Appeals court rules developer must repay money he diverted

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Mississippi’s Court of Appeals says Jackson developer David Watkins must repay $587,000 in bond money he misused, as well as $75,000 in fines.

The court ruled 5-3 Tuesday for Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann in the case.

Watkins diverted money that investors loaned to renovate part of Jackson’s Metrocenter Mall for Jackson city offices, buying a Meridian building that Watkins renovated for police headquarters there. Hosemann found Watkins committed securities fraud violations because the $5 million bond issue was meant only for Metrocenter work.

The court says Watkins also broke state law by failing to disclose a $1.1 million fee he took for the Metrocenter work.

Hosemann says he’ll pursue Watkins to repay the $587,000 to current owners of the Metrocenter project, including Jackson businessmen Socrates Garret and LeRoy Walker.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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