Back in the land of the living

Luckily we live in an advanced age where Oseltamivir can stop a case of the flu dead in its tracks. I was especially lucky as my Doc was working Christmas eve morning.  Like Lana and her hubby this past Thanksgiving, sharing the season’s pestilence was a family affair for us as well.

With that out of the way I’d like to acknowledge that much to my horror several pieces of high quality email in response to the post I did on the rumored related party transactions at Singing River Hospital went to my spam folder.  I have rectified the issue and will be replying to each today as I catch up on unfinished business.  I’d like to thank every one of you folks that contacted me sharing additional information.  It will be put to good use.

The biggest news item here behind the scenes at Slabbed relates to that rumored Mississippi Laundry Service contract with SRHS, a rumor that Hospital System spokesman Richard Lucas flatly said was not true (see link in preceding paragraph).  Its the ultimate conundrum folks because I have people that still insist there is a money connection between MLS and SRHS.  I mention this because I think there is a good explanation out there that resolves the riddle. Consider this a teaser but it is best that we wait while Slabbed procures the proverbial smoking gun before we solve it.

Way back in the beginning of this whole SRHS disaster I started to write what I’d term a “framing post”.  I use the term “framing” because in order to understand what is happening it helps it you view the chain of events through the proper lens.  The PR people at SRHS and the Jackson County Board of Supervisors have literally been “framing” the problems at SRHS since early in 2014 and how they presented the problem at the SRHS to the public still permeates the discussion.  My issue with how the problems at SRHS have been framed by the spin doctors for the politicos and the Hospital system is that it contains copious amounts of bullshit, for lack of a better term.  The retirees on fixed incomes whose pension income from a life’s work is now at risk demands that Slabbed take a look at the real issues involved with the SRHS financial meltdown and what had to have happened behind the scenes for it to occur.

Finally, speaking of framing, Kingfish up at Jackson Jambalaya is on the right track with the post he did which looked at five years worth of financial data from the Hospital system that is well worth the read.

34 thoughts on “Back in the land of the living”

  1. Doug,
    Where have our State Auditor’s been regarding the Singing River Hospital fiasco? Do they exist in our imaginations or only on the paychecks we distribute to them? Don’t know how far back this goes, but wasn’t our current Governor the State Auditor at one time too? Seems like my memory serves me that he was.
    Maybe it’s time for someone to look into the State Auditor’s office.

    1. They have been enabling it by allowing County government to openly flaunt basic governmental accounting principles by not consolidating their component units for one thing. In an article done by Anita Lee she quoted a high ranking OSA employees that implied that there was some sort of election involved in not following GASB pronouncements. It is a load of horseshit.

      Prior to 1986 governments in Mississippi did not have to track their inventory of long lived assets. Qualified audit opinions due to that condition were accepted as standard in Mississippi until someone in the legislature actually forced by the power of law to make local governments inventory and track all their equipment.

      A state legislature should not have to legislate compliance with Generally Accepted Governmental Accounting principles yet that is apparently what it will take to make these Mississippi Counties produce a set of financials that is not materially misleading,

    2. Lana,

      Think back and you may come to the conclusion that the State Auditors office is very often a day late and a dollar short I have heard they have claimed funding and resource shortages but you would figure over a 5-10 year period, they would have uncovered more than what they have. It seems Pickering’s team likes to ambush agencies after the fact to make it look like they are doing there jobs. I think for the most part they purposely stay away from the “big guys” and attack easy targets, low level employees and conduct smear campaigns with half ass investigations to get heads on the wall. Its much more economical to do this because low level employees with no political connections generally do not have the resources to fight–even if they are innocent.

      I would be interested to see the Auditor’s annual plans–if they even exist. Then, examine whats been accomplished and his recommendations for short falls. I have a feeling he is just sitting in the high seat enjoying the ride to his next destination–a higher political office.

    3. It is an honor to serve as your State Auditor, and to work as a watchdog for the taxpayers of Mississippi. The mission of the Office of the State Auditor is to protect the public’s trust by verifying the funds you provide to state and local governments are used in a legal and efficient manner for their intended purpose. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the Office.
      –Stacey Pickering, State Auditor

      Grabbed from http://www.osa.state.ms.us

  2. Glad to see that you and yours are recovering. That’s no fun at any time.

    Here are three items.

    1. Page 42 (‘SRHS’) Basic Financial Statements and Schedule, September 30, 2011 and 2010 (page 40 of the audit.)

    Of the 16 supposedly calculated numbers on that page, ten do not have zero as a digit. Four have a single zero as a digit. One has two zeros as a digit. One has six zeros. (I only counted each individual number the first time it occurred.)

    How can the addition of the normal OPEB cost and and the OPEB amortization calculation for 2011 sum to $5,000,000?

    2. I find it interesting that more than ten days after your post Analysis: Rumors of sweetheart insider contracts swirling around Singing River Hospital (Updated the only thing SRHS (or any other party) was apparently able to correct/clarify/deny was apparently the update from Mr. Lucas you posted that same day.

    3. Johnnie Taylor – Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire

    1. The gang told us where the problem was, only the explanation they gave where KPMG was faulted 100% is where the subterfuge lies.

      Anderson was a KPMG guy in a former life and I bet Mike Crews was as well. Audit firm to auditee incest is nothing new, especially at the Big 4. I’ve been looking high and low for the related party transactions disclosures and they are no where to be found.

      So if everyone can get on the same page, namely that management is responsible for setting and adjusting the allowance for doubtful accounts then it follows that management cooked the revenue books by $84,000,000 over a period of time, likely stretching back to 2009 but there is much we still don’t know. KPMG certainly missed something when they audited revenues and receivables but it is better than all of that by a country mile because KPMG can likely show that SRHS management mislead them, which is why there has been lots of talk about the County suing KPMG but it is also why that will never happen. There is too much dirty laundry potential for that.

      So how does it get better? Pravda left the salient comments:

      http://slabbed.org/2014/12/18/analysis-rumors-of-sweetheart-insider-contracts-swirling-around-singing-river-hospital/comment-page-1/#comment-64753

      http://slabbed.org/2014/12/18/analysis-rumors-of-sweetheart-insider-contracts-swirling-around-singing-river-hospital/comment-page-1/#comment-64786

      Look at the audit for 2012 and see how half of total receivables were owed by patients directly? That is certainly the segment with the most bad debt potential. Spotting an opportunity to go with the bad debt problem how do enterprising insiders react? The possibilities are simultaneously both rich and pathetic.

      1. That big round number referred to above apparently is a boneheaded mistake or possibly a fabrication. I have a hard time coming up with any scenario that provides an innocent explanation. Then again, apparently it was never corrected. So couple innocent mistake with never noticed/ the mistake doesn’t affect other calculations/accounting. Additional questions arise from this observation. Occam loudly whispers that this portion (OPEB) of the accounting could have been all Enron’d for a number of years, but I really have no basis or support for that.

        With respect to the alleged transactions mooted by various, there’s a lot of information on just exactly this billing/receivables/related parties issue.

        I really wonder what the terms of engagement were for the services rendered. What do the reports for this collection activity look like? There were reports submitted by the contractors…right?

        I have been busy with the holidays, and there is no humor at all in this situation. Just a bunch of faultless victims and there is not much positive that can be said for how those with oversight exercised their fiduciary and/or civic duties.

      2. Crews was employed by KPMG at the beginning of his career. It seems the rest of it was spent working directly for healthcare facilities. There is the possibility he did consulting work that was not listed on his resume. He was CFO of Baptist in Nashville until 2001 and began at SRHS in August 2004. Under the SRHS plan, vesting occurs at year ten. When exactly did Mr. Crews retire?

  3. There is a sickening twist to a story that includes Scott Walker and dirty laundry. Lumping the SRHS with the DMR is really not fair but the average person views most of the government in this same frame. The OSA has people working on the SRHS financial problems per previous reporting. The auditors probably must go through all of the information before they can decide who to cover for and who to prosecute. Look out inventory clerks and janitors. Stacey Pickering is trying to put together a press release. Dear friends need not be concerned. Continue your pillaging.

    1. Good advice given to inventory clerks and janitors. These would be some of Pickering’s highly prized victims.

  4. War Eagle:

    The BS recipe you have narrated/described is known as the Pickering Pick A Peck of Pickled Political Pepper Preserves to be lightly steamed in Ball jars, set out on da’ back porch a while and later force fed to da’ public taxpayers in another bitter, crony con-profit meal.

  5. Why has the Sun Herald forsaken the taxpayers of Mississippi?? What has happened to make them stand down on the CONprofit cases? Beginning with the DMR and now with the SRHS?? What is going on? Is Mississippi destined to forever be led by thieves and con artists? Where is a Savior for this great State??? Where are the Federal Agents??

    1. Charlene,

      I can’t speak for the SH other than I strongly beleive if the Republican Regime of Mississippi wanted something printed or not printed they probably could get it done.

      As far as the federal agents go, I would not put to much faith in them either. Especially if their assignment post is among the good Ol boys of Mississippi. After all, look how the Feds quickly dismissed Tina Shumates charges. Do you think that was not planned? Hehe.

    2. Given that the past few years has seen most local chain newspaper newsrooms gutted out in the name of cost cutting I think the Sun Herald and the MS Press are doing a good job. Each paper has its big guns working the story pretty much nonstop from what I can see.

  6. Eye Spy and War Eagle,
    Could it be that the State Auditor goes after those lowest on the totem pole because they do have the means to hold back campaign donations because they can’t afford to donate to begin with?
    But don’t bother those with the fat check books. Pray tell, their “support” may be needed come campaign season!!!

    1. The best way I can think of to describe Pickering is a typical Senior playground bully that picks on Freshman. He hasn’t convinced me that he has the balls to go after an upperclassman outright unless it will have an effect on his political status.

      I can’t vouch for campaign donations or campaign helpers for Pickering. I think that would be a question better suited for Phil Bryant.

  7. SRHS Board of Trustees – Per recent comments from BoS, BoT members must be residents of Jackson County in order to qualify to serve on the board. Neither the system nor county have made available any qualifications or selection criteria upon which appointments and confirmations should be made. It seems the only only criteria is residency.

    The below addresses were derived from the Jackson County Tax Assessor, whereon homestead (or other) exemption had been granted. This was done to note the property’s use as a primary residence. Some board members are not named in the tax records, in these cases, commercial databases were relied upon to cross-reference data.

    Board President Michael Heidelberg – 810 Buena Vista St, Pascagoula, Miss.
    Vice President Michael Tolleson – 523 Orange St, Pascagoula, Miss.
    Secretary-Treasurer Allen Cronier 17400 Stateline Rd, Moss Point, Miss.
    District 2 Ira Polk 3530 Sherlawn, Moss Point, Miss.
    District 4 Lawrence Cosper 1116 Halstead Bayou Dr, Ocean Springs, Miss.
    District 5 Morris Strickland 794 Destiny Plantation, Biloxi, Miss.*
    Member at Large Tommy Leonard 14975 Big Ridge Rd, St. Martin, Miss.
    Chief of Staff Stephen Nunenmacher, M.D. 3701 Players Cv, Gautier, Miss.
    Chief of Staff Elect Hugo Quintana, M.D. 618 Rue Maupesant, Ocean Springs, Miss.

    * Harrison County property and tax records reflect homestead exemption for this property. A search of Jackson County property records revealed no residential property in the name of Mr. Strickland or his spouse. Commercial databases reflected a prior address of 3630 Perryman, Ocean Springs, Miss. Current tax records reflect a change in ownership. Given Mr. Strickland’s election of homestead exemption in Harrison County, it is likely that he is no longer a resident of Jackson County. If no longer a resident, he no longer meets criteria to maintain a seat on the BoT.

    It should be noted that this is the best available information. If anyone has demonstrable facts negating any of the above, your reply below is welcomed.

    1. How to contact Mr. Strickland:

      http://www.kov.org/index.php/about/chapters/mississippi

      Doesn’t look like he goes to great pains to hide where he lives. Because the BoS and BoT haven’t provided the public with the official requirements for one to qualify to serve on the BoT, that leaves us with many more unanswered questions. More of the same BS from local politicians trying to cover their…….

      Mr. Strickland’s business and its primary location (yet TBD) may allow him to serve on the SRHS BoT, but we don’t know because we don’t have any info to verify this. The lack of transparency from our elected officials and appointed governing bodies continues to reinforce the appearance of impropriety, arrogance and ignorance at the expense of many innocent former/current SRHS employees and taxpayers.

        1. Paul Kersey:
          The Mississippi State Board of Health will be meeting January 14, 2015 and its scheduled meeting agenda can be downloaded at :

          http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/index.cfm/19,0,124,241,html

          Minutes from past meetings ( source possibly of $inging River issues) can also be downloaded there.

          The State Department of Health is governed by an 11 member Board appointed by Governor for staggered terms and the Board Member for Jackson County is Sammie Ruth Rea, RN (term expires on 6/15).

          Does Ms. Rea have any supervisory input into the operation of $inging River? Seems like an additional local county Supervisory Board and then their appointed BOT is overkill on political crony positions and crony oversight to me (i.e. how many corrupt cronies does it take to screw employees out of a retirement system)?

  8. Pravda, BINGO!!!! You are correct. Morris Strickland moved to Destiny Plantation in Biloxi from Ocean Springs several years ago now that you mention it. I have friends who live down the street from him. Now that you bring this up I remember when they mentioned his purchase of a home in their neighborhood. The next step would be to have him disqualified from serving on the SRHS Board and to find out how much he contributed to the person who appointed him in campaign donations. Everything is done for a reason. Wonder how much real estate he owns that the system may lease? Is he not also a co-owner of the new Hilton Garden Inn next to the hospital in Pascagoula? May all be legit but stinks bad enough I can smell it all the way over here in Biloxi. Great research.

      1. Paul Kersey:

        They have two MDs on the BOT, namely two Chiefs of Staff, who you would have to think would want to be appear to be squeaky clean, appear to stay squeaky clean and sterile from all BOT fresh eating contamination.

        They better have plenty of hand sanitizer available for them to baptize the BOT in when the sh*t hits the so-called sterile walls of $inging River when more and more retirees start to run short of money and those close to retirement find out they are destined to be left holding only a stinky empty bedpan.

    1. Strickland purchased the home in July 2010. That doesn’t necessarily indicate residency began at that time. The Hilton Garden Inn to SRHS allegations are specious. There is no question that Morris Strickland and Roy Williams are partners in this hotel. There is no question that they serve on the same board. There is no question the hotel is across the street from the hospital. After that, there is no evidence of any wrongdoing.

      If there is any corruption related to the development of the hotel, it would more likely lie with the $2.5 million CDBG funds. CDBG funds are notorious for not being allocated correctly. That would be a separate issue from SRHS.

      1. Maybe it’s time to think about taking a look at RAGS Properties LLC.

        http://blog.gulflive.com/mississippi-press-news/2012/02/14_million_upscale_assisted_li.html

        $14 million upscale assisted living facility proposed next to senior center

        “The local development group, represented Tuesday night by Morris Strickland, originally planned to build an assisted living facility on the old LaFont Inn site on U.S. 90, where they are developing a Hilton Garden Inn and several restaurants including the new Hardee’s. However, those plans shifted last spring, with the City Council at that time voting 6-1 to give RAGS the go-ahead to pursue plans near the new center.

        Strickland said they have secured a government-backed loan for the project, and need an option on the land to move forward. “This is the perfect spot,” he said. “It’s the only spot.” The council will now weigh whether to grant an option on the land, which the city owns. “

  9. Pravda:

    If you talkin’ CDBG funds to da’ tune of 2.5 MILLION then we need to communicate with the King of CDBG funding, namely Ray Ray. But with BILLIONS in CDBG funds going into his Chocolate City I don’t believe he was ever indicted for fraud in regards to CDBG funding.

    If Ray Ray was not indicted I doubt that Williams and Srickland would be but never say never cuz I like the way you’re thinkin’ and diggin’.

  10. “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.

    Please allow me to introduce myself… I’m a man of wealth and taste… From L to R: Phil and Deborah Byrant, Morris Strickland, John McKay, Lucy Strickland, and Linda McKay all pose for a photo during the WAMA Gala at the IP Casino in Biloxi

    “I am absolutely sure no one on those trips did anything legally or ethically wrong,” McKay continued. “As I’ve said before, we were standing by a mud hole and we got splattered. Once we clear this issue up with Pickering’s office, I think everyone will realize it’s been nothing but a political issue.”

    “It has been very complex and very complicated and my only commentary on the DMR investigation is there are a lot of friends of yours and mine. Let’s be very clear. This is close to home for all of us.”

    Wonder how Manly Barton’s position on public records access is aligned with his biggest campaign funder? He may have some special insight on this issue since he was overseeing SRHS as a Jackson County Supervisor when the zero funding of the SRHS pension by SRHS began. Don’t miss the Mississippi DMR Foundation political donation possibly never mentioned in the press and blog coverage.


    VOTE SMART Just the Facts Manly Barton’s Campaign Finances

    Top Contributors
    MISSISSIPPI HOSPITAL ASSOCIATION $5,000.00
    JONES, JANICE $1,000.00
    CHEVRON CORP $1,000.00
    MAXWELL, ROBBIE $1,000.00
    GUTHRIE, GERALD L $1,000.00
    CAUSEY JR, JOHN W $1,000.00
    MAXWELL, RICHARD $1,000.00
    MISSISSIPPI BANKERS ASSOCIATION $1,000.00
    ST PE, JERRY $1,000.00
    BABERS INC $1,000.00
    MAXWELL, NICKY $1,000.00
    COLLINS SR, ROBERT B $1,000.00
    MISSISSIPPI ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS $1,000.00
    F & H TRUCKING LLC $1,000.00
    MISSISSIPPI MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION $1,000.00
    PITTMAN, STEVE $500.00
    SIMS, KRISTIE $500.00
    EDDS, STEPHEN $500.00
    MISSISSIPPI CONSUMER FINANCE ASSOCIATION $500.00
    GRIMES, JACKIE $500.00
    MISSISSIPPI HOSPITALITY & RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION $500.00
    ORION ENGINEERING $500.00
    BAKER DONELSON MISSISSIPPI $500.00
    JIMMY GOURAS URBAN PLANNING INC $500.00
    PHILLIPS, DEBORAH $500.00
    DELLAPENA, STACEY $500.00
    GEORGIA-PACIFIC $500.00
    WILLIAMS, RON $500.00
    GULF UNREADABLE INVESTMENTS $500.00
    PFEIFFER JR, DR RALPH $500.00
    BROADDUS, JAMES A $500.00
    GULF COAST L & P INC $500.00
    HOME BUILDERS ASSOCIATION OF MISSISSIPPI $500.00
    PERSONS, CHARLES $500.00
    WIGGINS, CHRIS E $350.00
    REYNOLDS AMERICAN INC $300.00
    MISSISSIPPI PETROLEUM MARKETERS & CONVENIENCE STORES ASSOCIATION $300.00
    SPECTRA ENERGY $300.00
    AT&T $300.00
    BAKER, MARK $250.00
    WALKER, SCOTT J $250.00
    HUNTER, JOHN $250.00
    RENFROE, STEVE $250.00
    MISSISSIPPI DMR FOUNDATION $250.00

  11. My Fellow Americans,

    As usual, RFP delivers the goods with precision. 🙂 One item of note is the Mississippi Hospital Association.

    If someone is really bored and has the time, they may want to call Gene Taylor to see if he was given an opportunity to tour Memorial Hospital while he was campaigning. From what I heard, he was denied while Steven Palazzo was granted the opportunity. The last time I checked, Memorial was a public hospital.

    I honestly believe this Republican Regime is a lot thicker and deeply embedded than most people realize.

  12. It appears more people are being screwed than DMR even thought of doing by the SRH Pension Plan deal. And that is saying lots!

    When all is said and done, the FEDS will step in and so like they did with DMR, the little guys will get a slap on the wrists and the politicians and cronies will enjoy a fatter bank account.

    What are you people who are affected by this scam planning on doing? If you do not get rid of EVERY Jackson County Board of Supervisor in the next General Election, you deserve to be screwed. Your voice is at the ballot box and if you do not get out and vote these crooks out – it is your fault.

  13. Just out of curiosity, does this swindle of pension funds affect the upper crust of Singing River Hospital, such as the CEO, administration, etc. or just the little guys?
    Did any of you see the three stooges picture in the Sun Herald this morning? There they were big as Texas right where they’ve been so busy—Kirk Ladner, Scott Walker, and Steve Seymour. Things are really beginning to fall into place right in time for election year. And speaking of election year, who has been taking care of Hancock County District 4 while Seymour was out of town working all those long hours 7 days a week talking folks into suing BP? Just wondering.

  14. Hmm.

    Jackson County supervisors looking into SRHS trustee’s residency, replacement possible
    http://blog.gulflive.com/mississippi-press-news/2014/12/jackson_county_supervisors_loo_1.html

    Pick and choose your favorite detail. I’m having a hard time choosing here…

    “Ross said the issue first came up a few weeks ago, but the supervisors have not met since then.”

    Or

    “”I was going to bring it up at the next meeting to see if that’s true and see if there’s some sort of policy that allows him to finish the term out,” Ross said of Strickland,”

    Or

    “Ross said he called McKay about the issue, and McKay indicated he’s known “for about six months” that Strickland moved.”

  15. Thanks to all of you amateur detectives that have discovered so much corruption with the Singing River Hospital pension plan snafu.

    Where are the Jackson County Board of Supervisors, past and present, while this song and dance routine has been playing out?

    And where are the Hospital Trustees? They are mighty quiet.

    And where are the FBI?

    Oh, we know where old Pickering is. He’s trying to cover his butt with the DMR business and ain’t got time for such penny ante stuff like these retirees problems from Singing River Hospital System that may not get their pensions.

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