Sunday, December 1, 2013

Sun-Herald seeks contempt against State Auditor

The Sun-Herald asked a Gulf Coast Chancellor to hold State Auditor Stacey Pickering in contempt of court:

GULFPORT, Miss. — State Auditor Stacey Pickering says his hands are tied by a federal subpoena that prevents his releasing documents seized from state Department of Marine Resources to a Gulf Coast newspaper.

The Sun Herald has asked a judge to hold Pickering and his office in civil contempt of court for failing to turn over records it has sought. .

The newspaper sued Pickering for access to records that his office had seized from the MDMR as part of an ongoing state and federal investigation of the agency. Harrison County Chancery Judge Jennifer Schloegel ruled last month that the records are public, but she didn't immediately act on the newspaper's request for a contempt order.

In a response filed Wednesday to the newspaper's contempt motion, Pickering's lawyers said the auditor's office has to abide by the federal grand jury subpoena.

"Obviously, the United States believes that releasing the subject records would prejudice the prosecution of the indictment involving the Department of Marine Resources for which those records were sought," Jackson attorney John G. Corlew writes in court documents.

"The audit defendants are charged by Mississippi law to investigate and bring to justice public corruption. The United States has taken the position that release of the subject records would hamper brining public corruption to justice. Its authority — through a duly constituted federal grand jury — is recognized by law to be superior to any contrary state law, including a state court order," Corlew wrote.

Pickering asks that the contempt petition be dismissed.

Pickering has claimed the records are exempt from disclosure under an exception to the state Public Records Act. He has said the case involves sensitive information about alleged wrongdoing at the MDMR under its former executive director, Bill Walker.

After Schloegel ruled last month that the documents are public records, she learned that a federal grand jury in Jackson had issued a subpoena for them. She issued a protective order directing the auditor's office to provide the records to her court so they could be copied, but the Sun Herald reports the records were sent to the grand jury instead. Rest of the article


Anonymous said...

Stacey Pickering arranged for the Feds to step in to keep the records from becoming public due to the actions of the Sunherald in my opinion. What could be so sensitive at this point? Most know who the crooks are. Is he protecting other politicians who received money from Bill Walker through his Marine Resource Foundation? We know many did.Is he protecting some of his dear friends? He did throw the Sunherald a bone by taking out a half page campaign ad in today's paper publicizing how hard he is working for the people of Ms. by putting in place a new Fraud=Felony hotline 1-800-956-1846.His new theme is "Fraud ruins Mississippi's Coast Life." Wonder who is answering the phone? Is it Frontier? Who is running his current feel good campaign?

Anonymous said...

I'd really love to see some legal authority for the proposition that a federal grand jury can nullify a decree of a state court of competent jurisdiction. I don't think it can. If this judge has any backbone, Pickering is found in contempt.

Anonymous said...

He is protecting former Governor Barbour. The Miss. Development Authority misspent money.

Anonymous said...

Pickering is an inept, under qualified, wanna be who has no business or experience even attempting to be our next Senator. Vote otherwise folks. He won't do any of us any good and he needs to understand his place. A VERY WEAK Auditor at best. When you get the fundraiser invite in the mail and the calls from the typical suspects asking for your money to support him....look elsewhere. He is not our man for the job and has shown his inexperience and amateurish ways with his whole DMR handling. Move on Reverend and hope your Sunday school class doesn't figure out what the rest of us already know.

Anonymous said...

That's a lot of disrespect for the good Doctor Pickering. PhD, CPA,LL.B,J.D.,MBA, he must have some sort of credentials.

Anonymous said...

What happened with Robert Graham? I thought the O.S.A. was demanding $50,000 or go to jail? Why do C.O.Jackson crooks get a pass?

Anonymous said...

Corlew is probably right-the federal grand jury trumps the state. Why does Mississippi always bump into state sovereignty?

Anonymous said...

"Mississippi Marine Resources Foundation is not currently registered with the IRS.

Because this organization failed to file a Form 990, 990-EZ, 990-N, or 990-PF for 3 consecutive years, its exempt status has been automatically revoked by the IRS"

Anonymous said...

I am sure by now the IRS CID is well aware of the Marine Resource Foundation. Hopefully all of its misdealings will come back to its members an officers as ordinary income. The forgiveness by our state auditor of over a million dollars of "misused taxpayer money" could carry a very large tax payment that will have to be made by these fine people before it is all over. I am sure Pickering will would credit for that also.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Pickering is planning to defect to the Donkeycrat Party. Donkeycrats see this type of graft, corruption and subterfuge as a resume builder.

The fact that Kittredge is running interface to keep information out of the public domain is hilarious. Way to sell your soul Brett!

Anonymous said...

I'm a right wing kind of guy (and an MSU fan). If my options for an elected office were:

Hillary Clinton
Nancy Pelosi
Osama Bin Laden
Barack Obama
Stacy Pickering
The Devil
Kim Jong-un
Dennis Rodman
Michael Moore
Hugh Freeze

In the group above, Stacy Pickering would be my 10th choice.

Anonymous said...

9:21 your list would make it hard for Stacey Pickering to be tenth but in my opinion he could not get past eighth. I do not think any of the others on this list would have the steel balls to go down to the Coast in the middle of the biggest fraud investigation this state has seen since the Beef Plant deal, involving as he said some "dear friends" and have a fundraiser at Frontiers partner Joe Cloyd's beach front mansion. Cloyd who is the next door neighbor to now indicted Scott Walker, has a questionable contract to do work at the DMR, the very agency that is at the center of Pickering's investigation. This could not been more of a conflict unless the ex-director of the DMR, Bill Walker, who has since also been indicted would have been there with his son. As shown in photos posted online the Walkers were only a few feet removed on the front porch of the Walker home next door. I am still not sure they were not at the fundraiser in person via the back door. This Pickering rally sponsored by his money bundlers also had a number of protesters across the street being interviewed on TV. It was a Cloyd planned disaster for Pickering. This, in itself, tells the public he is just to naive or dumb to be the state auditor and should never be a consideration to replace Thad Cochran.

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