Landrum: "Pickering has no business making false allegations about me"

JONES COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - This is a news release from Judge Billy Joe Landrum

Circuit Judge Billy Joe Landrum responds to the allegations of misspending made by State Auditor Stacey Pickering with the following statement. Landrum says, "I have not misspent any money and I have nothing to hide.

The Community Services Program has always been operated legally, honestly and to the benefit of its participants and the county.

The books are open to anyone to review; in fact, the Auditor has been reviewing the accounts of Jones County for years and has never suggested that this program has been misspending money." Landrum continues by saying that all money collected, all equipment purchased, all personnel hired and all expenses paid have been done so based on his orders and requests to the Board of Supervisors, who have followed all rules and regulations for such expenditures.

The Attorney General has issued opinions in the past approving of the handling of the program, and the program has been so successful that it has actually donated surplus monies of over $125,000 to the general fund of Jones County.

Judge Landrum says that Pickering, directly and through third persons, attempted to force the Judge to resign or to agree not to run for re-election before publicly accusing him of misspending. Landrum says that Pickering previously met privately with him to make this threat and later communicated the threat through others.

When Judge Landrum made it clear to Pickering that he intended to run for re-election, Pickering publicly accused the Judge of misspending. Judge Landrum specifically denies breaking any law or statute, and he says that according to Mississippi's Home Rule Statute, the Board of Supervisors has acted legally and properly in administering the program according to Judge Landrum's directions.

Landrum says, "Pickering has no business making false allegations about me in an attempt to influence a Jones County judicial election."