Hood investigates road project near Reeves' subdivision

Tate Reeves | Photo: Tate Reeves/Facebook

The Mississippi attorney general said Wednesday he's investigating a $2 million road that was planned to connect a suburban Jackson shopping center to two gated neighborhoods, including one where the lieutenant governor lives.

Posted: Jul 19, 2018 9:39 AM
Updated: Jul 19, 2018 9:47 AM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi attorney general said Wednesday he's investigating a $2 million road that was planned to connect a suburban Jackson shopping center to two gated neighborhoods, including one where the lieutenant governor lives.

The investigation creates a potential clash between Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood and Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves. Both men are expected to run for governor in 2019.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation put the road on hold after the Clarion Ledger reported last week that the project had been planned. The short stretch was supposed to run parallel to Mississippi 25 in the Jackson suburb of Flowood. The heavily traveled highway is also called Lakeland Drive in that area, and people who live in the gated neighborhoods have said it can be difficult to turn left onto Lakeland.

The transportation department's director, Melinda McGrath, told the newspaper there had been "political pressure" from "the Senate side" to build the frontage road. Reeves presides over the Senate.

Hood sent letters to the department and lawmakers Wednesday telling them not to destroy any paper or electronic documents about the proposed road. He also requests copies of all communication, including text messages and email, by Aug. 1.

"The purpose of this investigation is to determine whether there exist any violations of law," Hood wrote to Reeves, lawmakers and elected transportation commissioners. "One of the many potential outcomes of the ongoing investigation could be civil litigation or other legal proceedings arising under state law."

McGrath, who is appointed and not elected, said much of the communication from the Capitol to her department was verbal. The newspaper reported Reeves' staff and his neighborhood's property owners association communicated with the department about the road.

Reeves last week denied pressuring the department, and sent a letter to McGrath seeking details about political pressure on the department.

Reeves said in a statement Wednesday that Hood is playing "political games" and that "grandstanding for the press is one his favorite pastimes."

"I have not been made aware of any communication between anyone within the office of the Lt. Governor and the Department of Transportation suggesting political pressure on this matter," Reeves said.

The central district transportation commissioner, Republican Dick Hall, said last week that was putting the road project on hold. Hall said he originally decided to build the frontage road because he thought it might be needed for safety.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 93087

Reported Deaths: 2809
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds6956155
DeSoto539355
Harrison372772
Jackson337867
Madison320086
Rankin318875
Lee258567
Jones239978
Forrest238270
Washington217471
Lafayette207239
Lauderdale1994124
Bolivar179065
Oktibbeha174750
Lamar162134
Neshoba1534103
Panola144027
Sunflower141144
Lowndes139857
Warren138050
Leflore136280
Pontotoc122516
Pike120948
Monroe118365
Scott116125
Copiah115933
Coahoma112327
Holmes109158
Marshall107515
Lincoln106253
Grenada105335
Yazoo103629
Simpson101243
Union97824
Tate95137
Leake93937
Adams91736
Wayne87421
Pearl River86250
Marion84133
Prentiss80817
Covington80622
Alcorn76811
Newton75623
Itawamba75221
Tallahatchie74918
George74413
Winston72319
Tishomingo65737
Chickasaw65224
Tippah64216
Attala64125
Walthall59325
Clay57117
Hancock56121
Jasper54915
Noxubee54315
Clarke53539
Smith52114
Calhoun50612
Tunica47913
Montgomery45420
Claiborne45116
Lawrence42512
Yalobusha41614
Perry40617
Humphreys37315
Quitman3735
Stone35011
Greene34317
Webster33113
Jefferson Davis32511
Amite31210
Carroll31212
Wilkinson30217
Kemper28615
Sharkey26312
Jefferson2399
Benton2181
Franklin1893
Choctaw1785
Issaquena1033
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 128818

Reported Deaths: 2284
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson18911337
Mobile13039289
Montgomery8628173
Madison750775
Tuscaloosa7180114
Lee570559
Shelby564550
Baldwin504749
Marshall382143
Etowah333447
Calhoun332039
Morgan318126
Houston269922
Elmore251947
DeKalb234619
St. Clair221335
Walker220780
Talladega205026
Limestone197319
Cullman183017
Franklin174128
Dallas173626
Russell17112
Autauga167324
Lauderdale164133
Colbert159326
Escambia155725
Blount154214
Jackson149411
Chilton147127
Dale132743
Covington130227
Coffee12708
Pike11519
Tallapoosa113183
Chambers112342
Clarke104917
Marion93728
Butler90838
Barbour8307
Marengo69919
Winston69912
Lowndes64527
Pickens63114
Bibb62810
Hale61228
Randolph60712
Bullock58514
Lawrence58220
Monroe5758
Geneva5634
Cherokee55516
Washington54413
Perry5376
Clay5367
Wilcox53011
Conecuh52311
Crenshaw52231
Macon47620
Henry4674
Fayette4189
Sumter41819
Lamar3452
Choctaw34412
Cleburne3206
Greene30015
Coosa1613
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