Fairley trial continues with more witness testimony

Fairley trial continues with more witness testimony
Kenneth Fairley/Photo credit: WDAM

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Court update: 6 p.m. 

A fifth witness from the prosecution was called to the stand.

Robert Weeks is an investigator with the HUD Office of Inspector General. He testified to a civil suit that was filed by Fletcher in September 2013 that HUD officials to the investigation.

Audio recordings between Fletcher and Fairley were played during Weeks' testimony.

In the recordings, both of them discussed raising $60,000 and $150,000 that the Pine Belt and Fairley owed to Fletcher.

"I've been shuffling so much stuff around, I'm not in trickery with you," Fairley said in the audio recording. "I don't want to get in the adversarial with you, I can't afford to fight you, I fight everything."

According to the audio recording, Fairley and Fletcher then discussed options of money being "cloaked" to go to the Pine Belt or Mt. Carmel Baptist Church.

Court update: 4 p.m. 

The prosecution called their fourth witness to the stand.

Cassandra Davis is a HUD employee out of Jackson. She testified to a June 11, 2012 meeting she had with multiple people including Fairley at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church.  where he said there were no documents to provide for the home project.

According to Davis, work "should have been completed on the East 5th property," however when she went by it appeared no money had been spent.

Davis said she was mailed a packet of "source documents" roughly a month later, but said it contained mainly receipts with no dates.

Davis also stressed during her testimony that "every dollar of HUD money has to be accounted for."

Noteworthy spectators in the audience included Marcus Dupree, Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree and councilwoman Deborah Delgado.

After a brief recess, the government will call their fifth witness of the day.

Court update: 2:45 p.m. 

Court resumed after lunch with the prosecution calling their third witness Randy Jordan.

Jordan was the former inspector for The City of Hattiesburg. Jordan testified that he tried to help Pine Belt Community Services by giving them guidance and write ups which he said they did not take.

The jury was then provided lists of dozens of items not completed on the homes.

Jordan said that he dealt with the first property prior to the two homes in question, and that there were problems with those projects too.

Court update: 1 p.m.

The court recessed for lunch around 12:45 p.m., leaving off with the prosecution's second witness Frank Mason.

Mason is a former HUD employee who worked for HUD for 27 years.

Mason testified to documents that were missing and not filed properly on behalf of Fairley's organization.

Mason said that he could not get the forms from the city, or from Fairley regarding the matters and told HUD official that, "things were not right."

Mason said he continued to have problems getting the documents, and had to contact Mayor DuPree. Mason said once he contacted DuPree he was able to receive the documents, but never heard anything from Fairley's organization.

The contract was "like nothing he had seen in 27 years," according to Mason. He described it as "like a hand-shake and this is what I want done."

According to Mason, the contracts between Pine Belt Community Services and Fletcher lacked proper language required in contracts and also had no details like square footing, paint, flooring details, etc.

Mason testified that he met with HUD Office of Inspector General regarding the issues and missing documents and said to this day he is not satisfied.

Present in court were Mayor Johnny DuPree and councilwoman Deborah Delgado.

Court update: 11 a.m. 

The second day of a Hattiesburg pastor's federal trial began with continued witness testimony.

Court began with the prosecution picking up where they left off with witness Andrew Ellard, who worked in the city's state and federal program's office,

Cross examination followed, and Ellard stepped off the stand around 10:45 a.m.

Topics related to checks written for homes at 127 E. 5th Street and 202 S. Street were also discussed.

Rev. Kenneth Fairley's attorney Arnold Spencer said he received hundreds of documents Tuesday night. These documents were related to HUD evidence that he had requested from the government prior to court breaking for the evening.

Due to this new evidence, Spencer requested another motion to dismiss Fairley's case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Golden said the government hadn't had a chance to look over the documents they turned over, that they received them last minute.

Golden said he gave the documents in their entirety to the defense per their request without even reviewing them himself.

Judge Keith Starrett said he would look over the evidence, but that the trial would continue.

Starrett has not ruled on the motion to dismiss at this time.

Golden is now calling another witness.

**This story has been updated to make a correction about the spectators in the audience.**


Judge denies Fairley's motion to dismiss, trial begins