/Judge Dickinson recuses himself from welfare case

Judge Dickinson recuses himself from welfare case

Former commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services took over Davis’ case. Mississippi Today reported that this was done in order to reduce the overcrowding of the circuit court’s docket, which was exacerbated by the pandemic. Dickinson, who was the former commissioner for the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services, had resigned by Thursday. He cited the appearance of conflict of interest due the interaction between Dickinson’s former agency, which oversees state foster care systems, and the Mississippi Department of Human Services. Davis ran the department from 2016 to 2019. Davis is accused of facilitating a scheme that saw $70 million in public assistance funds wrongfully diverted from the poor. He is accused of conspiring with an agency contractor and paying his close associate, ex-WWE wrestler Brett DiBiase for work he did not do, as well as conspiring to send DiBiase into rehab on taxpayer’s money. While Davis maintained his innocence, DiBiase admitted to his part in the scheme. Dickinson wrote that while Davis had not interacted with the defendant personally, many of my staff interacted daily with MDHS staff members who processed large amounts of MDCPS financial transactions. This included payment to foster parents and congregate-care facilities as well as payroll to MDCPS employees of approximately 1,300. CPS, which was previously part of MDHS before the Legislature created it its own agency in 2016, ran into financial difficulties in 2018. Davis’ agency also stepped in to help. CPS is funded by the Welfare Agency’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grants, which Davis is accused of defrauding. “Additionally, I discovered the MDCPS block grant when I started my tenure as Commissioner.
The agency was in danger of running a deficit exceeding $50 million for the current fiscal year. MDHS provided a significant portion of the funds required for MDCPS’ financial obligations and allowed the agency to finish the fiscal year without any deficits,” Dickinson wrote. He said that he was unable to preside over the case because of the possibility of conflict of interest. Adrienne Wooten, a judge at Hinds County Circuit Court, was the original person to preside over Davis’ case. In the Davis case, she entered a gag order, which she strengthened and extended in January. This caused public officials to be virtually silent about the case or welfare mispending. Her administrative assistant refused to give any further information on Tuesday about the case reassignment. She said that any information would need to be provided by the lawyers in the case. They did not return calls, or declined to comment due to the gag order. There were no additional filings in Davis’ case by Friday midday, suggesting that it might not be assigned to anyone else.