Published August 24, 2007
LAWRENCE, Miss. – Ottis Cooksey is the owner of the Lawrence BP station and the honorary mayor of the unincorporated town of Lawrence, Miss.
Cooksey and his "board of alderman" meet daily at his store to take care of the town's business, which he admits is very limited.
"They expect very little out of the mayor, because that's about what they get is very little," Cooksey said with a laugh.
There is a fair amount of prestige that comes with being mayor. And Cooksey is willing to give that prestige, that honor, that power that comes along with being mayor, for the right price.
Cooksey has decided to sell his little fiefdom on Highway 80 in western Newton County, his store, complete with gas pumps, a barber shop, and a post office, to the highest bidder.
It's being marketed as an opportunity to buy the whole town. It's the brainchild of local real estate agent Jimmie Lee.
"I googled and found out this (Cooksey's station) is Lawrence. This is Lawrence, Mississippi, the whole downtown district, so I said I'll advertise it that way," Lee told Meridian television station WTOK.
The advertising has worked. Lee said he's received calls from all over the country, expressing interest in buying a town.
Cooksey said he's willing to help whoever buys it to learn the ropes, both of being the owner of a business, and the mayor of the town. However, he says he will have some regrets about giving up his title.
"I've just never had much of a title. That's about the biggest title I've ever had," said Cooksey.
But he will give it up, and settle comfortably into retirement, for the low, low price of $136,000.