District 3 Supervisor Willie “Deuce” Wright says he believes the Yazoo County Convention and Visitors Bureau isn’t being fair when it comes to distributing funds.
“The way that they’re treating people up there is wrong,” Wright said, at the Board of Supervisors meeting Friday. “It’s a disgrace what’s going on up there. The word’s been out in the streets, and I’ve been hearing about it.”
Wright said he suspects race is a factor in the CVB’s decision making process. He described visiting the last CVB board meeting and seeing two groups treated differently.
“I’m a supervisor of the county, and I was up there to see,” Wright said. “There was a lady who came up there from the Antique Days who wanted $7,000. They turned around and gave the lady $3,000. Then here come the blacks that wanted $2,500. They treated them like a stepchild. Then they told them the money shouldn’t be spent to buy food because they didn’t want somebody to get sick on it and it come back on them.”
Johnny Crow, president of the CVB board said he thinks Wright may have drawn his conclusions from attending part of one meeting and not knowing the reasoning behind the board’s decisions.
Crow said that the board has three new members who are committed to following the rules about how the money is supposed to be spent. Crow said that the rules weren’t always followed in the past, and now some people are upset because they can’t get money for things that should have never been allowed in the first place.
“It’s all spelled out what the money can be used for, and it’s taxpayer money so we must be careful to follow the rules,” Crow said.
Crow said that the board gave the Antique Days more money because it is an event that has proven to draw visitors to Yazoo County, which is the CVB’s mission. He said the other event was a “block party” at the Triangle that probably wouldn’t draw visitors.
“In the past the CVB has funded events that were basically private parties,” Crow said. “We don’t do that anymore, and some people aren’t happy about that.”
Crow said it’s also possible that Wright is upset because he previously applied for money to purchase hams and turkeys for senior citizens, and the request was denied because the request did not comply with the CVB’s guidelines.
Wright said he believes the board has threatened the jobs of CVB employees, including Executive Director Shanitra Finley.
“She’s working two jobs up there and getting paid for one, and she’s in fear of her job,” Wright said.
He said that Communication Coordinator Dawn Rosenberg Davis was afraid of being fired over posts on social media.
“This woman was expressing her opinion,” Wright said. “That’s all.”
Crow said the board has not attempted to fire anyone.
Wright said he will continue to focus on the CVB, and he’s not letting the issue go.
“Thomas Johnson (CVB board member) asked me if what I said was a threat, you can tell him it’s a promise,” Wright said. “If I have to get in the streets and make sure this stuff stops, believe me I will. I’m a supervisor, but I will go back to where I come from. People are talking about this on the other side of the tracks. I stand here today, and I want it to be known that I have a problem with what’s going on up there.”
No other supervisors commented on the issue, and the other members seemed caught off guard by Wright’s comments. Wright said he knows he might upset some of the other supervisors with his comments, and he doesn’t care.
“I swear before God today and everything I love that we could have blood loss today and friendship loss, but if you think I’m going to sit here and I’m not going to say nothing when there’s racial stuff going on, then you’ve got another deal coming,” Wright said. “I don’t care if y’all don’t like me after today. It’s wrong, and we shouldn’t let it happen.”