Folks, we now have a free for all at DMR as Billy Walker and his co conspirators to the looting of the agency for their personal benefit are finally being thrown under the bus by Interim DMR Director Danny Guice and the embattled Commission on Marine Resources. I mention this because months after Tina Shumate’s double dealing was exposed by the Sun Herald, both her and her political hack sister have finally been let go from DMR. It is not nearly enough.
By all accounts Guice, a career politician, wants the top job at DMR badly thus his conversion into some sort of good government activist. The Commission on Marine Resources OTOH, have been revealed as simpletons along the lines of the D’Iberville City Council, heaping praise on Walker despite the allegations right up to the bitter end. Clueless does not describe them, which is why they all need to go as these misdeeds happened on their watch when they were supposed to be providing oversight. They breached their fiduciary duty to the DMR and that is about the worst thing a board member can do. It is my hope that any money not recovered from Bill Walker and his band of theives is recovered from the Board members who oversaw the looting of the agency by Walker and his cronies.
And this brings us to the public trust part because now the Commission on Marine Resources is in spin mode pretending to care what the public thinks. I agree with Gov. Phil that the Commission on Marine Resources should be sunsetted and thus eliminated and such a step would enhance my trust that the Governor is actually interested in cleaning up the mess his coastal crony supporters made at DMR.
This brings me to another board that sorely needs a house cleaning, The Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain. This organization once enjoyed a sterling reputation on the coast until it was revealed that they joined with Bill Walker in perpetrating what is likely an illegal act in the purchase of Bill Walker’s son’s property at an inflated price. Even worse it now appears that the Executive Director of the Land Trust, Judy Steckler lied to the Sun Herald about several key aspects of the specious transaction betraying a deeper involvement in Walker’s shenanigans that previously thought. I’ll add certain officials at the Land Trust have been overheard in public trashing Michaela Hill, a very troubled woman that reportedly committed suicide at the DMR offices at the Bolton Building around the time federal investigators and auditors were crawling all over the place. Classless does not begin to describe it.
A reader that knows the lay of the land at the Land Trust sent me a few of the connections to Walker on the Land Trust’s Board of Directors as the reasons for the organization conspiring with Walker to allegedly perpetrate a crime comes into sharper focus:
Laura Bowie – Board President; works in an office in the DMR Bolton building at the pleasure of Bill Walker. She is paid by a different group.
In that same office is one of Bill’s long time best friends Phil Bass. Bass retired from the state and went to work for the EPA Gulf of Mexico Program. He is on loan from them.
John Bowie – Advisory Committee member, Laura’s husband. Works for the EPA.
Grant Larson – worked for Tina Shumate at the DMR
William Corky Perrett – worked for Bill at the DMR
That same reader described the Land Trust’s Board itself as “fairly incestuous” and from the above one can certainly understand why that perception exists as it appears the Land Trust is itself an extension of the DMR Friends and Family program. I hate that because there are other board members at the Land Trust that appear to be dupes including State Senator Deborah Dawkins, whom, along with the others voted to buy Scott Walker’s land acting as a financial intermediary for Bill Walker. Beyond sending out Steckler to lie to the media it appears the gang has circled the wagons thinking people will forget about their role in the DMR scandal. I beg to differ.
For the record here is the entire board of the Land Trust:
Laura Bowie, President
Dr. Dayton Whites, Vice President
Flowers White, Treasurer
Senator Deborah Dawkins
M.O. “Buck” Lawrence
Stay tuned because it appears there is a jailbreak in progress at DMR and that means more turds will be bubbling up. Next up for Slabbed, we’ll begin exploring US Environmental’s role in the DMR disaster as we focus in on Bill Walker’s BP spillionaires.