Back in May 2013, MissPres ran two posts (A Hustling Contractor and the Governor of Mississippi May 22, 2013, and Briber Gibson, the Hustling Contractor REVEALED! May 24, 2013) detailing a hustling contractor’s attempt at subverting the construction bid process for the New Capitol building. Last we heard of this contractor “Briber Gibson” (as some newspaper reports named him), he had been released from jail on November 25, 1900 and given a bond set at $5,000.00 to answer to the grand jury, which would convene on January 15, 1901.
After his release from jail, the Indiana based contractor Jordan E. Gibson returned to the Governor’s office and requested to be allowed to bid on the contract for the New Capitol. The Capitol Commission “declined to allow him access to the plans or specifications or to consider any bid from him”[The Daily Picayune 11-27-1900]. With nothing to do in Mississippi, Gibson headed back to his hometown of Logansport, Indiana until he was to appear back in Mississippi before a grand jury.
Newspapers reported that Gibson was tight-lipped in Jackson but once he returned north he “unbuckled his mouth” leading to this Daily Picayune headline and article:
Jackson Bankers Resent Being Classed as Friendly
With Indiana Contractor Under a Cloud.
Surprise at Gibson’s Brazen Interview Published in Louisville.
THE PICAYUNE BUREAU
213 Capitol Street
Jackson, Miss., Dec. 2, 1900
It seems that Gibson, the Indiana contractor who came to grief here because of an attempt to bribe the governor to award him the contract for a million dollar state house, and who refused to talk for publication here, has unbuckled his mouth at long range, and misrepresented two of Jackson’s most prominent citizens, John W. Todd and Dr. S. S. Carter, president of the First National Bank. He [Gibson] is quoted in an interview with the Courier-Journal, of Louisville, as saying that these two gentlemen expressed friendship for him. On the contrary, both of them denounce his conduct, and applaud the prompt action taken by Governor Longino to bring him to justice.
The brazenness of Gibson becomes more manifest daily. In the Louisville interview he is also quoted as saying that he intends to bid for the contract for the Mississippi statehouse, in the face of the positive expressed refusal of the majority of the state house commissioners to allow him to have access to the plans and specifications or to receive or open his bid. He protests his innocence, of course, and says he does not believe the Hinds county grand jury will indict him, and that he will return to Jackson shortly. Following is what he says about Mayor Todd and President Carter, of the First National Bank:
“The president of the First National Bank, the mayor and the other officials stated to me that they were my friends.”
President Carter and Mayor Todd, in repudiation of the above, each authorized the following statement:
President Carter said:
“I never saw Gibson until he came to put up money for me to make his bond. I think Governor Longino acted entirely right in the matter. My acquaintance with him was purely a business one, and I never told him I was his friend.”
Mayor Todd said: “I not only never seen Gibson in my life, but I have illegible him. I indorse fully Governor Longino’s action in the matter. Illegible conduct merits my severest illegible.
I am not sure how Jordan Gibson thought a misconstrued friendship would justify an attempted bribery charge. At some point maybe I’ll be able to see a copy of the Courier-Journal to get his full side of the story. What could have changed Mr. Gibson’s opinion on remaining silent? Stay tuned to find out!
Categories: Historic Preservation