This is hot off the press folks:
This is hot off the press folks:
I’ll term these thoughts 1 and 1a in response to Eye Spy:
It is unusual for someone entering a guilty plea to immediately go into custody of MDOC let alone do it voluntarily yet that is exactly what Tina Shumate did last bad news Friday. With no activity on PACER and a looming late September trial date before Judge Keith Starrett this can only mean that when Ms. Shumate makes an appearance before the court she’ll be wearing prison orange and likely, shackles. Thought 1a from the old days and Dr. Demento: Continue reading
It’s Miller time so let them eat shrimp!
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
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
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
DMR because yesterday 3 former employees pleaded guilty to felonies and Trudy Fisher because of the local rumor mill fueled by at least one OIG report. We start with Ms. Fisher:
And of course it was Jeff’s story that Anita Lee and I chatted about before we entered the courtroom for the DMR plea hearing before Circuit Court Judge Roger Clark yesterday in Biloxi. I was disappointed in not being able to use Twitter, especially since still photography was allowed inside the court room per the court’s own rules. Those rules were written before the rise of social media and it shows. Nonetheless, when the court’s bailiff comes out two times before the start of the hearing to let everyone else know they better turn off all their electronic devices it behooved those assembled to heed the good word.
Let’s start with Anita’s story for the Sun Herald:
3 former DMR employees plead guilty, sentenced ~ Anita Lee
She does a good job recounting the events of the hearing, where Tina Shumate was clearly the boogie man de jour. After Larsen’s attorney made some statements regarding how Shumate allegedly treated Larsen when he tried repaying the travel over payment, Shumate’s lawyer Tim Holliman’s reaction upon hearing Team Larsen’s statement tells me her story will beg to differ. We’ll see.
What Anita’s story does not say is what I am going to cover because it is clear to me that Continue reading
I had no clue the entirety of the state’s Gross Domestic Product made it into the state’s coffers but after reading Jamie Miller’s latest in the Sun Herald that no clue feeling washed over me several times in a tide of cheap talking points, skillfully packaged as they were:
Meantime in other news complete with mugshots:
Let’s mark our Circuit Court calendars:
Here at Slabbed we’re not marking calendars to join any sort of lynch mob no siree. Slabbed is known for making bold predictions and I have one for the outcome of these State Auditor lead investigations, which with one exception focused on mid level employees and stopped way short on the dealings between the Marine Resources Foundation and other Jackson County based nonprofits.
Lets set the morning line, specifically the acquittal over/under of these 5 upcoming cases at 2.5. I like the over there as I foresee three acquittals though five would not surprise me.
More precisely one thought on the information contained in Anita Lee’s story on same.
Shumate allegedly approached the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain about buying the property. The Land Trust and Scott Walker signed a sales contract in April 2011.
Shumate’s attorney, Tim Holleman of Gulfport, who attended the plea hearing, said afterward that Shumate maintains her innocence. He noted that the government alleges Bill Walker “directed” her to approach the Land Trust, not that she conspired with the Walkers. But she is included in the conspiracy charge with the Walkers.
I seem to remember that a conspiracy could involve other acts. Shumate’s purchase of her parent’s property with Coastal Impact funds could be one such possible act the prosecutors would use. The Good Book appears to back this understanding.
It will be interesting to see if Shumate and Ziegler cave or take this into a courtroom. Both have top notch legal representation.
I thought Phillip Thomas at Mississippi Litigation Review nailed one of the more recent developments in the State Auditor’s Office public records contempt hearing being heard before Judge Schloegel in Gulfport. The point is short n’ sweet and dead on accurate:
State Auditor Stacey Pickering is asking the U.S. District Court to bail him out of a mess of his own creation.
And this gets us to today’s comprehensive update by Karen Nelson and Justin Mitchell for the Sun Herald on yesterday’s Chancery Court proceedings before Judge Schloegel that ties in with that:
Schloegel stopped the civil contempt hearing, in its second day Friday, so all parties could participate in a conference call with Hattiesburg U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett, who is assigned the federal case.
Also participating in the call were attorneys for indicted former DMR Director Bill Walker and his son, Scott Walker, and other DMR managers indicted in the federal investigation of the DMR.
During the call, Starrett said he had concerns about how it would fit into the investigation if his office found the records are public. Those concerns included the defendants’ right to a fair trial, if there are any grand jury secrets in the documents, and how disclosure might affect any other “targets” of the grand jury investigation.
Early on, when the first indications surfaced that former Assistant US Attorney Sal Perricone engaged in certain extracurricular no-no’s with respect to the massive corruption investigation then underway in Metro New Orleans, certain sage observers predicted the criminal defense attorneys would use it to the benefit of their clients and it worked out exactly that way. I mention this because although we have a far different fact set in play here, if you take what the Sun Herald put out on the social media real time during the two days of hearings at face value, my spidey senses tell me the spectacle is helping rather than hurting the five former DMR employees charged with state crimes that resulted from the year long investigation conducted by the State Auditor’s office. The concerns Judge Starrett expressed were not from any first hand knowledge of the contents of the records at question but from experience IMHO.
Here is the text of the minute entry from PACER on the call:
Minute Entry for proceedings held before District Judge Keith Starrett:Telephone Conference as to William W. Walker, Scott J. Walker, Joseph C. Zeigler, Jr, Sheila Tina Shumate held on 12/6/2013 regarding Expedited Petition to Authorize Release of Records and for Direction . The Court informed counsel of guidelines for their responses to the Petition. All responses are due by December 18, 2013. Participants: Jerry Rushing, John Dowdy, Harold Britain, William Kirksey, Arthur Madden, Corban Gunn, Joe Sam Owen, Tim C. Holleman, John Corlew, Henry Laird, Harold Pizzetta, Douglas Miracle, Melissa Patterson, David Huggins, Joseph Runnels, Sandra Chesnut; Court Reporter/Transcriber Fred Jeske
Next up we need to jump back a few weeks and solve a minor mystery of the Federal case against the Walkers, Joe Ziegler and Tina Shumate. Warren Kulo’s story from last month on the gang’s first court appearance for the Mississippi Press sets it up: Continue reading
I hope everyone noticed the Scott Walker/Michael Janus indictment was captioned First Superseding Indictment, which means Walker and Janus have known for some time they were charged with federal crimes. I am told plea talks broke down thus yesterday’s torrent of federal and state charges including the first revision to the alleged crimes involving the City of D’Iberville perpetrated by Walker and Janus. I thought the Mississippi Press using Scott Walker’s Ocean Springs DUI booking photo for their story on the federal indictments of he and his daddy Bill Walker was precious.
Who likes a good perp walk? Luckily for everyone the Sun Herald put a video up on YouTube of yesterday’s parade of former DMR employees facing state charges:
Meantime Justin Mitchell checks in this morning with an update from downtown Gulfport for the Sun Herald: Continue reading