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State Auditor to sue Supervisor Robert Graham

Published: Oct. 12, 2011 at 9:21 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 13, 2011 at 12:46 AM CDT
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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) - Back in May, Hinds County District 1 Supervisor Robert Graham refuted Mississippi State Auditor Stacey Pickering's claim that he earned money training people for the National Emergency Communications Institute, or N-E-C-I, while on the clock for his former employer, the Jackson Police Department.

"I was training, and I was on my time," Graham told us at that time.

The Auditor had given Supervisor Graham 30 days to pay back the cash.

More than three months after that time period expired, the Auditor's Office is moving ahead with a civil suit in Chancery Court. "We are now in the process of working with the Attorney General's office to file suit against Robert Graham to recover those funds on behalf of the City of Jackson," says Lisa Shoemaker, spokesperson for the Auditor's Office.

Supervisor Graham's attorney, Lisa Ross, says "We've said from day one we'll see the auditor's attorneys in court. We will defend Robert Graham vigorously."

Another issue was brought up when the three-year investigation began back in 2007. The president of N-E-C-I told the Auditor's Office that Graham had been copying the company's training materials and printing certificates on his own, instead of issuing official N-E-C-I certificates.

But the auditor's office says it has no jurisdiction over the copyright of the materials. "The only thing we looked at that relates specifically to that was the issuing of those certificates to the individuals that took the course, but the organization in Mississippi that reviews those certificates decided to honor the certificates that were issued," Shoemaker says.

The Auditor's lawyer in the Attorney General's Office has been drawing up the legal documents. The suit should be filed in the coming days.

3 On Your Side left a message with Robert Graham for comment as well.

Regarding the copyright issue, Attorney Ross says the doors to the court house are open, and if Charles Carter, N-E-C-I President, wanted to file suit, he could have done so.

Copyright 2011 WLBT. All rights reserved.