Exclusive: Pelahatchie mayor agrees to pay thousands after settling civil suit
Documents reveal Ryshonda Beechem took out loans “for her benefit” on another person’s account
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Court documents reveal more financial issues connected to Pelahatchie Mayor Ryshonda Beechem, stemming from loans she made on another person’s account.
3 On Your Side obtained the case file surrounding the civil suit filed by Bobbie Jones against Beechem after attempting to confirm the suit with county officials for weeks.
The subsequent settlement agreement, signed by both parties Wednesday, indicates Beechem must pay $2,726 to Jones over the next six months.
It also acknowledges that the mayor owes that amount to Jones “for personal loans and the fees incurred as a result of [Beechem] obtaining loans that were made on [Jones’ account]" for Beechem’s benefit.
Jones initially filed the case March 19, saying in her declaration that that Beechem “owes for [a] personal loan against my account” from Oct. 31 until the date of filing.
Court records show a summons issued to Beechem on April 24 to appear in justice court and answer the filing, but she did not show.
The judge granted a continuance and hearing date for Wednesday, June 19.
While Beechem didn’t show up for that proceeding either, records show the settlement agreement, drafted Tuesday, had been signed by her beforehand.
3 On Your Side contacted Beechem for comment on the case, and she said this was strictly a personal matter, having nothing to do with her job as mayor.
She then asked how we knew about the case, naming several former city employees and a current alderman as people she thought had leaked the information.
“My personal business has nothing to do with the town business, so I don’t understand how that becomes news to you. I don’t have anything to say in reference to that," Beechem said in a brief telephone conversation before hanging up.
A subsequent text message from the mayor mentioned financial struggles brought on by aldermen cutting her salary by 75 percent last year and asked how anybody could pay bills with such a small amount.
When the salary reduction took place in April 2018, Beechem told 3 On Your Side that she made $250 a month.
In a text message Wednesday, she said that amount is now $208.
When asked if these financial hardships led to those personal loans -- which in turn led to a civil case -- Beechem did not respond.
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