Tag Archives: Mississippi Department of Marine Resources

DMR Public Records Leaks: Shumate land transaction raises questions

There was one document in the last care package that I could not fit with the others yet the leaker thought it important enough to include. I’m hoping the community here can help solve this mystery. The language on Exhibit A leads me to believe this may be part of a section 1031 Exchange but we can’t conclude that based solely on these documents. What we do know was that Team Shumate was doing land transactions right up to the time the larger DMR Scandal broke in the media:

Shumate Loan July 2012

Shumate Loan July 2012

DMR Document Dump Miscellany: More Heberts and a Shumate plus Miller Time

It’s Miller time so let them eat shrimp!

By Anonymous Leak to Slabbed New Media

By Anonymous Leak to Slabbed New Media LLC

2014 Coastal Legislative Reception on the Taxpayers

We’ve had some people asking about the administration of the Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP). Here are two interesting sets of CIAP Technical Review Committee Documents: Continue reading

DMR Timesheets raise troubling questions regarding contract worker payment and supervision (Updated)

Slabbed has obtained timesheets related to contract work performed by Samantha Hebert at the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources.  Before I show you folks what I have we need to back up in time, first to December of 2012 when the DMR Scandal was still young when Anita Lee and Karen Nelson detailed the DMR friends and family program for the Sun Herald:

Relatives of DMR employees also work at the agency, although DMR directors say the hirings comply with the agency’s nepotism policy. The nepotism policy prohibits employees from participating in the hiring process for, or supervising, immediate family members, which includes in-laws. It does not prohibit family members from working at DMR.

Walker said his daughter-in-law was hired by DMR Public Relations Director Lauren Thompson and works as a special projects officer. Trinity Walker, wife of Scott Walker, is paid $27,700 a year, according to state records.

Walker said Thompson also hired Samantha Hebert, the sister of Tina Shumate, DMR’s director of coastal management. Hebert works under contract as a videographer, and has been paid $91,300 since October 2010, state records show. Hebert could not be reached at DMR to comment on her job.

When asked how to reach her sister, Shumate said, “She works for Dr. Walker, so you’d have to talk to him.”

Shumate, recently scrutinized in a federal audit for using grant money for DMR’s purchase of her parents’ Pascagoula property, also has a son and brother-in-law who were contract workers. Shumate said she was not involved in hiring her son, who participated in a summer work program while in high school. She said Walker hired her brother-in-law, who was employed only a short time.

The excerpt is very important for a number of reasons but before I get into that we need to fast forward to this past May when Susan Perkins, Leslie Gollott and Grant Larsen copped pleas to state charges related to their tenure of employment at DMR. To the extent Anita’s story that was linked in my post on the topic is now 404, I use the AP wire version that was run in the Washington Times: Continue reading

Jamie Miller hasn’t learned yet that you can’t fire everyone……..

There is always gonna be someone that knows the score that is gonna talk to somebody. Reigning in the political hacks/lightweights that permeated Congressman Palazzo’s staff and managing a state agency are two different things.  DMR Executive Director Jamie Miller may find that out one day.

Everyone remember the sweetheart contract Miller let to Frontier Gulf Coast for Public Relations work that the “Public” never discerned?

Complaint filed against DMR over tracking of agency expenses ~ Anita Lee

Folks Miller is paying mucho money for bean counting and PR:

The half-page “time & expense analysis” listed hours worked by five Horne employees, by title, at hourly rates ranging from $48 to $285 an hour. Hourly fees for Horne totaled $111,973.50 and undocumented expenses were $9,041.45. The sheet also listed an hourly rate of $150 for a Frontier consultant, 286 hours worked and a total charge of $42,900. An EnStrat consultant charged $150 an hour for 234.50 hours, for a total of $35,581.80.

Maybe the reason Miller keeps firing long time employees is DMR can’t afford to pay salaries after they pay for all their no bid professional services contracts. It is good to see others are paying attention too.

DMR on my mind: Scott Walker’s skin thins, Jim Hood and Stacey Pickering Obstruct and the blood letting at the Bolton Building continues

That post title is a mouthful folks. Let’s begin with Scott Walker as his lawyer filed a motion to keep Walker’s sentencing letters off the record.

Scott Walker to judge: Keep sentencing letters private ~ Anita Lee

Judge Starrett is construing motions from letters that Anita sent the court asking for access to the sentencing letters. The variations in how sentencing letters are handled vary across and within the various Federal Court districts and that variation is somewhat disconcerting. In Louisiana Eastern, sentencing letters are made available via PACER as a general rule without anyone in the media having to file motions to intervene and having to ask for them.  Here in Mississippi, Judge Ozerden released Roger and Sharon Ladner’s sentencing letters in the same way per my inspection of the docket in that case.

Last month at Bill Walker’s sentencing Judge Starrett mentioned that the jurisprudence in the area of sentencing letter release was well settled.  Walker’s motion in opposition to Anita’s request for the release of the letters prominently mentioned the fact that Judge William Steele over in Mobile withheld the letters in USA v Byrd, where the former Jackson County Sheriff got off very light, some would say “Judge Ginger light” and that is saying something.  I’m not yet convinced Steele had anything right in his ruling on the Byrd letters.

If I had to argue against one point Arthur Madden made in the Scott Walker motion, Continue reading

Someone has not gotten the memo the local gaming market is saturated and then some…..

This isn’t quite as harebrained as Paradise Bay nor do the promoters appear to have the baggage but we’re approaching the zip code of economic futility with the long talked about and never built Diamondhead Casino.  The lack of capital to fund several gaming projects here on the coast including the Rotate Black group should give everyone a big clue as to the economic viability of these proposals.

But now that the Mississippi DMR’s Jamie Miller has suddenly discovered the environmental mission of the agency makes the whole deal way too rich, especially since I’m in the process of authoring a post that examines Miller’s tenure at DMR as Phil Bryant’s Biloxi based water boy.

Could DMR opinion limit legal casino sites? Appraiser says some property values would dive ~ Anita Lee

Stay tuned.

A few thoughts on the Bill Walker sentencing

I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing! ~ Galatians 2:21

Give ‘em a show that’s so splendiferous, row after row will grow vociferous.. ~ Fictional lawyer Bill Flynn

Both of those quotes come to mind to explain what I saw on Monday in Hattiesburg at Bill Walker’s sentencing. Let’s start with the part that is guaranteed to raise the collective blood pressure of the residents of South Mississippi. Michael Janus and Scott Walker did a fair amount of mutual backslapping during the break between Janus’ sentencing and Bill Walker’s hearing. It did not violate proper courtroom personal decorum in my opinion but given the circumstances I thought it was a bit odd.

Bill Walker OTOH barely spoke a word instead relying on his lawyer Bill Kirksey, who Judge Starett concluded “well represented” Walker before he sentenced him to 60 months in prison and this gets us to the “splendiferous” part. You gotta figure Walker paid a fortune for Kirksey’s professional services, the most practical application of which meant that most everyone assembled in the courtroom got a small share of misery. To set up that which I am speaking we need to start with some lovely music: Continue reading

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

Nothing but Thursday Links…..

Conservation groups oppose change in DMR rules ~ Paul Hampton

Its Great to be the CEO Running a Huge Criminal Bank ~ Bill Black

I-Team: Perricone, Mann surrender federal law licenses ~ Travers Mackel

Councilman says there is no merit to trespass, tampering allegations ~ Dwayne Bremer

St. Tammany DA Walter Reed’s payments to son’s companies reach almost $95,000 ~ Heather Nolan and Lee Zurik

Mississippi daycare worker dies in tornado, found clutching toddler she saved ~ Jeff Amy

After Donald Sterling, the NAACP plans to tighten up its award policies ~ Jarvis DeBerry