The Irony of Avid Life Media passing legal threats on the internet is delicious

If Avid Life Media aka Ashley Madison used fake female profiles to lure men to paying for the service, such customers guaranteed to keep their mouths shut if they were not satisfied with the results who also had to pay $19.99 to leave Ashley Madison with a “full delete” service that itself appears to be a scam, at what point does the following come into play since Avid Life used the wires to conduct the business enterprise:

(1)“racketeering activity” means (A) any act or threat involving murder, kidnapping, gambling, arson, robbery, bribery, extortion, dealing in obscene matter, or dealing in a controlled substance or listed chemical (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act), which is chargeable under State law and punishable by imprisonment for more than one year; (B) any act which is indictable under any of the following provisions of title 18, United States Code: Section 201 (relating to bribery), section 224 (relating to sports bribery), sections 471, 472, and 473 (relating to counterfeiting), section 659 (relating to theft from interstate shipment) if the act indictable under section 659 is felonious, section 664 (relating to embezzlement from pension and welfare funds), sections 891–894 (relating to extortionate credit transactions), section 1028 (relating to fraud and related activity in connection with identification documents), section 1029 (relating to fraud and related activity in connection with access devices), section 1084 (relating to the transmission of gambling information), section 1341 (relating to mail fraud), section 1343 (relating to wire fraud)………

Following the link to Wire Fraud, a predicate act under this statute reveals the following:

Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, transmits or causes to be transmitted by means of wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce, any writings, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.

You know folks, depending on how you look at the Ashley Madison hack, I could see an argument for the Impact Team being considered whistle blowers if the above is true.  Maybe the FBI needs to divide its Ashley Madison hack investigation in two and explore whether websites like Ashley Madison are a modern day version of a lonely heart scam that used to be perpetrated by old fashioned snail mail back in the day. Continue reading “The Irony of Avid Life Media passing legal threats on the internet is delicious”

DMR Memorandum lend color to insider purchase of parent’s land with Coastal Impact Funds

This is the defense side of things per Anita Lee’s DMR employee’s South Mississippi home searched circa January 2013.

The DMR paid $245,000 for the lot on a bayou near the Pascagoula River.

Holleman said Shumate removed herself completely from the land transaction. He said her parents, Curt and Ann Hebert, saw the program advertised and approached the DMR about buying the property.

“When her parents got involved, she had nothing to do with it,” Holleman said. “There will be documents that support that.”

I have what I believe to be the documents to which Tim Holleman referred. Continue reading “DMR Memorandum lend color to insider purchase of parent’s land with Coastal Impact Funds”

For those that were worried about the slow DMR news cycle….

I have it on the best authority that business will be picking up rather dramatically and I plan on being at ground zero when the muck begins to fly later today. Meantime we have Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood joining State Auditor Stacey Pickering in an incredible display of asshatitude per Paul Hampton’s recap of Judge Schloegel’s contempt order against Pickering, Hood and company.

“General Hood curiously stated it might be very embarrassing for a chancery judge to be admonished by a federal judge should the assistant U.S. attorney charge the chancellor with obstruction of justice and contempt of a grand jury subpoena,” Schloegel wrote about the phone call. “General Hood’s hypothetical regarding criminal charges against the undersigned chancellor and other remarks reinforced General Hood’s clear intent not to seek to mitigate the contempt of his client, the auditor, and furthermore, raised questions of his own role, the role of the Attorney General’s Office and the role of the defendants and their employees in the issuance of the federal grand jury subpoena and the wrongful removal of the records from state court jurisdiction.”

It gets better because Pickering, while denying public records to the Sun Herald and coming across like a fool last December at the court hearings on the related litigation stopped woefully short in his investigation into DMR wrongdoing in favor of crushing a few lower level employees that now stand accused of padding their travel by a few hundred dollars a piece. Biloxi Blues summed it up nicely in comments: Continue reading “For those that were worried about the slow DMR news cycle….”

Sunday Miller time: “Minerals”? WTF are “Minerals”?

Whatever they are I think Chancery Court Judge Jennifer Schloegel has ’em, unless the Supremes tote water for Jim Hood and Stacey Pickering and redefine what constitutes a public record that is.

Newspaper seeks contempt ruling against Pickering, auditor’s office ~ Anita Lee

If my best source on this is right and I think the person likely is correct on the assertion that the public records in question contain no smoking guns, this makes the actions of State Auditor Pickering and Attorney General Jim Hood all the more perplexing. That said the prevailing viewpoint and the one the sequence of events leading to the Federal subpoena of those records lends the most credibility is Pickering and Hood are covering for politically connected good ol’ boys that were looting out DMR’s artificial reef program etc.  Like I said, I’m sticking with the Pickering and Hood = Beavis and Butthead theory for now.

Next up is Mac and a letter that ran yesterday. (H/T Eye-Spy in comments)

Is Jamie Miller’s DMR a champion of the Coast or the governor? ~ Maxine Ramsay

The fix for drilling in the Mississippi sound was in from the time Miller was appointed to lead DMR.

Feel free to add your own links in comments.

Rotten to the core: Attorney General Jim Hood’s office also feeding at the DMR trough

Mississippi assistant attorney general’s sons benefitted from grant he applied for at DMR ~ Paul Hampton

And in story comments and in periodic emails I’ve been hearing terms like mass protest, naked protests and about any other form of protest there is. All I can say is it has been a while since I have covered mass acts of a mob of angry citizens but I’m game if you guys are as the reasons for Jim Hood turning a blind eye to improprieties in the Coastal Impact Assistance Program come into much sharper focus.

We have a final IG report on the DMR Coastal Impact Program

But before we get to that I think we can now conclude that Jamie Miller released the preliminary report months after the fact in order to soften the blow in the final report, which he certainly knew was close to completion when he leaked the first report out to the Sun Herald.

I have skimmed the report and besides all the bad things we already knew about double dealing Billy Walker and his family along with Tina Shumate and her family, left unmentioned anywhere in the media to this point is the fact both the preliminary and final reports are damning to the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain, an organization both the Sun Herald and Slabbed identified early on since they served as financial intermediary in the DMR purchase of Scott Walker’s land,

Individuals connected to the Land Trust not speaking in an official capacity indicated to Slabbed the Walker purchase technically met the guidelines as property worthy of preservation.  I noted the Inspector General does not seem to buy into that notion. Even worse, the OIG identifies a conflict of interest no one seemed to notice.  Here is the specific verbiage from the final OIG report:

Final OIG Report on CIAP Capture 1

That pesky Billy Walker mud hole claims another victim in Judy Steckler, who joins the Walker and Shumate families in the local conflict of Interest club. Continue reading “We have a final IG report on the DMR Coastal Impact Program”

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…….:-)”

Attorney General Hood wants “whistleblowers” backing up his argument to Judge Barbier

SLABBED reported Judge Barbier’s rockin’ Order and Reasons in Judge Barbier rocks! Rules “claims czar not independent of BP”, including his requirement that all parties file additional briefs by Friday of this week. (Order and Reasons follow in scribd format below)

McClatchy News has a story – Mississippi AG: BP spill victims got ‘stiff-armed’ on claims – indicating Barbier’s rockin’ had AG Hood rollin’ out a call for whistleblowers:

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood wants to hear from whistle-blowers with inside information about how the Gulf Coast Claims Facility is operating.

Hood believes GCCF administrator Ken Feinberg “stiff-armed” claimants on emergency and interim claims because they required no release of the right to sue BP and other parties responsible for the April 2010 Gulf oil catastrophe. When claimants grew desperate, Hood believes, GCCF rolled out final payments that do require waiving the right to sue.

“They’re not following the law,” Hood said. “They’re just trying to coerce people into signing these releases”…

As SLABBED has repeatedly mentioned, Hood learned all he needed to know about “waiving the right to sue” from the MID mediation program that “stiff armed” State Farm policyholder claimants in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

IMO, that lesson accounts for his current insistence that there is no relationship between the number and amount of paid claims and the integrity of the claims process!

Anyone heard a whistle blow?

(Judge Barbier’s Order and Reasons below the jump) Continue reading “Attorney General Hood wants “whistleblowers” backing up his argument to Judge Barbier”

Pete and Repeat sat on a fence – Hood repeats warning, Young repeats attempt at revirgination, Peytavin pumps another Peytavin – but too much snow to see the fence!

According to Mississippi Ag: BP claims process violates law(Mobile Press Register), Jim Hood has put paper behind Mississippi’s interest in a transparent, fair, and fast BP claims handling process:  (h/t Y’all)

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood continued Tuesday to assault the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, saying in a federal court filing that its activities violate federal and state law and again asking the judge to intervene in the claims process…

In the filing, Hood contends that Feinberg’s process, by freezing interim payments, increases the financial hardship on claimants and makes them more likely to sign away their legal rights.

Details of Hoods allegations are summarized in the Press Register story (h/t to reporter Dan Murtaugh) and detailed in Hood’s Memorandum of Authorities in Support of Statement of Interest on Behalf of the State of Mississippi (below in scribd format).

Judge Barbier shouldn’t need reminding a similar financial hardship resulted in claimants signing away their rights following Hurricane Katrina only to discover more damage later. Nonetheless, I’ll repeat myself and say that Attorney General Hood is now Twice Right and Judge Barbier should heed the warning.

Speaking of someone who shouldn’t need reminding, John Young should know better than to make another transparent effort at revirgination – but, alas, he does not and NOLA.com reports Continue reading “Pete and Repeat sat on a fence – Hood repeats warning, Young repeats attempt at revirgination, Peytavin pumps another Peytavin – but too much snow to see the fence!”

Twice right – Attorney General Jim Hood asks Judge Barbier to oversee BP claims settlement

After the the Class-Action-that-didn’t-happen early on in Hurricane Katrina litigation, alternative resolution was made available.  According to the website of the Jackson office of Baker Donelson, this option was the “brainchild” of the former assistant commissioner of the Mississippi Insurance Department (MID) and current Baker Donelson attorney, Lee Harrell:

Established the MID Hurricane Katrina Mediation Program and the U.S. Federal Court Mediation Program, which streamlined the claims handling process and resolved thousands of claims quickly and satisfactorily without lengthy and expensive litigation…

Others see Harrell and his brainchild in a different light – mediation fraud.

However, it would have been preventable mediation fraud had the Southern District Mississippi court taken oversight of the process as requested by Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood.  Via a recently filed “Statement of Interest on Behalf of the State of Mississippi”, Hood has made a similar request of  Judge Barbier for much the same reason he ask the Mississippi court to protect hurricane disaster victims:

The Attorney General’s Statement to U.S. District Judge Carl J. Barbier asks the court to take control in order “to correct the deficiencies in the GCCF as outlined in the PSC’s Motion and in this Statement of Interest, in order to facilitate the timely and just processing of claims…“I want Mr. Feinberg to continue paying claims, but I want the process to be transparent, fair and fast…”

Judge Barbier has additional incentive provided by he-who-didn’t-make-the-Steering-Committee.  Continue reading “Twice right – Attorney General Jim Hood asks Judge Barbier to oversee BP claims settlement”