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Final 2 linked to Hinds County election grant embezzlement will not serve jail time



Undare and Trafonda Kidd
Undare and Trafonda Kidd (WLBT photo)
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Undare and Trafonda Kidd, the final individuals connected to a Hinds County election grant embezzlement case, will not face jail time after their cases were remanded, according to recent orders, WLBT reports.

The couple had received tens of thousands of dollars in grant money from the Hinds County Election Commission, which was intended to ensure voter safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. WLBT reports Undare Kidd was accepted into a pre-trial intervention program, and his case has been remanded to the court’s inactive docket. Kidd will remain in the program for a year and will pay $39,500 in restitution to the state. He will also pay $3,650 to the Office of the District Attorney for the administration of the program and $1,000 for the office’s investigative costs, with monthly payments of $300.

As part of the order, Kidd has admitted his involvement in the scheme, which caused one election commissioner to resign. Trafonda Kidd’s case was also remanded, and her husband has accepted full responsibility for the charges. The orders were signed by Hinds County Circuit Judge Debra Gibbs. Undare Kidd’s agreement was signed on Jan. 3 and was filed on Feb. 6, while Trafonda Gibbs’ order was filed on Feb. 17.

A WLBT investigation found that Undare Kidd’s company, Innovative Concepts 50 LLC, received over $149,000 in contracts from the commission in 2020, including $39,500 for the distribution of voter education materials before the 2020 general election. The contracts were paid for with funds from a grant provided by the Center for Tech and Civic Life and were intended to be used to keep voters and workers safe while voting during the pandemic. Indictments allege that the work was never completed.

None of the co-conspirators in the case have received jail time. Cedric Cornelius, a Clinton businessman, and Sudie Jones-Teague each received a 20-year suspended sentence, with Cornelius required to spend five years in the state’s intensive supervision program. Jones-Teague must participate in the program for a year, with the remaining four years under supervised probation.

Former District 2 Election Commissioner Toni Johnson received 20 years, with 15 years suspended and five years in the intensive supervision program. Johnson was also forced to step down as commissioner and, under state statute, may not run for elected office again.

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