Hoax or desperate exposure?

Published 4:05 pm Friday, May 4, 2012

“A Document of Concern” is so modest a title for such a political firebomb.

Full of racial epithets, coarse language, and egocentrics rants, “A Document of Concern” harks back to white trash dime store novels. Posted on the Internet and anonymously mailed to key officials, it passed from hand to hand in the Legislature last week.

It allegedly documents, from recordings and note takings, a conspiracy to overthrow the president and other leadership at Mississippi Delta Community College. Noticeably, Dr. Larry Bailey in April announced his retirement as president effective May 31, 2012.

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So, is it a depraved hoax or desperate exposure?

The Greenwood Commonwealth reported the two Chancery Clerks and college official cited in the document say the alleged conversations “never happened.” A $2,500 reward was offered by a local attorney for information leading to the successful prosecution of the person(s) “who published the un-true, anonymous, unsigned ‘Document of Concern.’”

Two days later a fatal shooting, abetted by agents of the Mississippi Attorney General, occurred in that lawyer’s office. Greenwood police told the Commonwealth the lawyer arranged to meet with his assailants “over a video they purportedly had.”A Commonwealth editorial asks “was there any connection in the murder-for-hire scheme and the suspect document?”

“I’m the power here,” the document quotes one alleged conspirator. “Got myself appointed to the (MDCC) board didn’t I?…. (Laughter)….Just announced I was going to do it in a board meeting and those dumb (curse word) (n-words) just sat there and said OK. Man it’s so easy to get something over on these (curse word).”

Another supposedly says, “I think we can get (Bailey) out by May. I’ll just keep up the pressure….threaten him….well maybe blackmail or something….When I get him out then we’re in charge and I’m gonna see that we get some of those (n-words) out of there, too.”

And another, “I hate him. I mean I really hate him. I’m gonna get that (curse word) no matter what. He’s nothing but a snake, a (curse word) snake. I know what to do….Yeah I’ll get it done….I mean who’s gonna challenge me? No one wants to screw with us.”

The document says its information comes from “documented and recorded phone conversations, lunch discussions and office comments made and stated by the above individuals over a six month period dating from August, 2011, up through April 2012.”

It threatens to publish all on YouTube and the Internet unless the named officials resign by the end of May.

Libel, slander, blackmail, conspiracy, invasion of privacy, ethics violations, the litany of illegal and unethical conduct posed by the “Document of Concern” goes on and on.

Only a thorough, transparent investigation by law enforcement will resolve mounting questions.

(Bill Crawford (crawfolk@gmail.com) is a syndicated columnist from Meridian.)