told me to "take a hike." well, I take hikes, but I talk about you the whole time I am walking.

      I supported you, and drove traffic to you.

      STOP PRINTING GOSSIP, AND, BACK UP YOUR STORIES.

    13. Jane Clair Tyner

      Mr Garmon, anyone should be upset by such a grotesque disregard for excellence and ethics in journalism. What you say to me or about me is inconsequential. I care only about what you are saying to the public at large. I would like an engaged, empowered city of constiuents. The information you have provided does neither. I'm dumbfounded by a governor's ability to withhold federal funding. That's abhorrent and needs to be brought to light. So bring it so we, as engaged and empowered citizens, can get to the business of government accountability. Otherwise, this is tantamount to listening to Donald Trump go on about Pres Obama's birth certificate. I for one am not interested in a forum which claims government accountability yet provides unaccountable data. The question is, if the purpose of The Patriot is to provide citizens with factual information regarding the business of our city government, then please, do so provide. I'm on-board. If the purpose of The Patriot is the further the agenda of an individual or group of individuals, then I'm interested in getting that agenda in the open.

    14. Jane Clair Tyner

      Mr Garmon, anyone should be upset by such a grotesque disregard for excellence and ethics in journalism. What you say to me or about me is inconsequential. I care only about what you are saying to the public at large. I would like an engaged, empowered city of constiuents. The information you have provided does neither. I'm dumbfounded by a governor's ability to withhold federal funding. That's abhorrent and needs to be brought to light. So bring it so we, as engaged and empowered citizens, can get to the business of government accountability. Otherwise, this is tantamount to listening to Donald Trump go on about Pres Obama's birth certificate. I for one am not interested in a forum which claims government accountability yet provides unaccountable data. The question is, if the purpose of The Patriot is to provide citizens with factual information regarding the business of our city government, then please, do so provide. I'm on-board. If the purpose of The Patriot is the further the agenda of an individual or group of individuals, then I'm interested in getting that agenda in the open.

    15. Jane Clair Tyner

      I would defer to my colleague, Mr Prine, that perhaps you retract this story until you are willing to come forward with all of it. Again, I'm not doubting the validity of your claim. I'm pointing out the claim as currently made cannot be validated.

    16. Jane Clair Tyner

      I would defer to my colleague, Mr Prine, that perhaps you retract this story until you are willing to come forward with all of it. Again, I'm not doubting the validity of your claim. I'm pointing out the claim as currently made cannot be validated.

    17. Jane Clair Tyner

      I have spent countless hours on civic duty regarding issues that were of great concern to me. Being a monitor of your site, I count as one of them. If you're not interested in being held accountable, don't allow for comments.

    18. Jane Clair Tyner

      I have spent countless hours on civic duty regarding issues that were of great concern to me. Being a monitor of your site, I count as one of them. If you're not interested in being held accountable, don't allow for comments.

    19. Greg Prine

      People, and sponsors, will support a site that does good things. This was not a good thing according to most posts on this.

      Even others are asking for details, but I beg of you, don't post until you are willing to share those details.

    20. Greg Prine

      People, and sponsors, will support a site that does good things. This was not a good thing according to most posts on this.

      Even others are asking for details, but I beg of you, don't post until you are willing to share those details.

  5. Garry Loper

    When you elect people to public office who have never ran anything in the private sector, you can expect this kind of debacle. To recapitulate, had DUE DILIGENCE been conducted the FACT that USA had wrecked the sewer system of Mobile AL., which is why they were being forced out of Mobile, would have been uncovered! This is the same administration that has not solved the City Hall burglary, can't keep cops or action line personal out of the evidence room, can't solve any of my burglaries; and I live next door to the mayor!, can't seem to remove the abject blight in wards two and five, can't finish the old Hatt. High School project, we have a city inspection department were the electrical inspectors are NOT electricians, plumbing inspectors are NOT plumbers, disbarred attorneys on the city council, I could go on and on ad nasuem on the subject of the incompetency in this city, but I digress.

  6. Garry Loper

    When you elect people to public office who have never ran anything in the private sector, you can expect this kind of debacle. To recapitulate, had DUE DILIGENCE been conducted the FACT that USA had wrecked the sewer system of Mobile AL., which is why they were being forced out of Mobile, would have been uncovered! This is the same administration that has not solved the City Hall burglary, can't keep cops or action line personal out of the evidence room, can't solve any of my burglaries; and I live next door to the mayor!, can't seem to remove the abject blight in wards two and five, can't finish the old Hatt. High School project, we have a city inspection department were the electrical inspectors are NOT electricians, plumbing inspectors are NOT plumbers, disbarred attorneys on the city council, I could go on and on ad nasuem on the subject of the incompetency in this city, but I digress.

  7. Jay Hyde

    The reason USAYeast does NOT want this in court is because the City of Hattiesburg has data from several occasions (from the EPA and from independent research labs) that the "discharge" from USAYeast was AT LEAST 3 TIMES as saturated with molasses as they promised to send when the city made the contract. The City has made EVERY effort to "process" this wastewater. USAYeast has done little (until being threatened with a lawsuit) to get the molasses levels down to the levels of the contract. Meanwhile, the City of Hattiesburg has been fined by the EPA for our air quality.

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