How about a wild romp through the latest FBI Investigation that has the peeps electrified

It all started back on the 4th with the folks at the Clarion Ledger:

FBI investigating post-BP spill contracts: what we know ~ Anna Wolfe

In the three years since Director Trudy Fisher’s resignation, federal investigators have looked into DEQ’s activities under her leadership. The probe looks at contracts granted by DEQ in an attempt to determine whether Fisher personally benefited from them, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the investigation, including several people who have been interviewed by the FBI.

Under Fisher, private contractor and attorney Amy Whitten reaped nearly $2 million in DEQ contracts, either directly with the agency or through subcontracts with law firm Balch & Bingham. Whitten, a well-known state contractor, had worked with a number of agencies and secured four previous DEQ contracts before Fisher took over the agency.

The link above that Slabbed put out on Twitter was still warm when the Sun Herald picked up Wolfe’s story on Wednesday by then it had really captured the attention of many folks including here. Then we got the wet blanket that lie under the salacious headline:

Mississippi gave millions in BP funds to firm with ties to scrutinized contractor ~ Anna Wolfe

Amy Whitten, a Mississippi attorney who received a subcontract with the state Department of Environmental Quality in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, shared her Ridgeland office address with two companies that also gained contracts related to the spill.

One of the companies, Covington Civil and Environmental Engineering, received tens of millions of dollars in contracts related to the April 2010 BP oil spill. The other company, Adaptive Management Services, received a small contract before eventually subcontracting under Covington.

It sounds juicy and salacious but further down the story:

By all indications, Covington excelled under its first consulting contract.

“We knew that in order to at least compete with those big Jackson firms, we had to produce better than them. And we did,” Hairston said. “We did a great job — enough that in three or four months, Trudy said, ‘OK, I like what I’m seeing. We’re going to do another one.”

DEQ entered the second contract with Covington in September 2012. It eventually totaled half a million dollars after an extension in 2013. The contract detailed work under Gov. Phil Bryant’s GoCoast2020 project created in response to the RESTORE Act, through which Mississippi received civil penalties imposed on BP under the Clean Water Act.

The next month, Covington received a third contract eventually totaling $1.6 million for work related to the Natural Resource Damage Assessment.

After undergoing a Request for Qualifications process, DEQ awarded the $9 million program management contract for coastal restoration to Covington in August 2013.

Coast guys getting Restore Act contracts does not surprise me in the least. Engineering is a professional service that is not required to be bid in Mississippi but per the article there was an actual RFQ process and I am told the RFQ’s are even available for public inspection on the internet. I mention this because I had to ask myself is there anything here or is this another “Stacey Pickering style” FBI investigation which looks good in the paper but goes no where beyond the news cycle? Some data points began to line up and this is where the wild romp begins:

Nature Conservancy adds new board members ~ Mississippi Business Journal (via archive.org)

Ten business and community leaders from throughout Mississippi recently joined the board of trustees for The Nature Conservancy in Mississippi. The new board members are:

• Scott J. Walker of Ocean Springs is a partner at the Maxwell and Walker Consulting Group, an engineering firm based in Jackson, and he is the co-owner of the Ocean Springs Gazette. Walker, a graduate of the University of Mississippi, has also worked as the Southern District field representative for Sen. Roger Wicker and as office manager and Southern District field representative for Sen. Trent Lott.

• Amy D. Whitten of Ridgeland is the principal owner of The Whitten Group, a full-service management consulting and training firm, and she practices law from offices in Jackson and Oxford. Whitten previously served as counsel and court administrator to the Mississippi Supreme Court and as a special assistant attorney general for the State of Mississippi. Whitten earned her bachelor’s degree and her law degree from the University of Mississippi.

Seeing our own Scott Walker with one of the subjects of the C-L reporting in Whitten in this context would not be unusual as Walker ran in those circles due to his Dad’s position running the DMR in those days. So the above proves nothing except that Whitten comes after Walker in an alphabetized list. So again aside from titillation value what is driving the news of the FBI Investigation and for further help I dialed up to Jackson to see what our sources there knew and it was then things began to make a bit more sense.

According to Slabbed’s source that is knowledgeable of the operations of the DEQ but who is not authorized to speak on the topic with the media the FBI Investigation into Trudy Fisher is 42 months or so old give or take a couple of months. So what happened exactly 42 months ago? I have this from Slabbed’s archives:

Exactly one thought on the Bill Walker plea ~ Douglas Handshoe

What happened 43 months ago? The DEQ was all over these pages:

Janus plea hearing: Magilla the Gorilla in the room

Who dunnit ? Let’s solve the DEQ / BP City of D’Iberville Ocean Expo grant mystery (Updated)

Before we further titillate, everyone needs to understand the only person that could move Trudy Fisher at DEQ when it came to the Walkers was Boss Hogg himself. Pretty ironic that it was a DEQ grant that ultimately took down the Walkers and a few others. After the felons started singing there is no telling what they said…..all I can say is the genesis of the Trudy Fisher FBI investigation was in that time period. What else was happening back in early 2014?

Audit questions use of Katrina money in Miss. ~ Holbrook Mohr, AP

A new federal report says Mississippi officials accepted unsupported population growth estimates in developing a plan to use $653 million in federal Hurricane Katrina recovery money for water and wastewater facilities, including some that may not be needed.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Inspector General also questioned the appraisal documentation for $2.1 million used to buy land for the projects.

In June 2012, The Associated Press reported on concerns raised by residents and officials regarding the population estimates and the use of eminent domain to acquire private land for projects that may not be needed for years, if ever. AP found that some multimillion-dollar sewage plants in coastal Harrison County were sitting idle or underused, but officials who defended the projects insisted they were designed for long-term growth.

The report said a firm hired in 2006 to help draft the plans hired a subcontractor to help with population estimates. The subcontractor initially estimated growth of 25 percent, but increased it — to 64 percent — less than a month later at the request of the contractor, the report said.

Millions of dollars were wasted building Water and Wastewater facilities on the coast that are extremely under utilized. Who was involved in this?

The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality was responsible for developing Mississippi’s Gulf Region Water and Wastewater Plan after the August 2005 storm.

A development authority spokesman referred questions about the inspector-general’s report to the environmental quality department.

The department’s executive director, Trudy Fisher, issued a statement Thursday saying she and other officials in her department “take our responsibility to properly utilize federal funds very seriously, and strongly disagree with the audit findings and recommendations with regard to both the appraisal issue and the population projections.”

In that instance, the DEQ was using Mississippi Engineering Group, which leads to Waggoner Engineering. Waggoner is not involved in the BP Restore Act angle reported by Wolfe except for the fact they have unsuccessfully sought some of the work.  Slabbed’s Jackson source described the recent Clarion Ledger reporting as sour grapes from firms that have unsuccessfully sought Restore Act work. It could just be that but the reporting in Jackson lined up with a perfect storm happening next door in Alabama:

Meet ‘Attorney #1’ and ‘Employee #1’ from Rep. Oliver Robinson’s bribery plea ~ Kyle Whitmire

Ms. Whitten was associated with Balch and Bingham doing environmental work in Mississippi. “Attorney 1” works for the same firm one state over.

When federal prosecutors announced a plea deal with a former state lawmaker last week, there were two big placeholders in the documents provided to the public: Attorney # 1 and Employee # 1.

While he served in the Alabama House, Rep. Oliver Robinson accepted bribes from these two men, prosecutors said. In exchange, Oliver helped resist an effort to expand a Superfund site in north Birmingham, according to court documents.

While those documents omit the names of the individuals, they contain enough detailed information about Robinson’s activities to identify both of the other parties, as only one attorney and one Drummond employee fit the narrow criteria of state-registered lobbyists involved in the particular activities. Those would be Balch partner Joel Gilbert and Drummond Co. Vice President of Government and Regulatory Affairs David Roberson.

I see a whole lot of dots that aren’t necessarily related but they sure do line up neatly. To go with those dots we have columns of billowing smoke. We also have an FBI Investigation that is long in the tooth that is now being played out on the pages of the C-L. Based on the chatter either all hell is breaking loose or a confluence of news events have resurrected old rumors. Time to let the commenting community here have a crack at this particular Mississippi mudhole. Fire away below.

As for Scott Walker, it appears he has finally learned an important lesson about honesty:

Scott Walker admits renting out house, applies to city Planning Commission ~ Karen Nelson

17 thoughts on “How about a wild romp through the latest FBI Investigation that has the peeps electrified”

  1. Don’t forgetbthe $36 million in water and sewer lines installed in Pearlington of all places in areas the Corps designated as uninhabitable!!!!
    This was for under 600 households. One resident of Pearlington called me and said, ” they are taking property down here through imminent domain to build sewer lines where the Corps says we cannot live!!”
    Read the Hancock County
    Utility Authority minutes!!
    Unreal!!

    1. The reason for that was the “business” connection of then a County Supervisor that was now fled the political scene with Scott Walker. The same Scott Walker who’s dad was Director of DMR at the time. Lots of BP kickbacks going on back then. But Rat Pickering is no where to be found. Takes the FBI to do a good days work for the taxpayers. I recon those God fearing kin folk that voted that Wretched Rat Pickering in office are getting exactly what they paid…re voted for, NOTHING.

  2. I am told it may come back to S. Anthony as well.

    Anytime someone gets rich over night on public contracts the stench starts.

    Covington’s son had to start a Marine Logistics Company to fill a void in available contractors to do marine logistics with no back ground in the industry in the middle of oil logistics companies with historical qualifications to accommodate the need and the oil industry was in a declining market? He just happened to be a charter captain temporarily out of work due to the spill and luckily had a contact to make millions?

    Connect the dots my friends!

    1. Covington’s and Anthony went on a $10,000 (Per Person) boat ride with the Governor! Guess that don’t hurt getting a contract.

  3. The public has been waiting a long time for the facts about this chapter of the MsDEQ MsDMR Ms$$$ to come to the surface. These girl on girl cases must be extra slow. Trudy Fisher has been a suspect in my mind every since we found out she sent the fine money to Bill Walker’s Conprofit. Then money was sent for the dolphin pimp Solangi at the snap of Scott Walker’s frail manicured fingers on his very small hands. Now we see her girl Amy got her share.Now comes the big money paid to the hand picked engineer. I would believe mouth piece Hairston, the banker’s brat, story about Covington’s accidental success if he would have said something like ” We enlarged a map of Mississippi and taped it on the wall. Rimmer threw a dart and it landed on the location of the Whitten Group office location in Ridgeland, who just happened to have some vacant space, so we built some walls.Next thing you know we end up with millions $$$$ in contracts to manage contracts and talk to the feds. Can you believe it? We so lucky!!!”. I suspect George,George,George of the Jungle will be swinging into this hot mess at some point.He better watch out for that tree because the FBI just may be hiding behind it. Need to look into who did the fundraisers and contributed the big bucks to Mike Hurst since he will be the next US Attorney for the SD of Ms. This will tell us a whole lot about future prosecutions.

  4. When the Worst Man Made Marine Disaster in the history of the United States occurred, the first thought was to call Covington & Assc.? Then his son who was a charter boat captain immediately became the person needed to pull off the logistics? Come on maaaaan!

  5. Hmm…let’s see…many, many millions of other people’s money, Mississippi-style “consultants” and lawyers of extremely dubious ability (one of whom has or had a state contract for an hourly rate “consulting” with the guy who took her place in the trough line and is currently at Butler-Snow), and speaking of which – BUTLER-f’ing-SNOW, Haley Barbour (again, Butler-f’ing-Snow), Phil Byrant, the Walkers, various and sundry other government titlatchers, asskissers and whores, etc., etc., etc… What could possibly go wrong?

    I’ll probably post some more on this when I have a little more time, but keep this in mind: if the news of the investigation is now truly public, it wasn’t an “oops.” And MS now has two new-but-not-new US Attorneys. And while a fair number of folks in DC aren’t very happy with non-establishment assholes who rock boats, the folks currently at the throttle have all sorts of reasons to see folks with no ties to them take up some of the newscycle. Lots of things at play and this could go anywhere, from nowhere to somewhere. This one has potential, though.

    Oh, by the by, congrats to the folks in Bay St. Louis…I hope.

  6. Well finally! It is finally time that the chickens all get to come home to roost! I guess all of my chirping cricket insiders DID know what they were chirping about. Looks like Philly and Billy and [email protected]@ss and [email protected] and some other politicos are going to have some ‘splaining to do? Guess old Zeigler, Baby Walker, and Papa Walker spilled more than the beans? Wonder where this leaves Momma Walker and her buddy Mobi? I will have to watch this series as it unfolds like an onion. And don’t be surprised if some dirt moving people from the are involved in this one. How is everyone sleeping these days? Probably not.

    1. Yes millions flooded there way to the Dolfin Pimp. He cried like a little girl and Bill Walker gave him everything he asked for and more. This continues with the current little Napolian at DMR. Sucking on that tit in Jackson riding his rep to some little cushy $200,000 like Ashley did in Hancock County. Got a pervert Lawyer that posted on Ashly Madison. Got pimp daddy Davis with his secrete crime unit investigating, crab traps, taking pictures and filming commercial fishermen, and locking down the DMR employees. All the while his officers get away with the “Bridge Gate” DUI scandal. Suddenly it don’t exist thanks to the Investigative Tactics Unit. Then “Sex Gate” dissapear. We only hear of it because of the online. hairdressers. Lord knows what else Jesus Davis has swept under the rug with Casey’s blessings.

  7. “Pissed” and “Paying Attention” you are leaving out a major boat provider who made millions. Roger Applewhite who goes around Ocean Springs bragging of being “the Governor’s cousin” made a fortune too. Political ties in Mississippi can be a great benefit I guess.

  8. Trudy spent more time here on the coast in her condo than she did at any “restoration” meeting. Oh and Amy was in tow. Wonder what end the investigation is digging at? Maybe start with how she could afford a couple condos at taxpayers expense. Remember ye ole Trudy grew up down the street (almost) from Hale Salise Barber before either made their big break. Trudy was wasting away at the now infamose law firm that Tina Schumate’s brother still works at. Then Hale goes to the big house dismisses a qualified veteran DEQ Director and replaces him with Rudy Trudy the lawyer. No qualifications but being a lawyer. Let’s see how she gets her ass out of this one. And yes as pet favors she took DEQ fine money and put it in Bill Walkers Foundations. The same Foundations that bought Scott Walkers furniture in the million dollar house he wants to turn into a bed and breakfast. Same Foundation he paid off Washington Senators and Represenatives that denied and denied. Same Foundation that Rat Pickering could never find a single piece of evidence ever existed. Rat Pickering never brought any charges on this account. As I remember The Rat was busy chasing a secretary for lost pens or something catastrophic like that.

  9. I am totally taken by the 30+million $ in contracts given to Covington and Assoc. What claim to fame do they have? What have they done to deserve that type of funding? I have not seen anything physical in projects, do we pay them for pushing paper? Oh, he and his son both have lots on the Beach in Pass Christian. The son just finished his houe. This whole BP money issue has been a debacle from day one. Did his son also get money from BP for fishing? He has a nice Boat…

  10. Outraged, I am running late for work this morning, but couldn’t leave without responding to your post. If you want to know who, what, how, and why the Coastal contracts associated with Hurricane Katrina and BP work, then just follow the $$ all the way back up to [email protected]@ss. Several of our coastal “leaders” sold us all out here on the Coast to him and the highest bidders. And truly, none of them have been had to pay the price including the Rat. It is sad that our State has come to this. I would love to see Trump drain this swamp and give them all what they deserve. Follow this path….MillerLite –>[email protected]$$-o –>Trudy Fisher—>[email protected]@$$ and you’ll find some answers.

  11. Well…. I don’t know any of these people.
    But, on the issue of a ‘white elephant’ overbuilt sewer and water facilities, I am reminded of a similar situation.
    An embarrassingly long time ago, I was a small child growing up in Chantilly, VA. Chantilly in 1960 was a LOT like the Kiln was in 1980….. a 2-lane highway, a crossing county road, a blinking yellow light, 2 gas stations, a beer joint, and a volunteer fire department.
    Then the Federal government built Dulles Airport.
    HUGE airport! Miles-long runways…. dedicated 4-lane access highway, just a huge operation all around. WHITE ELEPHANT! cried the nay-sayers. And true, it was under-used for a long time.
    But for the last 20 years or so it has been very heavily used, and has been expanded more than once.
    I shudder to think what it would cost to build that airport today.
    So…. on those sewer plants, especially in areas that are ‘buildable’…. maybe it is not money wasted.
    (But the one in the Kiln, on Flat Top road…. just UPSTREAM of the park….. Yes, I know that the water coming out of the plant is probably cleaner than the water already in the river….. but still, it just looks…….Eeeewwwww! Couldn’t they have found a better place for it?)

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