Fight between property owner and city goes to appeals court

MADISON — Property owner Mike Crook’s fight with the city of Madison over an ordinance he claims is designed to keep renters out of the Jackson suburb has made its way to the state Court of Appeals.

Oral arguments are set Oct. 15 in Jackson.

Crook was convicted in 2011 of violating the ordinance and fined $600.

City officials say Crook, a former Madison County chancery clerk and ex-Ridgeland aldermen, didn’t post a $10,000 bond required under the ordinance despite numerous letters and phone calls to him.

A city judge ruled Madison’s ordinance was constitutionally sound and in compliance with state law. But Crook argues charging landlords a $10,000 bond to rent in a home is a way to keep renters out.

The case is among dozens before the Appeals Court in its September-October term.

Under the ordinance, passed in 2008, landlords must post bonds or other adequate sureties to be in compliance with Madison’s safety codes, according to the city attorney’s office.

Crook has lost appeals in Madison County Court and circuit court. A circuit judge upheld Crook’s conviction and fine in 2012.

The city argues in court documents that it has a right to adopt ordinances dealing with general public health and safety.

Among other cases before the Appeals Court in September and October:

— Brian Bradshaw’s appeal of his 2012 murder conviction in Harrison County. Bradshaw was sentenced to life in prison for his role in the 2010 death of Benny Ray Johnston. Prosecutors say Johnston was killed at a Gulfport home and his body was found four days later in some woods.

— Milford Ivey’s post-conviction petition for a new trial. Ivey pleaded guilty in Tishomingo County in 2009 to three counts involving sex crimes against minors. He is serving a 15-year sentence. Ivey pleaded guilty to two counts of fondling and one count of sexual battery.

— Eric Jerome Boone’s appeal of his five-year sentence on charges that he converted premium payments to his personal use. Prosecutors said Boone collected premium payments in the amount of $3,452 and failed to deposit them, using them instead for his own use. He was convicted in 2010 in DeSoto County.

— John Edward Corser’s appeal of his conviction of two counts of sexual battery. Corser was sentenced to 35 years in prison in 2012 in Hancock County. Prosecutors said Corser was accused of having sex with his stepdaughter in 2009. Prosecutors said the girl was then 12.

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