Franks, Scott affair disputes settled

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – A 30-month legal dispute over a Lee County schools affair, which contributed to the then-schools’ superintendent re-election defeat, ended Wednesday with a confidential settlement.
Tupelo attorney Jamie Franks and former county education chief Mike Scott began their legal battle in mid-2010 when Franks threatened to expose Scott’s extramarital affair with Franks’ then-wife, if Scott did not resign.
Before Franks could file his alienation of affection lawsuit, Scott countered with his own accusations of Franks’ attempts at extortion, defamation and interference with his job.
Wednesday, all claims “known and unknown” were dismissed on agreement by both sides.
Franks’ attorney, Jason Herring of Tupelo, also announced that Lee County School District’s insurance carrier recently settled Franks’ claims against the school district.
Franks included the district school board in his Scott lawsuit, claiming it created conditions for the affair to continue and approved spending in its furtherance.
Settlement amounts are confidential, so no public documents show how much money was paid out to whom.
Last February, Circuit Judge Henry Lackey, who presided over Wednesday’s hearing, agreed that Franks was entitled to seek evidence and present facts to the court about his allegations.
Scott was represented by Jim Waide of Tupelo.
Franks, a former legislator, was chairman of the Mississippi Democratic Party at the time the dispute became public.
When Scott sued Franks, he also sued Tupelo businessman Eric Hampton, who was chairman of the Lee County Democratic Party. In July 2010, Hampton appeared before the Lee County School Board to demand Democrat Scott’s resignation for the affair.
“We have to police our own,” Hampton said at the time.
Ultimately, the Frankses and the Scotts divorced.
Waide said Wednesday that Scott’s claims against Hampton also were dismissed.
After the hearing, Herring said Franks was satisfied with the settlement.
patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com