EXCLUSIVE: JMAA commissioner resigns after 3 On Your Side investigation revealed he didn’t live in Jackson

Resignation comes after WLBT sent evidence from its investigation to Jackson’s city attorney for consideration
Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 4:58 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Three weeks after a 3 On Your Side investigation revealed a Jackson airport commissioner didn’t actually live in the capital city, despite a requirement to do so, that public official is stepping down.

A spokesperson for the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority board confirmed the resignation Friday afternoon.

An October investigation by WLBT showed Robert Martin had never lived at the address he used on his resume when going before the Jackson City Council to get the commissioner job in 2018.

Documents show Martin also used that same address on travel documents submitted to JMAA and on a letter he sent the board on at least one occasion over a two-year period.

Our investigation found that the address - 5743 Wyndallwood Court - actually belongs to Glenda Sterling, according to Hinds County property records and Sterling’s own son.

“Only the Sterlings live here. Only. I don’t know anybody named Martin or Robert or anything of that nature,” Emanuel Sterling said to WLBT in October. “There’s a set of woods back there. He can live back there. But he can’t stay here. I don’t know who he is. Whoever Martin is, you barking up the wrong tree.”

Sterling said his family had lived at that residence for at least the last five years, one year before Martin first claimed to stay there.

A Jackson city ordinance requires every JMAA commissioner to reside in the city of Jackson and the ward they represent.

“If we got people who do not live where they’re saying they’re living and they’re on this board, then we need to know. If we’ve got people whose times have expired and they no longer should be on the board, then we need to know. We do not need illegal votes taking place by so-called board members,” Jackson Ward 3 Councilman Kenneth Stokes said. “It sends the wrong image about the city. And it sends the wrong message as the whether the city is a law-abiding city or we’re a bunch of crooks and liars.”

Stokes has placed an item on next week’s council agenda to call for an investigation into JMAA because he believes operations issues there have been a concern.

He also cited WLBT’s previous investigations into Martin as reasons for the inquiry.

“That proves why we need to have this investigation,” Stokes said. “Do we have people who’s on this board, making decisions, who are really violating the law? We need to make sure that we have evidence to show that they’re doing something wrong, and get them removed off these boards so when these federal courts look at these boards, they see that we have clean hands.”

In April, a 3 On Your Side investigation found Martin had been racking up thousands of dollars in reimbursement for trips he made on behalf of the airport because he drove his own vehicle and didn’t fly for more than a year.

That included trips to Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Reno.

In October, WLBT found documents showing Martin got his pilot’s license renewed a few months after he claimed medical issues prevented him from flying in the first place.

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