Former Madison County engineer Rudy Warnock, fired in early 2016, has subpoenaed Madison County Journal records as part of his ongoing $6.3 million federal lawsuit over his termination at Canton Municipal Utilities later that year.

The subpoena signed by a Ridgeland trial lawyer commands the Journal to produce “any and all notes, records, documents and/or recordings of any Canton Municipal Utilities board meetings held during the months of December 2016 and/or January 2017.”

Warnock reveals in the CMU lawsuit that in 2016 he was caught up in an alleged murder-for-hire plot to kill Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins-Butler and Michael Simmons, the Journal’s associate publisher. Text messages obtained by the Journal show Warnock threatened to physically harm Simmons.

Journal Publisher James E. Prince III was served the subpoena Monday signed by Tad McRaney III of McCraey Montagnet Quin Noble PLLC of Ridgeland, a new attorney of record for Warnock.

Prince had no comment.

McRaney, along with John Corlew of Corlew Munford & Smith PLLC of Jackson, replaced Dorsey Carson and David Humphreys of Carson Law Group in Jackson last month as lead attorneys for Warnock in the CMU litigation.

McRaney on Tuesday said the “(CMU board) minutes only tell so much” and they are seeking recordings and other notes from the newspaper.

“Somebody seems to think there was a recording being made of a meeting,” he said.

In February, Warnock subpoenaed Marlo’s Backyard Bar-Be-Que, a Canton restaurant owned by Marlo Anderson, son of former CMU Commissioner Cleveland Anderson, and that was quashed by a judge for being excessive.

The subpoena sought corporate records of the restaurant, federal and state tax returns, sales receipts, bank deposit information and so on.

Warnock wanted the information to look into “excessive and questionable spending on CMU credit cards” in order to show how Cleveland Anderson allegedly attempted to funnel money from CMU.

On April 20, U.S. Magistrate Judge John C. Gargiulo quashed the subpoena, stating the requests “are overbroad” and although the documents may contain evidence that supports Warnock’s assertions, they “are still sensitive business records that would not otherwise be voluntarily disclosed to the public.”

The judge further stated the information “might otherwise be sought through testimony.”

Warnock filed suit against CMU in March 2017 seeking over $6.3 million in damages, claiming nearly $2.4 million is from work that had already been completed and nearly $4 million as a result of a termination clause in his contract.

It was this same lawsuit where Warnock alleges the murder-for-hire plot.

Warnock alleged that Cleveland Anderson offered to have both Hawkins-Butler and Simmons killed for $10,000 each. Anderson has since said he was only “testing” Warnock.

According to the affidavit, on Aug. 31, 2016, Warnock said he complained to Anderson about a headline in the Journal involving CMU written by Simmons.

“A few weeks later, on September 18, 2016, Mr. Anderson asked me to meet him that morning at the Kroger parking lot at Highway 463/Colony Crossing,” the affidavit states. “I did. I was shocked when Mr. Anderson told me that he had family in New Orleans and Chicago who could ‘handle’ journalist Michael Simmons.”

The statement continues, “He offered to have Mr. Simmons murdered for $10,000. He said: ‘Once I tell them to do it, there aren’t any take backs.’”

Warnock says a week later Anderson offered to have Hawkins-Butler killed for $10,000, too. He alleges in the affidavit his wife, Brooke Warnock, witnessed that offer.

Warnock says he told Anderson in the first instance that he hasn’t ever hurt anybody and won’t start now. He says he laughed off the second offer and attributed it to Anderson possibly being drunk.

In a series of text messages Anderson provided to the Journal back in December 2016, Warnock allegedly sent a group message saying he’d pay good money to have Simmons harmed

“He needs this ass whipped,” the texts Anderson provided read. “Need a down home bitch slapping!! I’d pay good money to have his slapped silly.”

The affidavit also alleges that Anderson sought a $200,000 bribe from Warnock in the form of padding an engineering contract.

In 2016, after he was fired, Madison County settled a lawsuit with Warnock for $550,000 after he sued in a dispute over $1.4 million in unpaid invoices.

Some of the invoices involved dated back nearly a decade at the time of the lawsuit.

As part of the settlement, both sides admitted no wrongdoing.