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Hosemann seeking penalties from developer for moving project funds

JACKSON — The secretary of state’s office is questioning whether Jackson developer David Watkins took funds from a mall project and diverted it to a project to build a new police station in Meridian.

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann is seeking administrative penalties plus restitution of $587,084.

Watkins denied any wrongdoing during an administrative hearing that ended this week before an administrative officer at the secretary of state’s office.

In a legal notice, Hosemann says Watkins Development diverted about a half-million dollars in bond proceeds for the Metrocenter Mall project in Jackson to close the deal on the police station project.

Watkins’ attorneys have acknowledged he moved the money from a Retro Metro bank account that was set up for the mall redevelopment to the law enforcement project in Meridian.

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