Warnock claims Canton official offered to have journalist, Madis - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Warnock claims Canton official offered to have journalist, Madison mayor killed

Source: WLBT Archives Source: WLBT Archives
Source: WLBT Archives Source: WLBT Archives
CANTON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

A former Madison County engineer claims a Canton official offered murder-for-hire services that targeted a journalist and Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins-Butler.

The Madison County Journal released this statement on Wednesday afternoon: 

Statement of Madison County Journal Publisher James E. Prince III regarding death threats against Associate Editor and Publisher Michael Simmons and Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins-Butler:

We have been aware of the alleged threats for some time and made the proper contact with law enforcement authorities at that time to ensure the safety and well-being of all of our employees. At no time has this alleged threat risen to anything more than the usual drama associated with Madison County politics, which we are far more comfortable reporting on than being a part of. 

Michael Simmons has done an exemplary job fulfilling the First Amendment role of the press to hold public officials accountable since he, following a long line of others who have reported the truth, took the helm at the Journal speaking truth to power, which includes the board members of Canton Municipal Utilities and their now former engineer. Frankly, we would expect to be in their cross-hairs if we’re doing our job. Telling the truth carries a price and this spectacle illustrates precisely why.

In an eight-page affidavit signed Wednesday afternoon, Rudy Warnock said those offers came from the chairman of the Canton Municipal Utilities board, Cleveland Anderson.

Hours later, Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins-Butler issued the follow statement:

If in fact, this is true, this is a very dangerous situation and I hope the authorities will dig deep into this because I think the issues are deep.

In September 2016, Warnock said he complained to Anderson about unfavorable press coverage from Michael Simmons of the Madison County Journal, and a few weeks later, Anderson offered to have his New Orleans and Chicago "family" kill Simmons for $10,000.

Warnock said Anderson also offered to have Hawkins-Butler killed for the same price.

This happened when Warnock was the engineer for CMU.

In October, Warnock claimed Anderson requested a $200,000 kickback so he and his wife "can retire comfortably."

Warnock said in the affidavit that he refused all of Anderson's requests and sent an "unflattering" text to Anderson and several others to make his point.

Anderson replied to him via text -- mentioning the kickbacks and murder-for-hire -- but said they were just "tests" of Warnock's loyalty.

"Do you remember when I ask [sic] you about [$]200,000 to retire (TEST); (About knowing guys in New Orleans that would do anything illegal (test), and many more," the text message said. "There are several more, but for some reason I have a hard time remembering lies when I tell them. But, the truth is considerable easy."

Warnock turned over screenshots of that text to his attorney, Dorsey Carson, who also supplied that to 3 On Your Side.

A few weeks after Anderson sent that text, Warnock claims, he was fired from CMU during a specially-called meeting.

The affidavit also alleges Anderson repeatedly tried to get his wife, other family members and friends hired on at CMU with inflated salaries, but Warnock refused to do so.

We've left messages for Anderson to respond to the allegations, but he has yet to return our requests for comment.

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