DMR Memorandum lend color to insider purchase of parent’s land with Coastal Impact Funds

This is the defense side of things per Anita Lee’s DMR employee’s South Mississippi home searched circa January 2013.

The DMR paid $245,000 for the lot on a bayou near the Pascagoula River.

Holleman said Shumate removed herself completely from the land transaction. He said her parents, Curt and Ann Hebert, saw the program advertised and approached the DMR about buying the property.

“When her parents got involved, she had nothing to do with it,” Holleman said. “There will be documents that support that.”

I have what I believe to be the documents to which Tim Holleman referred. But first let’s revisit the final Office of the Inspector General report on the DMR Friends and Family Program regarding the purchase of the Hebert property:

IG Final Report Hebert Land Purchase
Final Inspector General Report on Coastal Impact Program

This next part is very interesting and it lends color to the role of Jim Hood’s office in the DMR cesspool.

IG Final Report Hebert Land Purchase 1
Final Inspector General Report on Coastal Impact Program

That contractor would have to be employed at Elizabeth Barber’s shop since she was the CIAP guru for DMR at that time. The after the fact raising of the alarms is too funny though, mainly because Jim Hood had staff attorneys involved in this specious transaction from the very beginning. Back to those documents to which Tim Holleman referred:

Click to obtain 3 page pdf. By anonymous leak to Slabbed New Media, LLC
Click to obtain 3 page pdf. By anonymous leak to Slabbed New Media, LLC

For my part I think the reasons Jim Hood’s office fought the Sun Herald tooth and nail attempting to deny public access to these public records are coming into much sharper focus. Stay tuned.

37 thoughts on “DMR Memorandum lend color to insider purchase of parent’s land with Coastal Impact Funds”

  1. Well, it certainly appears that the deal was sealed from the inside and ass covering paperwork was distributed afterwards. It would have been smart to simply scrub the operation.

  2. I get the sense in the past week the truth is starting to be revealed about the investigation.

    We have multiple people who have been issued demand letters but only a few actually indicted.

    We have started to see evidence of other wrong doings which appear to have been swept under the carpet. I am sure there is more we don’t know about yet.

    The auditor was found in contempt involving public records.

    It sounds to me that the investigators and the state of mississippi should be investigated themselves for a possible corrupt investigation. I have no idea who the hell could do this and I would never count on Phil Bryant to do anything either.

    1. This email must be explosive to the point that it has rendered the peanut gallery speechless!

      The reality here is everyone was one big happy family chinese firewalls and all. I can see where Bill Walker and Tina Shumate would feel betrayed.

      1. Confusious once said “Never too early to build Chinese firewalls. But often too late to build a proper Chinese Firewall! Late built firewall often fail to serve intended purpose, instead work as INVESTIGATE HERE billboard. ”

        Confusious also said “All participants in bogus Chinese Firewall construction brigade risk being addressed as “Comrade Co-conspirator” if future day of reckoning arrive. Govern yourselves accordingly!”

  3. I am confused about something, and I’m hoping someone can shed some light on this. Holleman said her Shumate’s parents, Curt and Ann Hebert, saw the program advertised and approached the DMR about buying the property. When did the DMR advertise that they were looking to buy property with CIAP funds? I remember there being a number on the DMR website you could call for land buyout consideration in relation to the Corps of Engineers MsCIP program that I don’t think was ever funded. Does anyone have a copy of the DMR’s ad to buy land from private property owners with CIAP? Am I missing something?

  4. Doing it up for the search engines.

    I am in receipt of a memo dated June 30, 2010 from Tina Shumate disclosing information regarding her relationship to the property owners of the above referenced project, which is one of the projects chosen by me as a target property for acquisition.

    Surprise Surprise Surprise So until the memo of June 30, 2010 from Tina Shumate one could surmise Bill Walker and the others involved in Walker’s “target property” process had no idea that Tina’s relations were about to win the DMR Lotto?

    Then this is just sad.

    I am appointing Michaela Hill as the Project Manager for this file and all parties involved in this project are hereby directed not to discuss any aspect of this project with Tina Shumate.

    1. Meantime not one, but two of Jim Hood’s staff attorneys were on the inside of the transaction and appear about as useful as teats on a boar hog. To the extent they did not work for Bill Walker makes it stink that much worse.

      1. Wasn’t at least one of these attorneys above outed as involved with writing at least one funded grant for another ” DMR Friends and Family Plan” attorney’s family members?

          1. That’s the article I remembered, and :

            Although Runnels applied for the CIAP grant to fund a program called Debris Monitoring and Removal, it was awarded to the DMR, the agency that manages the CIAP program for the state. And Runnels didn’t hire his two sons. Former Executive Director Bill Walker signed the contract between Runnels’ sons and the DMR. Walker was fired in January in the midst of the audit and criminal investigations by state and federal authorities. Walker has denied any wrongdoing.

            Writing grant applications is not among the myriad duties listed for Runnels and Assistant Attorney Sandy Chesnut, who’s also assigned to the DMR.
            … …

            “Our attorneys did a lot of extra work following Katrina,” Schaefer wrote in an email. “In this case, the grant application was required by the memorandum of agreement, which our attorneys helped negotiate between Homeland Security and the Department of Marine Resources.”

            At one point, Chesnut was listed as manager and coordinator for the project paid for with the grant.

            That was on May 21, 2009. In earlier documents about the project, including one dated Jan. 23, 2009, Runnels was listed as the project lead/point of contact or the project manager. By the time of a performance report for May 29, 2010, to June 30, 2012, Jeff Clark, the director of the Bureau of Coastal Preserves at DMR, was listed as program manager.

  5. Call me dumb – but why did the MEMORANDUM signed by William Walker state “I am appointing Michaela Hill as the Project Manager for this file and all parties involved in this project are hereby directed not to discuss any aspect of this project with Tina Shumate.”

    Why not discuss the project with Shumate?

    1. Mr. Rodgers,

      I don’t think you are dumb but in my opinion it appears that any paperwork that was processed after “the inside deal” was made is nothing more than a weak attempt to cover up what transpired. All the fancy “CYA paperwork” does not have me convinced they are innocent.

      What we may have here is “she helped buy Daddy’s land” and “Scotty’s Daddy bought his land.” IMHO it’s nothing more than dirty south nepotism and conflicts of interest

    2. Michaela Hill, may she rest in peace, was considered by Bill Walker to be collateral damage from the cover up. These written documents are nothing more than a fog machine they turned on to hide the facts from the prying eyes of the public and the FBI.

    1. Michaela was a good person and was betrayed and used in the worst of ways. I miss her and I pray for her family to have peace.

  6. Seems to me they knew they were doing something unethical or they wouldn’t have felt the need to write such a cya memo. I wonder if all of those listed on the memo have been questioned by the FBI. Probably not, since no one went after Shumate for this. I guess the memo did cover some asses after all. Maybe there’s a memo somewhere about how Samantha Hebert can’t be managed by Shumate or any of her direct reports.

  7. I would like to point out for all interested in this post DO BE SURE TO CLICK THROUGH on the July 1 2010 William Walker Memorandum. Right under the image it says Click to obtain 3 page pdf. By anonymous leak to Slabbed New Media, LLC, so just click that memo to get the rest of the three pages.

    More on this tomorrow.

  8. Once, with ample time and a schedule with no pressing issues to resolve, I took the list of properties purchased with CIAP funds and drove to each site to see for myself why they were acquired. I consider myself an amateur expert who at one point in my life worked in the appraisal industry.I walked on the low lying Hebert property. I photographed the flood zoned Hebert property. Like most of the others parcels, the only reason the Hebert property was targeted for purchase is because of who owned it. I do not know if Tina Shumate made it happen inside the walls of the Bolton Building. Maybe federal prosecutors will reveal how the sale/purchase came to be. I feel for certain someone acted on her behalf to help her parents sell their property they were unable to sell any other way after trying for some time. The memos and disclaimers from Walker and Shumate are all so bogus. Appointing Ms. Hill and then placing undo pressure upon her to keep quiet once the investigation started more than likely were the contributing factors in her death no matter how it happened. I hope she was able to get into the right hands the information she removed from the DMR files. The wrong hands would have been Stacey Pickering. Fortunately she met with the FBI first. As of 9:00 am on August 6,2014 none of the properties purchased in the Walker CIAP scam are being utilized by the public and no one has been punished for what I think is the most obvious fraud and theft committed by this gang.

  9. Chesnut and Runnels do not lead credence to the lawyer/attorney profession since they were listed on this Memo and had to be aware of what was happening. And is it still happening?

  10. This has probably been mentioned before but I would be curious as to who actually ranked and how the property was selected to be purchased. If we all remember way back in the early days of the SH, they posted a pile of violations that were found with multiple properties in graphical presentation. The group of people who were responsible for the rankings and the selection method should be revealed to see if there are any underlying connections.

    It sounds like this was one hell of a ranking dream team and why nobody was indicted on this issue with respect to all the other frivolous indictments is beyond me. Stacey, do you have the balls enough to provide an answer or are you too busy installing muzzles on innocent victims?

    1. I believe the ranking and decision to purchase the various properties was done by Bill Walker, Scott Walker and the various property owner or their representative who knew the Walkers personally. They probably held meetings with all involved in the back room at the [email protected] restaurant/bar. The main criteria for a particular property to qualify was how much the Walkers would receive or what political favors would be generated. The public benefit was never a consideration. The Walker and Hebert lots are both in developed subdivisions surrounded by houses. Of course we already know why these were bought. Another good example is the Hanover Point property in St.Martin on Ft. Bayou which was illegally filled without a required DMR permit and then bought for $1.29 million for a little over an acre by the DMR. This property is at the dead end of a street in a residential subdivision. The previous owner subdivided this small parcel but could not sell it. All properties were purchased for a reason and public benefit was not the reason. Somebody got paid. This is the only thing that makes sense. Why this has not been pursued beyond the Walker and Hebert lots is beyond my comprehension. So easy to see.

      1. The main criteria for a particular property to qualify was how much the Walkers would receive or what political favors would be generated.

        Someone got paid

        I had a reader associated with the real estate sector suggest that exact same thing to me in an email within the past two weeks or so. The old Winn Dixie parcel in the Pass is another prime example. Worst part is the bill will ultimately get stuck on the Mississippi taxpayers as the OIG questioned deca-millions in CIAP property acquisition costs, amounts the state will certainly have to repay.

        The lack of indictments tells me someone way up the food chain was orchestrating the looting of CIAP funds.

  11. Aargh I am at work swimming around the Sound catching fish or I would look all this up right now. I also think the $12 million CIAP rip was the biggest looting and it has been totally unpunished. First, wasn’t Lott a co-sponsor for that CIAP program legislation? It was one of the last things he did. And, didn’t Shumate and/or her momma and/or her bro work for Lott? And, wasn’t there a committee, with Shumate, and Walker, and maybe Scott Walker and maybe Jamie Miller and some other playas here who decided and ranked those gift grants? The committee who handed Harris over 4.5 million for two properties, one with a business on it, instead of ruined small landowners on the Point or an area that needs protecting, like BelleFontaine? The committee who chose that lot in St. Martin and the Pass property (allegedly there’s a Barbour connection there)? It was a set-up and a grab fest from the get-go. I really thought either the Sun-herald or Slabbed posted these names at one time; maybe a good online search would do. I will try when I get off.

  12. The news at 6 on WLOX said the maximum is 3 years for Honest Abe Ziegler. So far, it is a travesty of justice of the entire DMR scenario costing tax payers millions in investigation dollars and only a slap on the wrist. I wonder if Ziegler is going to throw Shumate under the bus for good measure. A clerk at a convenience store charged with embezzlement of $1,000 would have gotten more jail time than these crooks.

  13. I find the timing of Ziegler’s plea interesting. He maintained his innocence and was able to push off this plea deal until after he knew what was going to happen to the Walkers. He probably figured he’d get an even sweeter deal than they got, and it looks like his attorney guessed right. But then you have three low-level employees taking plea deals before Shumate, and from what I understand, these deals were on a deadline and the stakes to fight the charges were set much higher than a maximum of three years in a minimum security prison resort. Who would choose the risk of up to 10 years in state prison for fighting a $500 travel voucher? And what has happened to Kerwin Cuevas? Wasn’t he scheduled to go to court this week?

  14. Well, well, well – I wonder how many hours Joey Zeigler and his brother-in-law Billy the boy Hewes had to spend on their knees to get out of this one??? Ma Bell let Zeigler get away with all the looting he did there, and it looks like all of the rest of the Political crooks owe him favors too!! I guess this is another one of Mr. Pickering’s “dear friends and family” plans. Half the time and fine for five times the wrongdoing as compared to the average Taxpayer on the street. How is this fair justice people?? Zeigler is nothing but a festering sore oozing pus on the backs of each one of us. How can the FEDS let this slide?? This is mail fraud!!! One of the hardest charges to get out of!! I guess he has done so many favors for so many of the “good ole boys” and sent so much money up the wire to Jackson, that they are all afraid of him. Well, it’s too late for fear now folks. That bird has been chirping for a long, L-O-N-G, time. Where i come from, it is what we call a stool pigeon, a rat, a sell-out or a singing canary. Of course they will try to cover up for him and make it look like good undercover work, but believe me, the songs have already been sung out of that bird’s mouth. I am sure that all of the Hewes’ family is so proud!!! How about it Big Mouth Hewes??? How about it Baby Billy Hewes??? Remember, you reap what you sow. Oh, excuse me, Ithey know that already – I forgot that Billy the Boy has actually kissed the Pope’s ring ! (That was a great photo op in the SH a while back)
    Now I guess the SH is covering up for the Hewes clan. I didn’t see much of a report on Zeigler. What a yellow-bellied snake in the grass.

  15. Eye-Know

    I do not know the answer to any of your questions but I do know one thing. Mississippi WELL DESERVES the title or honor of being the ‘MOST CORRUPT STATE IN THE NATION’ with DMR happenings icing on the cake.

    What should we expect from our elected officials but more of the same?

  16. I know there have been a number of complaints regarding indictments and sentencing of DMR employees. Remember, when election time comes you can make the change. Although I hardly doubt anything will change since the vast majority of voters in Mississippi are aligned with the “pine belt type.” I am sure they are all proud of palazzo for passing out bibles for decision making guidance. Palazzo knows what sells the ignorant and plays the tune very well.

    If I were a contender for any office that has been involved with the DMR corruption case I would contact all who have been fired from the dmr or falsely accused to drum up some dirt for election battles. This is an easy way to splatter shit on our current regime. Including the state and county DA’s

    I found it interesting that Joe Z’s sentencing was delayed well into November. Does anyone know of any important elections coming up in the beginning of November?

  17. Why has the Sun Herald & WLOX failed to note the family tie between Zieglar & Billy Hewes?
    Appears Hewes’ “One Coast” theme means one coast of corrupt individuals strategically placed to support the fraternity of corruption.

    Why aren’t AG Hood, his MDMR staffers, Pickering, Chris Lott & John Dowdy on administrative leave, pending an investigation of their alleged and/or proven involvement in a conspiracy to hide public records? Make a request for public records from MDMR today, and guess who decides whether or not those records are public information?

    Is there any truth to the rumors that (1) MDMR (Cuevas) paid for a building (rumored to be a “man cave” for select employees and/or others to hang out and/or hide from work) on land the MS Gulf Fishing Banks (MMRC Commissioner Taylor was/is MGFB President) leases from the Harrison County Development Commission or (2)Zieglar and/or others tore down the house (state building) at the Lyman Fish Hatchery without proper approval ’cause they wanted to get rid of the former Hatchery manager/resident, who wouldn’t condone the illicit ongoings?

    Why are prosecutors dropping charges for plea deals? Shouldn’t we ferret out the whole truth and nothing but the truth, and the rest of the vermin involved? Guess the rest are too big “to fail” or it would be too upsetting to investigate/indict the Governor, State Attorney General & staffers, State Auditor & staffers, U.S. Attorney(s), and numerous, influential big dogs.

    Hoping that this matter blows wide open with more indictments forthcoming, but little faith that will ever happen. Am also of the opinion that Bill Walker, others, and even ole Phil are no more than puppets, and Bill kept his mouth shut, less his son suffered the consequences of a more severe sentence -so not the son shall suffer the consequences of thy father.

    Connect the dots and the picture becomes clear. Scott Walker was “chosen” and groomed to fit into the “One Coast” plan of those controlling the puppet strings. He was a staffer for Trent Lott and then Wicker. He was run for the Ocean Springs Mayor’s slot and when he lost (by only 50 or so votes, if memory correct), they tried to qualify him for the state representative slot previously held by Danny Guice (ring a bell – interim MDMR Asst or Exec Dir who said he found the missing tidelands monies but left off the figures)and now held by Jeff Guice. The purchase of the Gulf Hills property was an attempt to qualify Walker to run, as he did not live in the district. When he failed to qualify, the puppets and puppet masters bailed him out.

    One more question, Why is MDOT Commissioner Tom King doling out hundreds of thousands of dollars for sidewalks and signage, when so many of our roads and bridges are in dire need of repair/maintenance? When I saw a truck with his campaign signs attached parked at the fund raiser for Pickering at Joe Cloyd’s home, I know why and know I once again voted for the wrong man. I think it was almost a million dollars recently awarded to USM and just this week $300,000 to Pascagoula (think John McKay, Troy Ross and the rest of the crooked JCBS)for sidewalks and other amenities to make it safer for students. Payback for campaign support, no doubt.

  18. Have to take one for the team here: McKay is as bad as the Walkers but Ross never went on the boats…the sharks did not trust him completely. Heads up, Troy: don’t vote with McKay unless you know why. What I am looking for online this weekend is the Coastal Impact Assistance Program Technical Review Committee circa whenever the CIAP legislation was passed and the sharks smelled blood money in and on (waterfront) the water. 2007? The eels sneaked up and told me that in addition to Shumate, Walker, Dale Diaz, and maybe Miller when he worked for Barbour, maybe Judy Steckler was on that committee and game on! Public records, beware!

    1. I personally encourage such public records research as a noble effort. I know of one example of Mrs. Stecker running her mouth early in the investigation that has stuck in my craw ever since. She has a vicious streak and profoundly lacks tact in my estimation. I predict that her outsized influence at the LTMCP will prove that organizations undoing.

    2. Think this might be what you are looking for.
      http://www.dmr.state.ms.us/joomla16/images/ciap/implementation-plan.p

      FINAL REVISED
      State Of Mississippi
      Coastal Impact Assistance Plan
      2007-2010

      List below is from page 46 at the above link. Quote in full because public document.

      Page 46
      Acknowledgements
      The State of Mississippi and the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources wish to
      acknowledge the hard work and commitment of the Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson County
      Boards of Supervisors, their designated contacts, the members of the CIAP Technical Team, and
      all participants who have worked together to design this Plan to conserve and improve the health
      of our coastal ecology. Technical Team members include: Judy Steckler, Dale Diaz, Grant
      Larsen, Marcia Garcia, Bob Fairbank, Vernon Asper, Jamie Miller, Ann Daigle, Robbie Wilbur,
      Margaret Bretz, Dave Dennis, Jane Dennis, Scott Walker and Phil Bass and members of
      Governor Barbour’s staff.
      Special thanks to the U.S. Department of Interior Bureau of Ocean Energy Management,
      Regulation and Enforcement and our colleagues in other coastal states for their guidance and
      collaboration on the development of this Plan.
      We sincerely appreciate Mississippi Senators Thad Cochran, Trent Lott (retired) and Roger
      Wicker, and Mississippi Congressmen Chip Pickering (retired), Gene Taylor (former), Steve
      Palazzo, and Bennie Thompson for their support of the CIAP program and of MDMR and
      Hancock, Harrison and Jackson Counties.
      We are also grateful for the guidance from former Governor Haley Barbour and his staff,
      particularly Patrick Sullivan and Marie Thomas for their encouragement and advice.
      Very special thanks to MDMR staff who worked diligently to prepare the Mississippi CIAP Plan
      and subsequent revisions, especially Tina Shumate, Kimberly Denz, Sylvia Knight, Leslie
      Gollott, Michaela Hill, Mark Boyles, Lauren Clark, Rhonda Price, Grant Larsen and county
      CIAP Coordinators Jenell Tompkins, Laura Bowie, Sue Chamberlain, Larry Lewis, Kristyn
      Gunter, Sara Kindt and Bill Workman and Michele Coats.
      This document was compiled and updated by Elizabeth Rooks Barber.

        1. After reading the Coastal Impact Assistance Plan this morning provided by rfp I have come to the conclusion that the rules and conditions to acquire property did no matter and were ignored. I still can not understand how these questionable inflated properties that provide no public benefit got thru the process with so many people involved. Was Bill Walker the all powerful sole decision maker who said “this one” and all just agreed without question? There were many people who had property along the coast that were in desperate need of finding a way to sell their property. I guess they never saw the advertisement that must have been posted in Bill Walkers office or in the back room at the Columns Bar.

        2. Thank you! I also found lots of old MMS/CIAP documents online; MMS was the administrative agency first used to implement CIAP…after the huge, massive appraisals were in, the program got switched to Fish & Wildlife; wonder why?

          Best link I found won’t work, so I publish the copy I printed from screen (gotta love those old XP computers, they print anything:)

          MS CIAP TEAM (2008):
          Margaret Bretz
          Phil Bass
          Vernon Asper
          Ann Daigle
          Jane Dennis
          Dale Diaz
          Dave Dennis
          Marcia Garcia
          Bob Fairbank
          Grant Larsen
          Ashley Edwards
          Jennifer Schmidt
          Judy Steckler
          Robbie Wilber
          Jamie Miller
          Scott Walker

          Yes, THAT Scott Walker and THAT Jamie Miller. And Mrs. Steckler. Note absence of Ms. Shumate. She was, however, on the Land Trust board at that time or joined it shortly thereafter.

          CIAP TECHNICAL REVIEW COMMITTEE (2006)

          Vernon Asper
          Liz Barber
          Phil Bass
          Margaret Bretz
          Ann Daigle
          Dale Diaz
          Bob Fairbank
          Marcia Garcia
          Michaela Hill
          Grant Larsen
          Jamie Miller
          John Rounsaville
          Tina Shumate
          Judy Steckler
          Bill Walker
          Beverly Ward
          Robbie Wilbur

          All these people surely had a say in what properties were chosen. Personally, I suspect that the availability of large sums of Federal cash meant the buyout was passed from willing ear to willing ear. I never saw anything in the media, ever, as to this buyout program for devastated property owners, did anyone?

  19. Oh, a good lawyer like Holleman will put on such a spin about how these people found out about how they could get their property sold at astronomical prices, an ignorant person would believe his hogwash.

    Was there also land bought or proposed to be purchased in Stone County?

    There was so much land for sale by individuals all along the Coast after Katrina, (and still is) CIAP could have named their prices and the homeowners would have jumped at it for just the taxes. Who in their right mind believes these people connected with DMR stories?

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