Hinds Co. election commissioner given $100,000 bond following indictment
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) – A Hinds County Election Commissioner charged with 26 counts against the government has removed himself from Raymond Detention Center after receiving a $100,000 bond from Hinds County Circuit Judge Tomie Green.
However, it was unclear whether Cedric Cornelius, a Clinton businessman arrested on related charges, had also linked up. He, too, received $100,000 bail from Green.
On Friday, officers from the Mississippi State Auditor’s Office arrested District 2 Commissioner Toni Johnson and Cornelius on a series of charges related to the use of county grants to provide voter safety during 2020 elections.
In 2020, the county received $1.9 million in grants, which were designed to protect voters from COVID-19 in that year’s election.
Instead, a 13-page indictment against Johnson shows that hundreds of thousands of dollars of those funds were used to award contracts that were never performed and to purchase televisions and equipment from personal protection that Johnson would have kept for personal use.
Months after WLBT discovered the expenses, Johnson was indicted by a grand jury on 26 counts, including charges of fraud, embezzlement and accepting bribes. Cornelius was charged with 26 counts, including conspiracy, bribery and fraud.
The commissioner, who was chairman of the election commission at the time the actions took place, reportedly accepted a bribe of $6,000 or more to ensure the contracts were awarded to Cornelius and his company, Apogee Group II.
Apogee, which is listed as a production company on the Mississippi Secretary of State’s website, was hired for cleaning services and to provide election equipment audits after the November 2020 election.
However, court records indicate that the work was never carried out.
|Apogee group contract amounts||Services to be provided||Work status|
|$118,500||Distribution of electoral material||Not done|
|$38,105||Audits of voting machines||Not done|
|$17,825||Media services, photography, etc.||Not done|
|$14,341||Cleaning work||Not done|
The indictments also link Johnson and Cornelius to Sudie Jones-Teague.
Jones-Teague is the registered agent for New Beginnings, a beauty supply store in Crystal Springs. This company was contracted by the commission to provide cleaning services at the Election Commission headquarters and polling stations in District 3 and to conduct training lunches for new commissioners.
|New Beginnings LLC Contract Amounts||Services to be provided||Job status|
|About. $118,000||Electoral Commission Headquarters, Constituency Clerk’s Office and Precinct Cleaning||not completed|
|$4,216||training lunch||not completed|
Court documents indicate that the lunches were never provided. When initially questioned last year on whether those lunches had taken place, other members of the Elections Committee told District 2 Supervisor David Archie that they did not recall having been there. attended.
Jones-Teague was listed by Judge Green as one of Johnson and Cornelius’ co-defendants. However, no information about his case was found in the Mississippi Electronic Courts database.
Johnson’s case was initially assigned to Circuit Judge Adrienne Wooten. However, Wooten recused herself from the case and it was transferred to Green, the outgoing senior circuit judge.
Green also took on Cornelius’ case after Wooten recused herself. Information about Cornelius’ obligations has not been released.
Johnson’s indictment is shown below.
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