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).

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”

See why it is time for Vern and pals to go, know what I mean?

Behold the terrible price of unbridled greed!

Inspector general audit questions millions in CIAP grants at DMR ~ Anita Lee and Paul Hampton

Unfortunately the piece does not have the actual draft report but it is safe to say this is what happens when a gaggle of uninterested stooges, distracted by toys and freebie deep sea fishing trips comprises the Board of Directors of any entity. In fact dysfunctional Boards of Directors are the norm in these situations.  And when a Federal Auditor issues a finding and question cost, that does not mean the auditor has a question about something. Rather it is the first and most important step in making a (sub)grantee gone bad pay misspent money back.  The Commission of Marine Resources, per their power under the Mississippi Code, had to approve each and every one of these specious transactions.  Just like with the Housing Authority of Jefferson Parish, given what we know about the extent of the problems, the odds of having to pay back massive sums of money back are overwhelming. In that respect it matters not the audit is not final.

Today’s cost to the taxpayers of Mississippi: $30 $12 million dollars.

The IG evidently had a little something for everyone, even my peeps in the land of Dizzy Dean:

A grant totaling about $1 million, including $788,300 added through an amendment, has been designated for the Old Wire Road Trail Project in Stone County, a 20-mile asphalt trail along an old telegraph line. Stone County, the audit says, “is a land-locked county not designated as an eligible recipient for CIAP grants.”

Stone County’s grant consultant, Nell Murray, also serves as a commissioner for the Heritage Area, as did six others who either managed or potentially benefited from CIAP money, the audit says. Murray could not be reached to comment.

There is one Slabbed reader that, when I point out something way in the inside or drop a major stink bomb, will contact me and the greeting is laughter. Welp folks, I can envision this conversation:

Hehehehehehehe Nell Murray Hehehehehehehe

Nell have a conflict of interest??? Who wudda thunk such a thing? Continue reading “See why it is time for Vern and pals to go, know what I mean?”

Coast friends and family corruption roundup, sponsored by JaWa Investments LLC

This post is sponsored by JaWa Investments LLC ~ Purveyor of coastal crony capitalism since November 24, 2010

Janus takes unpaid leave as D’Iberville city manager ~ Mary Perez

Folks the picture included with Perez’s story of Scott Walker and Michael Janus smiling big after taking their 6% cut off the top tells the entire tale IMHO.

Speaking of the Walkers it appears Mama Walker is out as Ocean Springs School Board Prez.

Series of votes outs Walker and puts in new school board member ~ Karen Nelson

Now at this point I would like to point out the following post I authored last December:

Sunday Slabb: Before we take another step….

I mention this because of the Land Trust Board members that are reaching out in response to the criticisms directed to the organization on these pages.  The power of the medium lies not in the ability to ostracize, though I suspect those on the receiving end of the criticisms would beg to differ.  That said, it is the ability to help guide decision makers as a reflection of public opinion and a wealth of community expertise is where the true power of the Internet medium is derived.

It is along those lines that I asked the following questions of the Land Trust Board: Continue reading “Coast friends and family corruption roundup, sponsored by JaWa Investments LLC”