By Patsy Brumfield
TUPELO – Circuit Judge Henry Lackey will decide whether outgoing Lee County Superintendent of Education Mike Scott’s legal redress issues against attorney Jamie Franks will stand or not.
On Thursday, Lackey heard arguments from three sides about three cases, but the focus was on Scott’s 2010 complaint that Franks tried to pressure him out of elected office to avoid an alienation of affection lawsuit.
Scott admits an affair with Franks’ then-wife, Lisa, who worked with him at the school district. He lost his re-election bid in November.
“This thing is going to court, isn’t it?” Lackey asked almost rhetorically in the Lee County Justice Center courtroom.
Scott’s attorney, Jim Waide, told the court that his alleged abuse at Jamie Franks’ hands offsets any monetary award due to Franks. Scott claims he’s suffered damages from an alleged conspiracy between Franks and Tupelo businessman Eric Hampton to embarrass him, interfere with his job and defame him.
Hampton, then chairman of the Lee County Democratic Committee, first made public a threat to expose the affair by demanding Scott’s resignation. Franks was chairman of the state party.
Also under the gun is the Lee County School Board, which Franks insists is liable for knowing about the affair and approving taxpayer expenses for travel, accommodations and gifts, which he claims furthered the alienation of affection.
The board’s insurance company argues that it isn’t obliged to cover Scott’s legal bills, although the board says it is.
Last April, Franks countersued Scott for $500,000. He also asked the court to throw out Scott’s claims against him.
Franks’ attorney, Jason Herring, told Lackey that if Scott is due anything from a trial, a jury will make that determination.