Hood stated that the legislators and the lieutenant governor were exempt from the state’s public record laws, so Hood did not need to sign the letter. Oakridge and Dogwood Place subdivisions (which contain less than 150 homes) were to be connected to the frontage road. The traffic light will be located at a nearby shopping mall to allow residents to turn left onto Lakeland Drive. Reeves, who denies any involvement in the construction of the road, is a resident in one of these neighborhoods. Hood spoke to the media on Thursday and said that the evidence must be preserved in order to allow an independent investigator to examine it. Hood said that his office might not conduct the investigation, but was unclear as to who might. When a reporter asked him if the FBI might be involved, he refused to answer. Hood dismissed Reeves’ claims that he had sent the letters and initiated the investigation to investigate political motives. Hood, a Democrat and Reeves (a Republican) are considered the leading gubernatorial candidates in their party’s 2019. Hood stated that while Hood isn’t saying anyone did anything wrong but that evidence must be preserved. Hood said that the issue is whether public officials who may have had an influence on the project received financial benefits. People want to know. He stated that if I don’t do it the public will never find out. Melinda McGrath (executive director of MDOT) stated last week that political pressure from Senator Reeves led to the construction of the road. Reeves stated that Hood’s letter was political grandstanding from an ambitious Democrat running to be president. I will investigate whether any senators or staff members exercised undued political influence. I have therefore asked the Director of the Department of Transportation to provide any supporting documentation. “She has not yet replied.” Dick Hall, Central District Transportation Commissioner, delayed the $2 million frontage road project after media reports. McGrath was praised by Hall, but he said that he built the road for safety reasons. He also claimed that he did not contact Reeves or his staff about the road. Hall now says the road may not be necessary. Because of the increased traffic density, he said that the recent widening in Lakeland from four to six lanes makes it easier for residents to turn left at their intersections. Hood also said that he sent a letter Thursday to Gary Rhoads (Flowood Mayor), asking for his records to be kept and handed over to the AG’s Office. Hood requested that all information relating to the frontage road should be returned by August 1. Thursday’s news conference was held to promote a nationwide effort by the Federal Trade Commission to ensure people support legitimate veterans organizations. Officials from other organizations involved in the news conference stated that it was part a nationwide effort that had been planned for several months. Officials said that Delbert Hosemann, Republican Secretary of State, was unable to attend the news conference because of a conflict. Others from his office were present, including Stacey Pickering (executive director of Mississippi Veterans Affairs Board) and Lt. Colonel Christian Patterson (director of public affairs for the Mississippi Military Department).