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NMC on P.L. Blake

NMC on P.L. Blake

By: Magnolia Tribune - February 23, 2009

Blake House?

There’s some biographical stuff about Blake, and another interesting name pops up:

The son of a sharecropper, Blake began life [apparently, like Athena, springing forth at birth in football armor] as a football star out of Tallahatchie County, playing lineman for Mississippi State University before graduating in 1959 and later playing for the Chicago Bears, said one of Blake’s friends, Thurston Little of Rienzi. “He came up hard. Never had a quarter in his life.”

Just out of nowhere, Thurston Little drops into the story! And no effort is made to explain his connection to what was then the largest insurance fraud in world history!

Are we supposed to make these little connections on our own?

The story notes he coached high school football at Kosciusko for a year, and that his mentor was J.P. Coleman, who, says Little, “bought his first wardrobe of clothes.” Blake then became friends with Eastland and then Trent Lott. Little also notes “he never forgot where he came from” and he “probably helped more people than anybody in Leflore County.”

He “made his first big money through farming.” And how did he do that?

A series of exposes by Gannett News Service … in 1983 and 1984 detailed how Blake’s farm companies obtained $11 million in government loans by pleading poverty to the Farmers Home Administration while failing to disclose he was making more than $5 million a year storing grain in Texas, mostly through a government contract.

The government later declared Blake in default of the contract. …

In 1988, Blake pleaded no contest to a federal charge that he offered bribes to Mississippi Bank officials in exchange for preferential treatment in securing loans.

How much in loans? $21M in 40 loans. Blake paid a $1.5M fine.

And then another interesting name crops up– that through Lott’s chief-of-staff, Tom Anderson, Blake met Dickie Scruggs, and that Blake’s tobacco payments “went through a company in which Anderson had an interest.” Blake gets, says court documents, $486K a quarter.


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Magnolia Tribune

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