Court upholds Secretary of State’s Findings in Watkins Case
Jackson, MS—The Chancery Court of Hinds County, First Judicial District, has ordered Watkins Development, LLC and David Watkins, Sr. to pay $587,084.34, plus interest, in restitution; $50,000 in penalties for violations of the Mississippi Securities Act; and, $18,047.39 to the taxpayer for investigation costs and administrative proceedings.
In its Opinion and Order, the Court affirmed the Secretary of State’s Final Order as follows:
• When Watkins failed to disclose his intentions to use the bond proceeds for any purpose other than the improvements for the Retro Metro project, Watkins violated the Mississippi Securities Act by employing a device, scheme, or artifice to mislead or deceive;
• Watkins’ use of a portion of the bond proceeds for the Retro Metro project to finance the activities of the Mississippi Law Enforcement Center, LLC in Meridian is a material omission and a violation of the Mississippi Securities Act; and,
• Watkins’ misuse of the Retro Metro bond proceeds was an act and course of business that operated to mislead or deceive. The Court found this was in connection with the offer and the sale of securities and a violation of the Mississippi Securities Act.
The Court found Watkins’ failure to disclose the existence of a Development Agreement did not violate the Mississippi Securities Law and therefore, reversed that finding from the Secretary of State’s Final Order.
Delbert Hosemann Press Release