Newspaper sues state agency to get financial records
Published: January 17,2013
BILOXI — A Gulf Coast newspaper has sued the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources to get access to some financial records.
The Sun Herald reports it filed suit in Harrison County Chancery Court.
The Sun Herald is seeking a judge’s order compelling MDMR to produce the records. The newspaper also asked for a hearing on the lawsuit to be held within three days, as the Mississippi Public Records Act calls for expedited relief.
The MDMR has cited a state auditor’s investigation to deny the Sun Herald access to the records. MDMR attorney Sandy Chesnut has claimed the financial records fall under the law’s criminal investigations exemption.
Sun Herald attorney Henry Laird says the MDMR is unable to claim the exemption because it applies to law enforcement agencies.
The Sun Herald has requested records related to MDMR’s disaster relief and artificial reef accounts.
The newspaper has reported that a $115,000 check that was supposed to go to MDMR for maintenance of an artificial reef instead went to a foundation former agency director Bill Walker managed.
The Sun Herald also has reported that more than $1.4 million in public money from the Rigs to Reefs program went to upgrade and maintain two boats the private foundation leased to MDMR.
The Sun Herald requested artificial reef records Dec. 27. Chesnut responded by email Jan. 9, saying, in part: “the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) has received a subpoena from the Mississippi State Auditor’s Office for the requested information and therefore, the MDMR is prohibited from releasing this information.”
To sign up for Mississippi Business Daily Updates, click here.
Twang & Tourism: The Country Music Trail
FOLLOW THE MBJ ON TWITTERMy Tweets
Top Posts & Pages
- DAVID DALLAS: Mr. McDaniel goes to Washington
- Moon River Foods creating 100 jobs in Mississippi Delta
- Two BancorpSouth mergers delayed by federal inquiries
- Wasted away — Margaritaville in Biloxi to close by Sept. 19
- Severstal selling plants, including Severstal Columbus
- Judge to hear from True the Vote as McDaniel attempts to overturn loss to Cochran
- Google chooses Mad Genius as example of Internet use
- Weyerhaeuser investing $57M to modernize lumber mill
- WILLOUGHBY: Broadband Voice founder Gary Watts isn’t afraid to take chances
- Health officials identify another case of chikungunya virus