Lawyers spar over Jackson developer Watkins’ appeal of financial ruling

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann addresses the attendees at the Neshoba County Fair in Philadelphia, Miss., Thursday, July 30, 2015. The fair is a traditional gathering place for politicians, area residents, business leaders, voters and families. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Mississippi Court of Appeals judges are considering whether a Jackson developer should have to post up-front money while he tries to overturn a financial ruling against him.

Three judges heard arguments Wednesday from attorneys for developer David Watkins and Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann.

Jim Smith, representing Hosemann, says requiring Watkins to post an appeal bond would protect taxpayers.

Watkins’ attorney, Brad Pigott, says Watkins has no assets and was financially ruined by Hosemann’s “three years of crusading.”

In an administrative proceeding brought by Hosemann, a hearing officer found Watkins committed financial misdeeds involving redevelopment of Metrocenter Mall in Jackson and renovation of a Meridian police building.

The appeals court ruled in June that Watkins must repay $587,000 in misused bond money, plus $75,000 in fines. Watkins seeks a rehearing.


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