Lawsuit filed against City of Jackson alleges contract steering

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) — A federal sexual discrimination lawsuit filed this month alleges that Jackson leaders were involved in a contract steering scheme, benefiting friends of Mayor Tony Yarber.

The lawsuit was filed by Stephanie Coleman, the former Equal Opportunity Business Manager for the City of Jackson.

She was hired in January 2015.

The lawsuit names Mitzi Bickers, a former city of Atlanta employee and Kisha Powell, a current member of the mayor’s administration there.

Powell is also the former Public Works Director for the City of Jackson. The lawsuit alleges that contracts in the city were steered toward supporters of Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber.

The complaint alleges that scoring sheets were changed to justify awarding contracts to a team that included the mayor’s campaign finance chairman.

Coleman said she was instructed to say she changed the scoring sheets because Powell could lose her license as a professional engineer. Coleman claims she was fired after voicing her disapproval about the issues regarding the contracts.

She said one of her supervisors, Jason Goree allegedly demanded sexual favors in trade of his support. She claims she was terminated a few days later after refusing to do so.

Bickers was also named in the previous lawsuit that is still pending against Yarber and the City of Jackson.

Read the full lawsuit here.

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