DMR State Pleas and Trudy Fisher dominate the news here on the coast

DMR because yesterday 3 former employees pleaded guilty to felonies and Trudy Fisher because of the local rumor mill fueled by at least one OIG report.  We start with Ms. Fisher:

Head of Mississippi environmental agency to resign ~ Jeff Amy

And of course it was Jeff’s story that Anita Lee and I chatted about before we entered the courtroom for the DMR plea hearing before Circuit Court Judge Roger Clark yesterday in Biloxi.  I was disappointed in not being able to use Twitter, especially since still photography was allowed inside the court room per the court’s own rules.  Those rules were written before the rise of social media and it shows.  Nonetheless, when the court’s bailiff comes out two times before the start of the hearing to let everyone else know they better turn off all their electronic devices it behooved those assembled to heed the good word.

Let’s start with Anita’s story for the Sun Herald:

3 former DMR employees plead guilty, sentenced ~ Anita Lee

She does a good job recounting the events of the hearing, where Tina Shumate was clearly the boogie man de jour.  After Larsen’s attorney made some statements regarding how Shumate allegedly treated Larsen when he tried repaying the travel over payment, Shumate’s lawyer Tim Holliman’s reaction upon hearing Team Larsen’s statement tells me her story will beg to differ.  We’ll see.

What Anita’s story does not say is what I am going to cover because it is clear to me that Larsen and Susan Perkins are nothing more than sacrificial lambs – little people caught up via employment in something far bigger than they and which they have no control.  The public reaction upon seeing the light sentences is one of cynicism but that is the wrong reaction IMHO.  Based on what I saw yesterday, my reaction was why the hell were Larsen and Perkins even charged with a felony?  The answer is they are not politically connected and made convenient targets to deflect attention away from other people.

Nonetheless all three former employees appreciated the gravity of the situation.  Ms. Gollott broke down in tears when she read her statement to Judge Clark where she accepted full responsibility for her crimes.  All three will be back on the witness stand for Tina Shumate’s upcoming trial.

Now, back to that transparency problem and deflection of attention away from politically connected perpetrators:

Editorial: Judge Schloegel’s ruling reaffirms public access ~ Sun Herald Editorial Board

25 thoughts on “DMR State Pleas and Trudy Fisher dominate the news here on the coast”

  1. The prosecution of Perkins and Larsen is a bunch of BS at taxpayer’s expense. Gollott is more interesting. She was invovled in the misuse of over $30,000, was sentenced to 10 years but will not spend one day in jail. Compare this to former bookkeeper Ramona Mullins of Roxie,Ms who was charged with the embezzlement of $24,950. and was sentenced to six years serving three in the pen. Or former deputy Justice Court Clerk Victoria Nealy of Lauderdale County who was charged with the embezzlement of $3,236.27 and was sentenced to ten years with three to serve in the pen. These are only a couple of the many people who have been investigated by Pickering and listed in his 2013 Audit Exception Report and got real punishment. Maybe having the last name of Gollott means something when you want to be a stay at home convict.

  2. Correction: Gollott plead guilty to embezzlement, not misuse as I stated above, which makes for a better comparison of the difference in who you are. Gollott must be a “dear friend” is all you can conclude.

    1. The last name does not hurt, especially in Biloxi. Judge Clark said he received somewhere between 15-20 letters asking for leniency and that does not count the two people that showed in person to read their letters into the record. Ms. Gollott is evidently primary caregiver to an elderly relative – that and those letters certainly weighed in on Judge Clark’s decision in favor of house arrest.

      Worth noting is the prosecutor called for incarceration in a generic way but did not object to the defense bringing up home confinement. Also she is actively cooperating in the case against what the prosecution clearly sees as the big fish in Tina Shumate, which certainly also factored in with Judge Clark.

      Combination of things got her to the sentence she received.

    2. BB

      With all due respect, I beleive the punishment Gollott received fit the bill. I am not trying to soften what she was involved with but she is paying a pile of money back, serving house arrest and will be on probation for 5 years. Deep down, I do not beleive she is a candidate for prison and she was also employed under the Shumate regime which I beleive was taken into consideration. I would rather see my money spent on housing meth lords who are a real threat to society. Additionally, the odds of this woman committing another crime are about nonexistent. I also don’t beleive since she was a Gollott that contributed to anything.

      Since you mentioned last names here is one to keep in your back pocket. Shumates maiden name is Hebert and her mother is Ann Hebert who has deep political connections to our states hillbilly Republican Party. She was also one of the program commisioners of a program that Tina was involved in. This was displayed on the OIG report. Her son, Curt Hebert was a young rising star in politics who also has deep rooted connections.

      Remember the name Hebert

      1. Very well said. They can’t keep a lid on it, too many people know the score. The informational dam has broke on two counts that I can see.

      2. Yes, on the Hebert side of the negotiating I have been told they are pulling up and calling in all political favors to save dear Tina from the pokey. Will be real interesting. We can’t talk much about it or they may get a change of venue.

        1. I think a change of venue is guaranteed given the amount of news coverage and that which is coming. The question is how far away will they go?

  3. Whether these people got or will get what they deserve is debatable. But I am angry that the big fish got out of the net and the State & Feds did not do their job they were hired to do and therefore this is not JUSTICE!

    1. Mr. Rodgers

      That is an interesting point. I know the public has heard from the beginning that “this is an ongoing investigation” and “the investigation is not over yet”. Whether that is actually true remains to be seen. Or, it could be a convenient comment made to the public just incase any leaks start coming out and they have something to fall back on.

      I know one thing. I would not personally trust anything that leaves the lips of Pickering.

  4. If you readers watch the news channels, you will find Mississippi is the laughing stock of the Nation. Not only are we in 50th place, it appears we continue to do things to continue to remain there. DMR INVESTIGATION is a prime example. Electing such politicians as Barbour, Bryant, Pickering, Palazzo, Cochran, and the list goes on, is a great example of why we are in 50th place. And those they appoint keeps us there; Trudy Fisher, MDA guru, Leonard Bentz, and DMR Miller to name only a few.

    1. Speaking of Pickering. Since he was held in contempt and fined does he now technically have a criminal record? I know it’s probably a low level crime but it shows dishonesty and obstruction. Same as the other chronies that were involved.

          1. Sorry,I had my criminal mind on. I have since turned the dial to civil. Pardon me for the hopes and dreams of jail time for those who keep information from the public.

    2. Sad but true. While Mississippi receives more money from the Feds than we send a whole lot of what we get is embezzled, misused, wasted or lost. Then the dumb people in charge spend more of it covering up for their “dear friends” and family members. Even more is spent harvesting the low hanging fruit like Perkins and Larsen. But that is the way things are done in this great state,always trying to keep us in last place for everything good and in the top 5 for everything bad.

  5. None of them should get any favors or have letters on thier behalf considered. They stole from the people. They are criminals. They should be treated like any other criminal.The people deserve that. Justice can never be served when people that knowingly commit criminal activity are given a slap on the wrist.They should have been given the full time for the criminal activity commited.

    1. And once that mentality is sustained we will then have about 15% of Harrison county housed in jail at any given time. Then you’ll be complaining about where all the tax money is going.

      1. If they do the crime they need to be treated as such. I for one will never complain about putting people behind bars and the cost that goes with it.

    2. These people did not premeditate a crime, they hired into an existing agency that was already in operation and business was as usual! Mrs Gollott was a check signer under Shumate’s authority as I understand!

  6. Hammer,
    I wish that I had the faith that you have in our state government and judicial system. Our judicial system is not set up the way you think. People plead guilty to crimes they didn’t commit every day because of the expense, sometimes because of threats by authorities…there are numerous reasons. Most people don’t have $30k to $50k lying around to fight the government in court when you’ve already been convicted in the press and by citizens who don’t understand the reality of how the government really works in this state. Sometimes there are good apples working among a badly spoiled bunch…Larsen and Perkins, to name two. Look at their work histories, their educations, their reputations. Do you really think they would take $500 or $800 and risk losing everything? Think about it. It doesn’t even make sense.

    1. So true, they take pleas that are strong-armed against them to remain with their school age children and be home to care for their families. Because they plea guilty, doesn’t mean that they planned or pre-meditated to defraud the DMR.

  7. Since we are on the DMR topic this may be something else of public interest as i have mentioned awile back. While out on the town, I happen to have noticed campaign flyers for the interim Sheriff for Jackson County at a certain establishment. I was more focused on making my transaction but saw that it contained text relating to “keeping Britt” as the Sheriff of Jackson County. I am not here to bash Britt in anyway but something else struck me when I was looking at the flyer. That something was the fact that the DMR has yet to install a permanent marine patrol chief. Even just the other day, there was an article where Rusty was still labeled as the interim or acting chief of marine patrol at the DMR.

    So what all could this mean? Well, if you are a citizen of Jackson county I would decide where you would like to see Britt in action–remaining with Jackson County PD or as the new marine patrol chief. If you would prefer to see him with marine patrol, then vote NO to Britt on the ballot this November.

    If some think I am crazy, then maybe they should ask Jamie Miller why it has taken so long to fill the position. I am quite sure they would get a truthful answer as we did during his last video interview with the SH. Or maybe he has another bubba in mind at this point.

  8. Talking about supporting the new sheriff in Jackson County, anyone that was supported by John McKay, I would certainly be suspect. Mr. Britt may be a good guy but association by McKay spoils his chances for my vote.

  9. The SH has a great story in the paper today. With all the players involved with keeping the records secret it makes one wonder if there is some sort of coverup going on. More especially since there seems to be a lot of doubt about a few of the people who pled guilty. We’re the records kept from the public to keep certain documents protected to give the DA’s plenty of time to push people to plea before the media got ahold of them? I am free to believe what I want and I am starting to smell a conspiracy. That’s just my entitled opinion.

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