Vital background here.
Vital background here.
Joe Friday comes to mind here folks since the parties did not remain silent and Magnolia Group Attorney Ben Galloway is hot on the trail. Sending a subpoena to the Echo, whose publisher is married to the School Board President, is an interesting maneuver. I’m sensing quality muck will emerge in this case as I hope the taxpayers learn the full extent to which their local schools have been co opted by the politically connected in service to their pecuniary interests.
I was mildly surprised to see the beginnings of a response from certain members of the defense. Not as surprising is that Ben Galloway is like a pit bull and was all over that filing the next day for the Magnolia Group. Here is the answer and counterclaim of Team LNG Investments along with Team Magnolia Group’s insta-response.
And I am already hearing rumors additional defendants will be added to the suit. The Bay Waveland School Board, in my opinion, has wholly failed to properly discharge their fiduciary duty to the taxpayers and voters of Hancock County and if this litigation begins consuming tax dollars meant for education, Slabbed New Media will not be kind to the perpetrators. Click the pic to nab the PDF:
I see from Pacer Magistrate Roper has recused himself from this case. It took me a few seconds to figure out the likely reason, which I will not share, but I will say Magistrate Roper is known as a straight shooter that calls his cases down the middle and he was absolutely right to stand down here IMHO. Continue reading “Magnolia Group sues over Bay Tech Building Swindle”
Mrs Bunch must not have watched enough Gilligan’s Island back in the day though I understand this judgment against her has been appealed to Circuit Court.
Let’s use some excerpts of the OIG report on DMR’s land acquisitions to illustrate why the taxpayer paid appraisals obtained by the Bay Waveland School Board as cover for their friends and family program are not worth the paper they are written on. First up we need to know what the OIG auditors did and they well explain it:
You see folks, the auditors may have had specific information that DMR Director Bill Walker and his assistant Tina Shumate were looting the program for their personal gain but going in blank they would have noticed a ton of red flags. Preliminary procedures would include comparing the real estate valuations (appraisals) against tax roll appraised values. Drilling down into the appraisal report themselves for those transactions that had large variances would include evaluating the appraiser’s work product against professional standards in the field. The OIG was kind enough to identify for us 15 requirements and best practices and summarize how each DMR transaction failed at least 4 of those 15 best practices/requirements: Continue reading “Let’s drill down on the OIG report on DMR’s friends and family program to expose fatal flaws in the appraisals obtained by the Bay Waveland School District in the Bay Tech Building Scandal”
Just because I’ve not written anything on the Bay Waveland School District real estate scandal does not mean things have not been happening folks. I’m not going to slice and dice this subject like some of the other matters I cover as there is no need. That said I’ve have enough accumulated for an update so here goes.
First is the local rumor mill, which is saying the FBI has been poking around. I’ve found doing Slabbed that rumors about grand jury investigations and investigations in general to be notoriously unreliable since there are so many moving parts involved, so I’d urge the buyer of such ruminations to beware.
Second is I’ve heard several tantalizing tidbits about the confirmed investigation into this by the Mississippi Real Estate Commission. After taking a peeksie at their list of disiplinary actions I wonder what it would take for a realtor to actually lose their license in this state. That said this investigation appears to be moving quickly to a resolution.
Third is what I’ll call a verifiable fact on the Bay Tech Lot next to the building as the listing with McDonald Realty has been cancelled per the MLS as of October 17, 2012. Going back through my notes on the lot from earlier interviews with Mr Bill Washburn with the Magnolia Group and Avra O’Dwyer of O’Dwyer Realty I noted Mr Washburn indicated the lot was listed at $135,000 and that soon after Slabbed broke this story he indicated he fired his realtor Mary Bunch. I duly noted the McDonald Realty sign remained on the property and the listing remained active in the MLS for weeks after Mr Washburn gave me that interview. Continue reading “Delisted: Bay Tech lot withdrawn from MLS”
What made Dr. Sherry Ponder change her mind about having the taxpayers purchase the Bay Tech Building?
She states in the Oct. 11, edition of the Sea Coast Echo that the school district had been looking at this building and others since Sept. 29, 2005. But, when the Hancock County Alliance for Good Government wrote to her on Sept. 6, 2011, asking that the school board look around the community for an older building to renovate for their business office rather than build a new one for two million dollars, she was not interested in our idea.
The business manager actually told me in an open meeting that FEMA was going to build it, and for me to think of it as a “gift.”
Now enter the architects!! From September 2011 to May 2012, the school board doled out over $90,000 in tax dollars for plans for the new building.
Then Bam!!! In July of 2012, the Board came out of Executive Session and announced that they were going to buy the Bay Tech Building and renovate it for their Business Office. Now, this was never discussed in open session since Sept. 2011, when they rejected our idea.
So what or who changed the Board’s minds and when? Let’s remember that nothing has changed about this building since 2005–no renovations, no improvements. It still has to be brought up to code, and cosmetic work has to be done to make it habitable for our Superintendent, her staff, and the children who will be housed there on a daily basis.
Wait a minute!! One thing did change in the last 9 months while our board was flushing $90 grand down the toilet and holding firm to their opinion that this building was not appropriate for their needs—-the ownership changed to LNG Investments- Gerald Rigby and Lloyd Nicaud.
But why would this be attractive to the school district?? And, why did the taxpayers end up paying $255,000 more than LNG paid for it only 8 weeks prior with no renovations to justify a quarter of a million dollar increase in price on a piece of property in a county where the mil de-valued this year?? That is $31,875 a week profit for LNG. Not a bad piece of change!
The Hancock County Alliance for Good Government has been notified that we cannot have a tour of the building at this time because it is unsafe. I personally doubt the building is unsafe, but what is unsafe is having this board negotiate real estate transactions for the taxpayers.
Now, I have no problem with anyone making a profit, but let’s remember this is a small school district that is trying to recover from the worst natural disaster in our nation’s history.
Kind of reminds me of buzzards on road kill.
I’ll just leave you with the explanation from Mary Bunch (Lloyd Nicaud’s mother) “in the Sea Coast Echo of Sept. 29—–“these guys bought that building–they re-sold that building. That’s what they do.” Really??!!
Lana Noonan, Chairman
Hancock County Alliance for Good Government
Slabbed welcomes all points of view on the topics we cover. Our readers can submit guest columns to Slabbed New Media. While we allow anonymous comments on the blog, guest columnist must submit a verifiable name and contact information in order to be published.
Links to Slabbed’s previous coverage of this matter:
Trustees approve Bay Tech renovation ~ The Sea Coast Echo
As the shifting story continues to evolve:
Both Bunch and the LNG partners have said their actions were entirely proper and legal and that the so-called “controversy” has been manufactured; and Ronnie Artigues, attorney for the BWSD, said the district was happy because it purchased the property for well under its appraised and assessed values.
Slabbed has learned The Magnolia Group has begun the formalities of commencing civil litigation in this matter. Slabbed has also learned the Mississippi Real Estate Commission has also opened a formal investigation based upon multiple complaints they have received on this specious, taxpayer funded transaction.
Slabbed will be covering this debacle and related wasting of taxpayer money by the Bay Waveland School Board as events unfold. Stay tuned.
Links to Slabbed’s previous coverage of this matter: