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 many times over the past 7 years or so that I have communicated with a well placed source, invariably the information imparted is also accompanied by restrictions on its use and disclosure of the source. It has occurred to me that I disclose much less about these people, than say the AP, who will describe a source like “someone in government that requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak with the media”. My description would probably include a janitor and a homeless drunk but Slabbed has built up enough street credibility that we can get by with that. Even better it help protect the folks that are sharing information. It is no secret that in the Yenni Building at least one and I think more dragnets have been run trying to figure out the identity of the famous (infamous) Wino of Lafayette Square so I understand the restrictions and manage to thrive figuring ways around them without shutting off the information flow.
All that said I’ll report now that outdoor living during the Polar Vortex was too much, even for the indefatigable Wino, and she died last Winter. Now a moment of silence:
I buried my lead to make a point but from Slabbed’s DMR coverage I would posit it is safe for the reader to assume Slabbed has a kick ass source or two or three on the topic. These folks are located from Jackson and points south all the way to the Mississippi sound and some of what you’ll read here is reflected in what they have told me and what I continue to tell hear.
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.