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Former Claiborne official ordered back to prison

{9/16/04}PORT GIBSON A former Claiborne County official who served time for stealing public funds and has been ordered back to prison also has ties to a nonprofit that has been awarded more than $100,000 to aid the homeless.

Evan Doss Jr., 56, former Claiborne County tax collector and assessor, served four years in federal prison after being convicted of stealing money from the county and money laundering in 1997.

The Vicksburg Post has learned Doss has also worked as a consultant to a nonprofit organization, TEAM Inc. However, there are conflicting accounts of what that organization does or intends to do.

Federal Court papers say Doss has been ordered to report back to prison Oct. 4 because he has not shown attempts to get a job or start repaying $192,549.92 restitution. A company controlled by him, Evan Doss Jr. Corp., also owes $81,832.11.

The order adds eight months for violating the terms of his probation.

As for TEAM Inc., former Claiborne County Civil Defense Director A.C. Garner, a board member of the nonprofit, said the amount of Doss pay will be determined at a board of directors meeting later this week, Garner said. It wasn’t clear what Doss did to earn payment.

TEAM Inc. was OK’d for a $100,000 grant from the Mississippi Development Authority and the City of Port Gibson to alleviate homelessness in the town of 1,200 about 30 miles south of Vicksburg.

Other records show Claiborne County also has paid an employee of the nonprofit $15,000 to study how the nonprofit can help homelessness.

Several attempts to contact Doss failed, though he attended the Claiborne County Board of Supervisors Sept. 7 meeting and accused the supervisors of mismanaging several million dollars, according to the Port Gibson Reveille. He was met with a chilly reception, with some supervisors indicating they weren’t interested in advice from a man who still owes the people of Claiborne County tens of thousands of dollars.

Port Gibson Mayor Amelda Arnold, however, said she had no problem with Doss being in a position to receive city funds.

“He made a mistake but he paid for whatever he did,” Arnold said.

Doss broke the color barrier when he was the first black official elected in Claiborne County in the 1970s. State auditors viewed about 18 months of his collection records and turned the case over to federal prosecutors.

Garner said Doss was initially hired by TEAM Inc. because he had run a homeless shelter several years ago. Another TEAM Inc. director, Eddie Kinnard, said Doss does not handle the nonprofit’s money. Doss “lends his expertise” on matters like getting food and arranging transportation, Kinnard said.

Doss’ experience is also questionable. The General Services Administration sued a nonprofit headed by Doss in 1994 for mismanaging funds meant for a homeless shelter, court records show.