Lawson stopped from rebuilding
by Chance Wright
Sep 06, 2012 | 2555 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Bolivar County Board of Supervisors has halted its Aug. 6 decision to allow Choctaw businessman Alfonso Lawson to immediately rebuild his business following a July fire that destroyed the structure.

County Attorney Linda F. Coleman mailed a letter to Lawson saying that all building efforts must immediately cease until further notice.

The board's decision, which was determined in the executive session of Tuesday's meeting, came as a result of a civil suit filed against the board on behalf of numerous residents of Choctaw.

Attorneys David Lee Gladden of Gladden, Ingram and Taylor PLLC, and John H. Daniels of Dyer, Dyer, Jones and Daniels, have filed a civil suit against the Bolivar County Board of Supervisors on behalf of Choctaw residents Henry Chambers, Emma Holton, Paul Holton, Lenard McKinney, Dennis Short, Sammye M. Short and Carl Singleton.

Papers filed with the Bolivar County Circuit Court on Aug. 16 alleges that the board of supervisors approved Lawson's request to rebuild his business in a manner that violated state and county laws.

"We do hereby give notice of this their appeal from the Aug. 6 decision of the Bolivar County Board of Supervisors to waive the decision of the county building code enforcer and the Bolivar County Planning Commission and allow Alfonso Lawson to begin rebuilding according to Miss. Code 11-51-75," reads the filing.

Emotions have run high from all parties involved in this litigation.

After the board's Aug. 6 decision, some residents of the Choctaw community immediately began voicing their concerns. The board then invited those concerned to attend the board's next meeting held that Wednesday.

The residents informed the board that on multiple occasions, spanning the past several years, patrons of Lawson's club have inadvertently disobeyed county laws and disrespected the people of Choctaw.

"The front of the club butts right up to the highway in front," said one resident. "When they are having a function or something at the club, cars are parked up and down the east and west sides of the highway. People are standing in the middle of the road and, more often than not, cars have to swerve to avoid hitting them. The music is so loud. Some of us have gone to Mr. Lawson on several occasions and pled with him to please keep the noise down."

The following Monday, Aug. 13, Choctaw residents Dennis and Sammye Short were served a warrant for their arrests at around 5 p.m.

"The warrant was issued after a trespassing complaint was filed by Lawson," said Bolivar County Sheriff Kelvin Williams Sr. "We followed protocol as law enforcement officers and issued the warrant for their arrests."

The couple turned themselves in to the Bolivar County Sheriff's Department later in the evening and bonded out of custody.

On Sept. 4 a Bill of Exception was filed with the court on behalf of the Choctaw residents.

"The object of the bill of exceptions is to put the question of law on record," said Daniels by phone this morning. "It is an older legal tool used to question the proper procedure used by civic organizations and governments."

Attempts to contact Board President Andrew Williams and Attorney Coleman were unsuccessful as of presstime.