HARRISON COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - A tug-of-war is developing over a clothing donation closet set up to help families in Harrison County.
It’s the latest controversy connected to Harrison County Youth Court Judge Michael Dickinson.
The woman who started the charitable effort told county supervisors on Monday the judge took over the clothes closet and she wants it back.
“There’s so many members of our community who have put their trust in me and they gave me their items to make sure that those items got out to families in need in our community,” said Shanna Bordelon.
While Bordelon worked at youth court, she said she put her heart and soul into building a clothes closet for those in need in Harrison County.
“It has become a passion for me because it’s a resource that our community needs,” she said.
Now she’s fighting to regain control of that clothes closet.
Bordelon said in January, Judge Dickinson told her to turn in her key to the closet. A few weeks later, she was fired after five years at the youth court.
Monday, Bordelon and supporters of the closet appeared before county supervisors who unanimously voted to return the contents of the clothing closet to Bordelon.
“She had been collecting these items many years before Dickinson was even on the bench. I would be fine with releasing it all right back to her because of that,” said Supervisor Rebecca Powers.
Bordelon said she received permission to set up the closet in a county-owned trailer before Judge Dickinson was elected, but she said it was never an official county program.
“Everything went directly to Shanna because she has been giving to the community in all aspects. It didn’t matter who were affiliated with, it was just for families in need,” said donor Rachel Barnes.
Dickinson was on the bench Monday and not at the supervisors’ meeting. He issued a statement, saying, “I take the position that the clothing items, etc., at issue are Intervention Court property pursuant to Miss. Code Ann. Section 9-23-19, which requires the property be used for intervention court purposes only. If Mrs. Bordelon disputes that, I am happy to request an Attorney General’s opinion on the matter. Bottom line: I want to be sure the law is followed with respect to the distribution of that property.”
WLOX learned after this story was aired that the Board of Supervisors did vote unanimously to return contents of clothing closet to Shanna Bordelon.