State Auditor Stacey Pickering Issues Demand to Watson for $12,333

State Auditor Stacey Pickering issued a demand to Mississippi State Interim President Vance Watson for $12,333 for landscaping work performed on property belonging to Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning Commissioner Tom Meredith on March 22, 2007, following an investigation by the State Auditor’s Office launched in September.

“Our investigation revealed that landscaping work was done by Mississippi State University after a request from Dr. Meredith to Dr. Watson for recommendation of landscaping and soil testing on Meredith’s residence in Rankin County. The project developed past normal activities performed by the Extension Service and involved Mississippi State equipment, personnel and materials,” said State Auditor Stacey Pickering. “Dr. Watson, then Vice President and director of the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Experiment Station, was the official responsible for this project and must reimburse Mississippi State University for the cost of the project.”

The $12,333 represents the principal, interest and investigative costs involved in this investigation. Watson paid $12,333 to the State Auditor’s Clearing Account on Wednesday, October 15, and those funds will be returned to Mississippi State University.

Since taking office January 10, State Auditor Stacey Pickering has recovered $1,688,218.23 in taxpayer funds that were misappropriated, misused or embezzled.

State Auditor Stacey Pickering