Hampton denies Scott lawsuit’s allegations

TUPELO – Eric Hampton denies he had anything to do with nearly every allegation against him contained in a lawsuit by Lee County Superintendent of Education Mike Scott.
Hampton, a Tupelo businessman and chairman of the Lee County Democratic Party, officially answered Scott’s accusations in documents filed at the Lee County Circuit Court.
The case also is looking for a presiding judge after withdrawals by all four of District 1’s circuit judges and a special judge appointed by the Mississippi Supreme Court.
July 1, Tupelo attorney Jamie Franks, who also is chairman of the state Democrats, notified Scott, the Lee County School Board and its attorney that he intended to file an alienation affection lawsuit against Scott, who was elected as a Democrat in 2007.
He said he wanted at least $500,000 damages for Scott’s affair with Franks’ then-wife, Lisa, who also works for the county school system.
The Frankses were granted a divorce in late June on grounds of irreconcilable differences.
July 12, Hampton led a meeting of the Lee County Democratic Executive Committee and secured the group’s official displeasure at Scott’s behavior.
On July 23, Scott sued Franks and Hampton, first asking the circuit court to decide that he shouldn’t owe Franks anything because Scott insisted it was Jamie Franks’ behavior that “alienated” Lisa Franks to want to end their marriage.
Scott also accused Franks of using Hampton to bring Scott’s behavior before the party’s executive committee for a vote on sanctions. Franks and Hampton deny that they worked in concert to embarrass or threaten Scott.
In Hampton’s five-page document, filed by his attorney, Paul Chiniche of Oxford, he also states that:
n He was not used by Franks to “maliciously interfere” with Scott’s employment.
n He and Franks did not use the Democratic Party’s name to pressure Scott to resign from office.
n Franks did not tell him in a telephone conversation to assure Democratic Executive Committee members that he had proof of his allegations against Scott.
n He did not contact the news media about demands on Scott.
n He denies a controversy between Scott, Franks and himself or that Franks intends to sue Scott and the school district.
Chiniche was not available to explain why they did not respond to an allegation that claims Franks and Hampton defamed Scott by “making false statements” to the news media that the superintendent used taxpayer money to carry out the affair.
Hampton denies that Scott is entitled to any kind of judgment in court, and that he and Franks were not lawfully authorized to act by the local or state party.
Aug. 4, the state Supreme Court appointed Senior Judge Woodrow W. Brand Jr., 76, of Houston, to hear the case, But after reviewing the case, he decided to remove himself, he said in his recusal order.
A substitute special judge must be appointed to hear the case.
Late Thursday, Jamie Franks had not officially answered Scott’s allegations.

Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@djournal.com.

Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

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