GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Two men charged with bribery in connection to their roles with the Harrison County Utility Authority were called to testify in court Wednesday involving a lawsuit against the utility authority by the Walker family.
Former Harrison County Utility Authority Executive Director Kamran Pahlavan said little.
"I invoke my rights in the 5th amendment," Pahlavan said.
Pahlavan, who has been indicted on federal bribery charges involving a conspiracy scheme at the utility authority, only told the court his name and where he lived. Every question after that, he read a statement pleading the fifth.
Pahlavan's lack of answers surprised Walker family attorney Gary White.
"I wish he hadn't," White said. "We have been trying for two days to find out what the utility authority is going to do with the 50 foot easement, and we have yet to find anyone who will tell us what they are going to do. I think Kamran could have."
White claims the Harrison County Utility Authority took too much of the Walker's Woolmarket property and paid them way less than it was worth.
Former Harrison County Utility Authority Board Secretary Kim Savant, who recently pleaded guilty to taking bribes, was also called to the stand. White asked Savant why the utility authority took 35 feet more of the Walker's property than neighboring properties.
"The best answer we got was from Kim Savant, who said, 'Ask the engineer.' I did, and he said, 'I don't know,'" White said.
White fired several more questions at Savant, who answered every one of them but not always with the answer White was looking for.
"No sir, I can't say that I recall that," Savant said.
Harrison County Utility Authority attorney Jim Simpson said the utility authority board took the property to install water and sewer lines, paid the amount an appraiser valued the property at and treated the Walker family fairly. Simpson claims White is not being fair in court.
"It's the same thing yesterday," Simpson said. "The rules require each side to exchange documents before the case. Mr. White just doesn't do that."
The trial is expected to last one more day, and then a jury will have to decide who is right.
Biloxi Mayor AJ Holloway was subpoenaed to testify in the case but was never called to the stand. White said the court will make a statement about Holloway on Thursday.