Land Developer And Two Others Plead Innocent To Charges

The developer of a Vancleave subdivision, his daughter, and a business associate pleaded innocent Thursday to charges of conspiracy, mail fraud, and violating the federal Clean Water Act.

The charges against developer Robert Lucas of Lucedale stem from a development beset by sewage and drainage problems.

A 41-count indictment accuses Lucas, his daughter, Robbie Lucas Wrigley, an Ocean Springs real estate agent, and M-E Thompson, a professional engineer from D'Iberville, of selling lots in a wetlands area with unworkable septic systems.

Thompson is accused of falsely certifying to the Jackson County Planning Department that his designs for septic tanks were in compliance with state Health Department regulations.

The three defendants entered their pleas in US District Court in Gulfport.

The indictment also alleges that the trio ignored warnings and cease and desist orders from the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency concerning development and installing of the unworkable septic systems.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)