Washington County News

A Greenville property owner is exposed to institutional corruption, extortion from a sitting judge on the bench and a prostitution ring a block away from the Greenville Police Department.

In years past Tiffany Washington, a Greenville business owner has rented the building at 307 Washington Avenue, that is now named “Toxic Bar And Grill” from a landlord / Greenville property owner.

The arrangment went along just fine until the property owner decided it was time to sell the building.

In the rental agreement it was written that Tiffany Washington would have first option to buy the property if the owner ever decided to sell the property and would have 30 days to respond to the property owner of her intentions once the lease ran out.

The 30 day window for Tonya Washington to invoke her right to purchase the building first was set to end on October the 30th, and on October 29th Tiffany Washington called and announced she did not want to buy the building and asked for two weeks to move her property out of the building.

She was told she could have until december the first to remove all her belongings at that time. This all happened on Thurday, October the 29th.

The owner had a second buyer interested in the property and once first right of purchase was waived by Tiffany Washington the property owner’s rental agent contacted the interested party and a deal to purchase the property was agreed to, tentatively, pending legal formalities.

Then on Firday, October 30th at 4:30 in the afternoon Tonya Washington’s lawyer, Tonya Franklin, who is also Justice Court Judge, District 1, came charging over to the rental agents office stating that her client, Tiffany Washington wanted to buy the building.

That is when the rental agent informed Justice Court Judge / District 1 Tonya Franklin and Tonya Washington’s attorney that her client had waived her first right of refusal the day before, and that chapter of the story was over and they were moving forward with selling the building to a second interested party.

The following week a suit was filed for “breach of contract” by Tonya Franklin for her client Tonya Washington, asking for a temporary restraining order, keeping the property owner from selling the property until the case could be heard.

On Thursday, December 17th the case for the temporary restraining order was heard in front of Chancerry Court Judge Bennie Richard, who happened to be the judge over the property owner’s deceased husband’s estate.

During the course of this hearing it was presented that there was prostitution going on in the building, that all of the tennant’s licences had expired and her lease had expired and at this point she had no legal standing at all.

This process should have taken about 15 minues, since it was just simple a hearing about the temporary restraining order, something the judge struggled to understand thus leading to two days of the hearing.

The hearing was also partly delayed because Tonya Washington’s Attorney, Justice Court Judge, District 1, couldn’t make the previous afternoon’s session in court because she had an appointment to have her hair done.

In court on Thursday, December 17th Chancerry Judge Bennie Richard announced that he was going to approve the restraining order, preventing the owner from selling the property.

Then, off the top of his head Judge Bennie Richard announces, from the bench, “This can all be settled if you pay the leasee $40,000, and it would all be over”.

The original price for the property had been set at $34,000, which was assessed from the property owner’s late husband’s estate.

This case will move forward to the Mississippi Supreme Court, but what is truly alarming is that there happens to be a prostition ring going on 150 feet away from the back door of the Greenville Police Department.

Another alarming aspect of the hearing is Greenville Mayor, Errick Simmons, shows up in the middle of the hearing wanting to buy the property himself, leading a reasonable person to question, why is the Mayor of Greenville inserting himself in this case?

What is beyond alarming is the apparent fact a prostituion is going on outside the back door of City Hall a block away from the Greenville Police Department.

Sources within the community will tell you in confidence that alot of the citizens of Greenville know this kind of corruption is going on but they don’t have anyone to go to.

Perhaps the light this article shines on the institutional corruption by elected officials in Washington County, and the much brighter light of The Mississippi Supreme Court will finally provide the good people of Greenville the relief the dare not ask for in public.

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