Residents demand answers after disaster relief fallout - - Jackson, MS

Residents demand answers after disaster relief fallout

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TYLERTOWN, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The fallout continues in Walthall County where residents accuse a supervisor of blocking disaster aid so that he could profit.

The county official reacts to the charges, but that may mean very little to those who say they were denied much needed relief.

William Hammond said Walthall County Supervisor Larry Montgomery turned away Red Cross assistance after Hurricane Isaac because free supplies of water, ice and food would cut into his stores' profits.

"That's a conflict of interest," said Hammond.

The retired Army National Guard member and his family were without power and water for six days.

Hammond and other Eaton Road homeowners said the supervisor made the statement to a group of people gathered at McDonalds waiting for the Red Cross.

Montgomery is also board president and owner of a local store and a truck stop.

"I didn't think I said that. If I did I apologize," Montgomery told WLBT Wednesday afternoon.

The District One representative said he spoke with another supervisor who confirmed that Montgomery made the statement.

He and other board members met with FEMA and MEMA officials Wednesday about flood cleanup, but said he has not spoken with residents.

Hammond called Montgomery's apology disingenuous and said if Montgomery remains supervisor, he needs to step up for the people.

"I'm gonna go start a complaint with the Attorney General, and I'm gonna go to the board meeting and find out answers of why everything was turned away and the community wasn't helped," said the 34-year-old former combat medic.

"We kept waiting thinking that the Red Cross was coming, and then we find out that Red Cross never came because they were turned away by supervisors in the county," said Tylertown resident Jessica Holmes.

Montgomery said he also apologized to the Red Cross.

Walthall County Red Cross Supervisor Mark Holmes said he had not been contacted by the county supervisor, but hopes nothing like this happens in the future.

Holmes said aid is now reaching residents in need.

Crumpled concrete, downed tree limbs and power lines are the after affects of flooding at an RV camp and recreational area on Dillon Bridge Road outside Tylertown.

Waters have receded there, but Red Cross officials said there is still flooding along the Bogue Chitto River off Highway 48 where about 30 homes were under water.

Hammond and others plan to attend Monday's 9 a.m. Walthall County Board of Supervisors regular meeting.

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