In the three years since Director Trudy Fisher’s resignation, federal investigators have looked into DEQ’s activities under her leadership. The probe looks at contracts granted by DEQ in an attempt to determine whether Fisher personally benefited from them, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the investigation, including several people who have been interviewed by the FBI.
Under Fisher, private contractor and attorney Amy Whitten reaped nearly $2 million in DEQ contracts, either directly with the agency or through subcontracts with law firm Balch & Bingham. Whitten, a well-known state contractor, had worked with a number of agencies and secured four previous DEQ contracts before Fisher took over the agency.
The link above that Slabbed put out on Twitter was still warm when the Sun Herald picked up Wolfe’s story on Wednesday by then it had really captured the attention of many folks including here. Then we got the wet blanket that lie under the salacious headline:
Amy Whitten, a Mississippi attorney who received a subcontract with the state Department of Environmental Quality in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, shared her Ridgeland office address with two companies that also gained contracts related to the spill.
One of the companies, Covington Civil and Environmental Engineering, received tens of millions of dollars in contracts related to the April 2010 BP oil spill. The other company, Adaptive Management Services, received a small contract before eventually subcontracting under Covington.
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.
So there you have it folks, people with side condos on the beach get the NFIP’s best rates while homeowners in Bay St Louis get stuck with their bill. Worth noting is Congressman Steven Palazzo voted for Biggert-Waters Act, an act that will likely bankrupt substantial numbers of his own constituents. Heckuva job Palazzi!
Jason Berry adds to the Aircheck intrigue in USA v Jackson via his post the $th Estate. The bottom line is there are a large number engaged individuals that believe Fred Heebe had a mole inside the Times Picayune and that is how Team Heebe outed Sal Perricone and company for commenting on pending criminal cases and secret grand jury proceedings.
I’ll have more in another post a bit later. Feel free to add your own links
Yesterday Paul Hampton and Karen Nelson teamed up in a What’s Next with DMR piece for the Sunday Sun Herald and in it the paper laid a few cards down on the table. You see folks, I have a source that has been pretty accurate for certain aspects of the DMR investigation and one of the last things this person shared with me was that the public records that are subject to the Sun Herald’s lawsuit against DMR that were subsequently subpoenaed by the US Attorney to thwart the paper getting access to them contained absolutely no smoking guns or evidence of additional illegal activity.
If that is the case then the natural question that comes to mind is exactly WTF Stacey Pickering and company are doing defying the orders of Chancery Court Judge Jennifer Schloegel to turn those records over for the inspection by the Sun Herald. Yesterday when the Sun Herald laid a couple cards down it also confirmed something else the same source mentioned to me, namely that many of the documents sought by the Sun Herald were already in their possession via leak. Here is the salient excerpt:
But through records leaked to the newspaper, the Sun Herald learned about a few things Walker bought through the fund — a $27,500 sponsorship for the 11th National Conference on Science, Policy and the Environment in Washington, D.C.; a work computer for the daughter of a friend and neighbor employed by the DMR; and the hiring of special contract workers.
Nothing in the above indicates illegal activity IMHO, perhaps a wasting of tax dollars but nothing illegal on its face. Worth noting is these records have been gathering dust for almost a year and evidently neither the State or Feds had done anything with them until the Sun Herald gained court ordered access. This is another factor as to why that Federal subpoena for those public records is such a curiosity. Continue reading “Laying down their cards: “What’s next with DMR investigations?””
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.