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”

“A clean, good opinion”!? Which one???

I always get a charge from local press coverage of GAGAS / SIngle Audit presentations because what are seemingly simple concepts are actually mind numbingly arcane.  Luckily for the reader, my mind has previously been numbed with this bit of arcanity so along those lines I got a chuckle at Mary Perez’s rendition of the D’Iberville City Council meeting where their FYE September 30, 2012 SIngle Audit report was presented.

First things first folks as the audit submission is late (it was due on June 30, 2013) and that gives a clue as to the state of the finance department at the City.  Good, clean records are easy to audit and those entities with good, clean records typically are not late with audit submissions. In fact, my experience has been that auditees with good, clean records typically have their audits wrapped up 3 to 4 months after the fiscal year end.  In the private sector 3 months after Fiscal year end is typically considered timely for audit completion by way of comparison.

The second thing is Mary’s report quotes the CPA firm representative as saying the firm’s opinion was unqualified which in turn is a “clean, good opinion”.  My question is which opinion because there are something like 4 or 5 auditor opinion letters contained in a single audit and from the sound of things the City of D’Iberville’s operations are anything but “clean” and “good” as there is double dealing galore there beginning with DMR but not ending there as internal controls over grants and contracts appear nonexistent along with gaping holes in the cash disbursement processes.  That much was clear from Mary’s report and there is nothing good or clean about that.

And then of course there is that pesky FBI investigation into the Utility Authority, SH Anthony Construction Company along with Maxwell Walker Consulting and their curious contract with the City.  And while my experience has been that FBI agents are meticulous in their grooming, there is nothing good and clean about having the FBI about investigating government corruption. Continue reading ““A clean, good opinion”!? Which one???”

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.”