Mississippi unsealed a federal corruption indictment against Moultrie, his firm and two other Facility Group officials. Prosecutors allege they schemed to make illegal campaign contributions in 2003 to “influence and reward” an unnamed public official to get a contract managing construction of a beef processing plant, funded by government loans and grants. Then, prosecutors say, they fraudulently billed work to retrieve that money.
Moultrie has pleaded not guilty. “The charges are dramatically exaggerated,” said W. Ennis Parker Jr., Facility Group’s CEO. He insisted there was “no quid pro quo” in getting contracts for political contributions and that investigators misread as fraudulent how the company bills hours.
Parker acknowledged the firm reimbursed employees for campaign donations. He called it a “huge mistake.” Reimbursing other donors to circumvent campaign donation limits is illegal under federal law.
Moultrie, 67, chief operating officer Nixon Cawood, 58, and executive vice president Charles K. Morehead, 57, face trial in August. The campaign donations mentioned in the indictment match up with those listed with then-Mississippi Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, who has not been indicted. The manager of his current campaign for U.S. Senate told The Associated Press that Musgrove had nothing to do with awarding the beef plant contracts.
The case suddenly put a cloud of uncertainty over a company on the go.