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: Continue reading “How about a wild romp through the latest FBI Investigation that has the peeps electrified”

Anita finds Ava’s Lawsuit that Mona Saw…..

How’s that for a headline! Whew. Point of disclosure, I scanned the lawsuit Ava Coleman filed against DMR and Jamie Miller and there was no sign of the Cake Eater so there may yet be more out there. This much is clear, based on what I am hearing from well placed but third party sources, Ms. Coleman’s lawyer has put a gag order on her and is not interested in “trying the case in the media”, which I put in quotation marks because it is a standard lawyerly response not to be confused with a direct quote, which Anita could not garner:

Lawsuit claims former DMR manager was harassed, demoted, fired ~ Anita Lee

Here is the first amended complaint for those that are so interested: Continue reading “Anita finds Ava’s Lawsuit that Mona Saw…..”

Nothing fishy here, what’s a hole in the ground between friends. Slabbed takes a trip down memory lane with Jackson County Supervisor John McKay

Jackson County Supervisor John McKay and his unwavering support of Bill Walker during the DMR Scandal was certainly enough to put him on Slabbed’s radar screen back in the day.  Since then we’ve all gotten to see McKay in action once again in the Singing River Meltdown beginning with the demise of his appointed trustee, Morris Strickland.  No one news story better encapsulates John McKay the elected official than the saga of the folks in Vancleave up on McGregor road that were McKayed by McKay and his political family during the construction of the new Ocean Springs High School. I can think of no better place to start telling this story than with Jackson County Spokeswoman April Havens in early December 2009:

A Kiln man who won a $3.1 million contract to supply dirt for the new Ocean Springs High School was granted permission by county supervisors Monday to construct two 10-acre catfish ponds on his Vancleave land despite local resistance.

Tommy Cobb bought the McGregor Road land in June 2008, he said, to use for hunting and catfish ponds.

In October, the Jackson County Planning Commission voted 6-1 to allow Cobb to construct his ponds and haul off the dirt, but resident Louis Fortenberry appealed that decision to the Board of Supervisors, which heard the appeal Monday.

Fortenberry claimed Cobb hadn’t received the proper permits for digging the ponds, among other problems.

Supervisors, however, said the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality confirmed that Cobb received his necessary permits for the ponds, which will be 8 feet deep.

And indeed Cobb did have Catfish Pond permits, which are far easier to obtain from MS DEQ than a permit to extract dirt as we continue:

Attorney Michael Watson said Cobb would not maintain a dirt pit, but rather haul the dirt to the new Oceans Springs High School site, for which his company, G&C Construction, won a contract.

G&C Construction won a $3.1 million contract to supply the high school with 260,000 cubic yards of dirt, he said.

To some, that plan might “look fishy,” Supervisor John McKay said, noting some are upset that Cobb was able to “lowball” the bid because he’d be using his own dirt.

“I haven’t liked the way this has been handled, but we allow other people to dig ponds,” McKay said before making the motion to deny the appeal.

“I think you have a legal right to do what you’re doing,” he said.

Watson said Cobb bought the land in 2008 with the intent to construct a hunting camp and the ponds.

“He’s been open and honest,” Watson said. “He’s had the same intentions from day one. I’m sure some folks are going to say he worked one over on the system, but it just worked out for him.”

So here are the players per Haven’s press release, Tommy Cobb, Supervisor John McKay and now State Senator Michael Watson.  Mr. Cobb sure was lucky Continue reading “Nothing fishy here, what’s a hole in the ground between friends. Slabbed takes a trip down memory lane with Jackson County Supervisor John McKay”

Everyone has an opinion on the now concluded DMR Investigation…..

TrinityWalkerOnJoeZiegler

Per Anita Lee’s story on yesterday’s sentencing of Joe Ziegler, Ziegler claimed he had nothing to do with the foundation but instead was the DMR lobbyist for the legislature. Trinity Walker begs to differ.  I’m hoping some of you old DMR salts can help reconcile the difference.

As for Ziegler, other than what he told Judge Starrett yesterday in court that garnered Team Walker’s ire, mums the word as he’s letting his attorney Joe Sam Owens do all the talking: Continue reading “Everyone has an opinion on the now concluded DMR Investigation…..”

DMR Document Dump Miscellany: More Heberts and a Shumate plus Miller Time

It’s Miller time so let them eat shrimp!

By Anonymous Leak to Slabbed New Media
By Anonymous Leak to Slabbed New Media LLC

2014 Coastal Legislative Reception on the Taxpayers

We’ve had some people asking about the administration of the Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP). Here are two interesting sets of CIAP Technical Review Committee Documents: Continue reading “DMR Document Dump Miscellany: More Heberts and a Shumate plus Miller Time”

DMR Memorandum lend color to insider purchase of parent’s land with Coastal Impact Funds

This is the defense side of things per Anita Lee’s DMR employee’s South Mississippi home searched circa January 2013.

The DMR paid $245,000 for the lot on a bayou near the Pascagoula River.

Holleman said Shumate removed herself completely from the land transaction. He said her parents, Curt and Ann Hebert, saw the program advertised and approached the DMR about buying the property.

“When her parents got involved, she had nothing to do with it,” Holleman said. “There will be documents that support that.”

I have what I believe to be the documents to which Tim Holleman referred. Continue reading “DMR Memorandum lend color to insider purchase of parent’s land with Coastal Impact Funds”

Ladies and Gents I present the “Laid Back”

I think this is a good example of the type of public record Jim Hood and Stacey Pickering would fight tooth and nail to keep from the public. It appears those persistent rumors linking Walker’s doings at DMR to certain boat donation programs associated with CIAP buyout recipient David Harris has legs.

Walker Doster Email Chain 10-26-08 Laid Back

DMR Timesheets raise troubling questions regarding contract worker payment and supervision (Updated)

Slabbed has obtained timesheets related to contract work performed by Samantha Hebert at the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources.  Before I show you folks what I have we need to back up in time, first to December of 2012 when the DMR Scandal was still young when Anita Lee and Karen Nelson detailed the DMR friends and family program for the Sun Herald:

Relatives of DMR employees also work at the agency, although DMR directors say the hirings comply with the agency’s nepotism policy. The nepotism policy prohibits employees from participating in the hiring process for, or supervising, immediate family members, which includes in-laws. It does not prohibit family members from working at DMR.

Walker said his daughter-in-law was hired by DMR Public Relations Director Lauren Thompson and works as a special projects officer. Trinity Walker, wife of Scott Walker, is paid $27,700 a year, according to state records.

Walker said Thompson also hired Samantha Hebert, the sister of Tina Shumate, DMR’s director of coastal management. Hebert works under contract as a videographer, and has been paid $91,300 since October 2010, state records show. Hebert could not be reached at DMR to comment on her job.

When asked how to reach her sister, Shumate said, “She works for Dr. Walker, so you’d have to talk to him.”

Shumate, recently scrutinized in a federal audit for using grant money for DMR’s purchase of her parents’ Pascagoula property, also has a son and brother-in-law who were contract workers. Shumate said she was not involved in hiring her son, who participated in a summer work program while in high school. She said Walker hired her brother-in-law, who was employed only a short time.

The excerpt is very important for a number of reasons but before I get into that we need to fast forward to this past May when Susan Perkins, Leslie Gollott and Grant Larsen copped pleas to state charges related to their tenure of employment at DMR. To the extent Anita’s story that was linked in my post on the topic is now 404, I use the AP wire version that was run in the Washington Times: Continue reading “DMR Timesheets raise troubling questions regarding contract worker payment and supervision (Updated)”

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

First the mystery:

If Gouras did not nab the grant and Maxwell-Walker did not nab the grant who in the heck helped the City of D’Iberville get that DEQ grant? Seems to me that $3,000,000 DEQ grants to build aquariums do not grow on trees here in Mississippi. Given Anita’s quotes from Team Walker, who attended the hearing, I imagine their spidey senses were tingling too, especially since Janus gave a qualified admission of guilt that required some clarification for Judge Starrett. Janus knoweth not what anyone from the DEQ or Gov’s office would say about that matter and he was right to clarify his admissions, as laid out in the factual basis of the Janus plea, which hopefully will hit PACER soon.

I just had a conversation with a source that I will describe as not a politician or member of the investigative community but who possesses specialized knowledge of the operations of the Barbour Administration. Biloxi Blues has come very close to nailing it in comments twice now:

I think the answer might be Bill Walker with the DMR….

Let’s tell the story as it was told to me. First up is a link I put out this morning on Twitter from the Sun Herald’s Mary Perez circa January 26, 2013:

Janus said he had written three letters to Gov. Haley Barbour’s office in an attempt to get funding, with no success……

I did not include the whopper Janus told immediately after the quote but now I understand exactly how the Government is planning to crush the Walkers, specifically Scott on the DEQ grant charges he now faces alone. My source indicate to me that Janus in fact tried much harder than writing three letters and in one instance the lobbying between he and a Continue reading “Who dunnit ? Let’s solve the DEQ / BP City of D’Iberville Ocean Expo grant mystery (Updated)”