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)”

Janus plea hearing: Magilla the Gorilla in the room

Magilla the Gorilla via Wiki

I had to laugh at the remarks of one of the assembled defense attorneys, who made my acquaintance today telling me how much he enjoyed my Louisiana coverage.  The assembled media included Warren Kulo, Ruth Ingram, Doug Walker, Jeff Amy and Anita Lee plus one blogger.

Ironically the session started off with what was billed as a quick true up hearing for a civil case that quite frankly caught my interest as much as the Janus plea hearing.  Judge Starrett knows his damages including exhibiting some specialized knowledge of the sand and gravel business that was quite impressive.  I’ll leave the inside chatter on the inside but Judge Starrett continued the hearing because the numbers did not make sense to him.  I followed the lawyer out of the courtroom with my business card (day job) in case the Plaintiffs decided to reach out for some help.  Damages I know.

Lest I digress there are three points I want to make but before I make them we need to visit with the best two accounts of the hearing in no particular order:

Janus pleads guilty to fraud, will testify against Scott Walker ~ Anita Lee

Janus changes plea to guilty on fraud charges ~ Jeff Amy

As I said on twitter Janus was solemn throughout.  HIs face had an ashen hue and eye circles Continue reading “Janus plea hearing: Magilla the Gorilla in the room”

I’m very pleased to report

That House Bill 44 has cleared some very important procedural hurdles and remains very much alive, now assigned to the House Judiciary committee. On the not so good news front it appears Representative Richard Bennett of Long Beach may have snookered the Sun Herald last month. I mention this because in January the paper ran a story about Bennett working with Auditor Pickering to insure every state agency is audited. Heck, they even did an editorial on it. I know I’ve been checking periodically to see how Bennett’s legislation is doing and everytime I go to his legislative web page this is what I see on that issue:

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…….

That’s right folks, it appears Bennett was blowing smoke up Stan Tiner’s hiney which is likely why we got this OpEd today:

Rather than piecemeal accountability, require annual audits of all state agencies ~ Sun Herald Editorial Board Continue reading “I’m very pleased to report”

By popular demand: Of home furnishings and ‘culture of corruption’……

But first some lovely music:

Pickering: DMR probe may reveal “culture of corruption” ~ Da Noose

Auditor Pickering had to get out in front of the rampant rumor mill and boy did he! So what do we know now?  Here are a few observations.

Bump: Taxpayers on the hook in D’Iberville after consulting scam collapses

RFP in comments on Today’s auditing moment: Fictitious Vendor Embezzlement

The forecast is for increased heat in the City of D’Iberville.
Ocean Expo’s delay means taxpayers may pay first bond note

D’IBERVILLE — City officials expected Ocean Expo Aquarium to be built and open by now and ticket prices to cover the cost of repaying the bond to purchase the land.

Instead the city may have to make the initial $318,668 payment — due in September — out of the general fund.

A visit to EMMA has been scheduled to do some digging into the official statement.

Additional Ocean Expo:
Can anyone provide information on the contract for site work at the Ocean Expo site?

IMMS solicited bids for “site preparation Phase 1″; the Daily Journal Of Commerce Gulf Coast (see page 17) reported that a local firm by the name of SH Anthony was among the plan holders. Bids were due on August 9, 2012. Was a contract let? Or was this the work that Harrison County did? (See Sun Herald article).