Warren Byrd and Ben Winston: Purveyors of Half Truths

There's an old saying: "Beware of the half truth. You may have gotten hold of the wrong half." A half-truth is a deceptive statement that includes some element of truth. The statement might be partly true, the statement may be totally true but only part of the whole truth, or it may utilize some deceptive element, such as improper punctuation, or double meaning, especially if the intent is to deceive, evade, blame or misrepresent the truth. It seems that the more Warren Byrd talks, the more he reveals his true intentions. Just a day after I blogged about the application for the trash dump (or as they like to call it, a recycling center) to be placed in the new industrial park, Rolloff Recycling Center, LLC completed their application to the MDEQ (Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality) for approval of the site. In an effort to show that they are trying to find ways to utilize the 290 acres of fallow land, Warren Byrd continues to give interviews, hoping to sway the Lumberton Board of Alderperson into signing a waiver that would allow the land to be used for agricultural purposes. On Saturday, the Hattiesburg American ran a story entitles "Lamar County hoping to move forward on industrial park." In the interview, Byrd was saying the Lamar County Board of Supervisors were hoping to find out if they could use 130 acres of the land for agricultural purposes. There was no mention of the proposed use of the area as a recycling center. I read the article several times and I almost missed the most obvious point. Sometimes we need to pay attention to the things not said in opposed to the things that are stated. There is no doubt in my mind that Warren Byrd and Ben Winston are fully aware of the trash dump that is planning on relocating to the City of Lumberton. However, they are hoping to keep the citizens off track by showing they are attempting to find a viable use for the land. For those of you that read the article, please take this into consideration. Why would Lamar County need permission to change the designation of the industrial park? They already own the land. As a matter of fact, the land was sold to Lamar County for $99,000. The industrial park is called the South Lamar Industrial Park. One of the stipulations of the transaction was the fact that the land was to be used for economic development. The fact that Byrd and the other members of the Lamar County Board of Supervisors have failed to develop the land according to the provisions set forth in the sale of the land, they are trying to hoodwink the City of Lumberton by convincing our gullible mayor, Ben Winton, into getting the board to sign a release and give the county permission to use the land as an agricultural site. Now, when I referred to the mayor as gullible, I was doing so sarcastically because I think Winston is fully aware of what is being done and he is more than willing to sign off on the agreement.

The entire process has been based on half truths. The Lamar County Board of Supervisors wants the City of Lumberton to sign the waiver so the county can be released from the contract. Lamar County has no intentions of using the South Lamar Industrial Park for economic development but they can't break the contract without getting permission from the City of Lumberton. Therefore, if the board sign the release agreement and give permission to use 130 acres for agricultural purposes, Lamar County will be blameless in the fact that they did not hold up to their part of the agreement. To make my point, let's review a quote from the article.

“When the county purchased the property from the city, we put restrictions on it that it could be used for economic (industrial) purposes only. We want (the deed) to say that it can be used for agricultural purposes, but when a potential company comes, the potential company would have the priority over the person who has the crop or whatever they’re using it for, agriculturally.”
Now how in the Hattiesburg can this work. The Lamar County Board of Supervisors either thinks we're too stupid to realize this is not feasible or they simple don't care enough to tell us the truth. Let's say a farmer was granted a lease to use the land and shortly after the farmer brought his cows onto the land or planted crops, a company decided they wanted to use the land for a new industry. Are we supposed to believe that the farmer can just pull up his fence and/or crops and make way for the new industry? Of course not. Warren Byrd and Ben Winston are fully aware that once the waiver is signed, the land reverts back to Lumberton and the land will no longer be designated for industrial use. As a matter of fact, the attorney for the Lamar County Board of Supervisors essentially said that was the case in Saturday's article.
“The way it reads now, if we’re going to use it for anything besides industrial use, there’s a chance it could revert back to the City of Lumberton just because that’s what our deed says,” Board of Supervisors Attorney Perry Phillips said.

Also in the article, Winston said

“That’s what I’m waiting on, for the board to go ahead and lift that restriction so that we can go ahead and get somebody in there and maybe get rid of some of that growth so that they can start planting something or put a fence around it and run some cows on it,”
The fact that they are being very specific about the amount of land they're wanting designated for agricultural purposes is a red flag. Over the weekend, I investigated the matter further and according to my sources, Warren Byrd and Ben Winston has been in talks with their mutual friend, Roger Parker of Purvis, about leasing the land for cattle. So, they are looking to put a cattle ranch and a trash dump on the industrial park site that was supposed to be used for economic development. Many of you may not be familiar with Roger Parker but the name Jeff Jones may be more familiar to those that reside on Lumberton. Jeff Jones work for or once worked for Roger Parker. Jones is the one that had the cattle on the land behind Frank Lee Homes and out by the airport. His cattle were always roaming the streets and the stench from the cattle had the whole City of Lumberton smelling like a toxic waste dump. So, it seems that Warren Byrd and Ben Winston has been in talks with Parker and they have allegedly promised him a 10 year lease agreement once the waiver has been signed. In essence, they're killing two birds with one stone. Byrd gets to use his telling of half truths to get out of a contract with the City of Lumberton and they give a friend a 10 year contract to run his cattle ranch alongside a trash dump. But if you're like me, you have to be wondering, what is Winston getting out of this deal? Well, I'm glad you asked that question. It seems that Byrd allegedly promised Winston that the Lamar County Board of Supervisors would help barter a deal with the Lamar County Sheriff's Department to take over police patrol for the City of Lumberton. Yes my friends, all of these smoke and mirror acts for self serving purposes. It seems that Winston is still attempting to get rid of the Lumberton police department, despite the fact that the LPD had to respond to an emergency call that someone was attempting to break into the home of a fellow LEO (law enforcement officer). And Winston is willing to sale out the City of Lumberton's safety, security, and quality of life in exchange for a cattle ranch and a trash dump. Wowzers!

Now you know it's really crucial when you have the person that is supposed to be representing your best interests, making threats. Byrd said

“If they’re not going to sign it, then I’m not going to pursue trying to improve the park.”
So, in other words, you're going to continue what you've been doing since getting elected to serve as Supervisor of District 2....nothing. For those you you that are interested, there will be a special called meeting on Tuesday, June 17, 2014, regarding this matter. If you are concerned about the matters addressed in this post, you may want to attend this meeting. I will be at the meeting and I will have copies of the letters that we need to send to the MDEQ. Hope to see you there. Remember; don't complain about what you permit.

Comments

  1. In pulling another permit submitted by Rolloff, the Baseline Notice of Intent Permit # MSR002177 (filed March 28, 2014), the site referenced is located at 489 Yawn School Road rather than the way you suggested that this is just the business owner's address. This permit also references SW0370050571 as another permit related to this physical site. If anyone is familiar with this address, it isn't far from a dump now. It is located at the former Bass Pecan Headquarters and contains a menagerie of dead vehicles, heavy equipment and large pre-cast concrete culverts, etc. All of the information I pulled refers to these permits being for this site, not a site on the industrial park on Old HWY 11. I am also not sure how any company could file an MDEQ permit for a site that has yet to go through the legal processes to locate on that industrial park site. While this story is really interesting and one could easily jump to conclusions that this is some big conspiracy among elected officials, I think the smoke and mirrors may be coming from you yourself Mr. Informer. Not saying that there aren't crazy things going on and under the table deals, but this may not necessarily be hard facts. Why don't you also frequent the Lamar County Board of Supervisors meetings? That might shed some light on this one-sided way that you report "news" that affects Lumberton.

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