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Three Indicted For Role In Beef Plant

By David Howell

OXFORD – Three Georgia men were indicted in federal court in Oxford Tuesday for their alleged fraudelent role in the defunct Mississippi Beef Processors located on the western edge of Yalobusha County near Oakland.

    A Justice Department news release reported the men charged in the 16-count indictment include Robert L. Moultrie, 67, of Smyrna, Ga.; Nixon E. Cawood, 58, of Woodstock, Ga.; and Charles K. Morehead, 57, of Lilburn, Ga. The company they worked for, Facility Holding Corp, of Smyrna, Ga., was also indicted.

    The Justice Department news release also said the men were released on bond after making initial appearances in Oxford Tuesday.

    The Clarion Ledger reported the 16-count federal indictment alleges conspiracy to corruptly influence and reward a public official and a scheme to defraud numerous individuals, entities and the state of Mississippi.

    The Facility Group of Smyrna, Ga., acted as project manager for the beef plant after the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) hired it in June 2003 for $3.2 million. Part of the Facility Group’s role was to audit the project.

    The Georgia company was hired after Carother’s Construction had worked for more than a year on the project with MDA as project manager.

    Over budget and behind schedule, the beef plant finally opened in August 2004, but closed three months later after CEO Richard Hall had run out of capital and had problems with the design of the facility. Prior to opening, the state-backed operation had been plagued with cost overruns.

    The final price tag to state taxpayers for the failed project is approximately $55 million.

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