Where’s Waldo Part 1: Hiding in the no-bid DMR Consulting Contracts that’s where

What would appear at first blush to be a straight forward post has gotten a tad more complicated so what I am going to do is identify what the crackerjack Slabbed Investigative Journalism team found plus a bit more and then put some more meat on the bones in subsequent posts.

I guess the first question would involve identifying Waldo and for that we turn to this Google search string to accomplish that. I used Google instead of homegrown Slabbed links to illustrate that the gang at Frontier Strategies has attracted a good bit of statewide media attention and that attention has not necessarily been positive. I’ll let Wayne Weidie explain via this post on the Weidie Report dating back almost a year ago concerning the bruising primary battle between Senator Thad Cochran and State Senator Chris McDaniel that left the incumbent Senator in second place behind the newcomer McDaniel. Here is a snippet:

Poor campaign decision from the start

For his campaign leadership, Sen. Cochran had Kirk Sims and Josh Gregory fostered on him by Sen. Roger Wicker and Gov. Bryant. Sims was Bryant’s chief of staff before he was named campaign manager. No small factor is that Sims is Wicker’s son-in-law. Gregory has always been the man behind the throne for Bryant, and Gregory is already looking for his next horse to ride into the Governor’s Mansion after Bryant presumably is re-elected and serves his second term.

While the Cochran campaign had other able campaign professionals, by any measure, the management of the campaign was a disaster.

For people that make their living doing political coms consulting, the golden children of the Boss Hogg administration have not fared as well since Boss’s coattails departed the Govs mansion back in 2011 and the above criticism, from an well known, seasoned political operative had to sting.  And yet it is more than just giving bad campaign advice as issues involving the maturity certain of the GOP golden boys have also been raised right here on these pages but the focus of my search was for Frontiersman Joe Cloyd and his long rumored no bid contracts with Mississippi DMR that morphed into a long term project.

You see folks normally you’d head straight over to the Mississippi State Transparency portal and pull up all the contracts by state agency and then locate the one you’re looking for – wham, bam, boom its done. But nothing connected with Joe Cloyd ever came up thus the issue became one of resolving the information imparted to Slabbed by sources in the Bolton Building Janitorial Department, an impeccable source of information on all things DMR without cluing the General in as to which sanitation engineer was leaking Slabbed New Media.

Those of you that have followed our coverage of the DMR scandal remember that then new DMR Executive Director Jamie Miller took over a State Agency under siege, investigation and the media microscope.  One of his first acts was to hire the Horne CPA Group to get a handle on the agency’s finances and tucked into the Horne Contract was a subcontract not to exceed $50,000 for a new communications company called Frontier Gulf Coast, itself an offshoot of Frontier Strategies a political communications firm owned by Josh Gregory, Joe Cloyd and others, that received a no-bid $1,000,000 Communications contract from the Department of Public Safety among other notable no bid state contracts  the firm landed.  Kingfish at Jackson Jambalaya has been all over the no-bid CONtracts for Coms CONsulting as well, and April a year ago he did a comprehensive analysis of the state largess bestowed upon this young, relatively inexperienced political communications company owned by former Haley Barbor connected golden children.

Now back to those rumored Joe Cloyd contracts the janitors were carrying on so about. One way a state contract could be hidden from the Transparency website would be to have a prime contractor and a subcontractor like was done with the Horne CPA review of the agencies finances and what we need to do is circle back to an old 404 Sun Herald story that lives on in cyberspace on another media site for more background:

Complaint filed against DMR over tracking of agency expenses ~ Sun Herald July 19, 2014

The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources failed to track all expenses it paid for accounting and other professional services under a contract with Horne LLP of Jackson, according to a complaint filed with the state auditor.

And we get down to the brass tacks:

Both DMR and Horne representatives said detailed invoices were not necessary. DMR paid Horne $150,000 for the 60-day review, although Horne submitted a time and expense sheet that listed hours worked, hourly rates and expenses totaling $199,496.75.

Where’s the detail? Rejebian requested detailed bills in February. He filed his complaint with the auditor July 3.

And the bullshit begins to fly:

In a statement emailed to the Sun Herald, DMR Executive Director Jamie Miller said the initial contract with Horne called for detailed invoices to ensure Horne met its professional obligations. The DMR did not require detailed invoices, he said, because Horne’s “analysis” showed the accounting firm had done more work than the DMR’s payment would cover.

The half-page “time & expense analysis” listed hours worked by five Horne employees, by title, at hourly rates ranging from $48 to $285 an hour. Hourly fees for Horne totaled $111,973.50 and undocumented expenses were $9,041.45. The sheet also listed an hourly rate of $150 for a Frontier consultant, 286 hours worked and a total charge of $42,900. An EnStrat consultant charged $150 an hour for 234.50 hours, for a total of $35,581.80.

I’ve never seen a financial review require the assistance from one politically connected group of CONsultants let alone two, but welcome to the new DMR under Executive Director Jamie Miller.  The Horne Contract was let way back in the spring of 2013, in the middle of a criminal investigation of the DMR involving the Walkers and others being conducted by the Office of the State Auditor and the FBI. So when the CONsulting bills were paid and summer arrived, the only thing left for Joe Cloyd to do was hold a political fundraiser for State Auditor Stacey Pickering and recycle some of the DMR dough back to a GOP establishment politician. And that old invite which listed the host committee would certainly be of interest today to the Singing River people as their favorite former SRHS Board Attorney is also listed as a host of that fundraiser.

The timing of this event, in the middle of an investigation into major state agency corruption, was so outrageous that it inspired the first of now many Jackson County protest that Slabbed has covered. It is from that small 2013 protest that the SRHS retiree protest movement was born, thanks to a remarkable lady we here at Slabbed know simply as Mac.

In the words of the late Billy Mays that’s not all though. While it is certainly true that Wayne Weidie was not much on Joe Cloyd’s fellow Frontiersman Josh Gregory’s performance in last year’s Senate Primary, what about the recently concluded Biloxi Mayor’s race? For that we turn to commenter Biloxi Blues:

Again, we witnessed a very viable candidate taken down by his own team. How many errors can a campaign make? This one may have set a new record.

Swetman should have addressed his residency questions right up front the first time it came up with documented proof. I think the public would have accepted the fact that he was caught by surprise when the Mayor Holloway resigned. He defended his homestead move in a way that made him look like a liar. The rumors (and that is all they are) of his pending federal indictment were also clouds that a needed a Windy burst to dispel. The worst kept secret in Harrison County was the over the top fundraiser at Ron’s house where much $$$$$ was given. Too much for a county supervisor. All knew then he was not raising money for his re-election campaign as he pretended but for the run for mayor. Even the SunHerald anointed him “Biloxi’s next Mayor” after that event. As the days went by Swetman threw all of his big endorsement punches and Gilich beat him with the jab. The Swetman commercials alone would make other campaign professionals wonder who in the hell was running that show. They were just awful. And when their internal polling showed them behind they called in the Ms. Republican Party cavalry who, with letters drawn, charged into a “Custards Last Stand” campaign ending. Meanwhile the Frontier generals, watching from a hill in Jackson, managed a last minute endorsement from Governor Phil Bryant to increase the embarrassment because the Swetman campaign was already dead from friendly fire. What a wasted effort it was. Now the watch is on for Windy Swetman to step away from his election bid for county supervisor. His exhausted mind and purse must be considering this. At a minimum he should put together a new campaign team and shed the Payne he must be feeling.

The Bluesman’s comments were prescient as Swetman did withdraw from the Supervisor race not long after the comment was made. So what is a guy that is unlucky in the dark arts of political Comms to do in order to hedge economic bets? Well you go see Executive Director Jamie Miller over at DMR that’s what:

Coastal Consulting DMR Tideland Trust Contracts. Source: Transparency Mississsippi. Click to view full size photo
Coastal Consulting DMR Tideland Trust Contract. Source: Transparency Mississippi. Click to enlarge

But anyone that pulled this contract and then cross matched Coastal Consulting Group LLC over at the Secretary of State website before April 14, 2015 would only find an Articles of Formation that were filed August 12, 2014 that listed Attorney Ann Bowden-Hollis, ostensibly with Butler Snow as the sole member and registered agent. I use the term “ostensibly” as Ms. Bowden-Hollis is not listed as an Attorney on the Butler Snow website these days, but she is certainly accomplished in the legal profession as this article circa 2010 from the Mississippi Business Journal illustrates.

Notice the date of the LLC’s formation in August and the no-bid Tideland Trust Fund CONsulting CONtract date for the DMR contract beginning a few months later on November 1, 2014. Normally a start-up couldn’t get their foot in the door of a state agency but then on April 14th the Coastal Consulting Group LLC’s annual report was filed and guess who jumps out of the cake?

Click to Obtain 3 Page pdf of the filing
Click to Obtain 3 Page pdf of the filing

The new DMR under Jamie Miller looks pretty much like the old DMR lead by Dr. Bill Walker to me folks with the exception of the fetish Jamie Miller has for PR Consultants as the taxpayers get stuck with the bill for a former Boss Hogg crony and that brings me to one last point about that $50,000 contract Frontier got under that Horne DMR financial review subcontract.  How effective was the communications out of the agency back in those days?

PR professional volunteers to help DMR ~ The Sun Herald July 27, 2013

Stay tuned for part 2.

Publisher’s Note:

Between the date Slabbed New Media LLC downloaded the DMR Contract with Coastal Consulting Group from the Mississippi Transparency website on June 2, 2015 and the writing of this post, the Coastal Consulting contract with DMR has vanished from the Mississippi Transparency website.  Slabbed New Media will attempt to get an explanation for the contract’s disappearance from the Mississippi Transparency portal.

(Edited to clarify the name of the Coastal Consulting Group LLC)

39 thoughts on “Where’s Waldo Part 1: Hiding in the no-bid DMR Consulting Contracts that’s where”

  1. Hmmmm. It looks like Ol Joe Cloyd is caught up in the mix again.

    Here is your chance Brice Wiggins to show the citizens of Mississippi how serious you are about government accountability and start an investigation. Do you have the guts to start pissing in Jamie’s bowl of cornflakes?

    I think the citizens of Mississppi deserve to know what kind of services were provided by Coast CONsultants and why Joe Cloyd seems to be the premier choice to do business with.

    I am certainly not lawyer but the behavior of creating businesses and landing so many state contracts seems like fertile ground for a lawsuit. More especially if they are no-bid. If I owned a local business and offered the same types of services, I would be talking to one to file a suit against the state.

  2. Doug, you are simply a genius. No other words for it.
    Now, where is the FBI since you have already done their work for them??
    How does this continue to go on?? Why haven’t these yahoos been thrown in jail already?? They are robbing every fund that they can get their hands on, and no fund is sacred (as already shown at the SRHS). What is wrong with these people???? I just can’t comprehend that they are still shifting money down the pipe to the GOP coffers with everyone watching. Are they broke? Desperate? What the hey???

    1. Charlene,

      I believe I have an answer to your question with respect to how this continues to go on.

      The answer is simple:

      Because Mississippi is dominated by 1 political party. They have all the main players lined up in office and all serve the master in Jackson and the Regime. Its actually quite pathetic and it reminds me of the same behavior that is often seen with radical Islam in the middle east. With this clan, instead of cutting peoples heads off, they just rape the tax payers of their hard earned money to keep fueling the machine.

  3. Sorry folks, I don’t think Senator Wiggins will take on the ‘big boys’. You cannot buck city hall alone and succeed. It would mean he would go against Barbour, Bryant, Pickering and the list goes on and I don’t think he’s that brave.

    And yep, the same type of crooks from DMR are at SRHS. Who will be these retirees savior? The FBI did crap at DMR so don’t expect much from them at SRHS.

  4. I anticipate that the local members of the RRRSM will sit back and do nothing. This includes Wiggins and boy do I have a “care package” ready for his opponent. He is such an easy target. On the flip side of the coin, I really am grateful that he took the time to comment on Slabbed even if I, or many others do not agree with him. Thanks again Brice.

  5. Like Gopmer Pyle used to say…

    Just had the funniest typo happen and so there you have it.

    Gopmer. Do I need to define or can we just start using it?

    (example usage: “I see the (fill in government agency) is staffing up with more Gopmers thanks to the newly discovered ’emergency crisis’.” Or “If he wasn’t a Gopmer they wouldn’t have created a position for him.”)

    Moving along to my intended first point. As a connoisseur of search I always appreciate the opportunity to look over the shoulder of someone who can dig out the high grade finds. (I also will report that if there is a link probably I click it. For sure I’ll roll over to check the url. You can perhaps guess what services I detest.) My excitement at the beginning of this post quickly turned to disappointment when the embedded link here I guess the first question would involve identifying Waldo and for that we turn to this Google search string to accomplish that. I used Google instead of homegrown Slabbed links to illustrate didn’t work.

    Back in a little while after I’ able to get bac o a ore even eel 🙂

    1. rfp:

      Gopmer Pile is the same BS fecal excrement they eat out of each other’s A-hole’s in perpetuity of their 1 party dictatorship

      But I favor the acronym GOPHER because they conduct business in dark back rooms and their Con-tracts seldom surface and when they do and attract attention they reclaim them back into their underground tunnels which are more extensive then those dug by the N. Viet Nam regulars.

      Yes, those evil Mississippi Gophers are always digging, covering up, digging and covering up but so is digging Doug looking for dem evil gophers – a picture of which was recently captured:


  6. I have been told that Jie Cloyd has been benefitting from the beginning of the Miller regime. As Miller took office on opening day, there were more Horne, Frontier, and Governor’s staff present than DMR employees. This should have been a big clue that mission was going to play second fittle to Jackson’s politics. Miller is doing the same operation as Walker. Walker hired all his neighbors under the friends and family plan, now Miller is doing the same. Miller first started by hiring Eure’s friends from Pascagoula and then his church membership. These include: Bill Feidt, Joe Spraggins, Melissa Scallon, Keith Davis, Barbara Lavine, Sonja Slater, Kasey Williams, Cortney Fiona and so many more. Feidt had to fire all the DMR employees to repopulate the Business Office with the Pascagoula bunch, then he fired all the Computer staff. Miller not only hired half his congregation but gave Keith Davis his promotion party at his church with the governor in tow. Further evidence of his faith based running of th DMR is when he hired Patrick Lavine’s aunt Barbara. I have been told she spends most of her time on vacation or on travel getting the qualifications she have had when she was hired.

    1. Speaking of “who’s, who” in the Pascagoula club–I know of another local politician with Pascagoula and Herbert Family ties who has been fairly popular as of late. I won’t mention any names even though he seems to be pleased with Jamie’s work at the DMR since the moment he became “Knighted”.

    2. I just want to clarify a few things. I am in NO way for this department, as I was done very wrong by them and I want answers as to why they can continue to get away with these things. However, Feidt did not fire everyone. I know two personally and they pretty much told Miller to jam it and walked out. Two others left for another job. There was only one from the business office that was terminated and I believe she has a lawsuit pending. The IT director was terminated. Two others in that department also told Miller/Feidt to jam it. One retired and one left for other employment. Mier seems to think that having “meetings” at the first church of gpt on lorraine road is ok. Lunch, promotions, meet the legislative members, you name it…He does it all the time. If you don’t participate in the “church” stuff you are against them. Yes, Miller has hired many people he knows. Its still the friends and family plan, Nothing new there. I also understand Millers executive admin asst just left for other employment as well. That place is no different than when Walker was there. H3ll, i think is is actually worse now…. They just hide the money better now.

      1. Let the lawsuits roll. That’s what I say. Not speaking of any employee names but I wonder how many lawsuits have been filed against the DMR.

        I keep hearing the rumors of the church group. If true, that would make a lovely EEO suit. I think there would be enough employees who have been fired who just may be able to testify to that.

        1. Spy: as much as i would like to see the place go down in flames, to my knowledge there is only one lawsuit. If that is even still pending. I dont think the former employees will speak out (for fear of being blackballed) or fork over the money for an attorney to sue the state. Especially if they were “terminated” under senate bill 2579 which granted Miller to do what he damn well wanted and the poor employee had no state protection (at will employee for six months). It was just a dog and pony show to make room for his buddies (and lots of them i might add). With that said, i heard a rumor that ole chief davis was caught at a golf tournament in his unmarked state car. I believe he was told his vehicle had to be marked now. Tax dollars at their finest. As someone stated davis IS more worried about himself and the way he looks. However, can someone explain to me how davis can make $70,000 a year, yet live in income based housing off of hwy 67…. I just dont get it. Apparently im doing something wrong… Or maybe im too honest of a person.

          1. I cannot vouch if Mr. Davis lives there but if there is suspicion, I would recommend documenting all the facts and observations and reporting it to the housing authority. With the facts in hand they can quickly determine if there is any foul play at the residence. Based on my limited experience, I believe there are laws and regulations that pertain to who can reside in these types of developments if the development you name is in fact “income based.”

          2. He should retire I think he don’t want to give other people the chance to show off there leadership and skills. He pay more attention to his job then his family.

              1. All I can say is that I don’t think Keith Davis is really his name. I met this lady named Mary she told me that Mr.Keith Davis has more then one love child, and he neglected them to continue his career as a marine, he also paid her cash to supply for them. I think someone should investigate him ASAP. Find those DNA Test.

        2. Eye Spy: My understanding of the tax code is if the church politicalizes itself then it is not entitled to benefit of tax exemption?

          If not in violation of non-political status then most certainly as per ACLU such meetings violate the constitution of separation of church and state.

          I have no issue with use of church property but sure wish Our Lord would send a few lightenning bolts, ala like the Saul / Demascus type of conversion.

  7. Also, didn’t Walker have a fake foundation like Joe Cloyd’s timely establishment to capture DMR funds. I’m still unclear how the current regime is different from the old. Don’t expect Pickering to do anything (competent) he is busy running a McKay style re election bid. Going to be tough dragging that DMR ball and chain.

    1. You are right. Pickering will not do shit unless it involves going after a defenseless low level employee that he and his “professional group of auditors” can gangbang and leave the sheets soaked.

  8. Charlene,
    To answer your question as to why this continues to go on? They don’t get penalized enough. Case in point: It was reported this weekend in the local newspaper that the Miss. Ethics Commission had found the Diamondhead Water and Sewer District in violation of the Open Meetings Law—-drum roll—-so they “scolded them.” Yes, they scolded them. What are they? A bunch of children?
    According to the Open Meetings Statute, they can be fined up to $10,000 and removed from office. So do it, dammit.
    Do they really think these people are worried about being scolded? I would be embarrassed if I had that kind of legal authority on behalf of the taxpayers, and didn’t use it.
    Start using the law on them and they’ll think twice.
    Scolded them!!!!????

  9. Can you believe all this? Only in the ‘Most Corrupt State in the Nation’ and we will continue to receive the reward as long as we continue to elect the same crooks.

    1. I’m still chuckling with Gopmer.

      I had a vague recollection that the word gomer could be associated with cattle under some circumstances. Google informs me that this is correct and also that the word “sidewinder” can be used!? A gomer sidewinder?! The things people do! I had no idea. This info and google searching is definitely NWS.

  10. Here I am this afternoon driving 1-10 thru Florida on a quick business trip and I decide to check Slabbed to see if anything new is happening. I see the Republican Jr.Varsity boys are up to no good again. I had to pull into one of those great rest stops they have, go in and get some free orange juice and return to my auto to quickly catch up. That was almost an hour ago. So much to read,so many links to check and lots to ponder. While I wonder what the new Coastal Consulting Group LLC is doing under the new contract @DMR, I also wonder if the contract between Horn and Frontier Gulf Coast is still active? I am really shocked how much Horne has been paid by the DMR. Did Frontier get Horne that job? Are they getting a percentage of what is being paid to Horne? Time to start a new investigation right here at the Slabbed Nation. Got to get back on the road again.

    1. Wonder why you have problems finding correct information from the Sec. of State’s office re: state contracts & company backgrounds – Hosebag is part of the corruption, along with Pickering, Bryant, Hood, Butler Snow, etc. etc.

      What’s the status of the contempt charge against Hood, Lott, Runnels, et al., and why is the media not pursuing the outcome?

      Was wondering why the MDMR advertised an RFQ the other day for a Marine Patrol Management Consultant or better yet, for whom were they creating a position? Reckon, they trying to take care of poor ole Wendy?

      1. John

        Well. Well. Well. An advertisement for a Marine Patrol Management Consultant. I have not seen this but if true God help the DMR.

        I can assure you that I am not the sharpest pencil in the box but this does sound like a manufactured position created for one of the Coast Elite or a member of the RRRSM.

        As a tax payer, I would first like to know why such a position is even needed. This may be an ignorant perception but I would tend to believe that the majory of Matine Patrols business consists of:

        1). Busting rednecks and trash who are caught fishing without a license.

        2) Busting rednecks and trash that are keeping under sized fish or are way over the allotted quantity.

        3) Busting certain people for violations who still have not learned the English language having been here since the 80’s.

        I am not familiar with the organizational structure of the DMR or marine patrol since it appears to be secret. But, I would think the Chief of Marine Patrol would normally consult with his Deputy or Sergeants.

        Oh wait, that would be a flawed assumption because Jamie Miller thought so highly of his marine patrol staff he had to bring in an outsider to take over as chief. One would think that if Davis was that good, there would be no need for a consultant.

  11. I have said for some time Wendy might be inline for Feidt’s old position. No coincidences there. Really have to be buddies with Casey or blow hard Brice to get a job at DMR. I have hear that the janitorial staff is reporting that the CFO position is being filled “internally” and not through the State Personnel Board. Must already have selected the candidate. The mortgage says the new CFO is from Pascagoula, flunky from the World Com disaster or lives next to Davis in the neighborhood. But no matter what this person will have connections to Casey or Brice.

  12. Yep, heard it again. The fake HR at DMR is non advertising the current positions at DMR. I guess we are going to see another Casey Eore or Mice Wiggins appointee. Probably won’t go with the World Com disaster from Pascagoula route, maybe a church member from the new south church in Gulfport. They already had one self righteous know it all, why not another selfless thumper with a cause and bible in hand. How hard the head sleeps without a moral conscience. Didn’t the donut eater in PR have a Christian web page?

    1. Priceless response. LOL

      If any personnel hiring actions were to be deemed out of compliance, Jamie Miller is not the only one to blame. 😉

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