Court-ordered restitution paid by former official 6/11/13

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Court-ordered restitution paid by former official

By Rupert Howell

Panola County received a check for $33,564 as restitution from funds illegally obtained by former County Administrator David Chandler current county administrator Kelley Magee advised supervisors at Monday’s Second District meeting held each second Monday in Batesville.

Chandler pleaded guilty in federal court to two charges for his role involving a kickback scheme at Tri-Lakes Medical Center when he was both county administrator and President of Tri-Lakes’ board of trustees.

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As part of the sentencing held in February, he was ordered to pay a $40,000 fine, the aforementioned restitution and perform 200 hours of community service in Panola County.

Attorney Bill McKenzie advised the board that notice had been given to Panola County as mortgage holder of the Rolando Foods Building in Crenshaw, that approximately $30,000 was needed to be paid to redeem the building from an upcoming tax sale. But McKenzie reminded the board that they would have to do it again next year.

“In the past, somebody has stepped in and paid it at the last minute,” Chancery Clerk Jim Pitcock advised supervisors.

Board president Kelly Morris summarized the feeling of the board when he suggested out loud, “(Let’s) just hold off and see what happens.”

The building was given in August, 2006 to Roland Butler who borrowed $1.4 million using the building as collateral. Butler had five years to reach 80 percent of the agreed workforce, according to published reports, or the plant would revert back to the county.

But first there were other mortgages, most particular the $1.4 million, and tax liens.
The building has sat idle since it was sold although it was spruced up shortly after Butler acquired it.

District Two Supervisor Vernice Avant, whose district encompasses the building, confirmed Monday that it was idle.