Wednesday, January 28, 2015

High court denies Aldridge’s appeal

High court denies Aldridge’s appeal

By Bobby Harrison
Daily Journal Jackson Bureau
JACKSON – The Mississippi Supreme Court on Thursday denied state Rep. Brian Aldridge’s attempt to overturn a chancery court decision that he must pay more than $200,000 to the estate of his deceased aunt.
The state’s highest court, in a 7-1 decision, refused to reverse the ruling of Chancellor Michael Malski, who found in a 2011 civil trial that Aldridge’s father, Louis, had “plundered” more than $520,000 from Florence Aldridge while she was sick and Louis Aldridge held power of attorney over her estate.
Malski ruled that Brian Aldridge, a three-term Lee County legislator, was not liable for his father’s actions, but was responsible for the money from Florence Aldridge’s estate that was directed to Touched By An Angel Ministries Inc., a charity for disabled children headed by Brian Aldridge. The Mississippi Court of Appeals upheld that ruling in March.
Documents from the 2011 civil trial where Malski presided revealed that Florence Aldridge’s assets were spent on vacations, casino visits, cars and other items.
Aldridge argued at the civil trial he did not know about his father’s actions.
The civil trial resulted in Brian Aldridge and his parents in June 2013 facing criminal chargesrelated to the incident.
But in August of this year, Attorney General Jim Hood dropped the charge against Brian Aldridge. Hood said at the time the case against the state legislator could not be made because of the death of Florence Aldridge.
“The grand jury thought he needed to stand trial and believed he was involved,” Hood said at the time. “…It was just unfortunate that the witness died.”
Hood also said in August there was sufficient testimony from the civil trial to continue the criminal charges against Aldridge’s parents, Louis and Janice Aldridge.
Aldridge’s legislative salary was ordered to be garnished as a result of the civil trial.
Aldridge, a Republican, was elected to the state House in 2003 and previously served as chairman of the Mississippi Legislative Conservative Coalition.
On Thursday, Aldridge referred all questions to his attorney, T.K. Moffett of Tupelo, who was unavailable for comment.

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