New Miss. judge named to hear Maddox Foundation case

Published 12:19 am Sunday, February 18, 2007

Chancellor Mitchell Lundy Jr. of Grenada has been selected to preside over the Maddox Foundation case in DeSoto County.

Chancery Clerk W. E. “Sluggo” Davis said Lundy was selected Friday by the office’s computerized case assignment program in response to an order from the Mississippi Supreme Court.

Lundy’s selection marks another step in the three-year-old legal battle in which a former trustee of the charitable foundation, Tommye Maddox Working, is seeking to have the agency returned to Tennessee from Hernando.

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There is nothing for Lundy to do in the case. The previous judge, Chancellor Percy Lynchard of Hernando, had handled all the issues in the case.

“Judge Lundy got it, but he doesn’t have a case to hear,” Davis said.

Lynchard was removed from the case in December by the Supreme Court amid claims he showed bias against Working and her backers in Tennessee. The Supreme Court directed Davis to assign another judge.

Davis said judges usually aren’t assigned to a case unless there is a matter pending in the court. He said he made the selection because he didn’t want risk going against a court order.

Tennessee courts have ruled that the foundation’s move to Mississippi by its president, Robin G. Costa, was invalid. Lynchard ruled in 2005 that the move was legal and that the Mississippi courts have jurisdiction.

Working has alleged in the lawsuits that Costa mismanaged Maddox Foundation’s $100 million assets, squandering millions on chartered flights, two professional sports teams, renovated mansions and personal salaries. Working and Costa were the foundation’s only two board members at the time of the move.

Maddox created the foundation in 1968 with income from his investments in oil and gas, real estate and other interests. He and his wife Margaret died in a 1998 boating accident in Louisiana.