SLABBED Daily – April 28 (a MRGO update)

If my computer cooperates, we’ll have a MRGO update and a morning edition of the SLABBED Daily – but the way things went yesterday, that’s a big IF.

The first item –  Minute Entry Pertains to: MRGO, RobinsonMinute Entry Pertains to: MRGO, Robinson – tells us the issue raised in the Plaintiffs’ Memorandum reported in the April 24th  SLABBED Daily was settled before the end of the day it was filed (April 23):

At the close of testimony on this day, trial counsel met for a status conference concerning Plaintiffs’ Memorandum… After a full discussion concerning the parties’ positions concerning these issues and the Government’s averring that it was not its intention to contend that the LPV structures were improperly designed or did not perform as expected, Plaintiffs’ counsel asked that the memorandum be withdrawn.

Item two is brand new!  However, I suspect Motion to Compel Discovery re: Reliance Materials of Defendant’s Expert Bruce Ebersole was similarly addressed after Court today.

At the heart of the current dispute is Mr. Ebersole’s failure to produce a series of calculations upon which he based his opinions. At deposition, it was pointed out to Mr. Ebersole that there was substantial concern about the validity of his calculations in “modeling” his storm surge hydrographs. Continue reading “SLABBED Daily – April 28 (a MRGO update)”

SLABBED Daily – April 25

After neither of the two posts I had up yesterday morning were on MRGO,  Editilla sent me 100-year flood protection not enough for New Orleans, new report says just as I was beginning my very late in the day SLABBED Daily with the latest filing on MRGO docket.

Much to my surprise, there was nothing new on the docket yesterday when I checked early in the evening.  However, the Times Picayune ran Corps faulted for failing to mitigate MR-GO in this morning’s edition:

… University of California-Berkeley civil engineering professor Bob Bea testified in federal court on Friday…Bea, a longtime critic of the corps, said a corps-designed levee along the MR-GO would have been 2 feet to 5 feet higher, if the huge hill of dirt and clay hadn’t squeezed some of its soil into the canal channel like toothpaste being squeezed out of a tube with its end cut off…

…The result was a canal that was 70 feet deep in some areas and had expanded from its authorized 650-foot width to as much as 3,700 feet across in some spots.

“And so it’s a man-made circle,” Bea said. “You push it higher, it squeezes more in. It would be a nice dredging contract to have.”

Yesterday’s testimony also had a light moment when Bea compared the process to Sisyphus, a figure in Greek mythology who was doomed to roll a huge boulder up a hill. Continue reading “SLABBED Daily – April 25”

Saturday Catch Up: Robert Moultrie Gets His Time, The Facility Group Implodes

It has been uncommonly busy here in my little corner of the construction market thus these Saturday catch up posts ahead of a day watching U12 soccer. Next up is an update on a case we covered gavel to gavel, the Beef Plant Saga which cost the Mississippi taxpayers at least 55 million dollars. I’ll start with this puff peice from June, 2007 on Robert Moultrie courtesy “Smart” Business magazine:

A few years ago, one of Robert L. Moultrie’s best construction project managers came to him with a request.

“I’d like to go into sales,” the employee said. “There’s no way,” Moultrie responded. “You’re too valuable to us in our construction division.”

“Well, if that’s the case, I’ll leave,” he said.

Moultrie and the employee went on, and after much deliberation, Moultrie decided to let him try sales.

“The mistake I made was I should have put him in sales 10 years earlier,” he says. “He was awesome, and he knew what he wanted to do … and today the volume of business he brings to the organization is unbelievable.”

While that employee has brought great business to The Facility Group, it may never have happened if Moultrie, chairman and founder, had a different attitude. If he told the guy not to let the door hit him on the way out, or if he acted like he had 1,000 other things to do, his business may not be as successful as it is today, something he attributes to his employees, who grew the company to nearly $300 million in revenue last year, up from $10 million in 1986.

“My problem was simple,” Moultrie says. “I had so many weaknesses, I had to hire so many great people to take care of all my weaknesses, that it’s caused me to end up with a great organization.”

Of course what the article leaves out is the behind the scenes assistance Mr Moultrie gave his “salesmen” in terms of political contributions and the like that always seemed to follow large contract awards to The Facility Group. Spreading the wealth worked well as Mr Moultrie grew the Facility Group to a 300 million dollar company. But his luck ran out Thursday along with the “year and a day” concept when Mr Moultrie was sentenced to 16 months in the pokey. Continue reading “Saturday Catch Up: Robert Moultrie Gets His Time, The Facility Group Implodes”

Another Beef Plant Felon Gets an Appointment Date to the Greybar Hotel

This time it is Charles Morehead’s turn to face the camera and answer the age old question, “Where’s the beef?” Based on the fate of the others I’d judge Morehead’s chance of getting just probation somewhere between 0-5%.

Lessons learned?  Never trust a former ambulance chaser from Batesville.

The Sun Herald has the story:

A Georgia businessman ensnared in the Mississippi beef plant scandal Continue reading “Another Beef Plant Felon Gets an Appointment Date to the Greybar Hotel”

Another Beef Plant Crook Gets His Sentence

No not Ronnie Musgrove, just another one of his campaign finance “friends”, like the folks from Georgia our current Democratic Senatorial candidate shook down. If the last two Rasmunsen polls are right we won’t have to worry about this toe sucking, board appointment selling, beef plant profiting miscreant sullying the halls of the US Senate with the stench of modern day corruption.

The Clarion Ledger has the story:

A refrigeration salesman has been sentenced to 30 months in federal prison for his role in a failed beef plant that cost Mississippi taxpayers millions.

The Mississippi Beef Processors plant in Oakland closed in 2004 just three months after it opened. Mississippi was stuck with $55 million in state-backed loans.

James A. Draper, from Mount Juliet, Tenn., was convicted of fraud and money laundering. Continue reading “Another Beef Plant Crook Gets His Sentence”

Zach’s wife speaks out – Way to go Amy Scruggs!

With two young children, a third due any day, and her husband in an Arkansas prison, you’d think Amy Scruggs would be too overwhelmed to pay much attention to the campaign for “Uncle Trent’s” Senate seat – but clearly that’s not the case and she’s not only noticed, she’s speaking publicly about her concerns. h/t Clarion-Ledger

Amy Scruggs is the first family member to speak publicly about the legal troubles of her husband and her father-in-law, Dickie Scruggs.

She disagrees with numerous Republican attack ads attempting to link disgraced trial lawyers with Democrat Ronnie Musgrove. Democratic groups attacking Republican Roger Wicker also have mentioned the family’s legal woes.

The most visible attacks, however, have come from the GOP, and Amy Scruggs said the “final straw” was receiving campaign fliers in the mail recently.

“I think it just got to the point where you couldn’t ignore it anymore. There’s no pity party going on, … but at some point, somebody’s got to say, ‘OK, if they’re going to use our name, at least get it right,’ ” she said in a telephone interview from her Oxford home last week. She described the ads as “hypocritical and hurtful.”

I’ve not seen the ads; but, so many “hypocritical and hurtful” comments have been made about the Scruggses that I’m not surprised by those reported in the story – or by this comment from former Governor Ronnie Musgrove.

“I don’t think it makes either one of us a bad person,” Musgrove said of the support he and Wicker have received from the family.

As usual when it comes to issues of character, Musgrove misses the point.  There was no need for either candidate to mention the Scruggses and both did. Continue reading “Zach’s wife speaks out – Way to go Amy Scruggs!”

Zach's wife speaks out – Way to go Amy Scruggs!

With two young children, a third due any day, and her husband in an Arkansas prison, you’d think Amy Scruggs would be too overwhelmed to pay much attention to the campaign for “Uncle Trent’s” Senate seat – but clearly that’s not the case and she’s not only noticed, she’s speaking publicly about her concerns. h/t Clarion-Ledger

Amy Scruggs is the first family member to speak publicly about the legal troubles of her husband and her father-in-law, Dickie Scruggs.

She disagrees with numerous Republican attack ads attempting to link disgraced trial lawyers with Democrat Ronnie Musgrove. Democratic groups attacking Republican Roger Wicker also have mentioned the family’s legal woes.

The most visible attacks, however, have come from the GOP, and Amy Scruggs said the “final straw” was receiving campaign fliers in the mail recently.

“I think it just got to the point where you couldn’t ignore it anymore. There’s no pity party going on, … but at some point, somebody’s got to say, ‘OK, if they’re going to use our name, at least get it right,’ ” she said in a telephone interview from her Oxford home last week. She described the ads as “hypocritical and hurtful.”

I’ve not seen the ads; but, so many “hypocritical and hurtful” comments have been made about the Scruggses that I’m not surprised by those reported in the story – or by this comment from former Governor Ronnie Musgrove.

“I don’t think it makes either one of us a bad person,” Musgrove said of the support he and Wicker have received from the family.

As usual when it comes to issues of character, Musgrove misses the point.  There was no need for either candidate to mention the Scruggses and both did. Continue reading “Zach's wife speaks out – Way to go Amy Scruggs!”

Grilled Musgrove and Toe Cheese Anyone? The Beefy Ironies are sooo Delicious. Alan Lange Plays the Chef

We’ve had a number of irons in the fire here at Slabbed and the now departed USA v Moultrie prosecution was one of our most popular subjects.  Our Georgia based readers still visit everyday and leave an occasional comment.  We are pleased some of y’all have decided to stick with us. We have been following the beef plant fallout from afar as other cases we cover have had activity. Today I have to chip in my two cents.

Politics is not my strong suit, and I don’t have much use for political bickering. I’m fair about it though. It was politics when the Scruggs lynch mob was going after Jim Hood for not prosecuting Scruggs only to find out later investigatory techniques used by the feds such as the wiretap were not available to Hood.  Additionally it was later revealed federal investigatory conduct in judicial bribery would be considered entrapment under state law here in Mississippi. It was a good straw man while it lasted though as Hood has the PR skills of a caveman and was in parts his own worst enemy.

I mention politics because now some of the former Dickie Scruggs lynch mob is making excuses for current Senatorial candidate, confirmed toe sucker and the always for sale Ronnie Musgrove and the ironies are very delicious. To give our Georgia based readers some context we need to jump in the wayback machine and travel back a month to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Moultrie pleaded guilty Monday in Oxford, Miss., to giving an illegal gratuity to the re-election campaign of then-Miss. Gov. Ronnie Musgrove in 2003……… Continue reading “Grilled Musgrove and Toe Cheese Anyone? The Beefy Ironies are sooo Delicious. Alan Lange Plays the Chef”

Here is Something for Our Beef Plant Readers to Chew On

Belle alerted me that lawyers for This Facility Group filed a motion Tuesday seeking a subpoena of Community Bank’s records on their business dealings in connection with the failed beef plant. The filing strikes me as routine but the part I found interesting is that despite a loan guarantee by the Mississippi Development Authority, Community Bank experienced some heartburn with the management of the project by Missississippi Beef Processors LLP. I found this quote on page 2.

Despite the State guarantee, the bank refused just a few months later to fund the first construction draw due to concerns over the management of the project.

My experience is this would be highly unusual as the loan was essentially risk free for Community Bank yet here we are at the earliest stages of the project with red flags flying. I can’t imagine the politicians sending tax money down an obvious black hole without getting a brown paper bag in return. It will be most interesting to hear why Community Bank refused to fund the first draw on a guaranteed loan.

Against this backdrop we fast forward to the 2008 Mississippi Senate campaign for Trent Lott’s old seat. Continue reading “Here is Something for Our Beef Plant Readers to Chew On”

Judge Mills moo-ves trial date for USA v Moultrie to August 25

Due to the multiple defendants and the complicated nature of the prosecution, Northern District Chief Judge Michael P. (Mike) Mills said it was unreasonable to expect adequate preparation time for the May date USA v Moultrie was set for trial. The Daily Journal reported Mills agreed with defense and government requests when he provided slightly over three months of additional time for preparation.

Indicted March 25 were Facilities Management Group of Smyrna, Ga., which operates under several different names, and three of its executives – Nixon Cawood Jr., 58, Robert Moultrie, 67, and Charles Morehead, 57.

They are accused in a 16-count conspiracy “to corruptly influence and reward a public official” and to scheming to defraud numerous people, entities and the state of Mississippi in connection with the beef plant constructed in Yalobusha County.

I suppose what makes the prosecution so complex is the beef plant closed and their candidate lost – certainly not what one would expect from a successful businessman like Moultrie given his ties to the Chamber of Commerce.