Suspension of disbelief or willing suspension of disbelief is a term coined in 1817 by the poet and aesthetic philosopher Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who suggested that if a writer could infuse a “human interest and a semblance of truth” into a fantastic tale, the reader would suspend judgment concerning the implausibility of the narrative.
So the DMR is actually considering swapping Harbor Landing, which taxpayers bought from the taxpayer real estate king David Harris for over $3.6 million plus 18 months of free use for a piece of larger parcel of undeveloped land on the Biloxi waterfront the owers could not sell in total for $2.5 million. This folks, sounds like DMR Director Dr Bill Walker math to me, but then again maybe that is why the Office of the State Auditor had investigators crawling all over Walker’s office around a week ago. I hear the OSA has taken an interest in taxpayer funded real estate transactions across the coast in fact. From my vantage point this area is indeed rich in scams and rife with fraud.
I was there on business just a few weeks ago and actually know a few of the inhabitants. I mention this because the Sun Herald has a connection or two there as well as Donna Harris and photojournalist John Fitzhugh showed up yesterday at Bolton while a few folks from the investigative division of the State Auditor’s office were holed up in DMR executive director Bill Walker’s office going through his files and computer hard disks.
Let’s be clear, the Investigators with the OSA are not the FBI and the OSA typically pursues civil rather than criminal remedies. That said I do not think they’ll have to look very hard to figure out what DMR is about in its new role as Santa to the politically connected. To the extent Walker is highly connected in statewide GOP circles, the fact this investigation was green lit by the powers that be is telling. Stay tuned.
My desktop is cluttered with links and that does not count the ones I present today for the consideration of the Slabbed Nation. If the spirit moves me I’ll try to string some of the saved links together around the Saints game today and put a couple of posts in the can for next week.
In Mississippi it is called the GOB or Good Ol’ Boy network and today at the post insurance forum print media luncheon the topic of the 1990s era “Cedar Point Land Deal” in Ocean Springs came up in context of the discussion of the congressional race between Gene Taylor and Steven Palazzo. It came up because candidate Palazzo’s dad, Frank Palazzo, was part owner of a parcel of land along with politically connected Gulfport lawyer Ben Stone for all of one minute before they resold it to Jackson County for $3 million dollars netting a cool $1.5 million in the process. This in turn caused the folks at Fire Gene Taylor.com to conclude they could not support Mr Palazzo for Congress as they consider him a political hack. In support of that the Mississippi Informer has done a bang up job compiling all the old Sun Herald reporting on the subject. Here is an excerpt from those reports all of which are well worth reading that the Informer was kind enough to highlight almost at the bottom of the page:
Frustrated county grand jurors, who spent five months examining the deal, said they failed to find enough evidence to indict anyone. But they urged county officials to keep looking “for information that may convince a subsequent grand jury to conclude otherwise.”
Jackson County bought 214 acres in November 1995 from two Gulfport land speculators who doubled their money in one day. Taxpayers spent $3 million on the land.
One month later, the county gave the land to the University of Southern Mississippi to expand the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory. But USM had no concrete plans, timetable or money to expand the lab.
“The whole thing was rotten in my estimation,” Attorney General Mike Moore said Friday, “but not being able to find anyone with a bag of cash who made a bribe to anyone made an indictment difficult.”