MDHS officials say former director John Davis created an environment of fear and intimidation

John Davis is indicted in an embezzlement scheme involving millions of dollars

MDHS officials say former director John Davis created an environment of fear and intimidation

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - 3 On Your Side is learning more about how the former head of the Mississippi Department of Human Services ran the agency and treated employees. John Davis has been indicted in the largest embezzlement and fraud scheme in state history.

We hear from a former employee who is just one of many who were fired by Davis.

John Davis was indicted along with several others in the largest embezzlement and fraud scheme in Mississippi history.
John Davis was indicted along with several others in the largest embezzlement and fraud scheme in Mississippi history. (Source: WLBT)

We have been told by officials with the Mississippi Department of Human Services that former Executive Director John Davis ran the department in an atmosphere of fear and intimidation.

Many employees have said they were fired for menial things. Reginald Johnson had been with MDHS since 2007.

Johnson said, "I was a special investigator, special investigator, a DHS investigator."

Johnson says he never received anything other than glowing employee reviews.

Johnson was a special investigator with MDHS. He says he had just received a promotion before being fired by Davis.
Johnson was a special investigator with MDHS. He says he had just received a promotion before being fired by Davis. (Source: WLBT)

“Matter of fact I had gotten a promotion to another department”, Johnson said.

He attended a professional development conference led by Davis outside the department and he says the encounter left him confused and embarrassed.

Johnson said, "Mr. Davis approached me and asked me did I not, did I not want to be there. and I told him I was fine with it, you know that I was okay. Everything was going well. But fast forward to that afternoon session and my cell phone began to vibrate. When I checked to see who the caller was Mr. Davis was passing by and he stopped and he asked me to put my phone away and which I complied."

Johnson says Davis then asked everyone to put away their cellphones and called him into the hallway.

"He asked me, he said do you know who I am? I'm the Executive Director. He said I'm going to call your supervisor and I need you in the meantime I need you to go back into the classroom and get your property and get out of my classroom right now”, said Johnson.

Johnson returned to the office, but the next day when he came into work, he got the news.

Johnson said, "she said well I did speak with Mr. Davis and he asked for you to be terminated. I said well what is the reason? She said that you were disrespectful."

Johnson says he had heard rumblings from other employees but didn't pay much attention.

Johnson said, "I never had any problems prior to that."

Danny Blanton Chief Communications Officer with DHS did give us this statement. "We are aware of these types of incidents. We are placing high priority on employee morale and engagement. We want to make our employees comfortable and proud to be a part of DHS.”

Davis, Latimer Smith, Nancy New, Zach New, Anne McGrew, and Brett DiBiase have been indicted in the case.
Davis, Latimer Smith, Nancy New, Zach New, Anne McGrew, and Brett DiBiase have been indicted in the case. (Source: WLBT)

Davis is indicted along with Nancy New, her son Zach New, Anne McGrew, Latimer Smith and Brett DiBiase.

The State Auditor's office says Davis allowed 98 million dollars meant for the needy to flow into nonprofits where the money was spent to hire lobbyists, on contracts for family members, to purchase vehicles, even repaying a loan.

We did reach out to Davis’ attorney Merrida Coxwell for comment. Davis has pleaded not guilty.

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