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)”

A couple of thoughts about yesterday’s DMR Indictments….

I hope everyone noticed the Scott Walker/Michael Janus indictment was captioned First Superseding Indictment, which means Walker and Janus have known for some time they were charged with federal crimes.  I am told plea talks broke down thus yesterday’s torrent of federal and state charges including the first revision to the alleged crimes involving the City of D’Iberville perpetrated by Walker and Janus.  I thought the Mississippi Press using Scott Walker’s Ocean Springs DUI booking photo for their story on the federal indictments of he and his daddy Bill Walker was precious.

Meantime over at Trinity Walker’s blog Worn One Time there has been no much activity since Team Walker toured Alaska back over the Summer.

Who likes a good perp walk? Luckily for everyone the Sun Herald put a video up on YouTube of yesterday’s parade of former DMR employees facing state charges:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCvi6Ctz1K8

Meantime Justin Mitchell checks in this morning with an update from downtown Gulfport for the Sun Herald: Continue reading “A couple of thoughts about yesterday’s DMR Indictments….”

I am hearing troubling things about the State’s DMR Investigation

I would remind people that a state prosecution into wrongdoing at DMR involves a two step process:

  1. Investigation by investigative agency, in the case of a State Agency like DMR that would be the Office of the State Auditor and,
  2. The State Attorney General and/or local District Attorney receiving referral and taking this referral to the grand jury for indictment and prosecution.

Another way of looking at this would be to examine the opposite because logic tells us the opposite is also implied thus some who committed a crime could avoid prosecution:

  1. By a botched investigation and,
  2. By the prosecutor refusing an otherwise good case

For reasons why the opposite should be considered, I recommend Hanlon’s Razor as a starting point for the subsequent analysis.

Now what does this have to do with the post title? Continue reading “I am hearing troubling things about the State’s DMR Investigation”

Welp, looks like we’ve finally found one of the lost DMR boats.

Company sues DMR over unclaimed boat ~ Anita Lee

From the communications I’m getting from new readers from the Jackson area a recap post appears in order.  For those of you newbies not yet hip to the socio-political relationships of the players involved at DMR just make a special note of this Harris fella mentioned in Anita’s story above.

To catch up on certain of the major exposures involved for folks like former director Bill Walker along with certain of his political favorites, I highly recommend the series of posts here on Slabbed about the looting of the Coastal Impact Assistance Program as a good start.

Comment bump: Boat engines purchased by DMR

RFP in comments to Protest Time at DMR as rumors swirl about taxpayer paid boat motors going into private boats:

Not knowing the specifics what is alleged…

These engines have serial numbers. That may be seen on pages 8 and 13 here.
Proper preventative maintenance typically happens based on records of hours of use, gallons of fuel consumed, and calendar time since previous work. As loss of power offshore in the Gulf can be fatal, one would expect regular scheduled maintenance, which would leave records of the same somewhere.

Another question deserving an answer is what happened to the engines which were replaced in each instance. There should be a considerable “core” value, who received it? These are two per boat, so even if there was a catastrophic failure in one, there should have been one in running condition when removed. These invoices show no core credit or allowance. Someone got it somewhere somehow.

Slabbed previously profiled the person that was identified as the DMR employee responsible for the fishing fleet and indeed his name appears on the Johnson Diesel invoice RFP linked above.

Inside the investigation: Who tattooed Scott Walker’s mortgage on the lot that DMR purchased via the Land Trust

Vital background via Anita Lee can be found here.

The land deal closed 12 days before Scott Walker’s final, lump-sum payment was due on a loan at Merchants & Marine Bank, Jackson County land records show.

Walker had used the property in July 2008 as collateral on a $310,590 loan, which called for monthly payments of $2,775. The balance and all interest payments were due July 25, 2011, although the terms did allow for loan extension or modification.

Tattoo? I heard that word most from investment bankers doing M&A work a decade or so ago. Tatoos are not easily removed, especially those given a bank by a family member to induce the extension of credit to someone that is not otherwise creditworthy enough on their own to nab a $310,590 loan.

Stay tuned.

Small and Mighty: Ocean Springs Beach Protest raises awareness of problems at the State Auditor’s Office

Pictures are indeed worth 1,000 words. Here is Bill Walker enjoying the company of his grandson while keeping an eye on the Beach Protest held outside the Stacey Pickering Fundraiser:

Slabbed New Media File Photo / Oceans Springs Beach Protest 8/6/13
Slabbed New Media File Photo / Ocean Springs Beach Protest 8/6/13

Small Group of Protesters Picket Pickering in Ocean Springs ~ Warren Kulo

As RFP pointed out in comments Warren was kind enough to link Slabbed’s coverage of the fundraiser and I thought that was nice.

Next up is the mystery lady that emerged from Joe Cloyd’s house to photograph the Beach Protest and the media contingent that was covering the event. Continue reading “Small and Mighty: Ocean Springs Beach Protest raises awareness of problems at the State Auditor’s Office”

State Auditor Pickering’s fuzzy math under the microscope: Exactly where are all the bucks stopping?

That’s a softball question in the post title because all of the bucks are stopping over at Joe Cloyd’s house for a celebration funded in part by the no bid, $50,000 contract Cloyd scored to supposedly communicate the results of Jamie Miller’s outside CPA firm review of the “culture of corruption” that is the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources.

I don’t know about you good folks reading this, but Slabbed New Media did not discern any communication from Team Cloyd on the topic of the review done by Horne CPA group, a connection Michael Newsom brings up today in his column in the Sun Herald. In fact, a seasoned, albeit slightly jaded pundit would observe stuffing money into a political strawman’s pocket via a no bid $50,000 DMR contract is eerily reminiscent of what Slabbed New Media covered back during the depth of the oil spill with our own Magnum hosting a multitude of political fundraisers in close proximity to receiving a multimillion dollar contract with BP to help with governmental relations. True dat, Cloyd is jonesing by comparison with a paltry $50K but Mississippi ain’t BP.

But this is not what has us common folk upset at Auditor Pickering, no siree.  I was glad to see the Sun Herald Editorial Board was bright enough to pick up the problem today despite Auditor Pickering’s sophistry on the subject and it is at this point that I’ll direct everyone back to a post I did in December 2012, Mississippians are being robbed blind by Phil Bryant’s political cronies. Exactly where are all the bucks stopping:

If this had been a school secretary embezzling a few thousand dollars from the Student Activity Fund or a secretary at (insert name of state agency) doing same that person would be, at the minimum put on a leave of absence while the investigation sorted all the dirty deeds out.  If you are a political appointee of Bryant on the other hand you get to keep your job and search for a graceful exit.

This turned out to be somewhat prophetic because I have also observed the State Auditor’s Office was expert at crushing school secretaries that steal a few thousand dollars and there it is for all to see in Auditor Pickering’s 2013 exception report, which includes as a State Auditor’s Office recovery the restitution from Roger Ladner of Hancock County, a case the FBI and US Attorney’s Office investigated and prosecuted. Like the typical political that he is, Pickering will take credit for everything he thinks will make him look good, even the stuff he had nothing to do with. Let’s take a peeksie at the report: Continue reading “State Auditor Pickering’s fuzzy math under the microscope: Exactly where are all the bucks stopping?”