An aide to Sanford Bishop left a voicemail containing profanity for a farmer he says cursed used a racial epithet about Bishop. Jamey Crozier threatened to prevent Edward Wilkins from obtaining Farm Service Agency funding. Audio of the phone call can be found here.
Crozier (Bishop’s aide) contends the message regarding federal Farm Service Agency funding was left after Wilkins made a slur against Bishop following a discussion in which Wilkins expressed his displeasure over Bishop’s vote favoring passage of federal health care reform. Wilkins denied making any such remark, which is alleged to have occurred at the Peanut Proud Festival in Blakely in late March.
According to a memo to Bishop that Crozier issued on March 27 — the day of the recorded phone message — Wilkins had been introduced to the congressman and told Bishop that he would not support his re-election bid because of his support of President Obama’s health care reform bill.
Crozier wrote to Bishop: “As your conversation concluded … you proceeded to the town square, Mr. Wilkins turned and said ‘f*** that G****** n*****.'”
Crozier added that he thought that Wilkins was “clearly trying to rile me up” and that he didn’t want to “ruin” Bishop’s day by informing him of Wilkins’ alleged comment. Crozier said he had three witnesses who also heard Wilkins.
“No, I did not say that, and I have witnesses to back me up, too,” Wilkins said. “These are tough times for farmers, and the only option many have is to go through Jamey and Bishop’s office for help with the FSA money.
“He (Crozier) had no right to leave me a voice mail like that. And I think he was trying to send a message to all farmers that don’t support Sanford Bishop.”
FSA money is Farm Service Agency loans which are issued to farmers when traditional lending is unavailable or they have been turned down by a bank for a loan. The cap is $300,000 yearly. An FSA loan can be the lifeblood of many rural farmers.
Crozier readily admitted leaving the coarse message.
“About four hours after the event was over, I took it upon myself to address Mr. Wilkins’ comments in the form of leaving him a voice mail on my personal phone,” he wrote in the memo to Bishop. “I should not have taken this into my own hands, but I should have reported the racial slur to proper authorities. And, for that, I am sorry and take full responsibility for my actions.
“On the same note, I do not apologize to Mr. Wilkins because I heard exactly what he said to my boss and friend.”