Let’s chat about all these untimely DMR passings…….

I woke up this morning to a plethora of commentary on all the people connected to DMR that have died since the scandal broke late last Summer and was somewhat stunned by it.  It appears all the interested parties are gathered here in the Slabbed internet community. It is an awesome responsibility due to the delicacy of the subject matter and having crossed this bridge once here on Slabbed last year it is one I do not take lightly.

Slabbed has heard from several sources that Phil Bass took his own life.  His name has previously appeared on these pages in connection with his close connection to former DMR Executive Director Bill Walker.  Walker is currently at the epicenter of a federal grand jury investigation into wrongdoing at Mississippi Department of Marine Resources. There is much speculation out there in the community that Bass’ untimely death is related. The rampant speculation about both Bass and Jessica Upshaw exists because transparency is still a foreign concept at the DMR.

From reading the commentary on Slabbed, it appears some of the relatives of the deceased still have unanswered questions.  Perhaps in time with a bit of luck, those questions will be answered.

Those interested in Mr Bass’ funeral arrangements should click here.  His obituary via the Clarion Ledger appears here.

36 thoughts on “Let’s chat about all these untimely DMR passings…….”

  1. Let’s be clear, Mr. Bass did not work for the DMR. He may have been closely associated with former staff and DMR activities, but he did not work for them.

  2. Mr.Bass worked for the EPA but was on loan to the DMR and worked from the Bolton Building.This is not the same as being employed but most people would not know this unless they worked at the DMR.

    1. No, Mr. Bass was on loan to a non-profit called the Gulf of Mexico Alliance. The office is in the Bolton Building and they pay rent for it. How exactly he got paid, I don’t know.

      1. I would not get too caught up in the minutia. People are focusing on the connection to Walker and the EPA money Bass is said to have steered to DMR.

  3. Doug I agree.Clarifying what Mr.Bass did though is important.From GulfBase.org “Phil Bass serves as the State Policy Coordinator for EPA’s Gulf of Mexico Program an is currently on assignment to the Ms.DMR.” Prior to this he worked as a biologist with the Ms.DEQ,since 1973.You can also read many printed documents online that include the name of both Bass and Walker.They had a long working relationship.

  4. I believe the comments under Ms. Upshaw on April the first should start waking people up to how wrong things are at the DMR and DEQ and the far reaching effects it is having. It is all connected in some way and i agree it will come out. It is so bad they have to ensure they get their man in place ( Jamie Miller) so they can keep controling the information. Every one knows he does not have the ability or QUALIFICATIONS FOR THE JOB

  5. Just in case you happen to believe this fraudulent scandal has the “Walkers” cowering in shame, fret not. The whole damn clan was seen in full at the Elton John concert last Saturday night. Wonder if they paid for the tickets or was this another pay-back or one of their schemes to grab yet more tax dollars from some obscure fund designated for researching the impact of large crowds on pelicans in the Gulf…egads!

    1. People should have shunned them and threw a few rotten tomatoes at them. But that is the mentality that “elite” bunch all have….including Joe Zeigler and his brother-in-law, Billy Hewes. They think they are all above us peasants and they are better than anyone else. And I’m beginning to wonder if that isn’t the case?? No one is getting charged with anything….I hope the whole bunch don’t get off scott free (no pun intended).

      1. They know they have no way out. All they can do is play the i did nothing wrong card in public and act as though everything is fine. That’s what people do when they know what’s coming. Keep the faith something this big takes time to get everybody in the net but it is coming sooner than later

  6. The money mis-manager profiteers truly don’t think they have done anything wrong in their own mind and they are running around town saying this to whoever will listen. Scott, Daddy Bill, Ziegler, Janus, Shumate, etc think they are victims of an over zealous investigation and were just going along with the system of protecting and managing our fishery resources and the dollars that were involved in that process . They will fall along with others that promoted HESCO baskets, oil spill response boats and go to jail. The sad thing is that a whole new crop of influence peddlers is gearing up to steer Restore Act/BP dollars andi this money is way bigger than the $19M DMR budget or $1.4M for sport fishing boats owned by a Foundation. Can the FEDS just fine these opportunists and get the money back instead of wasting expensive jail space that should be reserved for dangerous criminals?

  7. Having all of the Walkers at the Elton John concert was entertaining in its self.I feel certain Scott delivered to Elton the new Scott Walker bobblehead doll because Elton collects them and Scott is a natural bobblehead.They probably got the tickets from their friend at the coliseum who supported Sharon Walker to be renewed on the Ocean Springs School Board.They are all best buddies.They are supporting him in his alderman campaign also.

  8. It is Miller time in Jackson today.I guess from this point foward all info coming from the DMR must go thru Dr.Phils office prior to allowing the taxpaying public.So much for transparency an open government

    1. “Wiggins said”….”He also informed the committee, after questions from myself and others, that he does not have any personal or business connections to the current DMR regime.”

      “State Senate Ports and Marine Resources Chairman Brice Wiggins, R-Pascagoula, was on the outing for lawmakers and other officials in June. Wiggins said he didn’t catch many fish, but he was able to meet with other officials, which he said was valuable to him, as at the time he’d been chairing the committee for only a few months.”

  9. I think he is speaking of Miller not having any connections although it could be read either way.They are all connected in some way.Miller himself has addmitted to participating in DMR fishing trip(s)To think the public does not know they have been scratching each others back for years is dumb on the part of all of these politicos.

    1. How about a question.

      Is the relationship on the Hathorn side? There have been both Hathorns and Shumates in Natchitoches Parish for ages. Maybe I’m wrong.

  10. BEN H. STONE, Chairman
    WALLEY R. NAYLOR, Vice Chairman Madison
    BILLYR.POWELL,Secretary Madison
    Question Presented: Brief Answer:
    Post Office Box 22746 Jackson, Mississippi 39225-2746 Telephone: 601-359-1285 Telecopier: 601-359-1292 http://www.ethics.state.ms.us
    Executive Director and Chief Counsel
    February 1, 2013
    ROBERT G. CLARK Pickens
    BRENDA T. REDFERN Richland
    DANA S. STRINGER Brandon


    May employees of a state agency or their relatives receive a federal grant administered by the agency?
    Yes. Under these facts no violation of Section 25-4-105(3)(a), Miss. Code of 1972, should occur because the agency employees will not be contractors, subcontractors or vendors to the agency, and no violation of Section 25-4-105(1) should occur if all affected employees fully recuse themselves from administering the grant program.
    The Mississippi Ethics Commission issued this opinion on the date shown above in accordance with Section 25-4-17(i), Mississippi Code of 1972, as reflected upon its minutes of even date. The Commission is empowered to interpret and opine only upon Article IV, Section 109, Mississippi Constitution of 1890, and Article 3, Chapter 4, Title 25, Mississippi Code of 1972. This opinion does not interpret or offer protection from liability for any other laws, rules or regulations. The Commission based this opinion solely on the facts and circumstances provided by the requestor as restated herein. The protection from liability provided under Section 25-4-17(i) is limited to the individual who requested this opinion and to the accuracy and completeness of these facts.
    I. LAW
    The pertinent Ethics in Government Laws to be considered here are as follows:
    Section 25-4-103, Miss. Code of 1972.

    1. The above opinion clearly states a public servant cannot do anything for their relatives to profit directly.
      If Miller is reading these blogs, he will need to take note as to how many relatives of DMR did this very thing!
      I don’t believe in coincidence , and four recent deaths of people directly connected to DMR is too much.
      Mrs. Hill had a son employed at DMR, who, it’s reported, is never there. Who might the others trying to protect?
      Something to ponder!

      1. Okay Patsy….I agree with most of your information, but don’t start throwing people under the bus who have no dog in this hunt. Seems like everyone wants to turn things on Ms Hill and her family. They are the INJURED in this situation, so stop inferring anything other than that. That family has paid and is still paying dearly for being employees of the DMR. And after everything the Hills have been through, the DMR is MORE THAN FORTUNATE that the Hills’ son would even consider still working there. I can assure you, he earns his pay and then some because he carries the load (and has carried the load) for several of the others who “work” there. The Biologists and Technicians, etc., at this Agency are NOT the problem. The problem lies mostly in the 5th and 6th floor of the Bolton building or “Management”. So please stop throwing dirt at the innocent. Place blame where it is due and avoid causing diversions in areas that are not involved.

        1. Not trying to infer anything negative about Ms Hill. I knew who she was and her husband and father in law through Bell South. I just wonder what kind of pressure she may have been subjected to. I have nothing but sympathy for the Hills. The information I received was from a DMR employees’ husband.
          I also worked in the same room with Joe Ziegler for several years! I know what he’s like, and how vindictive he is!

          1. You have crossed the line. I know for a fact Matt Hill was hired in Jackson when he graduated from Mississippi College when we were needing Biologist. His mother had nothing to do with it.As for as Ms. Hill she was recommended to Dr.woods who was probably the only real Director we ever had by Mr.Victor Marver. Ask Matt’s former boss what he thinks of him or most anyone else at DMR except for the person you talked to. A coward I’m sure.You say you know the Hills. If that is the case then you should know they know everything about Ziegler and i will add retired and current employees of the DMR consider him lower than worm ?!?!.Also if you know the Hills like you say then you should know Ms. Hills Husband is just like his Dad meaning he will not put up with much BS.I have met her Husband a few times over the years and i know i would not want to cross him especially on this matter.One last thing from me have your friend’s coward of a husband fined Buck(retired)or Dale or other Biologist or technicians or some of the Patrol Officers or me and make the same comments.

          2. Sounds like you are inferring with out merit to me.You say you know the Hills.I wonder what they think about your comments. I will call them in the Morning to make sure they have seen them.Sounds like your info
            is coming from someone with an axe to grind.

      2. Yes Matt Hill does work there.He was hired right out of College as a Biologist. His mother had nothing to do with it. As a matter of fact he was hired in Jackson before his parents new anything about it Nobody gained anything but the DMR. He has moved up because of his ability.you can ask that of most anybody still there and retired.Staements like yours only add more pain to what i would think is a very difficult time for the Hill family and even worse it is without merit

        1. Apparently I got some bad information and made the mistake of posting it! As I said before, I have only sympathy for that family and apologize if it sounded otherwise.

    2. Interesting.

      I’ll add

      13-007-E Three city council members who are also members of a non-profit organization may not participate in zoning matters that will likely result in a reduction of the dues the members pay to the non-profit. To ensure no violation of Section 25-4-105(1), Miss. Code of 1972, occurs, the three council membe…


      In late fall of 2012, the applicant approached the City about rezoning its property, as stated and referenced above. It then proceeded to obtain an option to lease the property to a developer to build the “Boardwalk”….Currently, the Councilman at Large is an officer and a member of the non-profit organization, and additionally two other council persons are members of the non-profit organization. The members of the non-profit organization voted to lease this property and authorized the officers to move forward with this development.”

      1. Full text of Advisory Opinion 13-007-E here:


        Additional excerpt. The complete analysis from Opinion 13-007-E:

        Section 25-4-105(1) prohibits a public servant from using his position to obtain or attempt to obtain any pecuniary benefit for himself, a relative, or a “business with which he is associated.” The facts presented by the requestor indicate that three council members, as members of the non-profit, are likely to obtain a monetary benefit should the rezoning take place. Accordingly, these council members should recuse themselves from any matter coming before the council concerning the rezoning matter.

        A total and complete recusal requires that the council members not only avoid debating, discussing or taking action on the development, rezoning action or related subject matter during official meetings or deliberations, but also avoid discussing the matter with any other municipal official or employees. This restriction includes casual comments, as well as detailed discussions, made in person, by telephone or by any other means. An abstention is considered a vote with the majority and is not a recusal. Furthermore, the minutes of the meetings should state
        the affected council members left the room before the
        matter came before the council and did not return
        until after the vote.

        1. Apparently a “public servant” in the State of Mississippi should be aware that a non-profit can be a “business with which he is associated.”

  11. http://www.slabbed.org/tag/cedar-point-land-deal/

    This gives a little history on Ben Stone. He’s one of many foxes guarding hen houses in Mississippi.

    Maybe one day someone will tie a few loose ends together on the Kemper Plant. There was an article about Stone in the MBJ that has been removed. It was called “Managing ethics when nobody is looking”.

  12. One thing is for certain.Until someone comes foward with an explanation of each to assure the public what happened in each death the public will continue to discuss and speculate about all or each of them.I feel certain that the Feds are looking at each death very quietly beneath the currents of state investigators.If the family of Ms.Hill wanted justice in her death the would have told the right people all they know and I feel certain they have.I for one am not satisfied with depression and suicide being said as the reason.Too easy to use.May they all rest in peace.

    1. I only hoped for answers, also. If it was one of my family members, I’d never let it rest. Sympathy for the families of all of these people involved. Sometimes the questions asked are not comfortable to think about, but need to be asked for justice if anything improper was done to these people.
      Some people will do almost anything to cover themselves if they have done something that would get them in trouble, and for those who think I’m trying to blame the people who have died, you are dead wrong. I think they are victims! May the families get peace, too.

  13. All is quiet on this front.I find it very hard to believe that these four deaths have not been discuussed in depth by folks in lawenforcement at some level.While rumors are rampant the families need facts.Someone should come foward and dispell or confirm.

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