The owner of a company hired to pick up trash in Jackson during a recent trash “state of emergency” sued two Jackson City Council members for libel.
The lawsuit, filed Oct. 14 in Hinds County Circuit Court by Dwayne Pickett Sr., accuses Ward 6 Councilor Aaron Banks and Ward 7 Councilor Virgi Lindsay of saying Pickett, a director of National Waste United and pastor of the New Jerusalem Church, had tried to bribe Banks.
âI think it was a deliberate attempt against my character,â Pickett said Friday.
According to the lawsuit, around September 17, Banks “falsely and maliciously” told Lindsay and others that Pickett had offered her $ 50,000 in exchange for a yes vote on the National Waste United garbage contract. .
Following a competitive call for tendersearlier this year by city officials to select a garbage collection provider, city council rejected the recommendation of Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba, FCC Environmental Services, and continued to negotiate with the city’s current provider, Waste Management.
When those negotiations reached an impasse, Lumumba declared a state of garbage emergency on September 17. He then hired National Waste United to step in and pick up the trash if the Waste Management contract expired on September 30.
Days later, city council overturned the mayor’s state of emergency, invalidating National Waste United’s contract with the city.
Emergency contract approved:Jackson City Council, Mayor, Waste Management Come To Solution For Garbage Collection
The lawsuit also accuses Banks of falsely telling others that on another occasion Pickett offered him $ 20,000 in return for supporting the company’s emergency garbage collection contract.
The banks have denied doing anything illegal. Banks said he was convinced the truth would come out and show his actions to be true and in the best interests of the residents of Jackson.
The lawsuit accuses Lindsay of repeating Banks’ statements that Pickett tried to bribe Banks in exchange for his vote.
Lindsay called the trial ridiculous on Friday.
“This trial is ridiculous and I look forward to being fully justified in court,” she said.
At a press conference on Friday, Pickett said people had started to question his character. He says he experienced mental anguish and it bothers him that Banks, a 20-year-old friend, lied about him.
Pickett’s lawyer TreMarcus Rosemon said his client had sought advice.
In the lawsuit, Pickett seeks a jury trial and seeks damages on numerous counts, including: slander per se, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and gross negligence.
âMy client’s ultimate goal is to cleanse his name from the damage these false accusations have caused him,â Rosemon said.
Journalist Mina Corpuz can be contacted by email at [email protected] You can follow her on Twitter @mlcorpuz.