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Beef Plant Timeline

Beef Plant Timeline

By: Magnolia Tribune - August 16, 2008

This is a partial timeline and will be updated and added to as time allows. If you think of something, please feel free to comment and if accurate, we’ll add it to the timeline.

December 2, 1999 – MSU internal memo states “industry trends would not support building a beef slaughter facility in Mississippi.”
August, 2000 – Section 69-46-1, Mississippi Code established the Mississippi Land, Water and Timber Resources Board.(SB 2002)
October, 2000 – Spell, Sparkman and Barlow from MDAC, Tucker and Braswell from MDA, legislators Ryals, Eaton and Shows, Dr. Kiser from MSU, engineer Robert Willis all meet with Richard Hall to discuss a slaughter facility.
November, 2000 – another meeting occurs, this time also including legislators Morris, Holland and Pierce.
December, 2000 – Bo Eaton, Lester Spell, Leonard Morris (for Billy McCoy) and Chris Sparkman fly state plane to Nashville for another meeting with Hall.
April, 2001 – Hall submits business plan mostly made up of writings from MS State study.
June, 2001 – MDA director J.C. Burns OK’s incentive package totaling $2.55M
July 30, 2001 – Land, Water and Timber Resources Board unanimously awards Hall a $5M grant for construction, contingent on him obtaining financing.
October, 2001 – Federal grant for gas line in amount of $500,000.
October 2, 2001 – Musgrove fires MDA executive Director J.C. Burns, because he clashed with Musgrove when Musgrove became “authoritatively hands-on.”.
February, 2002 – Ways and Means meets at State Capital where MDA was instructed to create documentation whereby MS could provide a 100% guaranty of the necessary loans because Hall is unable to get financing on his own.
March, 2002 – Community Bank submits request to MDA for a 100% guaranty on $21M.
March 31, 2002 – State lawmakers agree to let MDA guarantee a $21M loan from Community Bank to help finance Hall in the beef plant (HB 1834).
April, 2002 – Mississippi Beef Processors, LLC incorporates.
April, 2002 – Attorney General opines that public grant funds can be disbursed directly to a private company.
April, 2002 – Robert Rohrlack and members of MDA express concerns about the project.
April 16, 2002 – Carothers Construction was selected to build the plant after bids were completed.
April 26, 2002 – McCoy in meeting at MS Attorney General’s office is quoted as saying to MDA: “If you don’t go ahead and git this done, you’re going to have a lot less programs to administer in the future.”
May, 2002 – MDA and Community Bank sign loan guarantee authorization.
September, 2002 – closing on $21M loan.
January, 2003 – Hall requested an additional $5.5M and Community Bank sends notice ceasing funding of the project.
February, 2003 – letter is sent from MDA fully supporting Community Banks decision to cease funding.
February, 2003 – Richard Hall provides list of consultants, Wyman Jones travels to GA to meet with TFG.
February, 2003 – TFG performs initial audit of the project and advises on the status.
February, 2003 – Carothers threat to cease work if not paid by March 17th.
March 1, 2003 – Hall writes letter to Spell begging not to involve TFG.
March, 2003 – Special meeting begging for Community Bank and MDA to pay outstanding invoices so project can continue. Land Water and Timber board members Carter and Rohrlack (Crain in his place) oppose providing the funds.
March, 2003 – MDA director Rohrlack states that there’s pressure from Tommy Reynolds, Bo Eaton, Dr. Spell and Richard Bradley to approve payments.
March, 2003 – Tommy Reynolds, Bo Eaton, Lester Spell, Richard Bradley, Steve Holland and Billy McCoy meet with Bill Renick and Ronnie Musgrove to apply pressure to get MDA to approve payments.
March, 2003 – TFG gives presentation at MDA to take over full control of contstruction.
March, 2003 – Lawmakers increase the guarantee to $35M while Community Bank and MDA decide to hire TFG to manage the project.(HB 1493)
March 20, 2003 – Community Bank states that hall was either “a liar or stupid” and MDA director Rohrlack agreed.
March 21, 2003 – MDA director Rohrlack meets with Governor Musgrove and Bill Renick and states that he disapproves of the project.
March 21, 2003 – Musgrove, Renick, Rohrlack meet with Spell, David Wade, and Community Bank reps Wyman Jones and Darrell Brown, and Bo Eaton and Tommy Reynolds. Eaton and Reynolds admit that things have not been handled correctly. Rohrlack and Community Bank expresses concerns about continued funding of the project but Governor Musgrove approves paying the invoices.
March 25, 2003 – Robert Rohrlack writes memo stating “Repeatedly, I have asked the legislature to remove MDA from this [Land Water Timber] board and administering funds. This is due to our extreme concern about the viability of the project and how Dr. Spell runs LWT on a daily basis.” Also states that the project is bad for Mississippi.
April 2, 2003 – Robert Moultrie and Robin Williams, both from TFG, meet with Ronnie Musgrove and a member of his campaign staff at a Jackson area restaurant.
April 3, 2003 – Hendon Redmond and Carothers Construction submitted competing proposal to be project managers, instead of TFG.
April 11, 2003 – Musgrove meets privately with Sean Carothers at Musgrove’s home and asked a Carothers employee to leave the meeting while he talked to Mr. Carothers privately.
April 15, 2003 – TFG was selected to manage MBP.
April 23, 2003 – TFG sends “Letter of Intent” between LWT and TFG.
May, 2003 – Robert Rohrlack, who questioned the State’s involvement in the Beef plant, was replaced as director of MDA with Steve Hale by then Governor Ronnie Musgrove.
May, 2003 – Robert Moultrie, CEO of TFG began planning a fund raiser at his home in Atlanta, GA for then Governor Ronnie Musgrove.
June, 2003 – Steve Hale, new MDA director, sends letter to Community Bank authorizing funding of the project.
July 7, 2003 – Moultrie mails invitations to the fundraiser for Musgrove.
July 11, 2003 – Construction management contract between TFG, Community Bank and MDA was finalized and executed.
July 23, 2003 – Moultrie’s fundraiser at his home garnered about $50,000 for Musgrove’s campaign.
July 29, 2003 – Moultrie created The Facility Group Political Action Committee.
August 13, 2003 – TFG PAC issued a $20,000 check to Musgrove’s campaign.
August, 2003 – Hall sends letter to Lester spell discussing frustrations.
September, 2003 – USDA secures $550,000 for the Beef Plant after already given $1.2M.
September, 2003 – TFG was aware of potential problems with the beef plant.
September, 2003 – Musgrove contacts Moultrie and asks for another campaign contribution of $25,000.
September 30, 2003 – TFG PAC issued a check for the requested $25,000 to Musgrove’s campaign.
November, 2003 – Haley Barbour defeats Ronnie Musgrove for Governor.
January 7, 2004 – then MDA director Steve Hale sends letter to McCoy stating, “from the onset of this project, MDA has been one of the many organizations that have been wholeheartedly supportive of Mississippi Beef and what it will mean for the cattle producer.”
February, 2004 – TFG invoices to cover cost for Moultrie’s 4/2/2003 dinner and travel to meet with Musgrove and his campaign official.
August 23, 2004 – The beef plant opens.
November 17, 2004 – The beef plant closes.
November 18, 2004 – CL reports that Steve Holland had previously stated “the processing plant was the brainchild of lawmakers. No one pitched the idea to lawmakers.”
December 6, 2004 – Hall doesn’t pay on his state-backed loan with Community Bank.
December 10, 2004 – TFG sends letter to MDA stating “that while ongoing mechanical adjustments in both the basement and rendering will support a better operation, this plant is ready and can run.”
January, 2005 – Mississippi Beef Processors Joint Investigative Task Force is formed which included the FBI, US Attorneys office, MS State Auditor’s office, and MS Attorney General’s office
January 4, 2005 – MDA says that the State’s obligation to the failed plant has risen to $54.06M.
January 6, 2005 – Hall defaults on the state-backed loan with Community Bank.
January 9, 2005 – Steve Holland says, “It was birthed in mine and Speaker McCoy’s trips down the Natchez Trace over the years.”
January 10, 2005 – Billy McCoy says, “The House of Representatives was involved very early on. It was evident that there was a real opportunity to take full advantage of one of our farm commodities.”
June 2, 2005 – Governor Barbour signs bill to pay off $35M of state-backed loans.
August 25, 2005 – Grenada Daily Star reports Attorney General Jim Hood is NOT a part of the joint task force but is separately investigation Mississippi Beef Processors.
January 26, 2006 – State Auditor Phil Bryant and the FBI announce that “a significant movement will occur very quickly” in the Beef Plant case.
January 26, 2006 – Hall pleads guilty to fraud and converting public and corporate funds for personal use.
February 26, 2006 – Attorney General Jim Hood states his criminal investigation is complete after Hall plead guilty.
January 16, 2007 – Sean Carothers pleads guilty to fraud.
January 17, 2007 – Jim Hood files civil suit against TFG on behalf of LWT and MDA.
October, 2007 – AG Jim Hood blames State Auditor Phil Bryant for “leaking” information that an investigation is ongoing and states “Had we been able to record conversations with the confidential informant and other potential targets of the investigation, we may have been able to uncover others who may have been involved in the case. Unfortunately, due to the untimely press release, we will never know.”
October 7, 2007 – In the Clarion Ledger Op-ed, it’s stated that AG Jim Hood “says state investigation is over.”
March 25, 2008 – Robert L. Moultrie, Nixon E. Cawood, Charles K. Morehead, Facility Holdings Corporation d/b/a The Facility Group, Facility Management Group, Inc., Facility Construction Management, Inc. and Facility Design Group, Inc. were indicted for conspiracy to corruptly influence and reward a public official and a scheme to defraud numerous individuals, entities and the State of Mississippi.
March 27, 2008 – Jim Hood announces that he’s amending his Jan 2007 civil suit to include charges of state fraud.
July 23, 2008 – James Draper was found guilty of interstate transportation of money obtained by fraud and money laundering.
August 13, 2008 – Moultrie and Cawood plead guilty to”knowingly and unlawfully rewarding an agent of the government of the State of Mississippi with a gratuity.”
August 14, 2008 – Morehead pleads guilty to concealing material facts from agencies and departments of the United States.
August 15, 2008 – US Attorney’s office ask that Richard Hall sentence be reduced due to his recent cooperation.

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Magnolia Tribune

This article was produced by Y'all Politics staff.