DMR Scandal day 99: Danny, I know I’m not that easy…..

Folks, we now have a free for all at DMR as Billy Walker and his co conspirators to the looting of the agency for their personal benefit are finally being thrown under the bus by Interim DMR Director Danny Guice and the embattled Commission on Marine Resources. I mention this because months after Tina Shumate’s double dealing was exposed by the Sun Herald, both her and her political hack sister have finally been let go from DMR. It is not nearly enough.

By all accounts Guice, a career politician, wants the top job at DMR badly thus his conversion into some sort of good government activist.  The Commission on Marine Resources OTOH, have been revealed as simpletons along the lines of the D’Iberville City Council, heaping praise on Walker despite the allegations right up to the bitter end.  Clueless does not describe them, which is why they all need to go as these misdeeds happened on their watch when they were supposed to be providing oversight.  They breached their fiduciary duty to the DMR and that is about the worst thing a board member can do.  It is my hope that any money not recovered from Bill Walker and his band of theives is recovered from the Board members who oversaw the looting of the agency by Walker and his cronies.

And this brings us to the public trust part because now the Commission on Marine Resources is in spin mode pretending to care what the public thinks.  I agree with Gov. Phil that the Commission on Marine Resources should be sunsetted and thus eliminated and such a step would enhance my trust that the Governor is actually interested in cleaning up the mess his coastal crony supporters made at DMR.

This brings me to another board that sorely needs a house cleaning, The Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain. Continue reading “DMR Scandal day 99: Danny, I know I’m not that easy…..”

Yes Virginia, these new age Coastie politicians are rotten to the core.

Gulf Live file photo of politician Michael Janus

If memory serves Michael Janus and our fluffer Congressman are lifelong associates:

Michael Janus, a man who Congressman Steven Palazzo described as a “close friend of my family for years” was formally named Palazzo’s chief of staff on Thursday.

The families that politic together thieve together as well:

‘Oversights’ disclosed in $3M BP grant ~ Mary Perez

“The six council members knew nothing of the agreement until after the grant was received,” said city attorney W. Fred Hornsby III. The council could have chosen not to pay Maxwell-Walker, he said, but agreed to give the firm the standard 6 percent finder’s fee of $180,000 for the grant.

The payment to Maxwell-Walker was not discussed in an open council meeting, only in executive session, Janus said.

Rather than putting a resolution for payment on the budget, it was added to the Dec. 20, 2011, docket of claims with the city’s other bills.

And then there are the obvious conflicts of interest. D’Iberville Mayor Quave works at DMR and is paying his former boss’ son. Janus, the City Manager is in business with Scott Walker via JaWa Investments LLC, a name I thought funny considering the jabberwalk BS involved in terming all this a mere “oversight”. Continue reading “Yes Virginia, these new age Coastie politicians are rotten to the core.”

Gee, did anything happen while I was away?

Whewwwww doggie were things happening! I’m not sure where to start and that does not count a new development here on Slabbed.  Both chapters of the Slabbed Nation are lumped into one post for the sake of expediency so we gotta start with Former Goatherder in Chief Aaron Broussard’s REJECTION by Judge Head:

Aaron Broussard won’t get hearing to explore alleged prosecutorial misconduct, judge rules ~ Manuel Torres

Even worse for the others trying to make hay outta Sal, Jan and allegedly others playing on the Internet:

Aaron Broussard’s failed try for new hearing is a bad sign for others alleging prosecutorial misconduct. ~ Manuel Torres

We gotta get Manuel a nickname. Lest I digress as Judge Head, on loan from Corpus Christi Texas is known as a seasoned jurist that does not tolerate fools or tomfoolery as these Robing Room reviews illustrates:

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: 1852
Rating:7.5
Comments:
Brilliant but ill-tempered. Equal opportunity ass chewer though-no one is exempt from his wrath.

and this one which nails it: Continue reading “Gee, did anything happen while I was away?”

DMR Scandal Day 88: Screwing the pooch starring Billy Walker, the FBI and the Chipper

Yesterday Karen Nelson added some color to the unfolding federal investigation into the DMR friends and family program disclosing a few things, one of which we knew in a general sense and one that we did not know. First off is the factoid we did not know:

The Director of the Land Trust for the Coastal Plain, Judy Steckler, appears to have a problem telling the truth about the Land Trust’s involvement as a financial intermediary in the DMR purchase of Former DMR Executive Director Bill Walker’s son Scott’s piece of land on Bayou Porteaux.  Once known as a nonprofit with a sterling reputation the Land Trust has taking a major and well deserved beating for their role in what strongly appears to be a sophisticated, criminal enterprise.  After yesterday’s story I do not see how the Land Trust can keep Ms. Steckler as its executive director but as we saw with the CMR it is possible the Board of Trustees of the Land Trust remains firmly in denial, in the process breaching their fiduciary duty to the organization.

Finally Nelson tells us in detail the FBI’s role in the investigation and one of the leads they are chasing using the same investigative technique the FBI used in the neighborhood canvas.  It appears Bill Walker’s son Scott may need fabled beltway criminal defense attorney Bernie Grimm’s services again as the FBI has taken an interest in the DMR’s purchase of Walker’s lot.  It is not much of a stretch to extrapolate that CIAP director Tina Shumate and her purchase of her parent’s property is also under the same scrutiny.  How Shumate remains at DMR drawing a paycheck defies the imagination.

Next up Michael Newsom takes a stab at the DMR purchase of the old Winn Dixie property in the Pass.  A couple of things stuck out at me the first being that the story photo appears to be the property across the street from the parcel purchased by DMR. Following is an aerial photo of the location with the slab and parking lot of the old Winn Dixie still visible.

Harrison Co Tax Map DMR Winn Dixie Property
Arial photo of the old Pass Winn Dixie property and the lot across Henderson Ave. Source: Harrison County Tax Assessor Online Tax Maps

We’ve been here and done this property on Slabbed way back on November 5 of last year. The Sun Herald protected the identity of the beneficiary of this DMR friends and family program purchase, Jackson based developer Gary Cress in their story. I well remember when the Pass Winn Dixie closed a month or so before Katrina. Cress was planning to develop the parcel into condos. The parcel across Henderson Avenue sold the summer before Hurricane Katrina for $800,000 with an eye toward the same purpose.

The $800,000 parcel on the right, over 3 acres of land, is lower in elevation than the Cress parcel and had never been developed since Hurricane Camille for that reason.  It would seem to fit the DMR criteria for land purchases better than the old Winn Dixie site. It should also be lost on no one that land values on the Mississippi Coast reached their zenith that summer before Katrina as condomania swept the land.  Today the parcel on the right is for sale by owner and I’m guessing the reason it has not sold, despite being on the market close to 7 years, is due to overvaluation associated with the original purchase in the summer of 2005. Continue reading “DMR Scandal Day 88: Screwing the pooch starring Billy Walker, the FBI and the Chipper”

DMR Scandal Day 80: This is too rich…….:-)

There is nothing new under the sun but there are lots of old things we don’t know. ~ Ambrose Bierce

Folks we all gotta take off our hats to the DMR Beat Team at the Sun Herald because the gang is doing a great job, especially in today’s day and age of the local newsroom cut to the bone by absentee investor owned chains like the Sun Herald’s McClatchy that struggle under massive corporate debtloads.  Bad times in the newspaper industry are no secret but the Sun Herald’s reporting on the unfolding scandal at DMR should remind us all of the societal value of high quality investigative journalism.

I mention this because often times one has to often read between the lines in a straight news story to fully understand the situation the reporter(s) is (are) trying to convey.  Today it does not take much reading to figure out the Sun Herald would love to fully flesh out this entire DMR topic but they feel stymied.  Here’s a long winded explanation why.

Today’s top story on DMR by Anita Lee and Karen Nelson on Bill Walker’s Foundation is mostly a recap of previous reporting  dating back to December 8, 2012.  That said it had a few new quotes from CMR Chairman Vernon Asper and yes, he comes across as clueless Billy Walker tool, which he surely was considering he chaired the Commission on Marine Resources yet evidently knew next to nothing about what was going on at the agency.  This in turn is a massive breach of Asper’s fiduciary duty as Chairman of the CMR but we need to circle that for now.  It also had quotes from emails involving Bill Walker’s son Scott arranging one of those taxpayer funded fishin’ trips with representatives of an engineering firm out of Mobile, Thompson Engineering.  It was nice to see the taxpayers bought beer and that Pascagoula Mayor and fellow crony capitalist Robbie Maxwell has entered into the equation.  Maxwell, Pascagoula’s part time Mayor is as bad as Bill Walker folks, maybe even worse IMHO.

As bad as this is, and believe me what Phil Bryant’s coastal political cronies have done is very bad, none of this is new and Gov Phil, better than anyone should know exactly what I’m talking about as he was state auditor when it all came down: ENRON.

It was massive accounting frauds at ENRON and WorldCom that led to government regulation of large swaths of the CPA profession and deservedly so I’ll add.  For instance at ENRON there was an ossified, ineffectual Board of Directors stacked with politically connected phonies like Senator Phil Gramm’s wife Wendy, an economist that could rationalize about anything. At DMR, by their own admission we have a Board of Trustees that had no clue what was going on and who evidently did not bother to engage their jobs beyond the free boat rides, fishing trips etc.  When the people that are supposed to be running the show are asleep at the switch bad things happen as we found out at ENRON and now DMR.

ENRON used off balance sheet special purpose entities or (SPE in accounting lingo) as a major vehicle for much of the criminal activity that occurred   DMR director Bill Walker created an off books foundation that sucked all manner of tax dollars away from DMR’ mission to support the boats Walker used to wine and dine everyone on the taxpayer dime and lord knows what else. Continue reading “DMR Scandal Day 80: This is too rich…….:-)”

Women of the broom and other various and sundry DMR items

A couple of events have recently taken me down memory lane to the post Katrina Coast circa late 2005-2006 and the reminder came via Women of the Storm which had a Mississippi Chapter. The membership in the group came from across the socio-economic-ethnic spectrum and their mission included traveling to DC after Hurricane Katrina raising awareness with Congress and the President on the unique issues that impacted this area post Katrina.

Later on the ladies from the Louisiana chapter would take a shot at the oil spill and received a few black eyes in the process as the group also became known as Women of the Oil. It seems the Mississippi chapter is far more environmentally friendly.

I mention this because the group has popped up here in Mississippi in the DMR scandal news cycle and as today’s latest installment of as the Good ol’ boys at DMR turns by Paul Hampton and Michael Newsom, Nonnie DeBardeleben of Women of the Storm is calling out the broom brigade for a clean sweep of upper management at DMR. Chair of the Mississippi Senate Ports and Marine Resources Committee Brice Wiggins appears to agree that the interim guy, Danny Guice, needs to remain just that, interim.

This is not about the worker bee employees at DMR, no siree. It is all about the all the politically connected piggies stinkin’ up the executive ranks. Brooms, many of ’em in fact, are exactly what is needed to remedy the situation.