Hood discusses meeting with Balducci, Patterson

In this AP story by Holbrook Mohr, does Jim Hood sound like he’s about had enough of being Attorney General of Mississippi?

A State Farm attorney suggested during a court hearing earlier this month that Scruggs dispatched Balducci and Patterson with a message for Hood: Scruggs, a political force with deep pockets, would support another candidate for attorney general if Hood charged State Farm with a crime.

Hood scoffed at the notion on Wednesday.

"I didn’t care who (Scruggs) supported. I wasn’t crazy about being attorney general anyway," Hood said, adding that he preferred being a district attorney.

You know, I watched Hood all through last year and part of the year before, including his Katrina testimony before Congress, and I detected no sign that he was having anything less than the time of his life. So I would suspect this last statement of being some sort of revisionist history — a person’s mind can play tricks on them that way.  But who knows. 

Hood also says in the story the following: 

Attorney General Jim Hood says he would not have met with two men now entangled in a judicial bribery case had he known they allegedly were promised $500,000 to try to influence his investigation of an insurance company’s handling of Hurricane Katrina claims.

"If I knew they were getting paid that much, I would have told them to get out of the office because it just didn’t smell right," Hood said Wednesday.  

An FBI document made public this week as part of one judicial bribery case alleges embattled plaintiffs attorney Richard "Dickie" Scruggs paid two associates to persuade Hood not to file criminal charges against State Farm Fire and Casualty Cos. Hood is not a party in the bribery investigation.

I know what he’s intending to say, but it sure didn’t come out right, did it? "If I knew they were getting paid that much."  I mean, a couple hundred K is all a job like that is worth, max! Right? That’s what it sounds like. 

Hood’s quote also makes it sound as if the meeting took place in his office.  The questioning on the stand by the State Farm lawyer mentioned above suggested the meeting took place in a restaurant in Jackson. Question: are we talking about the same meeting, or was there more than one? 

Another thing — in the transcript of the State Farm v. Hood hearing, it’s like a game of dodge ball.  Why is Hood now willing to talk about the meeting?




Filed under Industry Developments

8 Responses to Hood discusses meeting with Balducci, Patterson

  1. nomiss

    “I wasn’t crazy about being attorney general anyway.” Hood’s statement confirms to me what I was told when Hood ran for AG the first time…that he was merely the puppet for Moore/Scruggs.
    Moore needed to leave public office for a period of time so that he could collect his share of the “tobacco” money. (Who really thinks that Moore didn’t get money from the tobacco settlement? No one that I know. Don’t know whether part of P.L. Blake’s money gets to Moore or whether Moore has a big account in the Caymans, but everyone I know would bet the ranch that Moore got or gets a share.)
    However, Moore still wanted the power of the AG’s office, so he and Scruggs found somebody to be the puppet, Hood in this case, to fill the position while Moore and Scruggs pulled the strings behind the curtain. An example of Moore’s profitting from Hood’s office is the MCI deal. Mike Moore represented MCI. Hood’s friend (and Scruggs’ friend and collaborator) Joey Langston was hired by AG Hood to represent the state in collecting money in unpaid taxes by defunct MCI. So Langston represents MS and Moore represents MCI. That case was probably settled during one expensive dinner, and big fees were paid to both.
    For a little history, just look at the date Hood filed for the candidacy in his first run. Jimmy Roberts from North Mississippi wanted to run as a Democratic AG candidate. Moore told Roberts that he (Moore) was going to run for the office again, so Roberts then filed to run for another office on the Democratic ticket. Then the day before the deadline to file, Moore announced he would not run again, and Moore’s man, Jim Hood, filed as a Democratic candidate for the AG’s office. So Moore had achieved a very effective plan to keep other Democratic candidates out of the race while installing his own candidate. Roberts would have been a strong candidate in the AG’s race and probably would have won. It was all Moore’s plan to keep control of the AG’s office as well as Moore/Scruggs’ plan to keep control of the Miss. Democratic Party.
    This is all another way the people of Miss. are being manipulated by this group of unethical people for their own selfish purposes. It sounds as if Hood now wishes he had just passed on the puppet show and kept his position as a local DA.
    I can hear Hood thinking: I don’t understand. People liked me when I was a DA. Now people don’t like me; they really don’t like me.

  2. Nomiss

    “getting paid that much”—reminds me of Moore’s testimony in the Luckey case. In that testimony Moore was asked about P.L. Blake’s role in the Moore/Scruggs tobacco case.
    When Moore was asked if he knew that P.L. was getting paid (I’ve forgotten the exact amount) per month, Moore answered, “I knew he was getting paid something, but I didn’t know it was that much.”

  3. bellesouth

    David, I think this is another meeting in his office — not the dinner that wasn’t at Crechales. I posted the following on C-L Hood article in response to the same question.
    He was asked about a dinner set up by Scruggs at Crechales. That threw him for a loop since he hadn’t been to Crechales, so he says, okay I haven’t been to Crechales but I did go to dinner with them and they said blah blah blah. So, then is he suppose to say, You know there was this other time they came to my office and I thought they were fishing for information but I don’t know what was up with that. He had made it clear to Scruggs and State Farm and now to all Mississippians that he was not going to be influenced by anyone. He was going to do his job as he saw fit. Evidently, that is why Scruggs had to pay Balducci and Patterson $500k to try.
    P.S. I posted a response on the Rigsby documents down below.

  4. shm

    no miss- thats pretty much what scruggs and company did regarding “buying” gary anderson for insurance commissioner. it just did not work as they wanted it to.

  5. Anderson

    Yeah, people would say that Moore pocketed tobacco money, and I’d be all “hey, that would be totally unethical,” etc.
    Now, I think Nomiss is probably right.

  6. Nomiss

    I’m thinking that Belle should have testified for Jim Hood in Natchez. She seems to know much more about what Hood did, when he did it, and why he did it than Jim himself.

  7. Mac

    Belle, in answer to your question ” So, then is he suppose to say, You know there was this other time they came to my office and I thought they were fishing for information but I don’t know what was up with that.” I’d say yes. He’s the state’s top law enforcement officer, an officer of the court and under oath to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. He should have answered questions as he’s sworn to do so. Instead his testimony comes off like Curly from Three Stooges trying to hide a marble under one of three walnut shells in order to make money on city streets. Unfortunately for him, Mo (Moore) and Larry (Scruggs) couldn’t help him out this time. Best to Courtney!

  8. bellesouth

    Mac, I am sure Hood has met with these guys numerous times before. You can’t ask a guy who has not been accused of being his wife, “when did you stop beating your wife.”