SOUTHAVEN, Miss. -- Southaven Chamber of Commerce board member Denise Pratt says she’s fed up with the way she says the chamber does business, and has filed a complaint with DeSoto Chancery Court to force changes.
In item 14 of the lawsuit, Pratt accuses other board members of trying to kick her out.
”The Chamber of Commerce has, the board of directors, they’ve tried on two separate occasions to remove me from the board," she said.
Why? Her petition cites her friendship with former Southaven Mayor Greg Davis, and that fact that he worked for her for a short time.
”The Ethics Commission said who I hire has nothing to do with the Chamber of Commerce," she said.
And it’s not the first time the Ethics Commission has heard from the Southaven Chamber.
The court complaint also cites the chamber’s plan to buy an office in the same building as the insurance agency owned by Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite. Records filed with the lawsuit show the board abandoned that plan on the advice of the Mississippi Ethics Commission.
Meantime, Pratt charges in items 11 through 13 of the complaint, there’s money missing and board members who’ve stayed well past their terms, in violation of bylaws.
”You have to have a general membership meeting every year, we have not had one since I’ve been on the board two years," she said. "Every year you have to have an election. There has not been an election of the board of directors.”
Pratt believes that makes every move they’ve made this year, maybe longer, illegal.
We tried to reach Chamber President Jeff Fleld by phone but the number was disconnected. So we went to chamber offices at City Hall, where we learned Field and Executive Director Carmen Kyle were in a special conference in Cincinnati.
Pratt isn’t asking for monetary damages, she just wants an accounting of the money, and the chamber forced to follow its own rules.
”I just want everyone to follow the bylaws and do the right thing," she said.
But she says months of letters warning them of that, forced her into taking the matter to court.