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Former Claiborne official ordered back to prison

The Whitman Grady Mayo Scholarship Foundation, named for the “Sanford and Son” actor, ran a shelter at the Port Gibson Federal Building. A federal jury ruled against the Mayo Foundation and Judge David Bramlette gave the building back to the federal government.

In contesting the accusation of violating his probation, Doss claimed he had received $1,000 in February for being a consultant to the Mayo Foundation. However, he did not provide any proof to the court that he was employed by the nonprofit.

TEAM Inc. was founded in May 2003, according the the incorporation documents. Garner said the nonprofit hands out free and subsidized food. The first, and so far only, food giveaway was held June 26 at the A.W. Watson school gym, Kinnard said.

About 445 people were served, Kinnard said, though he said privacy regulations prevented him from providing any names of those served to The Vicksburg Post.

The event was apparently not advertised and no published reports about it have been found. The school’s principal said he did not know about the event, but may have been out of town.

Still, Garner said the group is nearly broke from the June event and paying utility bills at the house. The nonprofit has financed itself through private donations and loans until the grant money comes through, Garner said. He declined to say how much money the nonprofit has spent.

The nonprofit’s Form 990 disclosure to the IRS was not available because its reported income is less than $25,000.

Kinnard said TEAM Inc. opened a homeless shelter at 911 1/2 Chinquepin St. in January and houses six males. Renovations are planned.

However, Garner said that the shelter had not yet opened. “There is nothing right now that is specific for the simple reason that we have not received any money yet. The amount that will be received will not be enough to do much.”

Kinnard agreed to meet at the address for a photo, but did not and the house was locked and deserted. A woman at the scene said no one lived at the house.

Empty boxes and racks could be seen through one door. The call letters for a radio station Doss operated, WKPG, were tacked onto a wall next to several album covers. Music could be heard in the background.

Adminsitration of the grant money is to be by the city of Port Gibson. City Hall has received the $50,000 grant from MDA, but it has not been passed on to TEAM Inc., Garner said.

Arnold said Doss was the one who suggested to her that the city sponsor TEAM Inc. in its application for an emergency shelter grant from MDA. The agency has awarded $1.2 million to 15 applicants, said MDA spokesman Scott Hamilton.

Although Doss’ name is not listed on the incorporation papers filed with the Secretary of State, the address listed, 911 1/2 Chinquepin St., is owned by Doss. Arnold said Doss donated the building to TEAM Inc.

Doss lives at 911 Chinquepin St., according to documents filed with the Secretary of State. Doss’ ex-wife, Emma, says he no longer lives there. She did not know where he lives now or his phone number.

Hamilton said the agency did not know that Doss was affiliated with TEAM Inc.

“Based on the information we were provided, Evan Doss was not listed as a member or staff,” Hamilton said.

The city approved the deal Feb. 17. The effective date was April 15, though the contract between the city and MDA was signed by Arnold on Aug. 20. A copy of the contract has been obtained by The Vicksburg Post.

The grant is supposed to fund an emergency shelter for homeless people. The federal government contributes $50,000, to be administered by MDA, and local government is supposed to pay the remaining $50,000.

The city is responsible for raising $50,000 in matching funds, Hamilton said. Arnold said the city’s contribution would be $5,000, with the rest coming from in-kind contributions.

Arnold was vague on the details of the operation, saying some of it might go to buy groceries or help people with utility bills. She did not specifically mention a homeless shelter.

The contract allows funding for “certain essential social services.”

TEAM Inc. is also pursuing an agreement with Claiborne County to sponsor a similar grant. Supervisors voted 3-2 in their Aug. 18 meeting to pay $15,000 to Kinnard as a consultant on homeless issues on the grounds the group provided the MDA’s grant agreement with the city and the grant application submitted by the city. The latter document has not been provided, so the county has not given any money to TEAM Inc., said James Johnston, a community development specialist for the county.

“What we’re going to do is utilize Mr. Kinnard’s services through the end of the year, then he will make a report,” said board attorney Allen Burrell.

The salary of Vera Smith, another TEAM Inc. employee, is being paid by the city, Arnold said.

Board President Charles Shorts, who voted for the contract along with supervisors Allen Burks and Michael Wells, said he supported TEAM Inc. “because it’s about helping people.”

Shorts said he was not aware of any connection between TEAM Inc. and Doss.

“I’m not going to be associated with any corruption,” Shorts said.

Supervisors Martha Lott and Mott Headley Jr. voted against the contract.

Headley explained his opposition: “I’m not sure that they ever proved it was a nonprofit deal. They did not satisfy me with that.”

Headley said he had heard rumors of Doss’ involvement, but nothing else.

Johnston said that if the county awards money to TEAM Inc., it would force the nonprofit to prove where the funds were being spent.