Analysis: Rumors of sweetheart insider contracts swirling around Singing River Hospital (Updated)

UPDATE:
Since this post was published Slabbed was contacted by Singing River Hospital Spokesman Richard Lucas. This snippet tells the tale:

Our laundry contract, as it has been for many years, is with Crown Health Care Laundry Services out of Pensacola, Florida. We do not have nor have we ever had a contract with Mississippi Laundry Services.

I appreciate the fact that Mr. Lucas contacted Slabbed with that clarification. The other entities are now screaming “follow-up” and I will be doing just that to see if we can gain additional clarity. That will be in part two. ~ Doug

By now anyone with any sort of remote connection to the Jackson County political establishment has heard the rumors of sweetheart deals between the Singing River Health System and certain insiders.  Those rumors have been alluded to several different places and that makes this post a twofer as Slabbed will explore these rumors, why people are talking (beyond the obvious in the implosion of the employee pension fund due to management willfully not funding it) and plus that twofer in how this internet thingy works.

I begin with the DMR = SRHS meme, which first surfaced here in the local feedback loop with the feedback loop confirmed here.  The gang at Singing River Hospital are no doubt feeling a bit embattled and rightfully so.  Pundits, bloggers and muckrakers are a competitive group and there was no way I was gonna let Wayne Weidie have all the fun no sir. Two days ago I sent the following email (partially redacted for dramatic effect) to Hospital Spokesman Richard Lucas:

Mr. Lucas:

I am the publisher of the Slabbed New media website found at www.slabbed.org. I have been following and have covered certain aspects of the financial problems being experienced by the Singing River Hospital System. Along those lines several of my readers have sent me tips regarding alleged insider sweetheart contracts between the Hospital, Hospital <redacted> , and Mr. <redacted> son. Additionally one of the companies is allegedly also owned by Scott Walker, who is now in Federal Prison.

While these contracts may be shielded by the exemption enjoyed by the Hospital in the Mississippi Public Records statute I am contacting you to confirm or deny the existence of these related party transactions. If the answer is none of your business under the Mississippi public records law, that is fine too. I simply want to give you guys a chance to respond in advance of my upcoming publication on this topic and the rumors swirling around SRHS.

<redacted>

Thank you for any information you can provide me regarding these companies and their dealings with SRHS.

As I write this my email to Mr. Lucas has not garnered a reply but the next morning this appeared in the Mississippi Press:

Jackson County investigation into SRHS pension crisis will include look at contracts ~ April Havens

Jackson County supervisors told Singing River Health System retirees during a special press conference this morning that no stone would be unturned in the quest for the reasons for SRHS’ pension and other financial troubles.

Board of Supervisors President Troy Ross noted that will include looking into all contracts awarded by the hospital system.

The Feedback loop of rumors to news cycle was complete at that point but it was further amplified this morning:

SRHS brings in crisis management firm ~ Anita Lee

Biloxi Blues has spot on analysis but before we get to that I gotta mention that I communicated with one source and can’t use the information I received even though it is of the smoking gun variety when it comes to the rumors and their veracity.  It was actually Anita Lee who in reference to reporting on a scandal once told me something along the lines that even when there is a full cover up often the dirty laundry will still often bubble up.  I say this because the muck is bubbling up folks and it is a matter of time before certain things come out thus bringing in that crisis management firm at this point makes sense. Now for that sage analysis from the Bluesman:

I feel certain Richard Lucas ,the in house PR man, is starting to feel the heat of speaking for others he does not quite believe in. I have spent a lifetime creating, reshaping ,improving or denigrating the images of clients and their adversaries. I would have given them some free advice if asked and this advice would have started with 1) Tell the truth no matter what 2) Do not evade employee questions with “Sorry the lawsuits do not allow us to answer” 3) Never let an attorney speak for the system in public except in the court room. 4) Hire local or instate people to do your crisis management. 5) Ask the board of trustees to not speak in public,they are just terrible and should be removed or step down. I bet the most recent move creates more problems than solutions for SRHS. Sure appears the hospital’s law firm has now taken charge of the decision making

Now we need to explore the companies rumored to have contracts with the Hospital and why people are talking about it. I have communicated with several different sources, each of which has detailed knowledge of the Jackson County political landscape in one way shape or fashion and the picture that emerges is that of a somewhat ossified Board of Trustees at the Hospital that keep their business dealings within a relatively small group. This news story from 2012 illustrates:

Construction of Hilton Garden Inn to begin in Pascagoula ~ April Havens

The caption of the photo accompanying the story tells it:

Roy Williams, co-owner of the Hilton Garden Inn planned for U.S. 90 in Pascagoula, speaks during a groundbreaking Oct. 22, 2012. Co-owner Morris Strickland, second from left, Gentry Williams and Mayor Robbie Maxwell also participated in the event.

Morris Strickland? Lets visit the WLOX story and the Feedback loop confirmed that I linked above:

“We’re not even close to being a DMR. We’re not a DMR.” Those were the words of Singing River Health System Board of Trustees member Morris Strickland.

Roy Williams is the Board Attorney for the Singing River Health System. Gentry Williams mentioned in April’s story above is Roy’s son. I want to be clear there is absolutely nothing wrong with the guys redeveloping the old La Font Inn parcel but it illustrates my point about the close knit business group.

With the players set we should head immediately to the Secretary of State website. This is what I found:

Patient Benefit Group SOS Docs

Mississippi Laundry Holding LLC SOS Docs

Jackson County Outsource Group

Looking at these documents some mention SRHS Board attorney Roy Williams by name. All use an email address associated with his law firm but there is more because at least one of these companies provides services to Forrest General Hospital:

Click to obtain 16 page pdf
Click to obtain 16 page pdf

South Mississippi is such a small world in so many respects, Jackson County even more so thus it is not unexpected to see Scott Walker’s name associated with one of these companies as this old Sun Herald article illustrates: Please see update at the top of this post.

Walker was returning from a business trip to Tampa, Fla., with developer Gentry Williams and D’Iberville’s Al Gombos. They were learning how to set up a company to handle laundry for health-care companies and hospitals on the Coast.

Does any of the above mean there are or were sweetheart deals for Hospital insiders? No but these connections have people talking. Due to Mississippi’s toothless public records law county owned Hospitals get to conduct their business in the shadows, out of the public eye. Such a setup can not only foster related party transactions, it pretty much insures that when disaster strikes the public will think the worst and that is exactly what is happening with Singing River Hospital.

Something tells me Slabbed will be hearing and having more on this topic. Stay tuned.

30 thoughts on “Analysis: Rumors of sweetheart insider contracts swirling around Singing River Hospital (Updated)”

  1. Well now, here are a few observations/questions regarding this.

    1. Several of the screen shots above including: Patient Benefit Group, LLC and Mississippi Laundry Holding, LLC and Jackson County Outsource Group, LLC show an email address of “[email protected]

    2. According to at least one newspaper report there was a Marion Quave at Dogan Wilkinson PLLC.

    The work includes four inlaid brick crosswalks and a four-way stop light that observers said has helped control traffic flow.

    Marion Quave, who works at Dogan & Wilkinson PLLC law firm, said the roadwork hasn’t affected the law office employees whatsoever.

    Quave agrees with the city that the improvements promise to help generate more traffic — specifically foot traffic — to the area.

    “The improvements are beautiful and I think when they continue down to the riverfront it will draw people’s attention, shopping-wise, to the quaint shops down there,” Quave said, referring to the new retail cottage village Anchor Square.

    3. Perhaps Quave is a common last name?

  2. You’re getting warmer… There is a lot of questionable contractual arrangements at SRH, most of which is related to the Facilities Support Department for things such as interior design, architects, and construction.
    With regard to the Hilton Garden Inn, I ask this; If not for hospital business, how in the hell is a town like Pascagoula going to support a Hilton Garden Inn.
    A very interesting question would be what percentage of business there is either from the hospital or it’s vendors.

    1. This is by far one of the most ridiculous comments ever. First off, if you’re going to throw that out then have at least a shred of evidence (however this website doesn’t deal much in credible evidence, just a lot of conspiracy theories). Furthermore, I can tell you that most of the business comes from Ingalls, Chevron and other companies bringing in people all the time.

      And why would it matter if much of their business come from hospital workers? It’s not like SRHS can mandate patients families to stay there while their loved ones are in the hospital…Sheesh…

      1. I agree that the new motel/hotel has a variety of business people using the facility. One point to be made though is in these lean times why is SRHS renting the conference area at the Hilton Garden Inn when they have plenty of space for their meeting needs? They need to divulge how many times they have rented space from this entity. Mate,as long as people lie, defraud, steal or misuse taxpayers money,operate in secrecy,only hire a construction firm where their mother works, and lie to their employees there will be conspiracy theories. Much of what you find on blogs like Slabbed is factual info being stated for a reason. Nobody reads this stuff anyway,do they?

  3. What is Charter Bank’s relationship to all of this? Charter lists Roy Williams as a founding member and on the Board of Directors. Also listed on the “Advisory Board” are Chris Anderson and John Lockard. Gentry Williams business partner Jon Reynolds is also at Charter.

  4. I find it hard to believe that thisScott Walker crook has been involved with so many other questionable people. Did he have a magnetic personality or a sharp criminal mind? How can one man corrupt so many others from Hancock County to Jackson County. He has been more damaging than a hurricane along the Ms. Gulf Coast. He had many who participated with him. Every week more are exposed. I think where some digging should be done is in the real estate. Who owns the buildings that the hospital system leases? I am hearing some names that have been mentioned on Slabbed.org. Second the conflicts with this law firm should be looked into. How can they be representing this system and also be pursuing other business from the system? Do they also lease real estate to the system? Are the Williams still involved with Scott Walker in doing business with the system? What did these lawyers know about the pension plan and when did they know it? From what the public has seen so far this father and son “Gave them a raise” legal team seemed to be more of an low grade semi pro wrestling tag team, the kind you could go watch locally on a Friday night when I was a kid. I predict much will be revealed that is considered illegal but most but probably not Singing River Hospital System managers and their lawyers. Someone also should look into the trustees. How much did Morris “NOT the DMR” Strickland pay for his appointment in campaign donations to those responsible for his appointment ? Needs to be examined very closely. So much more but all of this will be a good start.

      1. Now that is tantalizing based on something I heard from a source close to the investigative community a while back. Good for them.

      2. Somebody better check the Hancock County BOS docket to make sure they do not have his mortgages as a pay item disguised as a consulting fee. He is very connected to some of these guys and directed them to hire his friend for the Port Authority job after he was unable to place him at the DMR. Guess that big old house is sort of a reminder to Scott Walker’s wife what he had to do to provide the excess she is now a prisoner of.

      3. Being off the market does not surprise me. Now, is it off the market for being SOLD or did they take it off the market because they scavenged for the funds to pay for it. As far as I am concerned, they still owe the state a massive amount of money and they are allowed to bipass the system because of who they are–The White Elite of the Gulfcoast.

        It was a God send that this man was not elected as mayor.

          1. I am sure the truth could be found fairly easily. If they are not selling, then the money to support the homestead on Million Dollar Row must be coming from somewhere. I would imagine the insurance, taxes and utilities alone would be astronomical. Weather its the state or federal government, there is money to be owed and I would not be satisfied until I actually saw paperwork that states “paid in full” for all charges, restitution and fees he should be responsible for.

            1. EyeSpy :

              When you think about it wouldn’t it be stupid for them to sell their homestead as any equity gained thru the sale would be funds available to satisfy the federal/state debts Walker was declared to have owed by the presiding Federal Court.

              Then again the Federal Courts are so liberal in declaring such small amounts that must be paid back monthly by felons that the Walkers might get to continue to enjoy the life style of the Rich & Famous (i.e. BMWs, millionaire row, etc.) and the governments/citizens be fu*ked.

    1. The More interesting thing about Holland isn’t his wife, but that it was his MOTHER’s construction company that built the expansion work for the hospital system – and did it with full knowledge that it was coming from the retirement system funds!!! This also the same carcinogenic legacy that gave David Harris a retirement from the OS YMCA as well when he was a board member. I also find it interesting that he refuses to send his children to public school in Jackson Co, and instead sends them to the local Catholic Madrassa at St. Alphonses

  5. Do you expect Supervisor John McKay to look out for your interests? Will he dare bite the hand that feeds him?

    CEO Kevin Holland, Board of Trustees member Morris Strickland, and Robert Wilkinson (law partner of Roy Williams) are listed as hosts of a fundraiser for McKay. http://tinyurl.com/pqscqhw

    Who donated to his campaign for Ocean Springs mayor? Morris Strickland’s Eagle Express and former CEO Chris Anderson http://ci.ocean-springs.ms.us/admin/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/McKay-Mayor.pdf

    1. I see a John McKay fundraiser announcement in your post. Was that from his last election or a future election. No date shown. When does he run again?

      1. Fundraiser was held November 20, 2014. After the announcement of the SRHS pension woes. One thinks a political strategist might do a better job of keeping his clients free from controversy. Instead, he chose to trumpet this fundraiser and the “hosts” to all Jackson County residents with a Facebook ad promoting the event.

        1. I agree that the new motel/hotel has a variety of business people using the facility. One point to be made though is in these lean times why is SRHS renting the conference area at the Hilton Garden Inn when they have plenty of space for their meeting needs? They need to divulge how many times they have rented space from this entity. Mate,as long as people lie, defraud, steal or misuse taxpayers money,operate in secrecy,only hire a construction firm where their mother works, and lie to their employees there will be conspiracy theories. Much of what you find on blogs like Slabbed is factual info being stated for a reason. Nobody reads this stuff anyway,do they?

        2. I don’t know how I posted twice but I did. Sorry . Does McKay have an opponent already? When is the election? After reading the SunHerald opinion today I suspect he will be getting several opponents.

  6. This explains a lot. We are outraged about our retirement pension but the truth is, SRHS employees have essentially no benefits any more. Our health insurance is through Lockard & Williams (guess why!). All our health providers are employees of SRHS. We are educated about protected health information, but as employees of SRHS, all our “protected” health information is public information because 1) our co-workers are our care providers and 2) despite the “don’t look rule,” in reality, any employee has access to our health records. But we have this insurance because it helps line the pockets of those in power at SRHS. This is such a sick, sick system. Greed, lies, fraud, cover-ups…

    1. Lockard & Williams isn’t an insurance company. They simply administer claims for the health system, which is self-funded. The more interesting (and ripe for corruption) connection is that SRHS bills to a separate entity. Is there a flow chart showing all SRHS orgs and entities and how they relate?

        1. I haven’t seen SRHS OPEB costs and the net OPEB obligations mentioned yet. The numbers are not insignificant. The plan appears to be 100% pay as you go funding.

          The System does not issue a publicly available financial report that includes financial statements and required supplementary information for the health plan. Page 43 Singing River Health System Basic Financial Statements and Schedule September 30, 2012 and 2011 (With Independent Auditor’s Report Thereon)

  7. It is all starting to tie together with the same group from the DMR. Walkers, McKay, Lemon, Palazzo, Jeff Guice, Neel-Schaeffer (big Barbour backer), WLOX-TV ???, Sun Herald ???, Machado??? (wasn’t that the name of the BP oil well that spilled?), Joe Cloyd (Scott Walker’s chum??), Manly Barton?, Greg Denyer, Danny Jalanvich (where have I seen that name before?), Tom King (transportation commissioner), Tom Reynolds, Hank Zuber? a legislator?.
    Of course, all of these people are Barbour donators and chums. This McKay dude is the one who is still calling the shots at the DMR (since the Walkers are now incarcerated), in conjunction with Senator Wiggins. Of course, proof of this is that Mr.McKay’s boat riding buddy, Jan Boyd, is still in employment and working for Jaime miller. He has never had to answer for his part in the “boat rides” and the people that are overseeing the “reorganization of the DMR” have looked the other way because he is under John McKay’s “protection”. Who knows when they will be made to pay for their crimes like the rest of the guilty parties? When will the Palazzo and Barbour people who are involved in this mess be removed from our public servant employee list?? That is yet to be seen.

  8. This sad public scandal is of such parody quality Sony films couldn’t write a better script:

    Certain people and the brick walls at SRHS are all now singing bout Singing River ……. Time to figure out who is da’ secret laundry laundering da’ sheets and public money at Singing………. and who were the Premium Crackers receiving the insurance premiums of the health care for the poor SHMC employees who unfortunately will now be sustaining unusual high incidences of cardiac and other maladies as their retirement money runs out…. and will Roy Williams’ goula be thoroughly investigated and probed in Pascagoula and if he experiences rectal pains to the HILT will he need Roy surgery at Singing ?

    Except this cruel, murderous scandal is not a parodic comedy and as the truth farts bubble up the real SHIT will start FLOATIN to the TOP. And if I was a current employee soon to retire or a retiree I would want to take my physical hostility out on one or all the conspirator TURDS. So their turd polishing PR firm would be wise to keep the turds hidden and safe from accidental flushing which could even result in their septic treatment at Singing… Hell, if Singing ain’t singin’ let the TURDS call da’ Super Fire Chief, Don San FilI-poo, as he is always on emergency medical turd polishing duty at one of his abandoned fire stations.

    Oh yea ,I can see massive public records being hauled away in the middle of the nite in a U-Haul convoy.

  9. At this point nothing would surprise me concerning insider contracts with SRHS. As they are a public hospital, they are immune to a list of checks and balences which should raise public concern in itself. I have a feeling issues concerning insider contracts are not just restricted to SRHS and could possibly exist elseware. According to what I have heard, Memeorial Hospital has an elite clique running the administrations and on the hospital board so who knows what could be found behind those walls. Perhaps nothing but accountability should be checked.

    When speaking of Memorial Hospital, I dug back into the Eye-Files and found a few tid bits that were passed to me awhile back. According to what I was told, within days of the first three state cases closing, Memorial fired Susan Perkins. As the story went, they claimed she was the “face of the agency.” It appears Memorial was concerned about there image so much that in no time flat, Princess Walker was added to the payroll afterwards. Hmmmm. I guess they must have missed the very large photographs in the news paper.

    Going back to sweet contracts for insiders. I actually would question if any state law would make a difference either. Look at Frontier. They have landed piles of contracts with the state and do political work for our current governor.

  10. There is no need to speculate. Setting the laundry issue aside, at least two entities controlled by Gentry Williams (son of SRHS Board attorney Roy Williams) were operating in SRHS facilities. Jackson County Outsource Group, LLC had a contract with SRHS. This likely would have required board approval. Additionally one of the below Gulfstates entities solicited patients for financing procedures at SRHS. One of the Gulfstates entities engaged in collection activities as well.

    05/25/2011 – Gulfstates Credit and Finance, LLC formed by Gentry Williams
    08/29/2011 – Mississippi Laundry Services – Gentry Williams for “assistance with laundry services and management”
    06/12/2012 – ALL IN THE SAME FILING SUBMITTED TO SOS
    1. Mississippi Laundry Holding, LLC – Gentry Williams for “management of laundry services”
    2. Gulfstates Advance and Finance, LLC – Gentry Williams for “management of laundry financial services”
    3. Gulfstates Assurance Company, LLC – Gentry Williams for “management of financial services”
    09/10/2012 – Jackson County Outsource Group, LLC – Jon Reynolds, also controlled by Gentry Williams – for “financial management”
    02/10/2012 – Patient Benefit Group, LLC – Gentry Williams
    09/03/2014 – Patient Resource Solutions, LLC – Gentry Williams, also controlled by Jon Reynolds

    While these issues are separate from those of the pension, they point to the pattern of behavior by the handpicked trustees.

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