Hood's attorneys lawyer up
In a lawsuit filed by the Sun Herald, a Chancery Court judge levied fines of $100 each against Attorney General Jim Hood, State Auditor Stacey Pickering, four assistant attorneys general and two auditor's employees for violating the Public Records Act. She also ordered Pickering, his office and the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources to pay the Sun Herald's legal fees because they acted in bad faith.
Assistant attorneys general who represented the DMR and auditor's office in the case have withdrawn and now have their own lawyers for post-judgment relief and/or Mississippi Supreme Court appeals.
Below is a list of state assistant attorneys general who defended the state in Schloegel's court, the agency they represented and their annual salaries, followed by the attorneys handling appeals and the legal fees the state will pay them.
Assistant Attorney General Harold Pizzetta, whose salary in the AG's office is $104,000 a year: attorney Alan Mitchell Purdie and Dion Jeffery Shanley of Ridgeland, contract for $200 an hour.
Assistant Attorney General Melissa Patterson, assigned to auditor's office at a salary of $82,000 a year: John T. Kitchens of Brandon, contract for $200 an hour.
Department of Marine Resources; DMR assistant attorneys general Joe Runnels, who earns $94,000 a year, and Sandy Chesnut, who earns $75,000 a year: attorneys Ron Peresich of Biloxi and William Westbrook III of Gulfport, contract for $200 an hour.
Attorney General Jim Hood: represented by Special Assistant Attorney General Margaret Parish Ellis, who earns $94,000 a year.
State Auditor's Office: John G. Corlew of Jackson has been paid $175 an hour for previous work under contract with the attorney general.
State Auditor Stacey Pickering, his investigative chief David Huggins and investigator Chris Lott; represented by attorney Arthur Jernigan Jr. of Ridgeland; contract for $200 an hour with auditor's office.