Bishop Jeffrey Stallworth is no stranger to the court system.
In years past, Stallworth, pastor of Jackson’s non-denominational Word and Worship Church has been engulfed with legal matters both personally and professionally. Some of those matters are still pending.
Early this month, Stallworth took to the courts again, this time in federal court. He’s suing Gov. Phil Bryant, the state of Mississippi, the Mississippi Legislature, East Metro Parkway and the Mississippi Department of Transportation, for what he and others allege is a “hostile takeover” of Jackson’s Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport.
Stallworth, a former commissioner of the airport says if this law goes into effect it will cause irreparable harm and damage to him, residents of Jackson and the city at large.
“I’m a business owner. I own land in Jackson. This bill essentially allows the state to take my land without providing any type of compensation,” Stallworth said. “This is wrong and should not be allowed to happen.”
Stallworth is challenging HB 2162, which allows the state to take control of the airport, abolish its current five-member board, all of whom are appointed by the mayor of Jackson. The bill redesigns the board with a nine-member makeup, giving the mayor of Jackson and the city council one appointment each. The governor would have two appointments while the lieutenant governor, the Mississippi Development Authority, adjutant general, Rankin and Madison counties would each have one appointment.
Stallworth says the actions of the governor and members of the Legislature are unfair.
“I believe the governor is a nice man, but what he and members of the Legislature did during this last legislative session is unfair and racist in its purest form,” Stallworth said.