New controversy arises concerning Laurel MLK parade

After several days of discussion regarding parade organizers' failure to apply for a permit in proper time last month, Laurel Mayor Johnny Magee allowed the parade to go on; however, just when council members thought the controversy was over, dispute over parade funding has already begun.

The next Martin Luther King parade for the City of Laurel won't take place until January, 2015; however, council members announced a plan on Tuesday regarding parade funding.

Laurel City Mayor Johnny Magee says city council has mandated that all parade funds must be a matter of city record.

On Monday, Thaddeus Edmonson of Jones County called a news conference to announce that Mississippi Power will be corporate sponsors for next year's parade. Sources say Edmonson's news conference might have been a ploy. A local, preacher paid for the last parade to go on, after Edmonson and his committee failed to turn in an application on time. Now, a group of ministers have taken over the organization role of the parade and want Edmonson out. Edmonson, who is a former Laurel City Council president, was sentenced to five years in prison in 2003 for taking bribes. The bribes were caught on tape.

"That's the reason why the city is attempting to have a 501c-3, so that everything will be official, above board," said Mayor Magee.

Mayor Magee added that the IRS, Secretary of State, and Attorney General will keep a close eye on fund handling for next year's parade.

Edmonson spoke out at Tuesday's meeting.

"All of our funds go back into the parade itself, or whatever," he said.

Mayor Magee said a new committee will be formed promptly.