CONTACT: Lisa H. Shoemaker (601) 576-2645 or (601) 613-8518
Laney Grantham (601) 576-2641
DATE: May 26, 2011
Auditor Issues Demand Against Hinds County Supervisor Robert Graham for $45,000
(Jackson, Miss.) Special agents with the State Auditor’s Office served a demand today against Robert Graham, a member of the Hinds County Board of Supervisors and former City of Jackson employee, for $45,736.05 for wages he received from the City of Jackson while conducting dispatcher certification classes. The courses were taught during regular work hours when Graham indicated on his City of Jackson timesheets that he had been at work. Attendees for the classes paid fees to a private company, Professional Dispatch Management, owned by Robert Graham, to earn certifications and re-certifications through the National Emergency Communications Institute. The actions took place from 2004 – 2007 when Graham was certified to teach for the National Emergency Communications Institute. NECI has since revoked his certification and no longer allows Graham to administer its programs.
“Our investigation began on this case in 2008 when our office received the first complaint,” said State Auditor Stacey Pickering. “The investigation indicated Graham’s time and expenses to recreate training material were paid by the City of Jackson when Graham was clearly not doing City business. This case has been turned over to the District Attorney for review.”
During the investigation, the State Auditor’s Office also received allegations that Supervisor Robert Graham used his position to influence Jimmy Lewis, director of emergency operations for Hinds County, to hire his brother Charles Graham for the assistant director with the emergency operations center for Hinds County. This issue was investigated, and it was determined that the Auditor’s Office did not have jurisdiction over this matter; however, the State Auditor provided a copy of the telephone recording of this conversation to the proper authority for review and possible action.
Elected as Mississippi’s State Auditor in 2007, Stacey Pickering has recovered more than $4.2 million in embezzled, misspent or misappropriated funds. He is a seventh generation Mississippian from Jones County. Auditor Pickering currently serves on the Domestic Working Group for the Office of the Comptroller General of the United States. He also serves on the Financial Management and Intergovernmental Affairs and Performance Audit Committees for the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers and is a member of the National State Auditors Association. Prior to serving as State Auditor, Pickering served as a State Senator from 2004-2007 representing Jones County and is credited for co-authorizing legislation allowing Mississippi to end lawsuit abuse. Throughout his political career, Pickering has made tremendous strides in creating more accountability and transparency in government and continues to promote fiscal responsibility and the need for more efficiency and productivity in government. For more information on Stacey Pickering, visit www.osa.state.ms.us/auditors-bio.htm.