The dog ate it: Stacey Pickering reveals under oath that he has no control over his employees at the State Auditor’s Office

I’m not sure where to start on today’s performance by Stacey Pickering in the contempt hearing being held in Chancery Court Judge Jennifer Schloegel’s courtroom in Gulfport but this snippet from the latest Sun Herald update seems a logical starting point:

Pickering’s chief of investigations, David Huggins, admitted under oath at the contempt hearing Wednesday that Assistant U.S. Attorney John Dowdy subpoenaed records from the Department of Marine Resources to avoid making them public.

Since we don’t have a transcript the above raises some serious questions and it plays into something I heard from the mean streets of Jackson.  The question is whether Huggins actively worked with Assistant U.S. Attorney John Dowdy to deprive the Mississippi public of access to their own records.  This much is clear, if we take that snippet at face value then Dowdy was complicit on some level and this goes back to what I heard. This twitter exchange explains it.

Now who is Joel Smith one might ask? (And asked I was by a reader from Central Mississippi) He is the District Attorney for Harrison, Hancock and Stone Counties and the guy in charge of the indictments of the former DMR employees charged with padding their travel by a few thousand dollars. The Federal Grand Jury subpoena of the DMR records went down in close time proximity to the state and federal indictments so this relationship is salient.

To me the question is why? Is Stacey Pickering covering for his political supporters that played in the DMR mudhole?  Problem is today’s performance by Pickering in court raises more questions than answers. Let’s use the power of twitter to illustrate (those that were not following Anita Lee today missed out):

 

 

So we getting this folks? Pickering was all for complying with Judge Schloegel’s court order but his Deputy State Auditor, Investigations David Huggins takes it upon himself to defy the court and ignore his boss’s direct orders. Better yet, after supposedly going rogue weeks ago ignoring court orders and such Huggins remains employed in a senior management position with the Office of the State Auditor. Nobody in the press corps covering this is buying it that I am aware folks (if you are, shoot me an email).

If you take him at his word Huggins, a former Commissioner for the Mississippi Highway Patrol and a career law enforcement officer empowered under the law to make arrests and uphold the law is in direct contempt of a court order.  If you don’t buy what he was saying then what does that say about him?  Meet the folks that are the bane of school secretaries across the state plus those DMR employees charged with padding their travel, whose defense to those charges brought by DA Smith’s office referred to above was helped today in my opinion.

So what is in those records that makes them so toxic to Auditor Pickering? My sources continue to insist there is no evidence of illegal activity in those documents and I would bet bottom dollar the FBI had been through them previous to the grand jury subpoena (as they had been crawling all over the Bolton Building when everything broke) and found nothing in them or they would have been subpoenaed months before. Whatever the contents Pickering has now linked himself completely to their contents by the very actions taken by his office.

Worse what does today’s testimony say about Stacey Pickering the executive manager who wholly failed to control senior members of his own staff? If he can’t run the Auditor’s Office how can anyone reasonably expect him to run a United States Senate office?  Seems to me no matter which way one looks at today’s testimony the implications are bad.  At best Pickering is a weak, ineffectual leader whose own staff disregards his direct orders.  At worst he is a central participant to a politically motivated coverup.

Finally, if today’s testimony is accurate and public records were subpoenaed by a Federal Grand Jury for an outside purpose such as depriving the public of the right to know, then there is also a major problem at the Jackson Mississippi US Attorney’s Office.  As for Mr Dowdy, mums the word:

 

Scott and Trinity Thanksgiving Holiday 2013DMR has become Stacey Pickering’s personal mudhole and it looks like a few others have now joined him. As for Scott Walker and his beautiful wife Trinity, they spend the Thanksgiving Holiday in the Florida Keys getting away from it all as the facebook photo on the left that has made the rounds illustrates.

Stay tuned.

47 thoughts on “The dog ate it: Stacey Pickering reveals under oath that he has no control over his employees at the State Auditor’s Office”

  1. Doug,
    You could not make this up, it is so ridiculous. This blatant disrespect for the public is running rampant in
    public officials now. Exposure is the only thing we have left, which is why you and your site are so important.
    To think that a man in Pickering’s position would throw his staff under the bus. I am so tired of all of this arrogance. It has become commonplace from D.C. on down.
    What the hell do we have to lose? Let’s jut keep hammering away at them. I could say a lot more, but I am
    just weary of them. Don’t worry though, I’ll recover, and come back strong.
    As I have said before, all an opponent of Pickering’s needs is a strong platform on transparency in government.

    1. Without permission of his probation officer, which I’m assuming he got. He is also allowed to drink alcohol but not excessively.

  2. Somebody said drinking excessively for Scott Walker may not be enough these days. I think his wife Trinity likes to post the many vacations on Facebook for all to see that she is still pretending to live like Cinderella. She can look with blinders all she wants but the public knows better. Just wonder if Scott has ever made her answer the phone with the side of her head? That is what he should call the family plan.

      1. My favorite Walker is actually Cordell Walker, Texas Ranger. The Ocean Springs Walkers are in the spotlight because they choose to be. If they did not want to be they would humble down. Trinity appears to have accepted the invitation to the party. I have no feelings for any of them. I do harbor hard feelings for their participation in the misuse of my hard earned tax dollars though. These are the same feelings that most others have for them.

        1. I understand Trinity’s mother has a terminal illness. The word in the community is her husband is going to jail. I imagine the pressure on her is intense and that is not mentioning having an infant.

          All that aside she has been a fascinating player in the unfolding saga. Stone County women are notoriously hard headed, even more hard headed than men from the Kiln and that saying something.

          She has gotten some excellent fashion advice on these pages. How Mrs Walker handles the feedback is key and therein lies my interest. Judging from that Facebook photo she has set sail in a different direction. Time will talk.

          Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis

          1. Trinity Walker’s facebook picture is so reminiscence of Jodi Arius and her big movie star sunglasses’ photos. However, I agree Trinity appears to be also undergoing a Jodi Arius courtroom makeover ( in sneakers with no revealing swimwear on the beach) and now dressing like little innocent Jodi girl in court.

            So maybe if Trinity would just throw those big sunglasses away and start wearing small,, thin rimmed glasses with straggly hair and a St. Mary’s Catholic uniform, she just may help Scott Walker to freedom – maybe, when pigs learn to fly..

            http://www.styleite.com/media/jodi-arias-courtroom-makeover/#0

          2. Trinity was a blond at some point I think. She will morph into the makupless stand by your man humbalized good wife dressed in Walmart fashions as the trial date nears. I would bet Scott has her practicing the sobbing routine every night.

        2. Well played!

          Speaking of spotlight seeking, what are then odds that the Walkers have hopes of their own reality show? The Governor’s Wife, Duck Dynasty, the market probably isn’t flooded yet. The cast of potential “characters” is intriguing to say the least.

          1. Got my beanie cap on so I can come up with a great title. Somebody gave a good name for her new book “DREAM ROOM at 132”. Maybe “New Dixie Mob Wifes “. I am thinking .”Go Beanie Boy “as they used to yell when I was a tot.

  3. OK….all of that being said, the Sun Herald just broke that Mr. Chief-of-Staff, Joe Zeigler and MS Sheila Shumate (known to the CONprofits as Tina) are requesting separate trials. Can you imagine??? Do they think that they are entitled??? Do they think they are better than others??? Come one…give me a break!! I hope the Judge laughs in their faces. Judge Schloegel has done such a great job today, maybe we can get her to try them!!! I am just amazed at the lengths they will go to in order to try to wiggle out of what they have done to the Taxpayers.
    Point #2: How is Mr. Bentz tied into all of this??? It appears that another individual has filed charges against him. Isn’t that Stacey Pickering’s job??? Do we have to pay these thugs and do their jobs too??? Is there any way to impeach or remove these CONprofits from the proximity of our Tax dollars??? I’m so sick of it all –

  4. Interesting that no other statewide media outlet or blog, (WLOX, Clarion Ledger, NE MS Journal, Jackson Jambalaya, Cotton mouth, Y’all Politics, Magnolia Report…etc)….are NOT reporting that 2 Statewide elected officials plus the ASSistant US attorney are engaged in some serious malfeasance and corruption of the public trust and public access as to how and where our taxpayer dollars are being misappropriated. Slabbed and the Sunherald are the only ones. WHY? But if a Jackson Council person, school board official, or Board of Supervisor breaks wind in the wrong direction….the sky is falling. Please stay Thad Cochran so one of our holier than thou wannabes don’t get lucky and fool the electorate into replacing you. I can’t imagine the damage that could be done by one of these Dorks that want to take your place as Senator.

    1. Mossy Point, it would appear to me that you are on to something!!!! The entire rest of the State (north of Hattiesburg) appears to be at war with the Coast. I had always heard that the “Delta Council” (which consists of rich and powerful on the Tennessee/Mississippi line), control the money in this State. I am now beginning to wonder about that statement. None of the usual media has stuck with this case. Surely they are not all on the take? It is possible, because an operation of this magnitude has to keep a lot of mouths shut while it is operating. Maybe there were payoffs?? I am sure that all will be revealed when the onion starts to really unravel! I say, “Let ‘er rip!”

    2. Mossy, At a minimum WLOX should have been in the court room. You would think allegations of contempt and fraud on the court by a standing judge would be news worthy state wide. This is also what appears to be a conspiracy against the people by Ms. State Auditor, Ms. AG and a US Attorney. What does it take to be newsworthy at WLOX if this is not? The public knows that this preplanned intervention by US Attorney is nothing but a continued attempt by all of these participants to deprive the public the access the law allows.

      1. I agree. I watched WLOX for both shows that day and…NOTHING. Okay, that’s why to hire consultants. Their connections to the media world and their apparent ties to the Hayley Lobbying And Other Services Including Criminal Defense law firms would surely guarantee that the scandal was kept locally. This was a huge story, why was it buried? Not a word!!! Or, is everyone else in political medialand jealous of the Sun-Herald and its scoops?

        1. By product of competitors fighting over a shrinking print marketplace. Word got out in the social media pretty quickly despite that.

          Most worrisome for Pickering is the silence from the partisan political outlets like Yall. Frank Corder is damn good and I take the silence to mean there is no way he can spin it. Such is an ancient Chinese communications trick. 😉

          Thad Cochran announcing that he is running for reelection means Pickering is at OSA for the foreseeable future.. People tend to forget, especially if they never hear about it.

  5. Why buy the bait when you can raise it?

    A great big Lyman Hatchery git-r-dun under Jamie Miller! Feeds the budget makers on the soft shell crabs it raised. DMR presents the legislators with the “wish list” while pols are busy with the scientific sampling.

    DMR spokeswoman Melissa Scallan said a combination of donations and BP money was used for the event.

    “No state money was used,” she said.

    Were those BP crabs? Who pays to run the hatchery? Is it legal to consume hatchery raised seafood?

    http://www.sunherald.com/2013/12/05/5172103/dmr-hands-out-legislative-wish.html

    1. I wonder where the rest of the Legislators were? Could it be that they were boycotting this event? HMMM…makes one wonder, doesn’t it? Didn’t notice any of the money men either, like Herb Frierson? HMMM….seems like a lot of people may be in hiding?? Maybe no more money forthcoming for the DMR? It will be a relief for all to see just WHO was involved in the money scam at this Agency.

      1. It doesnt sound like it was a very popular event for what ever reason.

        At this point I am trying to figure out which quote is more out of touch with reality:

        Pickering: Calling the DMR a “culture if corruption.”
        OR
        Eure: speaking positively of Jamie’s leadership and stating “it all starts with Jamie.”

        I don’t know what planet Eure originates from but he needs to realize what the basic definition of leadership is. Is he aware of the questionable doings with Frontier? The questionable hiring practices? The reckless firings that apparently have not stopped?

        True leadership is a process that involves motivating people and establishing a relationship that allows people to comply because they want to, not because they have to.

        I don’t believe the new environment at the DMR is something to be proud of. Pickering spoke highly of the doings at the DMR and we all see what kind if a position he is in right now. Eure, is he with the regime or simply stupid? I heard a rumor today about Eure working for or with Bentz in the past Any truth to that?

        1. Eure was obviously high on soft shell crabs. They will make you say positive things about the crab pusher man to be assured of not disrupting the supply line. I would bet you would find some money donated to Eure by the mask men from Frontier. And yes he worked for Bentz for several years as his right hand man.Wonder if the DMR is supplying any of those soft shell crabs to any restaurants like Shaggys?

          1. We should develop a web of connections and relationships and post them in graphical form. I am thinking a web of names in boxes and linking them with colored lines which would indicate the type of relationship. For example: a blue line between two names would indicate blood relatives while a red line would indicate campaign donations. A yellow line could indicate a tight friendship while a green line indicates a business partnership.

  6. Since they can no longer do the free chartered fishing trips for the politicians and family members they must find other ways to entertain the people who control the purse strings. This weekend they are doing an open house over in Ocean Springs at that restored house the DMR now owns. They want input from the public on how to best use another misuse of money. The dilapidated house was purchased/restored as a favor to somebody over there. They have drifted way off course from the mission of the DMR and this is why many politicians in our state want to do away with this agency. Maybe some fried soft shell crabs that cost the taxpayers hundreds each will allow the politicians to see how important their work is.

  7. Since our Governor hasn’t stepped in to do anything about this goings on, how about the Lt. Governor? Does he have any power in a situation like this? Or is he also at the mercy of the Illustrious Guv? Someone up there must have some morals and character! Someone up there needs to take control of this quagmire and rein the crooks in!! They are making the Capitol of Jackson look like the home of the “Bosses” at the Flamingo Lounge. Come on guys!!! Do your jobs up there??? Can you help us Mr. Lt. Guv??? Give us a sign that someone is listening up there!!!

        1. William Walker was not on the Penaeus board when it was created in 1998 but was on it in 2002. The company was dissolved in 2003.

        2. Yes, he lived in Pensacola, FL, from the late 1990s to around 2001 or 2002. He left GCRL to work in Pensacola. He then returned to MS to work for Trent Lott.

      1. Boynton and Armistead were connected to the Arkansas Project to dig up dirt on Clinton:
        http://www.waasinfo.com/clients/waas/geo/salon/cocaine.html

        “Indeed, the American Spectator played a key role as a conduit through which Scaife sent funds to Armistead and other agents of the Arkansas Project, two sources said.

        Under the scheme, two of Scaife’s tax-exempt foundations transferred as much as $600,000 a year to the American Spectator Educational Foundation, which owns the conservative magazine. The American Spectator, in turn, then transferred almost all of the funds to Stephen S. Boynton, an attorney with long-standing ties to Scaife, according to documents detailing the financial transactions.

        Boynton then transferred funds to another law firm, which then paid Armistead to conduct his investigation, two sources said.

        1. And this is Jim Johnson’s background:
          http://www.opensecrets.org/revolving../rev_summary.php?id=12723

          The original group were all lobbyists and political operatives. The way I remember it, Penaeus was going to pay for a tank set up in Ocean Springs and GCRL was going to help them raise the shrimp that Penaeus would sell to restaurants.

        2. Both the names listed below from Penaeus Ltd also appear connected to former US Rep. Richard Pombos (R. CA 11th 1993-2007) “environmental group.” Stephen S. Boynton as the President emeritus, and David K. Wills as a funder. Steven S. Boynton also was connected
          to the
          “Arkansas Project.”
          Another version of that involvement is here.

          STEPHEN S BOYNTON President, Treasurer, Secretary, Director
          VIENNA VA 22180

          Additional Directors:
          DAVID K. WILLS
          POOLESVILLE, MD

          An additional funder of this environmental group: University of Southern Mississippi, Gulf Coast Research Labs, Hattiesburg, MS $10,000

          Pombo’s Environmental Group

          California Republican Representative Richard Pombo, who is chairman of the House Resources Committee, “runs his own ‘environmental’ group, called the International Foundation for the Conservation of Natural Resources, according to Matt Weiser, High Country News published July 25, 2005, by the Environmental Working Group.

          IFCNR, “funded by large corporations, challenges mainstream environmental groups and crusades for more lenient environmental laws worldwide. Between 2001 and 2003 the foundation collected donations totaling $130,000 from food giants Sysco Corp., Monsanto and General Mills. It then put out a series of ‘studies’ and position papers on the importance of bioengineered food. During the same period, it collected almost $430,000 from restaurant chains, corporate fishing concerns, whaling organizations and fur-trapping associations. The foundation then launched a barrage of counterattacks against animal-rights groups that had organized boycotts of those industries.”

          The IFCNR is “bankrolled in large part by the parent company of Red Lobster and Olive Garden restaurant chains, Orlando-based Darden Restaurants,” the Center for Public Integrity reported October 18, 2005. “From 2000 to 2004, Darden has given IFCNR a total of $574,000, more than a third of its total support.

          http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=International_Foundation_for_the_Conservation_of_Natural_Resources

  8. California Republican Representative Richard Pombo, who is chairman of the House Resources Committee, “runs his own ‘environmental’ group, called the International Foundation for the Conservation of Natural Resources, according to Matt Weiser, High Country News published July 25, 2005, by the Environmental Working Group.

    IFCNR, “funded by large corporations, challenges mainstream environmental groups and crusades for more lenient environmental laws worldwide. Between 2001 and 2003 the foundation collected donations totaling $130,000 from food giants Sysco Corp., Monsanto and General Mills. It then put out a series of ‘studies’ and position papers on the importance of bioengineered food. During the same period, it collected almost $430,000 from restaurant chains, corporate fishing concerns, whaling organizations and fur-trapping associations. The foundation then launched a barrage of counterattacks against animal-rights groups that had organized boycotts of those industries.”

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=International_Foundation_for_the_Conservation_of_Natural_Resources

    International Foundation for the Conservation of Natural Resources

    The International Foundation for the Conservation of Natural Resources (IFCNR), a 501(c)(3) established 1995 in the Commonwealth of Virginia,

    Key Personnel

    Stephen S. Boynton, Esq., USA, President Emeritus

    Donors

    “The International Foundation for the Conservation of Natural Resources received donations from nearly three dozen funders from 2000 to 2004. Most of the money came from companies in the food, agricultural or fur industries. Some donations came from IFCNR officials such as David Wills, which could be a violation of Internal Revenue Service regulations on private foundations,” the Center for Public Integrity reported in IRS filings. [Note: The listing is available in $ order on the CPI website.]

    University of Southern Mississippi, Gulf Coast Research Labs, Hattiesburg, MS $10,000
    Wills, David K. (David K. Wills), Poolesville, MD $8,000

  9. More shrimp farming links which have the name David Wills mentioned:

    SeaArk ‘lied’ about Saudi deal 14 Mar 2008 00:00Yolandi Groenewald, Adriaan Basson

    A major Saudi Arabian marine company has accused controversial Coega prawn farm SeaArk Africa of lying about an alleged R70-million deal between the companies. Three weeks ago, the Mail & Guardian revealed the identities of the people behind SeaArk Africa.

    Bosasa shuts down prawn farm 10 Dec 2009 16:00Adriaan Basson, Yolandi Groenewald

    The company at the centre of a prisons tender fraud probe suffered another knock last week when it had to close down its controversial prawn farm.

    Bosasa, SeaArk, and Gavin Watson versus the M&G
    Joe Thloloe, Peter Mann – Ethel Manyaka 11 September 2008

    Watson and Wills as governors of a “shadowy” IFCNR

    On the evidence before us, Watson was given a chance to explain the IFCNR and his relationship with it. He reacted angrily and ended with the comment: “Do me a favour and do what you usually do. Go and write negative articles again…You are part of the white racists. I’ve done my own investigations on you.”

    Watson knew that there were hostile stories about the IFCNR on the Internet but missed the opportunity to tell his side of the story. When he refused to answer questions he probably raised the possibility for the M&G that those stories could be true.

    Findings

    The M&G breached only one section of the Code, 1.5, in that it did not seek the views of Bosasa on the allegation that it exerted “outrageous” pressure to authorise SeaArk’s pilot project.

    The rest of the story was in accordance with the Press Code. When the subjects of a report get defensive and don’t tell the truth, as Wills did, it strengthens suspicions that there might be something untoward that is being hidden.

    It was particularly important for Bosasa to tell the full story as its project has raised environmental concerns. The credentials of the people assuring the world that the concerns are unfounded have to be impeccable.

    Sanctions

    The M&G to publish an appropriate apology, approved by the Ombudsman, on its breach of Section 1.5 of the Press Code.

  10. As I have stated before on this site, I am weary of high ranking officials. You know that old saying, “If you want to kill a snake, you have to wack off his “head.” Chipping away at the tail does nothing.
    I believe Judge Schloegel might have taken out a few snakes in her career. More power to her.

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