Editors Note: The Sun Herald has provided ace reporting on the ongoing DMR scandal. If you’re a regular reader of this website then you’ve seen several linked here in the past several weeks. The latest is below and I highly suggest readers click through and read the entire article. Kudos to the writers at the Sun Herald for top notch work.
Bill Walker’s private foundation claims to support the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, but records the Sun Herald examined show public money flows from DMR to the foundation.
Walker, while serving as the DMR’s executive director, has collected tens of thousands of dollars for his Mississippi Marine Resources Foundation from the Harrison County Utility Authority and from a Louisiana oil company. The DMR also negotiated for a $250,000 check to the foundation with an engineering company whose casino client needed a DMR permit, according to a letter from the engineering firm, Thompson Engineering of Mobile.
The letter was written in August 2011, but a second, revised letter from Thompson made the DMR the recipient of the donation. A corporate spokesman for IP Casino Resort said the $250,000 check was written and delivered to the DMR. (See copies of the letters on Page 18A.)
Walker’s foundation has been portrayed, from its inception in 2004, as a nonprofit corporation formed to support the state agency “in all its operations,” making money and resources available to the DMR.
However, documents the Sun Herald has reviewed show the DMR sent money the foundation’s way instead. Another state agency, the Department of Environmental Quality, also steered several fines it levied to the foundation. The DEQ said the foundation deserved the money because it supports DMR’s mission to protect and enhance coastal resources.