Balducci: The eye of a legal storm

Balducci may have left Booneville because while Langston at times referred to him as a “partner,” Langston reportedly does not share ownership of the firm with his associates. That may not have set well with Balducci, often described as ambitious.
But why he chose New Albany, instead of some other county seat or even a bigger city, isn’t clear. According to Union County officials, Balducci has had a part in only one case in circuit court – a lawsuit seeking compensation for damage to a recreational vehicle – and two uncontested divorces in chancery court.

“I’ve never heard anybody say why he moved here,” said one New Albany attorney who asked not to be identified. Another wondered if it were to benefit from what he said was the New Albany legal community’s “squeaky clean” reputation.

Some speculate Balducci’s move was prompted by his practice partner, Steve Patterson, who had lived here as a child and had moved back to re-establish roots. Patterson had worked in various financial and politically connected capacities since he was forced to resign as state auditor over an illegal car tag.

They set up shop at 207 E. Main St.

Balducci seems to have been the legal brains, while Patterson’s long-time political connections worked the Mississippi byways and reached to the nation’s capital, where they maintained an office on storied Pennsylvania Avenue.

The firm named several prominent attorneys “of counsel” – associated with but not regular employees of the firm – including former U.S. Magistrate Judge Norman Gillespie, former Hinds County District Attorney Ed Peters, former Gov. Bill Allain and former Chancery Judge Rodney Shands.

The firm Patterson Balducci PLLC stirred controversy, however, when local residents came to believe Patterson and investigator Beau Buse were also attorneys.

After longtime New Albany attorney Tom McDonough noted publicly that Patterson was not an attorney, Patterson responded in a letter, “Piss ants often try to disrupt picnics, but rarely do. Be assured you will not disrupt mine.”

Steve Livingston, as president of the Union County Bar Association, issued a formal complaint to the Mississippi Bar Association about the issue in July but, as of a few days ago, had received no response.

NE MS Daily Journal
12/22/7