Langston Suit Fraught with Politics

The state is currently suing the attorneys and the Langston Law Firm to return $14 million paid to them by MCI/WorldCom in a $126.2 million tax-fraud settlement with the state in 2005. WorldCom agreed to give the state $100 million in cash and ownership of WorldCom’s downtown property, and it directly gave $4.2 million to the Children’s Justice Center. State Auditor Stacey Pickering said attorneys acting on the attorney general’s behalf can only receive money from the state, however, not a third party, and is demanding the firm repay the attorney fees after winning the $126.2 million haul for the state.

The suit, now sitting in Hinds County Circuit Court, makes an entertaining read, and speaks to the creeping influence of politics in the state’s big-money cases. Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood and Langston, for example, fought an uphill battle to settle with WorldCom, a hill made steeper by the company’s friends in high places, according to case filings.

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